SPOILER ALERT: Warning, this article contains spoilers from Solo: A Star Wars Story. Proceed at your own risk.
As another Star Wars movie opens in theaters around the world, audiences may be wondering, “is this a prequel, a sequel, or something in between?” And it’s a brilliant question to ask because the Star Wars timeline has not been running in chronological order since the Original Trilogy.
So, where does Solo: A Star Wars Story fit into the timeline? Let’s take a look at the clues provided by the film.
Our best clue that explains the time period of Solo comes from Chewbacca. When Chewie tells Han that he’s 190 years old, that tells us that Solo takes place roughly 10 years prior to A New Hope, since he was 200 years old in that film. How do we know that Chewie is 200 in A New Hope? The fine folks here at FANDOM’s Wookieepedia community cite two different sources for Chewie’s age: Star Wars Card Trader and Star Wars Rebels Visual Guide.
So, Chewie is 190 when he meets Han Solo. That means he was 187 when Han and Qi’Ra first tried leave Corellia, which places the opening moments of Solo 13 years before A New Hope.
Between Sith and Hope
What about the Clone Wars and fall of the Republic? Chewbacca fought alongside Jedi Master Yoda during the Clone Wars and during the execution of Order 66. That took place 19 years before A New Hope, during the events of Revenge of the Sith. So, in the 19 years between Episode III and Episode IV, Han and Qi’Ra tried to escape six years after Sith, then Han meets Chewie, and Lando, and reunites with Qi’Ra nine years after Sith.
We know that Han eventually goes to work for Jabba the Hutt and drops whatever cargo he was paid to carry, hence the bounty on his head. Since Solo takes place 10 years before A New Hope, Han has 10 years to connect with Jabba for that to happen. Although Han did say he was on his way there, at the end of the film, so he could work for Jabba for a number of years before he goes on the run.
And what about Rogue One? The first edition in the Star Wars anthology films was Rogue One. Rogue One directly set up the events of A New Hope, down to the final seconds of Rebel Alliance soldiers handing Princess Leia the Death Star plans. That means that Solo takes place just 10 years before Rogue One as well.
There’s also one more element to consider — the final cameo of the film — Darth Maul. Audiences may be wondering how any of Solo could take place so long after The Phantom Menace, because that’s when Obi-Wan killed Darth Maul.
Here’s where the film timeline collides with the television timeline:
According to film timeline, Maul died on Naboo at the end of Episode I. He was rescued, however, during the television series The Clone Wars. The Witches of Dathomir restored him and gave him mechanical legs, which you could see in his hologram. Maul even told Qi’Ra to find him on Dathomir at the end of the film, which has likely become the headquarters of the Crimson Dawn.
There’s a full breakdown of Maul’s timeline here, but the Cliff’s Notes version is that in the 19 years between Episode III and IV, Maul lives and continues to be player in the galactic war between good and evil. According to the most recent season of Star Wars: Rebels, Darth Maul did finally die at the hands of Obi-Wan, just two years before the events of A New Hope.
That means Darth Maul has eight more years to live within the Star Wars timeline. He could play a HUGE role in any future Solo spin-off films or even his own stand-alone film.
Here’s the final chronological list of films, in order:
- The Phantom Menace
- Attack of the Clones
- Revenge of the Sith
- Solo: A Star Wars Story
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- A New Hope
- Empire Strikes Back
- Return of the Jedi
- The Force Awakens
- The Last Jedi
Solo: A Star Wars Story is currently in theaters.