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After Han Solo was frozen in carbonite on Bespin, as shown in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, his friends succeed in thawing and rescuing him in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.

First, we see R2-D2 and C-3PO arrive at the palace of Jabba the Hutt, bearing a message from Luke Skywalker, and themselves as gifts.

Then we see general Leia Organa arrive, disguised as the bounty hunter Boussh, claiming the bounty on Chewbacca. She tries to free Han Solo, but is caught and captured by Jabba and his underlings. By then we have already seen Lando Calrissian posing as a palace guard.

Finally, we see Luke Skywalker turn up, fall into a trap, and kill the Rancor. Then, as they are all about to be executed, our heroes escape, killing Jabba and most of his underlings in the process.

What was the exact timeline for all of this?

Han was frozen on Bespin in 3 ABY and was rescued in 4 ABY. Including this, we have the following events:

  1. Boba Fett leaving with the frozen Han Solo
  2. Boba Fett delivering the frozen Han to Jabba the Hutt
  3. C-3PO and R2-D2 arriving at Jabba the Hutt's palace
  4. Lando Calrissian arriving at Jabba the Hutt's palace (possibly even before the droids' arrival)
  5. Leia Organa (as Boussh) and Chewbacca arriving at Jabba the Hutt's palace
  6. Leia thawing Han and getting captured
  7. Luke Skywalker arriving at Jabba the Hutt's palace, falling into the Rancor pit and killing its occupant
  8. The skirmish at the Pit of Carkoon, leading to the death of Jabba the Hutt and the escape of our heroes

Where do all these events fall on the timeline?


I'm happy to accept answers from Star Wars Legends if no answer exists in main canon.

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  • 3
    Long enough for Luke to build his own lightsaber, if I recall the original novelization correctly.
    – DavidW
    Jun 7, 2021 at 14:22
  • 2
    I don't think there's a timeline of the events we see in the film. However, the (now Legends, I believe) novelisation tells us that Lando had been there for months prior to C-3PO and R2-D2's arrival: "Lando had managed to infiltrate this nest of maggots months earlier to see if it was possible to free Solo from Jabba’s imprisonment."
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jun 7, 2021 at 14:25
  • @TheLethalCarrot Legends is fine; edited to reflect that.
    – SQB
    Jun 7, 2021 at 14:30
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    Also, C-3PO and R2-D2 had been there for some days: "Threepio peeked out from behind the throne as Bib walked up. For the first time in many days, he scanned his hope program. “Ah! At last Master Luke’s come to take me away from all this,” he beamed."
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jun 7, 2021 at 14:40
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1 Answer 1

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We can deal with elements 3-8 quite easily since these play out over a matter of a few days.

  • C-3PO and R2 turn up. (We'll call this day 1). The droids are inspected and C-3PO is returned to Jabba's throne room almost immediately after being fitted with restraining bolt.

“Guard! This protocol droid might be useful. Fit him with a restraining bolt and take him back to His Excellency’s main audience chamber.”

Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side!

  • Later in the same day, Chewie and Leia (as Boushh) turn up.

THE PARTY DRAGS ON. C-3PO wishes he could leave. More than that he wishes he’d never come.
And then…a shot rings out!
Sounds of a struggle!
A familiar roar! The roar of a Wookiee!

  • The same evening, Leia defrosts Han and they get caught.

NIGHTTIME IN JABBA’S PALACE. Boushh, the bounty hunter, sneaks through the dark. With his visor’s night vision, he is able to weave amongst the debris of the day’s revelries

  • The following morning (Day 2) Luke arrives.

Jabba, like many of his guests, is dozing. It was a late night, what with all that Han Solo business and the party that followed.

  • Later the same day Luke and Han are taken to be executed. Luke escapes and Jabba is killed.

Today the barge is a floating party. The crowd from the throne room—even Max Rebo and the band—lounges about in the barge’s dark, fetid hold.


What adds complexity is trying to identify the gap between Han being frozen and Leia arriving at the palace. Taking into account all of the new canon stories that took place between ESB and RotJ, Han was captured and repeatedly lost by Boba Fett, captured again, relost, recaptured a second time, relost (a third time) and finally auctioned to Jabba in what can only be described as a series of increasingly unlikely stories that take place over the 9-12 months between the two films. We know that at some point Lando infiltrated Jabba's Palace as a guard, probably a month of two before our story opens but pinning that down to a specific date is very tricky.

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