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Saga WHEN does Star Wars take place?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Tekro the Bounty Hunter, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. Tekro the Bounty Hunter

    Tekro the Bounty Hunter Jedi Youngling

    Mar 14, 2014
    Here's a question I have about the Star Wars Universe that is probably it's greatest mystery of all: just what does "a long time ago in a galaxy far far away" mean exactly? Considering that the saga takes place over a period of tens of thousands of years, that humans play a major role, and that even the earliest stories in the saga involve super-advanced technology...well, there are two possibilities I could think of: the saga either literally takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, and humans eventually go to Earth Battlestar Galactica style (connection?), or "a long time ago in a galaxy far far away" is nothing more than an introduction to the story and the saga takes place tens of thousands of years in the future, leaving Earth behind and yet to be revisited.

    What do you guys think?
    Iron_lord likes this.
  2. Darth Eddie

    Darth Eddie Jedi Master star 4

    May 14, 2013
    There was some EU novel that never ended up getting published, and probably with good reason. It's about how the descendents of THX-1138 form their own society, escape Earth in a giant spaceship, get caught in some wormhole and spat out in a distant galaxy a million or so years BBY, thereby becoming the first humans in the galaxy. As far as I know this is the only story that would have directly connected out galaxy to theirs', and it never made it to canon.

    But to answer the question When does Star Wars take place? - It's a work of fiction, sooooo technically it never happened.
    Kato Sai likes this.
  3. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 8

    Sep 2, 2012
    There's a bit in the RoTS novel, in which (flashback scene) Obi-Wan takes a young Anakin to a cold white dwarf star to teach him a basic non-attachment lesson:

    Not long after he became Obi-Wan's Padawan, all those years ago, a minor mission had brought them to a dead system: one so immeasurably old that its star had long ago turned to a frigid dwarf of hypercompacted trace metals, hovering a quantum fraction of a degree above absolute zero. Anakin couldn't even remember what the mission might have been, but he'd never forgotten that dead star.
    It had scared him.
    "Stars can die—?”
    "It is the way of the universe, which is another manner of saying that it is the will of the Force," Obi-Wan had told him. "Everything dies. In time, even stars burn out. This is why Jedi form no attachments: all things pass. To hold on to something—or someone—beyond its time is to set your selfish desires against the Force. That is a path of misery, Anakin; the Jedi do not walk it."
    That is the kind of fear that lives inside Anakin Skywalker: the dragon of that dead star. It is an ancient, cold dead voice within his heart that whispers all things die...

    However - such stars don't exist yet (the coldest white dwarf stars are still plenty hot at the moment).

    Suggesting that their universe is far older than ours.
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  4. Deputy Rick Grimes

    Deputy Rick Grimes Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Sep 3, 2012
    In Medieval times :p

    In a Galaxy Far Far Away
  5. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn

    Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 23, 1999
    Interesting catch.

    Tekro the Bounty Hunter Darth Eddie The concept for that story actually sounded pretty cool/clever to me. It's too bad that it wasn't ever completed. Alien Exodus. And here are the notes the author had started before it was cancelled/turned into something else.
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  6. Cushing's Admirer

    Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost star 7

    Jun 8, 2006
    Skimmed the links. Seems detailed but very odd particularly the whole it's in Earth's future element. Doesn't jive with 'A long time ago.'
  7. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 8

    Sep 2, 2012
    A notable RoTS novel "when's it happening" reference:

    This story happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
    It is already over. Nothing can be done to change it.
    It is a story of love and loss, brotherhood and betrayal, courage and sacrifice and the death of dreams. It is a story of the blurred line between our best and our worst.
    It is the story of the end of an age.
    A strange thing about stories --
    Though this all happened so long ago and so far away that words cannot describe the time or the distance, it is also happening right now. Right here.
    It is happening as you read these words.
    This is how twenty-five millennia come to a close. Corruption and treachery have crushed a thousand years of peace. This is not just the end of a republic; night is falling on civilization itself.
    This is the twilight of the Jedi.
    The end starts now.
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  8. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn

    Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 23, 1999
    Basically it's also a project to (semi-cheekily) tie together Lucas's filmic universes too. So you have the characters from American Graffiti having descendants, who live in the THX 1138 society, which turns out to be earth in the future. They rebel against that society, taking to space, falling through a wormhole which transports them... a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Then these characters are taken as slaves by a species that turns out to be the mature form of the Hutts (the Jabba-type being like the grubs of their species). Generations later, many of the big alien species from the OT, as well as humans, are still enslaved. They rebel against their captors, inspired by the story of the previous escape/rebellion. And their leader discovers he has the Force, and can use it to do telekinetic tricks (like how Luke floats Artoo in ESB), earning him the nickname 'Skywalker.' Which is where the name comes from.

    There are lots of other little ties and references as well.
    Thuro likes this.
  9. Garrett Atkins

    Garrett Atkins Jedi Knight star 4

    Feb 11, 2013
    Is this a joke thread?
  10. Han Burgundy

    Han Burgundy Jedi Master star 3

    Jan 28, 2013
    Things like this, I don't like to think about. Star Wars is, first and formost, a fantasy. A mythology. The existence of humans, of stars, of metal spaceships and lasers and robots, should not be seen as extrapolations of our own reality that require an explanation to secure context and meaning. The existence of those things in the Star Wars universe is simply the medium that George Lucas chose to tell the story. He chose to show humans walking amongst aliens, spaceships with technology that resembles our own spacefaring devices, and other such things not that we might try to canonically connect our galaxy to theirs, but that we would register symbolic and emotional meaning upon those things. Luke Skywalker is a human protagonist so that we may have an emotionally familiar touchstone from which we can react to the other, more alien elements of the story, not so that there can be an implied historical connection between the humans of their reality and the humans of ours.

