Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a moment frozen in time. No matter when you visit, it will always be a specific period in the Star Wars timeline, between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.
But… why? Why that specific time period, instead of the Original trilogy? The answer is more complicated than you might realize.
So let’s just get this out of the way. There are a lot of Star Wars fans who hate the new trilogy. This isn’t surprising. If there’s one thing Star Wars fans hate more than anything, it’s Star Wars.
This isn’t saying that the new trilogy is worse than the original. That’s strictly subjective. The thing is, people are really attached to the original trilogy. To Luke, Leia, Han, Darth Vader — those classic characters. The only legacy character to appear in Galaxy’s Edge is Chewie. Leia’s just a passing mention on a ride, Luke’s dead, Han’s dead, Yoda’s dead. Gosh, this post is getting morbid.
There are many fans who are really attached to the original trilogy. Heck, there are fans attached to the prequel trilogy, especially because of the Clone Wars series, and there are fans forming attachments to The Mandalorian, to The Old Republic, to… wait, what are these eras anyway?
A Brief History of Timelines
To understand why Disney chose the specific period for Galaxy’s Edge that they did, we need to understand the history of Star Wars and its potential future.
See, much like time in the real world is measured in B.C. and A.D. (or B.C.E. and C.E. for scholars), time in Star Wars is measured around a singular, pivotal event that honestly doesn’t make too much sense in universe but is convenient for the audience: The Battle of Yavin.
Basically, A New Hope is set during what we call 0 BBY, or zero years before the Battle of Yavin. The Phantom Menace takes place 32 years before A New Hope, so it’s set in 32 BBY. The Force Awakens takes place about 34 years after A New Hope, so it’s set in 34 ABY — After the Battle of Yavin. So chronologically, including all the films, the Skywalker Saga covers 68 years.
But that is a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of Star Wars. Go to Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, pick up a Sith Holocron from the shelf, and activate it. Who is that voice you hear?
That’s Darth Bane, a legendary lord of the Sith, who is famous for instituting the Rule of Two. That is to say, there can only be two Sith at a time, with the apprentice having to kill the master if they want a promotion. Why make this rule? Because before Darth Bane, the Sith had their own empire, with thousands of Sith. Darths for DAYS. They even once took over the galaxy, only to be driven back by the Jedi, who almost wiped them out. Darth Bane believed that it was infighting that destroyed the empire, so he instituted the Rule of Two and began a plan to get revenge against the Jedi, culminating in the Galactic Empire and, eventually, the First Order. How long was this plan in motion? Oh, about a thousand years.
That’s right, a millennia before Anakin Skywalker was even immaculately conceived by space-bacteria, there was a war between the Jedi and the Sith, a Republic on Coruscant, and basically everything we know and love about Star Wars. It’s called the Old Republic Era, and it’s most famous as the setting for Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic RPGs. So, basically, there’s not just 68 years of canon to draw on; there’s millennia of canon to draw on.
Okay, but what does this have to do with Galaxy’s Edge?
To answer that question, we need to look at the potential future of Star Wars. Let’s take a look at what is on the docket after The Rise of Skywalker.
There’s The Mandalorian, which is set in 9 ABY, meaning it’s just after the end of the original trilogy. Kylo Ren is four years old. Then there’s the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, which is set to take place several years before A New Hope.
Disney, now that the sequels are done, is likely to look backward to tell new stories. Not only is there a literal lifetime of stories in the Skywalker saga alone, but the Old Republic takes place so long ago that Disney can literally do anything with it. This allows The Rise of Skywalker to be a neat ending to the saga and also makes the strategy for Galaxy’s Edge a lot easier.
So, let’s imagine for a moment that Disney chose to set Galaxy’s Edge during the original trilogy. HURRAY! Darth Vader! Han Solo! All of our favorite characters! Except… wait.
When during the Original Trilogy is this hypothetical park set? If it’s before A New Hope, then Luke is just a farm boy, Leia is an ambassador, and everyone still thinks it’s not weird if they kiss. If it’s between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes back, it could work, but then you wouldn’t have AT-ATs, Luke’s second lightsaber, or anything introduced in that second movie. Between Empire and Return of the Jedi, everything is bad. Han Solo is frozen in carbonite, and Lando is a bit busy trying to find him with the Falcon. Loaning it to Hondo for Smuggler’s Run would be odd at best. After Return of the Jedi, what even is the point? Rise of the Resistance couldn’t exist because there’s not anything left to resist. We’ve won. You could have a Mandalorian themed park, but that’s not, strictly speaking, a traditional Star Wars experience.
The reason the specific moment between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker works is because it only has to look forward a few months at most. That leaves some wiggle room for small anachronisms but also places it at a moment that is tailor-made to feel… well… Star Wars-y. Let’s be honest here, the sequel trilogy is a remix of the original trilogy. It hits the same beats and plays the same notes, but in a different order, with some different instruments, and with a bit of innovation thrown in. It’s safe, but it also means that it has what we’ve come to love about Star Wars. A rebellion against a tyrannical army, a powerful Force user, a Jedi on the side of justice. You can walk into Batuu, and no matter what era you love the most, the feeling of Star Wars is there, even if Darth Vader isn’t.
Placing it near the end of the timeline also means that it can be a celebration of all Star Wars. The originals, the prequels, the TV Shows… all of them have a pretty major representation in the park. There’s even been tiny elements of Expanded Universe content slipping in over time, however slowly. Even if you don’t like the sequels, the fact that you can celebrate everything you love about Star Wars in one place makes the fact that you can’t meet Darth Vader sort of worth it. At least, I think so.
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