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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

Everybody knows the line, and many could probably quote the whole crawl. But what exactly does “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” actually mean? Just exactly how long ago, and how far away are we talking?

To figure that out, all we need to do is look towards another great science fiction movie.

ET the extra terrestrial

That’s right, E.T. will tell us everything we need to know. First off, the tagline for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial tells us, “He is afraid. He is totally alone. He is 3 million light years from home.” That tells us how far away E.T.’s home planet is from us. Now some of you are asking what this has to do with Star Wars. Well, it’s simple, E.T.’s home planet is in the same galaxy as Star Wars.

ET in Star Wars

Right there we see a few members of E.T.’s race sitting in the Galactic Senate. I know what you are thinking, this was just something Lucas did on his own, right? He just wanted to give a little nod to another movie, right? Spielberg and Lucas were friends, and when they started Star Wars and E.T., they did a lot of talking with each other. In his movie, E.T. sees a trick or treater dressed up as Yoda, and runs up to him repeating the word “home”.

What you may have passed off as alien being weird, was actually an alien recognizing another alien native to its galaxy. When Lucas made his next Star Wars movie, Return of the Jedi was already pretty much done, so he had to wait until The Phantom Menace came around. They put each others characters into their movies, which means that they approved of this combined setting.

So now that we know the distance, what does that tell us about the time?

During the time of the original trilogy, they can travel anywhere they want within their own galaxy, but there is a hyperspace disturbance that prevents anybody from leaving. They had an experiment set up before to try to breach the disturbance, but it failed. HoloNet News, an official Star Wars website, mentions Senator Grebleips of Brodo Asogi in one of its news alerts. Grebleips, of course, is Spielberg spelled backwards, and Brodo Asogi is the name of the E.T.’s home planet as found in E.T.: The Book of the Green Planet, the novel that is the sequel to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.  These news update talks about his funding an  expedition to another galaxy.  We don’t know the results of the expedition, or if it even took place before the forming of the Empire and Galactic Civil War.

At the time of the first movie, the only way that they would have been able to reach us would be via a news cast.  Since we know the distance to the galaxy, and likewise, we also know that radio waves travel at the speed of light, this puts Star Wars as taking place three millions years ago.

But what if the Brodo Asogi were able to travel the vast distance between galaxies?  After all, the Yuuzhan Vong attacked the main Star Wars galaxy after traveling there from their own.  Lets take a look at the possibilities of their intergalactic expedition as being successful.

From The Book of the Green Planet, we also find that the Brodo Asogi rule their galaxy.  The Star Wars expanded universe runs through until about 150 years after the events of A New Hope.  Since the Brodo Asogi don’t rule the galaxy at any point during any of the comics, novels, or games, that have become canon for Star Wars, we can assume that the expedition didn’t take place until after the events of Star Wars Legacy: War.  How many years would it take for them to take over the galaxy?  It’s hard to say.  It probably wasn’t a war that gave them supremacy as they aren’t a warrior race.  In fact, they probably just waited out the rest of the species, and slowly took over as they faded away until all that were left to care for the galaxy were themselves, and Yoda’s Species (since he recognized Yoda).  Would this take a thousand years?  Ten thousands?  It’s hard to say.

I would say that at the least, it would take another fifty years or so for everything to collapse, and leave just the Brodo Asogi to run everything.  But this would require some kind of super plague, or maybe a powerful Dark Side use of the force to destroy life on all planets right after Star Wars Legacy: War finishes up its story.  Fifty years should be enough for the one advanced species that remained pretty much intact to spread out and begin rebuilding.  This would also require that they were able to complete the earlier expedition and continue to perfect intergalactic hyperspace travel by the time E.T. leaves so that he can arrive here quickly.

So there you have it.  It’s entirely possible that the rebel forces on Yavin IV and in the thirteen colonies were fighting against their respective empires at the same time, but it’s also entirely possible that it the battle of Yavin IV took place three million years ago.  

Either way, by the time E.T. visits earth, all the Jedi are dead.  That’s right, whether it was a space plague, or E.T.’s evil albino neighbors that did it, everything you loved about Star Wars is gone, save for maybe a couple of Yoda’s distant cousins.