Note: While this is only focused on the new Expanded Universe, Star Wars Legends had the galactic calendar centered on the Battle of Yavin (the events of Episode IV). For simplicity, this timeline will maintain that.
Beware of spoilers!
ca 1000 BBY
- The Galactic Republic, a democratic federation spanning almost the entire galaxy, is formed.
- The Sith are defeated by the Jedi and believed to become extinct. In truth, the order is reformed by Darth Bane and goes into hiding for the next millennium.
ca 84 BBY
- Sheev Palpatine is born on Naboo. With high force potential, he is eventually found by the reigning Sith Lord, Darth Plagueis, and becomes his apprentice, under the name Darth Sidious.
Between ca 84 and 32 BBY
- The Republic begins to experience a period of decline, as politicians begin looking for their own self-interest and the bureaucracy becomes insufferable.
- Sidious, under his persona of Palpatine, is elected Senator of Naboo and represents the system for many decades. He eventually kills Plagueis in his sleep and takes on his own apprentice, a Dathomirian Zabrak named Maul. He also develops contact with the Trade Federation through Viceroy Nute Gunray, and begins influencing their policy.
- (42-41 BBY) Shmi Skywalker inexplicably becomes pregnant. Nine months later she gives birth to a son, Anakin.
- The Trade Federation, in an attempt to protest new taxes in the Outer Rim, launches a blockade and eventual land invasion of the planet Naboo. Queen Amidala, the reigning monarch, escapes to make her case to the Republic, but dissatisfied with the bureaucracy, calls for the election of a new Supreme Chancellor. She returns to Naboo and leads a battle that defeats the Trade Federation Droid Army.
- The Naboo human population and native gungans make peace after years of cold shoulders, working together to defeat the federation.
- Palpatine is elected Supreme Chancellor.
- Anakin Skywalker, a young slave on Tatooine, is found by Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and is taken to Coruscant to begin training to become a Jedi, due to his unusually high Force potential.
- Darth Maul is sent by Darth Sidious to help the Federation's war and search for Amidala. While he fails to succeed in his mission, he does kill Qui-Gon, though is defeated by Qui-Gon's apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- Given the rank of Knight, Obi-Wan takes up training Anakin as part of Qui-Gon's dying wish. Also, the Jedi begin pondering the return of the sith, wondering if the man killed was the master or the apprentice.
Between 32 and 22 BBY
- Count Dooku, a leading Jedi Master, resigns from the Jedi Order.
- He eventually comes in contact with Palpatine, taking the Sith name Darth Tyrannus
- A number of star systems declare their intention to leave the Republic. They are joined by galactic corporations such as the Trade Federation, Techno Union, InterGalactic Banking Clan, and others, which pledge their droid armies for support. They form into the Confederacy of Independent Systems, also called the Separatists.
- Darth Sidious and Dooku arrange the creation of a clone army to be used by the Republic.
- As Dooku becomes the leader of the Separatists, the Republic begins debating as to whether to create a military.
- An assassination attempt on now Senator Padme Amidala leads to Obi-Wan and Anakin being assigned as guardians for her. After a second assassination attempt, they split up: Obi-Wan investigating the man who hired the killer, while Anakin takes Padme back to Naboo to hide.
- Obi Wan discovers that someone erased information from the Jedi Archives, but with the help of street contacts and Yoda, finds the planet Kamino. There, he learns of a Clone army created to serve the republic, and of the men responsible for this: Jango Fett (the original host) and Darth Tyranus (the man who hired him for it). Recognizing Jango as the man behind Amidala's assassination, Obi-Wan tracks him and his son Boba to Geonosis, where he finds out about the Separatists's role in the assassinations. Unfortunately, he's captured shortly after passing this message on.
- Anakin and Padme begin romancing each other, until Anakin experiences a vision of his mother dying. Traveling to Tatooine, he meets his half brother Owen Lars, stepfather and C-3P0 (who now has grey plates covering him). Anakin also learns his mother Shmi was captured by Sand People. Finally finding her, Shmi dies in Anakin's arms, thus leading to him massacring the entire village in retaliation. Then picking up on Obi-Wan's last message, he passes this on to the Jedi, then goes with Padme, R2 and 3PO to try and rescue him. Unfortunately, they end up captured as well.
