Timeline Breakdown - The Force Unleashed!


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Aug 21, 2021
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Welcome, Rebelscum readers! The Force Unleashed week continues! We’ve been breaking down the popular multimedia project from 2008 (as well as its 2010 sequel), and why it’s such a popular and unique entry into the Star Wars canon. If you haven’t gotten the chance yet, make sure to read through the “Expand Your Mind” article first; it’s there you can read a comprehensive history of The Force Unleashed’s story, characters, fanbase, impact, as well as all the best collector’s items you should be looking for.

Today, we’re looking at where The Force Unleashed fits into the Star Wars timeline. The period of time between the end of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope is one of the most densely populated Star Wars eras. This is the setting of films like Solo and Rogue One, as well as television shows including the last arc of The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch, Rebels, and the upcoming Andor and Kenobi. Throw in many books, games, comics, and other media and you have an exciting period in the history of the galaxy far, far away.

The opening of The Force Unleashed, where Starkiller’s father Kento Marek is slain by Darth Vader on Kashyyyk, takes place right in 19 B.B.Y. (before the Battle of Yavin, aka A New Hope), which is the same year of Revenge of the Sith since only a few months have passed after the Galactic Empire replaced the Republic. This is where Starkiller/Galen Marek is introduced as a child, and the rest of the story takes place years later in 3-1 B.B.Y. where he’s grown into an adult. You can read more about Marek in our upcoming character breakdown article.

The Force Unleashed exists within the Legends canon, which includes most of the Star Wars Expanded Universe content released before Disney restarted the timeline in 2013. As a result, some of the events (such as the formation of the rebellion and how the Death Star plans were acquired) contradict what was later reintroduced in Rebels and Rogue One. However, the Legends canon is largely interconnected, and you can read about some of the ties The Force Unleashed has to other canon.

A quick side note though- the “what if” ending of the game in which Starkiller turns to the dark side is non-canon. The Ultimate Sith Edition contained a few new levels in this alternate history that features Starkiller tracking down and killing Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker, which obviously didn’t happen. These events are just a fun “what if” scenario that imagines a different course of events that contradict the films themselves. You can look for other projects with a similar “what if” approach including the Star Wars Infinite comics and the alternate endings of the Knights of the Old Republic games.

Connections to Other Material
If you’re looking to get into Legends material, check out how The Force Unleashed connects to some of the other storylines.
  • One of the surprising story beats in The Force Unleashed was the reveal that Jedi Master Shaak Ti survived Order 66 (she was actually killed in deleted scenes from Revenge of the Sith). Shaak Ti’s exploits during the Clone Wars are frequently featured, and she stars in some of the standout episodes of the microseries Star Wars: Clone Wars where she faces off with General Grievous.
  • The popular Jedi Master Rahm Kota is featured in a key storyline in the 2009 video game Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron, where he leads a recon mission to investigate Death Star plans.
  • The opening scene of The Force Unleashed is set on Kashyyyk. Hardcore fans know that the Wookiee homeworld has been on George Lucas’s mind for a long time, having first made an appearance in the infamous 1978 The Star Wars Holiday Special.
  • Shaak Ti evades the Empire on Felucia, the planet first introduced in Revenge of the Sith as the spot where Aayla Secura is killed. The planet is also featured in canon with The Clone Wars when Anakin and Ashoka battle the Separatists in “Holocron Heist,” team up with a gang of mercenaries in “Bounty Hunters,” and where Ashoka is kidnapped by slavers in “Padawan Lost.”
  • Any Star Wars gamer surely enjoyed the fun ways that The Force Unleashed lets players use Force Lightning. Obviously this ability first appeared in Return of the Jedi, but you can learn more about Sith experiments with force lightning during the Old Republic era in the Darth Bane novels Path of Destruction, Rule of Two, and Dynasty of Evil.
  • Princess Leia’s adopted father Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan was mentioned in some of the earliest Star Wars Expanded Universe projects, first making his live-action appearance in Attack of the Clones. Jimmy Smits returned to the role for Revenge of the Sith, Rogue One, and The Force Unleashed, with another actor stepping into the role for The Clone Wars and Rebels. For more about Organa, you can read the novel The Clone Wars: Wild Space which explores his relationship with Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Fans will recognize Han Solo’s home planet Corellia, which appears in The Force Unleashed as a Rebel Alliance base of operations. Corellia has now made several appearances in canon material, most prominently in Solo: A Star Wars Story. An alternate Legends origin story of Han Solo and his time on Corellia exists with The Han Solo Trilogy of novels that includes The Paradise Snare, The Hutt Gambit, and Rebel Dawn.
  • The Force Unleashed introduces several Jedi that survived Order 66, and there’s even more that escaped their betrayal at the hand of their clone allies in other Legends projects. Check out the exploits of Ferus Olin in The Last of the Jedi YA books, fan favorite Quinlan Vos in the Dark Horse comics Dark Times, scoundrel Jedi Jax Pavan in the Coruscant Nights novels, or get the clones’ perspective with Karen Traviss’ Republic Commando novels.
  • Galen Marek/Starkiller is Darth Vader’s best-known apprentice prior to his attempts to enlist Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, but it’s not the only time in Legends when he took on a protege. The Imperial Hand agent Lumiya first appeared in the original Marvel comic book series back in 1982, and later appeared as a mentor to Jacen Solo (the eldest child of Han and Leia) as he transformed into the Sith Lord Darth Caedus.
  • Before it was a central plot point in Rogue One and even before The Force Unleashed, the story of how the rebels retrieved the Death Star plans was a frequent narrative within the Expanded Universe. The most comprehensive look is the novel Death Star, which explores the lives of various characters who work on the station (perhaps inspired by the infamous discussion in Clerks). One of the levels in the game had Starkiller running through the Death Star.

Make sure to check out our “Expand Your Mind” article to hear about all the best The Force Unleashed collectibles you’ll want to claim as your own.

What do you think? Are you interested in exploring more Legends content thanks to The Force Unleashed? What are some of your favorite Expanded Universe stories? Would you like to see elements of The Force Unleashed brought into the Disney era? Let us know in the comments below, and may the force be with you!