Star Wars Canon vs Legends: a timeline of events

Explore the timelines of the Star Wars Canon and Legends universes.

In the years since Star Wars: A New Hope came out in 1977 and became a worldwide hit, George Lucas’s world has changed. From 1983 until The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, the original trilogy was the easiest way for new Star Wars fans to get into the films. Episodes I, II, and III, the prequel trilogy, added to what fans already knew about the story. The background was filled in, new characters were added, and both known and unknown worlds were made.

A whole new group of people became fans of the prequels. Since then, the Star Wars content machine has kept going, but this time in a much more “mainstream” way than just books and video games. In 2014, Disney made the changes to the Star Wars world more public by separating the decades of stories into two groups: Canon content and Legends content. Disney wanted to change the schedule and plan the projects with purpose, similar to how the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) does this. They wanted to start their own era of Star Wars films and other films.

Star Wars Canon vs Legends Comparison table

Both the Canon and the Legends continuities of Star Wars are considered to be correct, with each having its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. It is up to each fan to determine for themselves which version they enjoy seeing more.

ScopeMovies, TV shows, books, comics, video games released after September 2014Movies, TV shows, books, comics, video games released before September 2014
ConsistencyGenerally consistent, with Lucasfilm overseeing all releasesLess consistent, with different authors and studios contributing to the overall story
Volume of contentSmaller, but more focused and cohesiveLarger, but more varied in quality
Popular charactersMost of the characters from the movies and TV shows are Canon, including Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Darth Vader, and the EmperorMany popular characters from the Expanded Universe are now considered Legends, such as Mara Jade, Kyle Katarn, and Darth Bane
Popular storiesSome of the most popular Star Wars stories of all time are Canon, such as The Clone WarsRebels, and The MandalorianSome of the most popular Star Wars stories of all time are Legends, such as the Thrawn trilogy, the Dark Horse comics, and the New Jedi Order series
Overall toneMore optimistic and hopeful, with a focus on the power of the Force to redeem and bring people togetherMore gritty and realistic, with a focus on the dangers of the Force and the challenges of maintaining peace and justice in the galaxy

What is Star Wars canon?

Star Wars Canon vs Legends

Lucasfilm announced six periods to divide canonical content in January 2021: The High Republic, The Fall of the Jedi, The Reign of the Empire, The Age of Rebellion, The New Republic, and The Rise of the First Order. These time periods keep Star Wars organised as it grows. They move from the Jedi’s golden age to the Clone Wars and Kylo Ren’s ascent.

Star Wars presently has 13 films: the nine Skywalker Saga episodes, two stand-alone films (Rogue One and Solo), and the 2008 animated picture The Clone Wars. The 1977 Skywalker Saga is the first. In Episodes IV, V, and VI, Luke Skywalker, a farmhand who likes to try new things, Princess Leia Organa, a stubborn princess, and Han Solo, a smuggler who breaches the law, join the Rebellion in the Galactic Civil War.

Lucas returned to the Earth in the 1990s to make Episodes I, II, and III, the prequel trilogy. They occur 30 years before A New Hope. Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father and the Chosen One, is the subject of this trilogy. It also reveals how Emperor Sheev Palpatine authoritarianized the globe.

Lucasfilm, newly acquired by Disney, released the sequel series in 2015. Episodes VII, VIII, and IX feature new and returning characters like Han, Chewie, Leia, Lando, and Luke. New characters include enthusiastic Force user Rey, former Stormtrooper Finn, and Resistance fighter Poe Dameron. Democracy is threatened again by the terrible First Order, a brutal group that risen from the Empire’s ashes to subjugate people.

What is Star Wars Legends?

What became non-canonical comics, games, audiobooks, and more after Disney’s timeline reassessment? Star Wars fans were lucky that such stories were rewritten as Star Wars Legends. It’s beneficial to conceive of these stories as cosmic myths or folktales. Before Star Wars Legends, these stories were part of the vast Star Wars Expanded Universe. The Legends timeline encompasses Before the Republic, The Old Republic, The Rise of the Empire, The Rebellion, The New Republic, The New Jedi Order, and Legacy, unlike the canonical canon.