    Think of it this way: "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away" is not a promise, but a warning. A word of caution. When Star Wars came out, many people assumed it took place in a future version of our reality, since that is when most science fiction stories have historicaly taken place. The opening tag line is a warning against such assumptions. It is George Lucas telling the audience, before anything else happens, "This is not a story about our world. This is not Star Trek. This is not a work of speculative science. This is a parable."

    And in being a parable, Star Wars often says more about humanity in our world than most stories that actually take place in it.
  11. Palpatine77

    Palpatine77 Jedi Knight star 1

    Jun 28, 2010
    Years ago, this very topic came up between me and a good friend of mine. I've always taken the "A Long Time Ago..." line literally, that it takes place many thousands of years ago somewhere far away in our galaxy, so I was surprised when my buddy responded that he believed this whole story took place not in the distant past but in our future, but so far into the future that our far-off future was their long-ago past. That threw me for a loop.

    I've always liked the idea that this whole Star Wars Saga does take place in our actual universe, in some other galaxy far, far away from ours. But I do admit, when I watch The Empire Strikes Back, you remember that final scene on the Rebel Medical Frigate where Luke and Leia watch the Falcon fly away, with the gorgeous view of that galaxy far off in the distance? I like to imagine that's our galaxy that they're gazing at. I guess that would make the Star Wars galaxy the Andromedia galaxy then, if we're being literal? Does anybody else ever imagine that while watching that final scene in Empire, or is it just me?
  12. VadersLaMent

    VadersLaMent 2017 Celebrity Deathpool Winner star 10

    Apr 3, 2002
    There used to be a fan made timeline here where robotic explorers(r2 and 3po) land in Modesto California in the late 60's or early 70's and meet young film maker George Lucas and tell their tale. I always liked that one.
  13. Palp_Faction

    Palp_Faction Jedi Master star 3

    Feb 3, 2002
    "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away" is the equivalent of "once upon a time." To ask "when" SW took place is like asking when Little Red Riding Hood happened. Both are fairy stories. It's also like asking "when" LOTR happened.
  14. thejeditraitor

    thejeditraitor Chosen One star 6

    Aug 19, 2003
  15. thejeditraitor

    thejeditraitor Chosen One star 6

    Aug 19, 2003
  16. EternalHero

    EternalHero Jedi Knight star 3

    Feb 17, 2014
    I posted a thread about Alien Exodus a week or two ago:
    Darth Eddie likes this.
  17. Darkslayer

    Darkslayer Force Ghost star 6

    Mar 26, 2013
    A long time ago :p
  18. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013
    The most recent Star Wars could have occurred is 2.57 million years ago. Star Wars occurs in another galaxy, and the closest galaxy to the Milky Way is the Andromeda galaxy (which is still far, far away by any standard measure of distance). Since the Andromeda galaxy is 2.57 million light years away and nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, that means that the earliest Star Wars could have occurred is 2.57 million years ago. It would take 2.57 million years for any information to get from the Andromeda galaxy to Earth, so it would defy the laws of physics for us to know what happened in the Andromeda galaxy earlier than that. (2.57 million years ago is about the halfway point in human evolution between today and the time our evolutionary line split off from our common chimpanzee-human ancestor.) Of course, if Star Wars happened in another galaxy, then it would've occurred even further in the past, but 2.57 million years ago is the most recent Star Wars could have occurred.
  19. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn

    Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 23, 1999
    Star Wars has faster-than-light travel, though. So if someone traveled from their galaxy to ours (Artoo Detoo on the Millennium Falcon, for example), it could be much more recent.
  20. Seagoat

    Seagoat PT and Music Section Dictator star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jan 25, 2013
    Pretty sure some EU material said that hyperspace exists only in the GFFA, and anyone who tried to go too far beyond would find that they couldn't access it
    I THINK that's what it was anyway
    darth ladnar likes this.
  21. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 20, 2013

    Yeah, I believe what Seagoat says above is correct. Over 20,000 years before SW, the Rakata created the hyperspace routes to travel quickly around their galaxy. Also, if I remember right, they created them with a Force-based technology, and those who live in GFFA during the time of Star Wars don't actually understand how hyperspace technology works. Instead, they found ancient Rakata technology and reverse-engineered so that they could use the hyperspace routes too. They were able to duplicate the technology but they still don't really understand the physics of the technology.

    DARTHSHAME Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 19, 2003
    Think God that story ended up on the trash heap of history, Yeesh.
  23. DarthWilliams

    DarthWilliams Jedi Master star 4

    May 29, 2008
    Ah, but you forget that E.T.'s species is seen in the Senate in TPM, and we all know they've visited Earth.;)
  24. Brewmeister Smith

    Brewmeister Smith Jedi Youngling

    May 6, 2014
    I've never thought of humans as we are and humans in the Star Wars galaxy as the same species. We perceive them to be because we are chauvinists who think we must be at the top of some sort of evolutionary ladder (when in fact on a universal scale we could be very insignificant). Because we are hearing the tales told from George Lucas' point of view, they are human-centric and framed as being from a long time ago from a place far away. If there really is a hyperspace barrier around the Star Wars galaxy, not even Vong Worldships could traverse the distance without needing thousands of years. I've heard estimates that some extra-terrestrial civilizations might have as much of a head start on us as five billion years. That's a lot of time for a species as advanced as the Yuuzhan Vong, the Rakata or the 'humans' and droids of the Star Wars galaxy to reach Earth and leave behind mythological and cultural artifacts that someone like George Lucas would interpret the way he did.

    Sent from my XT1032 using Tapatalk
  25. Darth_Nub

    Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 26, 2009
    Not to mention:


    Of course, the real answer to the OP is that SW takes place


    You might as well try to figure out the dates specified by 'Once upon a time...'
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