‘Star Wars’ Quietly Retracted Aby & Bby in the Worst Possible Way

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starkiller base preparation the force awakens

Credit: Lucasfilm

For years, the Star Wars universe has used the designations BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) and ABY (After the Battle of Yavin) to account for chronology.

star wars a new hope medal scene
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Over 120 Hours of ‘Star Wars’ Stories – Here’s the Timeline

As most Star Wars fans undoubtedly know, the Battle of Yavin is the climax of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977). After the battle and the first Death Star has been destroyed, the Skywalker Saga original trilogy’s unlikely band of heroes — including Millennium Falcon pilot Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and young Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) — are granted medals in a now-iconic scene.

No, we still don’t have a definitive answer for why Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) didn’t receive a medal.

leia organa (left) and luke skywalker (right) in star wars
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: The New ‘Star Wars’ Timeline Could Change Galaxy’s Edge

All that to say, ABY and BBY have, for the most part, helped understand the Star Wars timeline. The Battle of Yavin was a major galactic event, and using it as the anchor point for all the canonical events in the Star Wars universe has been, at the very least, a functional system.

For instance, Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) gave birth to twins Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) in 19 BBY, during Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005). Luke passed away on Ahch-To in 34 ABY in Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), and Leia tragically sacrificed herself in 35 ABY on Ajan Kloss.

It is worth noting that the Star Wars Expanded Universe/Star Wars Legends is not part of the existing canon.

Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: ‘Mandalorian’ & ‘Rebels’ Timeline Confirmed By Major Event

Recently, however, as the Star Wars story has begun to expand at a record pace — there are three Star Wars movies and 11 Disney+ streaming series planned for the next few years alone — this dating system has become confusing, particularly for newer fans who have only become interested in Star Wars due to the popularity of The Mandalorian or who, perhaps, found themselves enamored of the Star Wars: The High Republic publishing initiative without much background.

For those wondering, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu’s (AKA Baby Yoda) adventures in The Mandalorian Season 1 occur around 9 ABY, five years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) and about 25 years before Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015).

The High Republic era, on the other hand, takes place much earlier, between 300 BBY and 82 BBY, approximately 200 years before the prequel trilogy begins with Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999).

Recent changes to the Star Wars timeline

To help clarify things for the entire Star Wars community, Lucasfilm and Disney recently unveiled an entirely revamped official Star Wars timeline, which added new eras.

offiical star wars timeline
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Pedro Pascal Confirms ‘The Mandalorian’ Will Jump Timelines

The new eras are the High Republic, the Fall of the Jedi, the Reign of the Empire, the Age of Rebellion, the New Republic, and the Rise of the First Order.

These eras include all of the Star Wars stories fans are familiar with right now, including live-action TV shows like The Mandalorian, animated series like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, all nine Skywalker Saga movies, and Disney’s standalone films like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).

alden ehrenreich as han solo
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Lucasfilm Confirms Major Darth Vader Scene Was Cut From ‘Rogue One’

Before this updated Star Wars chronology was released, however, Lucasfilm had already tried to fix the timeline. CBR explained:

After all, most calendars, fictional and not, do not reset after a significant historical event such as a battle… [Star Wars has tried to] rectify this issue by redefining its eras and using the Starkiller Base’s strike on the Hosnian system from The Force Awakens as a new anchor point.

billie lourd and carrie fisher the force awakens
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Could Carrie Fisher Stop Disney From Erasing Sequel Trilogy Events?

It led to a new designation, BSI (Before Starkiller Incident) and ASI (After Starkiller Incident). CBR’s report continued with this information about yet another dating system introduced by Star Wars executives:

Last fall, a reference book titled The Star Wars Book was released. Co-written by Pablo Hidalgo, Lucasfilm Story Group executive and continuity expert, the book introduced new dating system that also uses the events of Episode IV: A New Hope. To replace BBY and ABY, the book’s glossary defines the new designations BSW4 (“Before Star Wars 4”) and ASW4 (“After Star Wars 4”)…

In addition to being yet another designation for the Star Wars fan base to keep track of, this is only a slight shift from the BBY and ABY dates. Instead of focusing on a single battle, BSW4 and ASW4 encompass the entirety of A New Hope. In reality, this almost makes things more confusing for those who don’t know every detail of the timeline.

Where does this leave Star Wars fans and creative teams?

For some unknown reason, Lucasfilm — and presumably Star Wars creator George Lucas himself — has perpetually balked at developing an in-universe calendar.

Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and some other science fiction and fantasy franchises use in-universe timelines, so there isn’t much of a precedent for this in popular culture.

star wars skywalker saga wallpaper
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Confirmed: Rian Johnson’s ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy Is Still On

At this juncture, we are left with three dating systems — BBY/ABY, BSI/ASI, and BSW4/ASW4 — and a graphical timeline to contend with.

Seemingly, the best way to fix the problem is for Lucasfilm to put together an in-universe timeline that will fix the confusion once and for all moving forward. For a franchise that relies so heavily on important events — like the destruction of Death Stars and various battles — it is becoming increasingly strange that none of these things occurred in a specific in-universe year.

old republic star wars
Credit: Lucasfilm/EA

Related: Keanu Reeves Looks Incredible as Fan-Favorite ‘Star Wars’ Sith Lord 

Within the next few years, for instance, Disney+ subscribers will follow bounty hunter Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Jedi Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in two Mandalorian spinoff series — The Book of Boba Fett and Ahsoka, respectively — and, in all likelihood, witness the rise of Darth Sidious’s/Emperor Palpatine’s Master, Darth Plagueis, in The Acolyte.

These shows will take place in vastly different Star Wars saga eras and are just the tip of the iceberg about upcoming content.

As we explore new stories within a galaxy far, far away — and perhaps add even more ages, like the Old Republic — it is only going to get more complicated to keep track of dates and events without a clear and defined calendar to follow.

What do you think about the complexities of the current Star Wars dating systems?

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