Saturday, 9 January 2021

New STAR WARS official timeline seems to formally confirm that the OLD REPUBLIC era is no longer canon

Disney has released a new timeline for the Star Wars universe, with a list of the material they regard as canon. The list seemingly confirms that the extremely popular "Old Republic Era," the only era from the pre-Disney period whose canonical status was still in some doubt, is definitely no longer canon.

The timeline divides the Star Wars timeline into six distinct eras:
  • The High Republic (c. 400-200 Before the Battle of Yavin): a period extending from roughly 400 to 200 years before the events of The Phantom Menace, during which time the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order are at the height of their power. The era includes the High Republic line of comics and novels, and the forthcoming TV series The Acolyte.
  • Fall of the Jedi (32-19 BBY): This period depicts the fall of the Old Republic and the Jedi Order over a period of more than a decade. This period includes the Prequel Trilogy (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith) as well as the Clone Wars animated series.
  • Reign of the Empire (19-5 BBY): This period depicts the Galactic Empire at the height of its power, with Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader in unquestioned command of the galaxy. This period includes the forthcoming animated series The Bad Batch, the film Solo: A Star Wars Story and the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Age of Rebellion (5 BBY-4 After Battle of Yavin): This period depicts the Galactic Civil War between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance, culminating in the Battle of Endor. The Original Trilogy (Star Wars, aka A New Hope; The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) takes place in this era, along with the spin-off film Rogue One, the live-action show Andor and the animated series Rebels.
  • The New Republic (4 ABY-29 ABY): This period depicts the reorganisation of the Rebel Alliance into the New Republic and its attempts to bring peace and order to the galaxy. The Mandalorian and forthcoming spin-off shows The Book of Boba FettRangers of the New Republic and presumably Ahsoka take place in this time period.
  • Rise of the First Order (29-35 ABY): This period depicts the conflict between the First Order, a successor-state to the Empire, and the New Republic and, after the Republic's at least partial collapse following the Starkiller Incident, the Resistance. This period concludes with the Battle of Exegol. The Sequel Trilogy (The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker) take place in this era, along with the animated series Resistance.
The new timeline leaves off a number of projects whose time frames have not yet been confirmed, including the Lando TV series and and the Rogue Squadron film.

Notably missing from the timeline is the "Old Republic" era. This era ranges from 3956 BBY to 3630 BBY and depicts a vast, complex struggle between the Galactic Republic and various opponents, including several "Sith Empires," at a time when the Sith were numerous and not restricted by their later Rule of Two. The era was popularised by the popular video game Knights of the Old Republic (2003) and expanded by Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (2004) and multiplayer game The Old Republic (2011).

Technically, as these games predate the takeover of Lucasfilm by Disney, it was believed that they were non-canon and automatically relegated to "Legends" status. However, the situation became confused because The Old Republic has remained an ongoing concern in the Disney era and the Star Wars Story Group, the body charged with maintaining the new canon, has been vetting and approving Old Republic story material since 2012. With the events of both older games integral to The Old Republic and all three games referring to comic books set in the same time period, this left the possibility that the entire era would remain in canon, especially given its separation from the rest of the Star Wars universe by more than three and a half thousand years.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that Darth Revan, a major character from this era, was brought into canon by being referenced in official material accompanying the release of The Rise of Skywalker (he was also slated to appear as a vision in an episode of The Clone Wars, but this was cut at the last minute).

Of course, Disney may be simply hedging their bets by not featuring the Old Republic era on this timeline, but it does seem they are finally committing to the events of The Old Republic era not being canonical, which is an interesting choice for a game they are still charging money for (albeit not as much as they once did).

Intriguingly, there were rumours between a year and two years ago that Lucasfilm was considering both a new Knights of the Old Republic video game set in the era (possibly a ground-up reworking of the original game) and a film, with Laeta Kalogridis tapped to write. Nothing has come of those rumours since then.


mffanrodders said...

It wouldn't surprise me if this too were linked to money and some kind of royalties payment.

I suspect that the games developers may have some kind of rights to their intellectual properties that other entities don't have. I have always found it strange that there is no merchandise for any of the KOTOR or TOR games. This is at odds with other Lucasfilm licences.

Benge said...

Could be an internal power struggle at Lucas Films as well.

Filioni et al. Have clearly included EU content in the Mandalorian while all projects Kathleen Kennedy has had a strong hand in has discarded it. Not sure what the purpose of this is but corporate power struggles seldom make much sense to those outside, could be just a prestige thing.

Another idea is that this is just a way to enable the them to include an old character as a bridge, namely Yoda. Seems like a terrible idea to me but given the positive reception of CGI Luke I could see how the suits at Lucas Films would want to include cameos by major OT characters in their TV shows going forward.