- Understanding the dire threat to the Republic and the treasonous actions of the Separatists, Senator Jar Jar Binks proposes granting Palpatine emergency powers to take more direct action against the Separatists. The Senate approves, and Palpatine uses his new powers to create The Grand Army of the Republic.
- The Separatist headquarters on Geonosis is attacked as part of a Jedi rescue mission, leading to a galaxy-wide war.
- While the Separatists are driven from the planet (or forced into hiding as was the case for the geonosians), they all manage to escape despite the Jedi's best efforts. Count Dooku also takes the Geonesian's secret plans for a superweapon with him to give to Darth Sideous.
- Anakin and Padme marry in a secret ceremony.
- Anakin's great skill in battle gets him promoted to Jedi Knight.
- Ahsoka Tano is made Anakin Skywalker's apprentice as part of the council's attempts to lead both of them in a new direction during the war. However, after the Jedi Council refuses to stand with her when she is framed for a terrorist attack, she leaves the Jedi Order.
- Maul recovers from his injuries inflicted by Obi-Wan and with the help of his brother Savage Opress forms a third party in the war based in Mandalore. Seeing Maul as a threat to his plans, Sidious personally brings down Maul's empire and uses him to find and kill his mother, the dark witch Talzin.
- The war leads to battles across the galaxy, ranging from places such as Kamino to Kashyyyk. Heroes and villains rise and fall, and neither side can claim decisive victory. Only partial ones.
- However, thanks to the superior thinking of the Clone Armies, the Separatists slowly begin to be driven back from the Galaxy.
- Clone Trooper Fives discovers Sidious' Order 66 to massacre the Jedi that is to be implemented at the end of the war with the use of inhibitor chips implanted in each clone's brain. Though he is killed before he can reveal this, a select few troopers heed his words and remove their chips.
- The Jedi learn of Dooku's hand in their clone army, but see no other option but to continue using the clones as they fall out of political favor with the Republic as a whole. Yoda learns the ways of becoming a Force Ghost and that the Jedi are doomed to lose the war, but also realizes that there will one day be a new hope that will repent for the Jedi's actions during the war.
- The Battle of Coruscant. General Grievous attempts to capture Chancellor Palpatine, but he is rescued by Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Count Dooku is killed by Skywalker. The Separatists are forced onto the defensive on their final hold-outs in the Outer Rim.
- Anakin Skywalker learns that his wife Padme is pregnant and is haunted by visions of her death. He later discovers that Palpatine is actually Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith. The Jedi Council attempts to arrest him, but they are overpowered and killed. Desperate to save his wife, Anakin pledges himself to Sidious, becoming his apprentice Darth Vader.
- Order 66 is implemented. Darth Vader leads his clone troopers to attack the Jedi Temple, killing everyone inside who fails to escape. On every battlefront across the galaxy, clone troopers turn on their Jedi Generals. Only a handful, including Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, survive and escape.
- Declaration of a New Order: While Darth Vader kills the remaining Separatist leaders, Sidious declares himself Emperor. The Galactic Republic is reformed into the Galactic Empire.
- The Last Stand of the Jedi: Obi-Wan and Yoda face off against Darth Vader and Darth Sidious respectively. Obi-Wan manages to critically injure Vader, but Sidious survives unscathed. Both Jedi are forced into exile.
- To make up for his dehibilitating injuries, Vader is given a new mechanical body, complete with an ominous breathing mask. He will become the face of imperial might in the future.
- Padme gives birth to her and Anakin's twin children, son Luke and daughter Leia, before passing away shortly after. For the twins' protection, they are to be raised separately.
Between 19 and 5 BBY
- The Galactic Empire tightens its hold on the galaxy. The military is greatly expanded, with stormtroopers and Imperial Star Destroyers becoming a common sight.
