Star Wars is set "a long time ago", but I know there have been an expanded universe. Has that universe's time caught up to our time line yet?


4 Answers 4


The only answer I can find is what I call a Lucasism. In other words, it's a situation that was developed to fit, as one person called it, The Rule of Cool, without regard for fact or science. Once it's been created and fit into official canon, then there's a lot of rationalization to explain it, so, in the long run you end up with more explanation than cool. In the end, I feel like there's a lot of contradictory facts, but then again, this is the Lucasverse.

(I'm not going to focus on what has already been stated or proven in other questions on SE:SF&F, but I will summarize.)

  • Star Wars takes place (everybody say it with me), "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away." The problem with "long time ago" and "far, far away" is that these are loose terms. Any other galaxy is far, far away to us and even 500 years ago, to humans, is a long time ago.

  • E.T. and Star Wars are in the same universe. Either there is parallel evolution for two species (humans and Brodo Asogi) or E.T. comes from the Star Wars universe. Since this has been established in several ways we'll take it as fact.

  • Elliot meeting E.T. was a result of Senator Grebleips (spell it backwards!) of Brodo Asogi obtaining funding for an expedition to another galaxy. This was in 22 BBY, which is pretty close to Luke Skywalker's birth.

  • We don't know how fast the Brodo Asogi expedition could cross the interstellar void, but the ship isn't big enough to be a generation ship, which leads to the assumption that it could reach its destination and return within the lifespan of the Brodo Asogi.

Brodo Asogi ship from E.T.

  • There's no indication the Brodo Asogi are exceptionally long-lived and even in the long timeline of the Star Wars universe, 100,000 years is so a long time that it makes no sense planning on anything that far out. So there's no reason to assume a long life for the species or factoring in time-dilation or anything else that would indicate the expedition would take more than a time measured in decades.

  • We also see an excellent argument that the light from the Star Wars universe has not reached us yet.

By putting the Brodo Asogi onscreen in The Phantom Menace, Lucas linked the two worlds. When the expedition was included, that not only establishes the two as being in the same universe, but since that expedition was intended the one that reached Earth, it joins Earth in the 1980s with Star Wars, no matter how long ago or far away it supposedly took place.

So allowing for a lifespan of, say, somewhere under 200 years for the Brodo Asogi, by putting them on screen, Lucas has essentially given us a connection to say that 22 BBY was less than a few hundred years ago.

While this may not seem to be "a long time ago," if we accept the Star Wars references to the Brodo Asogi, then, while the light from the Star Wars galaxy may not reach us for millions of years, a ship on an expedition planned before the birth of Luke Skywalker already has reached us about 30 years ago.

Which would lead to the conclusion that Luke Skywalker was born less then a few hundred years ago. That would put the time line, which currently ends approximately 140 BBY recent enough to be concurrent with recorded human history.

It's also possible that, since the expedition left and might take a couple hundred years, that the Star Wars timeline has not quite caught up to the time when that expedition reaches Earth, but it's certainly a lot closer than it feels when we think of "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away."

  • Personally, I would love to see Lucas rationalize his way out of this one! But, even more, I dread to think of what will happen if the Brodo Asogi return home and any Sith see old recordings of The Gong Show.
    – Tango
    Commented Dec 17, 2011 at 8:03
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    A problem with this is accepting that ET's species appear in in the SW universe. We see a species that resemble them only from the waist up. All other evidence for it being an ET species comes from non canon expanded universe sources. Since star wars is fiction in the ET universe, it seems unlikely the universes are related, which invalidates your answer (although it is a good answer following an assumption). Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 5:58
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    @KirstyMcNair: I also provide a direct link to support what I said. That's been accepted, so on this site, it's proof enough. Since you're intent on making this a crusade, if you have issues with that point, take it up on that answer, where it's proven. As for canon, there are many levels of Star Wars canon, and nothing here was specified that the answer had to be G level canon. If this is an issue for you, then post your own question and ask if it can be proven in G level canon.
    – Tango
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 15:48
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    The ship we see in ET may just be a landing ship, for all we know they had a 200-mile generation ship resting out around Neptune.
    – evilsoup
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 15:13
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    You are missing one important point: time dilation at relativistic speeds. See worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/9022 - If ET was flying with his conventional drive at very high speeds, like 0.999c to our galaxy, his ship could take 10million years, while he only aged 50years! This could set Star Wars 10million light years away and 10million years into the past, while ET only aged 50 years in his personal timeline on his way to us!!!
    – Falco
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 12:50

No. Based on the answer in the related question (thanks, DampeS8N!) the SW galaxy is roughly 3 million light years away.

The Expanded Universe has a latest date of 138 ABY (138 years after the battle of Yavin).

