WHERE MANY FRANCHISES tend to just build forward—the Marvel Cinematic Universe, works this way, for the most part—Star Wars instead builds out. With such significant gaps between movies and trilogies, there are certain things that happen in Star Wars that fans just kind of have to accept. The shows, such as Ahsoka, Disney+’s newest entry in the Star Wars canon, aim to make that world more complete with each passing episode.
These Disney+ series and stand-alone movies exist to explore stories within those gaps, creating what should eventually become something of a complete history in the ever-expansive world that George Lucas created. For example, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story explains what happened in the time leading right up to the very first Star Wars movie, A New Hope. Last year’s Andor, one of the best things that Lucasfilm ever produced, aims to lead right up to Rogue One (its second and final season will debut some time, hopefully, in 2024). Obi-Wan Kenobi comes not long after Revenge of the Sith; The Mandalorian comes not long after Return of the Jedi.
And so with a new Star Wars series to wrap our minds around—Ahsoka—we’re about to get a whole lot more lore to add to our forever Star Wars history. But what’s important is understanding exactly when the show is set, because that can be relevant for a number of different reasons. Is the Empire in power? That’s a pretty substantial one. Is Anakin alive? Is Luke alive? Where’s Mace Windu? Even just speculating what kind of character could be popping in for a cameo—it all depends on when in our Star Wars timeline the show is set. And, luckily, this is something we know with some certainty about Ahsoka.
When is Ahsoka set in the Star Wars timeline?
As far as the Star Wars movies go, we know that Ahsoka takes place a bit after the events of Return of the Jedi (1983), but pretty well before The Force Awakens, the first movie in the sequel trilogy.
Star Wars experts use years within a scale of BBY and ABY (Before the Battle of Yavin and After the Battle of Yavin), and we know based on Star Wars books and novels that The Mandalorian takes place around 9 ABY. And given that Ahsoka first appears in Season 2 of The Mandalorian, where she faces off with Morgan Elsbeth (who is imprisoned in the first episode of Ahsoka), we know that Ahsoka comes after The Mandalorian. On the timeline, we’d put it around 11 ABY.
That also sets Ahsoka about 20 years before the events of The Force Awakens. Given that by the time The Force Awakens begins, though, The First Order has risen to power, we could begin to see that rise in Ahsoka; clearly, as we’ve seen in Season 3 of The Mandalorian and in the early parts of Ahsoka, the Empire has plenty of remnants in its ranks.
As the show gets ready to bring in Grand Admiral Thrawn, that dark moment in history will almost certainly be expanded upon.
Evan is the culture editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE. He loves weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he doesn’t.