Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Ahsoka.
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Star Wars fans would be forgiven for believing that the franchise was operating at a relatively small scale. Thus far in the films and television shows, the threats that the characters are facing haven’t really changed all that much; every iteration of the franchise has its version of an evil Empire or dark-sided Force user, and everything connects back to the Skywalker bloodline in some capacity. However, Ahsoka teases the possibility that in the greater Star Wars universe, there are other galaxies beyond the central one that is “far, far away.” Here is a guide to the Star Wars franchise’s changing definition of its own universe.
What Do We Know About the Star Wars Galaxy?
The core galaxy in which the majority of the films, television shows, books, comics, games, and other material has taken place has existed since the beginning of the Star Wars franchise’s fictional timeline. The standard timeline utilizes the term “B.B.Y.” (Before the Battle of Yavin) in its references to specific years — in other words, this is how many years either before (or after) the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope takes place. The earliest canon stories in the current iteration of the franchise take place a little over 300 years before the events of the Skywalker Saga. The events have been chronicled in the current multimedia project The High Republic, which includes various books, comic book series, video games, and the upcoming Disney+ series The Acolyte. The upcoming James Mangold-directed film, tentatively titled Dawn of the Jedi, will stretch the timeline back even further to events 25,000 years before any of the previous stories.
Thus far in the modern canon, the only known facts about the other galaxies in the Star Wars universe have been through specific references by individual characters. There’s a brief sequence in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones where Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) examines a cluster of different galaxies with Yoda’s class of Jedi younglings when searching for Kamino, and the core galaxy is on display amidst other known galaxies. A majority of these aren’t referenced by name, but Dexter Jettster does mention an irregular satellite galaxy known as the “Rishi Maze.” The recent canon novel Bloodline also makes reference to the possibility of interstellar travel, and that during an event known as “The Axamine crisis,” a clan of warriors left the known galaxy due to irrevocable issues with the Galactic Republic. In The High Republic, the Nihil are able to operate in an area of space that is beyond the view of the rest of the galaxy, but does not stretch beyond it. Otherwise, communications with life forms from other galaxies have been nothing but distorted anomalies.
Dave Filoni Used His Animated Shows To Further Expand the Galaxy
The larger universe beyond the central galaxy has been primarily referenced in Dave Filoni’s animated shows within the Mortis system and the World Between Worlds, which are somewhat removed from the core universe and exist on a spiritual level through the Force. Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ahsoka Tano first visited the mysterious realm Mortis in The Clone Wars’ third season, and later Yoda visits another ethereal place that allows him to communicate with the force spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). It wasn’t until Star Wars Rebels that Ezra Bridger and Ahsoka were able to use the enigmatic World Between Worlds to visit this existential plane where the Force spirits reside. The World Between Worlds isn’t exactly a separate galaxy, but a place removed from time and space. Ahsoka wakes up again in The World Between Worlds in the most recent Ahsoka episode, “Fallen Jedi.”
At the end of Rebels, Ezra and Grand Admiral Thrawn are transported alongside a clan of the purrgil monsters to a planet called Peridea, which exists in a different galaxy entirely. This is where Morgan Elsbeth’s (Diana Lee Inosanto) starmap in Ahsoka reaches; Sabine and Ahsoka are desperate to find Peridea in order to rescue Ezra and bring him home. While Ahsoka indicates that Elsbeth’s ship the Eye of Scion is capable of reaching Peridea, it has not yet been revealed what this exotic planet actually looks like.
Star Wars Legends First Introduced Intergalactic Travel
The older Star Wars expanded universe is more direct in its references to other galaxies. In The New Jedi Order novel series, a species known as the Yuuzhan Vong from a different galaxy invade the New Republic in an attempt to terraform and conquer its inhabitants. The Yuuzhan Vong are able to access interstellar travel through the organic planet Zonama Sekot, which is capable of traveling between different galaxies. The planet is first visited by the fallen Jedi Knight Vergere, who is taken prisoner before subsequently involving herself in the invasion of the core universe. While the Yuuzhan Vong’s galaxy is only referenced in The New Jedi Order books, the species’ capabilities suggest that its laws of nature are very different from anything else in the Star Wars universe.
The Yuuzhan Vong have weapons that are impervious to the effects of the Force, and have the ability to biologically terraform various individuals, pieces of technology, and entire planets. Coruscant briefly falls under the control of the species before Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Jacen Solo were able to force Zonama Sekot into forming a truce with the Galactic Alliance (the reorganized galactic governmental structure that took the place of the failing New Republic). The surviving Yuuzhan Vong clans resided on Zonama Sekot while it remained in the core galaxy until the events of the Star Wars: Legacy comic book series.
The events of The New Jedi Order series were controversial, as they were radically different from anything else in the franchise at that point; previous stories set after the events of Return of the Jedi largely introduced villains that had been connected to the previous regime of the Galactic Empire. However, it did present an entirely new element that diversified Star Wars storytelling with its broader approach to science fiction and fantasy. If Ahsoka can use Peridea to accomplish similar goals, then it has been a successful addition to the saga.