The Vong traveled for generations in extragalactic space without finding another galaxy, so it seems unlikely that the Battle of Yavin happened less than 140 years ago, there's simply no time from word of the events to have traveled 3 million light years.

If the species seen in The Phantom Menace which resembles E.T. DID create engines capable of extragalactic travel, such engines would have (by necessity) given ships much higher speed within a galaxy - empty space is pretty much the same, whether it's between two fairly close stars or two fairly close galaxies.

We see no such advances in engine technology anywhere in the Expanded Universe. Therefore, I doubt the EU happens within the past 140 years. It's far more likely that another thousand or so generations have gone bye.

  • Well, by that logic, how do you account for the ET species being 3 million light years out? I expect that the answer is No, but because the ET species must have created faster travel than in all of SW at some point later. Meaning that 'today' has to be some point in the future of the SW series. Unless you count ET as part of the expanded universe... Actually, then it is still No because ET would then be the last thing in the expanded universe. And therefore not 'today' but some time in the 80's.
    – DampeS8N
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:17
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    It says ET is 3million light years from home. E.T. 'phones home', but given his limited grasp of English, it's entirely possible he just sent a message to his ship, which wasn't that far away (relatively speaking).
    – Jeff
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:24
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    The E.T./SW link is tenuous at best, honestly. It's possible the species are only similar (like SW humans compared to Earth humans). Besides, E.T. was in a Yoda costume at one point, so their visit CAN'T have been the first one from the SW galaxy to ours, if any have happened.
    – Jeff
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:29
  • I was referring to them being that far out in the first place. This point about the ET/SW link is true. But that is the ONLY metric we have to date the events of SW to anything more than "a long time ago."
    – DampeS8N
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:29
  • It wasn't a question of whether they traveled to our galaxy, but whether the timeline of their universe matched up with the timeline of us today. Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:31

I just found a interesting article : A Chart That Explains How Long Ago Star Wars Actually Took Place on io9. It places Cade Skywalker leaving the Jedi Order in 1941. So no, it would not have caught up to our time line yet.

It bases its math on Into the Great Unknown from Dark Horse's Star Wars Tales #19. From the Star Wars Tales Wookieepedia article:

Issue #1 to Issue #20 were edited by Peet Janes (Issues 1 and 2) and Dave Land (Issues 3-20) and were labeled Infinities, placing them outside the canon (though this is not to say that the events depicted are permanently outside of the official continuity, just that they should not be considered canon unless or until they are endorsed by a canon source)

So, it's not really canon, but it's the best I could find.

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    HA! I came here to see if anyone mentioned "Into the Great Unknown"... you do not disappoint.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 17:52

There was a proposed SW novel, never finished and now held non-cannon, that intended to link Lucas' first film THX-1138 with the Star Wars universe as an explanation for how humans got to the SW galaxy. In it THX and about 500 other humans from the 25th century escape Earth in a rocket ship. The ship falls through a wormhole in BOTH TIME AND SPACE that drops them in the distant SW galaxy many thousands of years ago, either before or at the beginning of the Infinite Empire. It establishes a genealogy of sorts for the origin of some family names like Skywalker and why some historians believe Coruscant may be the UNKNOWN original homeworld of humanity. You can research it all up on Wookieepedia.

What we do get from this is that there is no official SW explanation of where humans came from and that the distances between major galaxies is too far for even hyperdrive engines to traverse. If the E.T. Easter-egg appearance is taken seriously as the same race as in the film E.T., then we'd have to assume that this exploration craft of theirs fell through the same wormhole which is bridging 1980s on our end to whenever they launched (20 ABY?) on the SW end.

This still would allow for millions of years difference between Star Wars time and our time since all that is defined in canon is that the Star Wars saga occurs "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." This is why every date in Star Wars is measured from either before or after the Battle of Yavin because its the only touchstone we have for the saga.

Even if SW occurred in the Andromeda galaxy, our nearest neighbor, it would be 2,538,000 light years away. So a hyperdrive ship used to refueling after a few weeks of flight at less than 130,000 LY (diameter of the galaxy) wouldn't make it to there and back without a lot of tweaking. Nobody is going to be willing to take a near lightspeed journey for 2.5 million years. Even if ship time was dilated to near zero there would be no point in returning. Either E.T. has escaped the SW galaxy in a multi-million year colony ship, is an unrelated species and just happens to look the same, or found a lost wormhole between the SW and our galaxies that possibly could explain how humans got from one to the other in the past. If E.T. gets back to Coruscant and tells the Senate how he met some humans on a lost world in another galaxy, he could become rich as the discoverer of humanity's lost homeworld. E.T. could be his species' version of Indiana Jones.

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