The 'Star Wars' timeline explained

Tom Butler
Senior Editor
The Phantom Menace (credit: Disney)

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Disney+ has shared the official timeline of the Star Wars universe ahead of Star Wars Day – May the Fourth – on Monday.

With eleven live action feature films, three (official) animated series, and one live action series, the chronology of the series has become increasingly complicated since George Lucas’ film made its debut in 1977.

However this simple chart should clear up any lingering questions about what happens when in the world of Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Jar Jar Binks et al.

From Phantom Menace to The Rise of Skywalker and everything inbetween. (Disney+/Lucasfilm)

Interestingly, the timeline doesn’t start and end with Phantom Menace and The Rise of Skywalker, as it extends in both ways beyond the films considered the beginning and end of Star Wars so far. A hint of things to come perhaps?

The entire Star Wars catalogue is streaming on Disney+ with the final episode of The Mandalorian coming 1 May, the final episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker landing on 4 May. Animated series Star Wars: Resistance is coming to Disney+ soon.

The streaming service also shared some fun trivia you might not know about the Star Wars saga...


The E.T. CG model built for the Special Edition release of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial was inserted into The Phantom Menace as a delegation in the Galactic Senate.

Read more: Everything coming to Disney+ in May

Dominic West (Detective Jimmy McNulty from The Wire) played a Palace Guard in The Phantom Menace.


Every single armoured clone trooper in Attack of the Clones was realised as a computer-generated creation, and no clone trooper armour was ever built.


George Lucas makes a cameo appearance in Revenge of the Sith as a blue-skinned background character named Baron Papanoida.


American actress Carrie Fisher and British actor Kenny Baker on the set of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope written, directed and produced Georges Lucas. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

The name R2-D2 stands for “Reel 2, Dialogue 2” a phrase which first emerged while George Lucas and Walter Murch were mixing THX-1138.

Tatooine was originally named Aquilae in the draft scripts of Star Wars, before adopting a name very similar to the southern Tunisian city of Tataouine.

Original lightsaber props were fashioned from camera flash bars.

The sound effect for the blaster was created by tapping a cable wire.

Peter Cushing was often filmed from the knees up because he was wearing only socks because his shoes were uncomfortable because they were too tight.

Other actors considered for Star Wars include: Christopher Walker and Kurt Russell as Han Solo;

Terri Nunn and Amy Irving as Princess Leia; William Katt as Luke

Harrison Ford wasn’t originally considered for the role of Han Solo. He was only brought in as a favor to read with the actors.


American actors Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, British actors Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew on the set of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back directed by Irvin Kershner. (Photo by Lucasfilm/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

To build up early anticipation for The Empire Strikes Back, Boba Fett appeared in cartoon form in 1978’s Star Wars Holiday Special. A year later, Fett became available to fans as an action figure. 

John Ratzenberger, “Cliff Claven” from Cheers and Pixar voice acting staple, plays a Rebel officer.

Han Solo’s famous “I know” line was developed by Harrison Ford and Irvin Kershner while on set.


American actor Mark Hamill on the set of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi directed by Welsh Richard Marquand. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

During production of Return of the Jedi, the titles Revenge and the Jedi and Blue Harvest were used to throw people off. The title was always intended to be Return of the Jedi but the studio began promoting the film with the bogus title.

Dengar appears in Jabba’s Palace and Bossk appears in Jabba’s Sail Barge in Return of the Jedi.

The burp of Sarlacc was also used in Alien, both by Howie Hammerman


Darth Vadar and Princess Leia, on the beach in Northern California for Star Wars Rolling Stone Magazine in 1983. (Photo by Aaron Rapoport/Corbis via Getty Images)

A character has “a bad feeling about this” in each of the six films.

The “Wilhelm scream” can be heard in all six films.

Inclement weather has constantly impacted film production. The first week of shooting on the original Star Wars (March 1976) was delayed because the Tunisian location used for the desert planet Tatooine was hit with its first winter rainstorm in 50 years. A blizzard during the 10-day shoot in Norway on The Empire Strikes Back (March 1979) buried the filming location under 10 feet of snow.  When the Episode I production moved to Tunisia, it was met by a ferocious thunderstorm on July 29, 1997 that destroyed most of the Podracer arena and Mos Espa sets. 

Keira Knightley, Sofia Coppola, and Rose Byrne have all played handmaidens in the Prequel trilogy.

Actors Denis Lawson and Ewan McGregor pose for photographers during a photo call to promote the film 'American Pastoral', in London, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Denis Lawson (Wedge Antilles) is the uncle of Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi).

Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Warwick Davis (Wicket W. Warrick, Wald) and Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks) have all appeared “unmasked” as background characters in the films.

Six actors played Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in the Star Wars films: David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Bob Anderson, Sebastian Shaw, Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen.

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