While events and narratives overlap with the six new canon eras, important plot aspects and lore often deviate. Casual Legends followers may be surprised by the Je’daii Order, Lost League of Sith, Jaden and Jacen Solo, and clone Luuke Skywalker. If you want to get deeper into Star Wars, the Legends of the Past EU has intricate world-building, background, and compelling storyline. In 1978, Alan Dean Foster wrote Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, the first EU novel, about Luke and Leia’s search for Mimban’s Kaiburr crystal, a powerful Force relic. This title started a new storytelling era that expanded on the films’ plots.

Was Star Wars Legends Once Canon?

It’s true that Star Wars Legends was once canon, but it’s confusing. Most Star Wars books, comics, and video games that came out before September 2014 are Legends. Expanded Universe (EU) stories were what fans called all the Star Wars books, comics, and video games that weren’t straight adaptations of the movies before 2014. (Though that word also has a new sense now.)

As is common in many fandoms, people had different thoughts on EU projects. Some fans even called the stories “fan fiction,” even though they were licenced by the author. Simply put, Disney and Lucasfilm wouldn’t have had to say what’s canon and what’s not if the content that is now Star Wars Legends (that is, material that was part of the Expanded Universe) wasn’t canon.

On the other hand, it’s not wrong to say that Legends or EU Star Wars wasn’t part of George Lucas’ lore. There was a hierarchy in the Star Wars canon before Disney and the Lucasfilm Story Group did a “soft reboot.” The films were at the top, followed by shows like Star Wars: The Clone Wars, books, games, and other projects that fit with the continuity of the films, so-called “secondary canon” like the famous Star Wars Holiday Special, and finally “what if” stories that had nothing to do with the movies.


Since the stories that introduced a character in what are now called Legends are not canon, it’s safe to say that character won’t show up again, right? Not really, though. Ideas and people from the world of Legends are often brought back into the real world. One example is Grand Admiral Thrawn, who first showed up in 1991. After that, Thrawn was brought back into the canonical timeline through an episode of Rebels and a new series by Timothy Zahn. Thrawn isn’t the only one. Fans with sharp eyes saw a reference to Revan, the lead character of the video game Knights of the Old Republic who went from being a Jedi to a Sith Lord, in the canonical visual dictionary for The Rise of Skywalker. Characters, planets, and ideas from the Legends universe always make their way back into the canonical galaxy.

We don’t know what will happen next in the Star Wars world yet. Lucasfilm isn’t slowing down, as evidenced by the recent announcements of new films, TV shows, and stories. They are constantly expanding the timeline and adding to the established canon. We’re sure to have another great ending, whether the stories being told are completely new or old Legends are brought back to life along the way. Check out our list of all the new Star Wars material if you’re looking for something else to read, watch, or listen to.

Two Distinct Timeline

Star Wars Canon vs Legends

The best way to understand Legends and Canon is as two separate times. Legends are more like stories within the bigger Star Wars story, if that makes sense. Canon events happened in real life. They’re still important. They just don’t do what happens in the movies.

The Legends books take place in the Old Republic, which is a very long time before the original trilogy. In fact, they take place so far in the future that Han and Leia have a daughter. The child of a Sith Lord! It’s an entire thing. Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, the first Legends book that wasn’t a novelization, came out in 1978. In this book, there was still no proof that Luke and Leia were related. There are some… feelings. Feelings of love. That’s A LOT. But really, that’s pretty much all there is to say about Legends.

Heir to the Empire and the other books in this series by Timothy Zahn really took off in the early 1990s. And writers kept writing these books until 2013. The Kenobi book by John Jackson Miller almost didn’t make the cut! Even though it’s Legends, it’s still worth reading.

From 2014 on, every new book followed the new Canon schedule. In that story, the events of the sequel trilogy pictures make sense. The plot and personalities are very different, but many of the ideas and themes are still the same. The High Republic’s Light of the Jedi is the oldest book in Canon. It takes place more than 200 years before the prequel series, and Rise of Skywalker is the most recent book in the timeline. It is still unknown if and when there will be books set after this one.

Is Star Wars Canon Better Than Legends?

Choosing which is better is a matter of taste. However, most agree that Legends is better than Canon. This is because post-Disney Star Wars has included George Lucas’ original films in the Canon storyline, whereas most Expanded Universe films are now Legends. Disney looks to be classifying all new films as Canon.

Thus, the new “Legends” are higher-quality and have more material. Legends have greater fan-made lore and continuity. Therefore, the timeframe is easier to follow. However, the new “Canon” includes newer films, and many fans believe this has made them lose their greatness. After the change in ownership, the initial eleven Canon films lost some of their hard work and thought.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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