Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, the six-episode limited series on Disney+, brings back the fan-favorite Jedi Master but at a very different point in his life. No longer sitting on the Jedi Council on Coruscant or fighting the battles of the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan is in exile, hiding out on Tatooine and watching over little Luke Skywalker, who is still years away from becoming the hero of A New Hope.
The series stars Ewan McGregor as an older Obi-Wan who has seen better days. Not only does he live in a cave on a remote desert planet run by scum but he’s still haunted by his past. In fact, the Jedi Master has much to reckon with in the new series, including his failure to save Anakin Skywalker from the dark side and the lure of the Sith. It’s not all that surprising that Uncle Owen wants Obi-Wan to stay away from Luke.
But Obi-Wan still hopes to train Luke as a Jedi one day, even if being a member of that ancient order is very dangerous in the era in which the new series takes place. What Jedi remain after Revenge of the Sith and Order 66 are now ruthlessly hunted down by the Inquisitors, a faction of dark side warriors who serve Darth Vader and the Emperor. Their singular goal is to erase every last Jedi from the galaxy for the glory of the Empire.
A Galactic Empire ruled by Sith lords, dark side hunters set loose on the galaxy, and Jedi fugitives hiding or running for their lives. This is undoubtedly the darkest point in the Skywalker Saga, but when in the Star Wars canon timeline does this story actually take place?
According to the official synopsis, Obi-Wan Kenobi is set 10 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith. There’s a ton of information we can glean off of that. For one thing, this means the show is set in 9 BBY — or nine years before A New Hope. In other words, the show sits at right about the midway point between the Prequel Trilogy and the original Star Wars film in terms of the in-universe chronology.
But that also means Obi-Wan Kenobi is set only a year after the events of Solo: A Star Wars Story, which takes place in 10 BBY. So Alden Ehrenreich’s younger Han Solo is already flying around in the Millennium Falcon, getting into trouble with Chewbacca and Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian, when Obi-Wan decides to come out of hiding in this series.
What else do we know about this point in the timeline? This period of the timeline has officially been dubbed the “Reign of the Empire” era by Disney, but fans have long referred to it as “The Dark Times” after a line delivered by Sir Alec Guinness in A New Hope.
The Reign of the Empire/Dark Times era marks a time before the galaxy’s freedom fighters joined forces to form the Rebel Alliance. In fact, the Rebellion wasn’t formally established until about 2 BBY, seven years after Obi-Wan Kenobi. When we meet the Inquisitors and Darth Vader on the Disney+ series, they’ll serve an Empire that rules virtually unopposed, except for a few small splinter groups like the ones featured in the Rebels animated series. If you’re wondering, the events of Rebels kick off in 5 BBY, four years after Obi-Wan Kenobi.
All of this means that Obi-Wan will have to take on the entire Empire himself when the Inquisitors come to Tatooine. But as Star Wars has shown us time and time again: there’s always hope.
The first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi premiere on Friday, May 27 on Disney+. You can read much more about the series here.