- Governor Tarkin becomes head of the Death Star project.
- Vader and Sidious begin training "Inquisitors": fallen Jedi for tougher missions, or to hunt down the last of the Jedi Order.
- A resistance cell on the Outer Rim planet Lothal becomes active.
- As their activity becomes more public galaxy wide, the empire assigns Grand Moff Tarkin and eventually Darth Vader himself to deal with them. As such, the cell is driven from Lothal.
- A more unified group called the Rebel Alliance is formed with the express purpose of defeating the Empire and restoring freedom to the galaxy.
- Rogue One.
- The battle of Scarif. A group of Rebel misfits, tagalongs, assassins and others infiltrate the planet as "Rogue One". Using guerrilla tactics, stealth, and the support from a Rebel battle fleet, they manage to obtain the plans for the Death Star, transmitting them off to Princess Leia, who then flees the battle with 2 missions. She needs to deliver the plans and call on her father's old friend for help: Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- Sadly, Rogue One perishes to the man and machine in the attempt, and much of the rebel fleet is destroyed as well, greatly weakening the alliance in the immediate future.
- Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan obtains the secret plans to the Death Star. She is captured by Darth Vader before she can get the information to safety. Taken aboard the Death Star, she is forced to watch as Governor Tarkin destroys her home planet as a demonstration of the station's power.
- Luke Skywalker, now nothing more than a farm boy from Tatooine, comes by the secret plans stored in R2-D2, who plans to bring the plans to Obi-Wan in exile on Tatooine, much to C-3PO's chagrin and annoyance.
- Meeting up with Obi-Wan (now going by Ben), Luke is made partially aware of his heritage. When the Empire destroys Luke's home and kills his Uncle and Aunt, Luke sets out on a journey with Obi-Wan to learn to be a Jedi and stop the empire.
- Hitching a ride with the smuggler duo Han Solo and Chewbacca, the party is taken aboard the Death Star, but manages to free Leia. Obi-Wan dies in his duel with Vader, but after their escape to the Rebel Base on Yavin IV, Luke manages to blow up the Death Star with help from R2, Han and the Force. Vader is shot away from the action, but survives to fight another day.
Between 0 and 3 ABY
- The Rebels are forced to abandon the Yavin base. They eventually settle on the ice planet Hoth.
- Darth Vader begins a personal mission to find the identity of the pilot who destroyed the Death Star. He eventually learns he is Luke Skywalker, who is his own son.
- The Empire begins construction of a second Death Star above the Endor moon, one far larger and eliminating the design flaws.
- The Imperial Navy discovers the location of Hoth base and launch a devastating ground assault resulting in the deaths of many Rebel soldiers and Luke seeing a vision of Obi-Wan Kenobi telling him to learn the ways of the Force from his old master, Yoda.
- Luke Skywalker escapes to Dagobah, to learn the ways of the Jedi from Yoda. Meanwhile, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3P0 attempt to evade the Imperial fleet.
- Han takes the Millennium Falcon to Bespin for repairs, but is captured by Darth Vader, who lays a trap for Luke. Han is encased in carbonite and taken to Jabba the Hutt. Leia, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian escape. Luke duels with Vader, and learns the truth of his parentage. He also loses his right hand, which is then replaced with a mechanical one.
- Luke leads a mission to rescue Han, resulting in the death of Jabba the Hutt.
- The Rebels learn of the existence of the second Death Star and prepare an attack to destroy it, as the Emperor will soon be aboard. Unbeknownst to them, it is a massive trap by the Emperor to eliminate the Rebels and to turn Luke to the Dark Side.
- The Battle of Endor. Han, Leia, and Chewbacca lead a commando mission to the moon to infiltrate the shield bunker, befriending the indigenous Ewoks (who help the Rebel cause). The space battle results in the destruction of the Imperial flagship Executor and fleet commander Firmus Piett. Luke and Vader duel, but the former refuses to turn to the Dark Side and the latter redeems himself by killing the Emperor. Anakin Skywalker dies before he can escape with Luke. The second Death Star is destroyed. The Imperial fleet, now under the command of Rae Sloane, withdraws while the Rebels celebrate their victory.
