Star Wars Timelines will finally make the confusing chronology of canon make sense, say authors
The Lucasfilm Publishing panel at Star Wars Celebration Europe teased the upcoming non-fiction title
Attendees for the Lucasfilm Publishing: Stories From A Galaxy Far, Far Away panel at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023 might have expected to hear updates on The High Republic and other fiction projects — and they did — but the biggest focus during the hour-long panel might have been on a particularly exciting nonfiction title finally trying to make sense of an increasingly complicated topic.
This month’s Star Wars: Timelines is, according to Lucasfilm Publishing creative director Michael Siglain, “the most ambitious nonfiction book we’ve ever done.” Given that it’s a book that takes every single canonical Star Wars story to date — yes, that includes movies, TV shows, animated series, comic books, novels, video games, and even short fiction from multiple locations — and places them next to each other in the clearest, most expansive Star Wars timeline yet created for the franchise, that’s a claim that feels entirely appropriate to make. Certainly, those involved with the project at the panel seemed to agree.
“I think everyone would agree, this was the easiest book in the world to write,” Clayton Sandell told the audience with heavy sarcasm. “It’s not like there’s a lot of Star Wars stories floating around that aren’t in a perfect timeline.” Kristen Baver, another of the book’s authors, was more upbeat about the experience, saying, “What a great opportunity and I can’t imagine not being part of this.”
Multiple spreads from the book were shared onscreen as the group explained that the book doesn’t just place individual projects on a list next to each other, but considers which events inside projects happen when, and which projects crossover or interact with each other, and how that happens. (For example, there’s a lot that happens around the Battle of Yavin that might not have been originally apparent.)
“This for the first time is a book that’s combining all these different Star Wars stories from all these different media are coming together in one book for the first time,” Sandell said. “We’re giving you new perspectives of what you think you know about events.”
Amy Richau described the process of working on the project. “You’re trying to figure out how many books and comics can I read or re-read in the time we have… I’d have [information on a spreadsheet] and feel good about it and then I’d find something that I had to blow it up and blow it up and blow it up. Something would come out and I’d be like, ‘no I really have to have it,’” she said. “We want to nail this as much as I can, We want to cover as much as we can.”
Timelines was just one of a number of nonfiction projects talked about during the panel; there was also November’s Star Wars: The High Republic Character Encyclopedia, written by Megan Crouse and Richau, which she described as “very intimidating [because] there are a lot of characters in the High Republic.” (There are over 250 characters in the encyclopedia, which is particularly impressive if you consider the High Republic isn’t even three years old by this point in time.) Also teased at the panel was Star Wars: Dawn of the Rebellion, a guidebook placing events from between the Prequel and Original Trilogies of movies into context, featuring material from Andor, The Bad Batch, Star Wars: Rebels and more. It’ll be written by the Lucasfilm Story Group and, according to creative director Siglain, it’s “going to be a very big book for us.” Released later this year, it’ll be properly unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con.
Comic-Con International is also the place where a big fiction project will be unveiled, Siglain teased, with both Charles Soule and Clayton Sandell seemingly part of a “top secret project that can’t be revealed right now” but will, nonetheless, be released at some point later this year — and that’s not part of comic book publishing, with Siglain describing the following day’s Marvel panel as “a pretty big one” ahead of time.
The panel made a point of staying away from outright announcements of any new projects, but there was one stealth piece of news: Jeffrey Brown is already at work on another project focusing on parents and children in the Star Wars galaxy. This time around, he’s working on the obvious pairing — the Mandalorian and Grogu.
Check out everything that Popverse is covering this weekend in London at Star Wars Celebration..