After Disney acquired Lucasfilm, the creative powers that be declared that the only existing works of the Star Wars universe that the new films moving forward would be bound to in continuity are the original six films, the Clone Wars film and its companion TV series, and the upcoming Rebels TV series – as well as all future works across all mediums.
For the first time, we have a unified Star Wars canon and a group of people whose primary job is to make sure that everything fits together to tell a cohesive story without contradictions or inaccuracies. That being said, this decision left a ton of previously written novels, comics, etc. out of this newly unified canon. These works can still be enjoyed under the Legends banner, but have no impact on (and may even contradict) the Star Wars stories moving forward.
Whereas you can enjoy the films on their own merit and never delve into the ever expanding Star Wars canon, if you so choose to immerse yourself even deeper in the Star Wars Universe, that option is now available to you – as every novel, comic, and television show produced going forward will be officially part of the Star Wars canon – meaning that these new stories actually happened in relation to the films and are part of the behind the scenes history of the saga that we love. You can just enjoy the films, take in every single book, comic, and TV show, or somewhere in between. As a patron, the choice is yours.
So maybe you’ve been wanting to expand your Star Wars experience but don’t really know where to start. This is understandable as 2015 has brought us a slew of additions to the new canon. Which novel do you read first? Should you bother with the comics? The answer is simple. Whatever is of interest to you, check it out. There are no “must reads” to know what’s going on in the upcoming films. If you choose to skip these stories, you will not be lost come December – but if you choose to partake – it will only enrich your experience.
If you’re like me, you like to have an idea of when the events in these stories take place in the overall timeline, and as these stories are not released chronologically, it helps to have a working knowledge of the new canon timeline. Our very own Kyle posted a great detailed article a while back concerning the new canon, but maybe you want more of a quick reference guide. Well, look no further. Below is a timeline of the current Star Wars Canon. I will try to update this periodically to reflect new additions.
Keep in mind that this timeline has not been officially released by the Lucasfilm Story Group, and although the general order of these works are chronological, some of them may overlap, and some of the dates listed are approximated. The timeline begins with Episode I as the baseline (year 0) and everything else is in relation to it.
This timeline includes the main canon works such as the films, TV series, novels, comics, and video games. In an effort to simplify the timeline, the Star Wars: Insider short stories are not listed, nor are the young reader books as this chronology was created with adults in mind. A complete unofficial timeline of canon media can be found here. I hope this helps you decide where to begin and what to take in. May the Force be with you…always.