Between 4 and 33 ABY
- The Empire is driven back by Rebel forces, culminating in the decisive Battle of Jakku. Within two years of the Emperor's death, the Empire sues for peace, and the New Republic is born.
- Luke Skywalker begins to rebuild the Jedi Order before his nephew, Ben Solo, turns to evil and wipes out his fellow Jedi. Luke almost killed him before it happened, but his jedi training restrained him, though Ben then acts, and destroys the temple. In grief, Luke disappears.
- Imperial holdouts that fled beyond known space form the First Order, a legacy government that seeks to restore the Empire. The Republic, demilitarized and complacent, fail to oppose the Order's growth. Activist elements led by Princess Leia form an underground Resistance without overt Republic approval.
- Resistance pilot Poe Dameron recovers a map to the location of Luke Skywalker, but is captured by dark-side knight Kylo Ren of the First Order. Thanks to the efforts of Poe's droid BB-8, First Order defector "Finn" FN-2187, and desert scavenger Rey, the map is successfully delivered to the Resistance.
- The First Order completes their multi planet-destroying weapon on Starkiller Base and use it to destroy the Hosnian system, the current capital of the Republic.
- The Battle of Starkiller Base. The Resistance mounts a precision strike to destroy the Base and its weapon. Han Solo is killed during the battle by Kylo Ren, his son.
- Following the map, Rey travels to the world Luke now resides on, to train her newfound skill in the Force.
- Unfortunately for her, Luke has no intention of continuing the Jedi, feeling their legacy and his legacy to be nothing but failure. However, with a little prodding from R2-D2, Luke does give Rey a few lessons in controlling the force and a base history of the Jedi.
- Realizing that their position would be compromised, the Resistance orders an evacuation. Endangered by oncoming star Destroyers, Poe leads a daring group of fighters and bombers to destroy their main ship, though at heavy cost. Fortunately, doing so does give them time enough to get at least most of the beings out and safe to hyperspace.
- Exiting warp, it turns out they were tracked by the First Order, who wreck the bridge of their main ship, killing a majority of leadership, though Leia manages to use the force to survive. Unable to warp for reasons of just being caught again, they make a move towards Crait, the First Order hot on their heels as they begin to run out of "gas".
- Demoralized and fearful, Poe, Finn, and new member Rose make a plan to stop the Order by getting a hacker to stop their targeting and allow them to escape to hyperspace again. Unfortunately, it all goes wrong, as Finn and Rose fail to find the codebreaker they were looking for. On the other hand, they do find another one, and at first seem to be making progress, only to be caught by the First Order.
- Poe meanwhile almost starts a mutiny due to fear over the vice admiral having bad ideas. However, he's disabled and taken onto the new plan: evacuation via transport to Crait.
- Rey meanwhile has a psychic contact with Kylo Ren, eventually deciding to return to the Resistance in order to redeem Ben Solo. She's captured and brought before Supreme Leader Snoke, who reveals he's the one who made the contact, making Rey malleable to being turned in. Not to turn her mind you, but be killed because she has "the true spirit of a Jedi".
- Kylo Ren assassinates Snoke and his guard, but refuses to return to the light, trying to turn Rey to the other side. As the vice admiral uses light speed to ram the mon cal cruiser into the main ship, Finn, Rose and Rey escape the ship, joining the rest of the resistance on Crait.
- The Battle of Crait. A desperate last stand by the Resistance, trying to hold the line for reinforcements, goes into nothing, leaving the remaining 40 or so people to escape in the Millenium Falcon. However, this is only made possible by Luke creating a force projection across the galaxy, drawing their attention, giving them the time. He says goodbye to his sister and nephew one last time, then becomes one with the force.
- From this "last stand", the legend of Luke Skywalker begins to spread, giving hope to the galaxy despite the war with the First Order going...poorly.