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Best Reference for Time Measurement (New Hope’s Story)


Best Reference for Time Measurement: Everything occurs in this way because it is customary since there is no one point of reference for time in the Star Wars world, as we’ve already established. Because there is no savior in Star Wars, for instance, no Roman emperor decided to create a calendar around the birth of a savior; instead, people simply accept significant events as they arise. Even with this in mind, however, the first Death Star’s destruction during the Battle of Yavin ensures that A New Hope remains a pivotal moment in the history of the galaxy.

Best Reference for Time Measurement (New Hope's Story)

Best Reference for Time Measurement (New Hope’s Story)

Everything that happened on a galactic scale before the Battle of Yavin can be considered as leading up to it, there are virtually no exceptions. A commercial blockade on Naboo. A political conspiracy leading up to a war decades prior. A frustrated Jedi Padawan leaving the Order. A young man finally leaving the streets of Corellia behind. A girl losing her parents and being raised by a radical. Things happen the way they have to, and it all leads to the Battle of Yavin. The same works for everything that came after it. There would be no efforts to find the pilot who destroyed the Death Star if Darth Vader didn’t feel the Force in him. A scoundrel and a Princess would probably never have fallen in love. A whole galaxy wouldn’t have seen that it is indeed possible to fight back against tyranny.

All these reasons are why, conventionally, the Star Wars calendar is structured into “before the Battle of Yavin” (BBY) and “after the Battle of Yavin” (ABY), with numbers decreasing in the first, and increasing in the latter. A New Hope, then, is 0 BBY. The Phantom Menace happens in 32 BBY, and Star Wars: Episode 3 — Revenge of the Sith takes place in 19 BBY. The Mandalorian starts in 9 ABY, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker takes place in 35 ABY.


Are There Other Ways To Measure Time in ‘Star Wars’?

Of course, there are. As there are in our own real world, too. For example, we’ve had many conventional calendars adopted over the centuries. The French Revolution tried to implement its own calendar using itself as the starting point, and Russia followed an outdated calendar until the beginning of the 20th century. But nowadays, we use the Gregorian calendar because it’s conventional.

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Star Wars doesn’t have a conventional calendar, and it makes things much more difficult for everyone. The BBY-ABY system isn’t a rule, and it isn’t even that widely accepted inside the franchise universe, because people tend to use whatever big event is closest to them in time as a reference. The Republic stood for thousands of years. The Empire, for just 24 years, but left a lot of damage. The New Republic lasted 30 years and did a terrible job, despite having the best intentions. Also, in a galaxy with so many star systems, it’s impossible to impose a single unified calendar, as all of them have different rotations and customs.


When The Force Awakens came out, it was being marketed as taking place 30 years after Return of the Jedi instead of 34 years after A New Hope, and this makes sense, too. “Remember that big celebration that happens at the end of ‘the last Star Wars’? This new movie takes place 30 years after that.” Simple, right? Also, 30 is a round number, it’s easier to do math with than 34, right? Now, Lucasfilm probably has the opposite problem, because The Rise of Skywalker takes place 31 years after Return of the Jedi, but 35 after A New Hope. Every system comes with its own pros and cons, we just use the ones we do because it’s easier. Right, what’s important is that Ahsoka takes place in 9 ABY, and flashbacks probably take place at least in 19 BBY but can go further, too.

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