Monday, August 10, 2009

7000 BBY to 6900 BBY: The Hundred Year Darkness


After ordering my resources online, and waiting patiently for eleven days, I am now ready to begin the Star Wars Chronology Project, and achieve my PhD in Star Wars-ology. I feel like I have taken my first step into a larger world.

The first text I’ll be examining is Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force, and it is in this book that the earliest beginnings of the Star Wars universe are referenced. The narrator of the text is Jedi record keeper Tionne Solusar; she is a Jedi librarian and historian. She begins with an introduction of her task, the recovery of Jedi history which has twice been lost, and the relationship between the Jedi and the Sith, the light-side and dark-side users of the force. Her introduction is dated 40 ABY. But before I go any further I need to explain the measurement of time in this universe. The designation BBY is reference to the ‘Battle of Yavin’, and is ‘Before the Battle of Yavin’, ABY means ‘After the Battle of Yavin’. Joe Bongiomo’s website sums this up best:

“The Battle of Yavin was depicted in Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. It is the start of Year Zero. Year designations on this timeline represent the events of that entire year starting from the first day of the first month through to the last day of the last month in that year.” (

Remember when Luke Skywalker blew up the Death Star in Episode IV: A New Hope? Well, that’s when we, lovers of Star Wars, began marking the beginning of time. But before that epic moment of Star Wars history, there was ‘The Hundred Year Darkness’ seven millennia earlier.

But before I can even get to ‘The Hundred Year Darkness’ there is still history that must be covered dating from 100,000 BBY to 7000 BBY!!!. Here, Solusar reaches far back into the beginning of civilization in the galaxy:

“ c. 100,000 BBY. Dawn of Sith civilization on the planet Korriban
c. 30,000 BBY. The Force using Rakata tunnel through hyperspace to claim their modest “Infinite Empire”
c.28,000 BBY. Sith ruler King Adas unifies the Sith nations on Korriban
c. 27,700 BBY. King Adas defeats the Rakatan invaders and gains Holocron technology; The Sith relocate their capital to the planet Ziost, and Korriban is designated their tomb world.
c. 25,200 BBY. Rakatan Infinite Empire implodes.
c. 25,000 BBY. Formation of the Galactic Republic. Creation of the Jedi Order.
24,500 BBY. The first Great Schism: the legions of Lettow, a faction of Jedi Knights led by General Xendor, rebel against the Jedi Order.
7003 BBY. Second Great Schism: Dark Jedi declare themselves free from the Jedi council.
7000 BBY. Dark Jedi rebel against the Jedi Order; the Hundred year Darkness begins.”

I find this bit of information absolutely enthralling. Here, 93,000 years of Star Wars history is briefly marked over. After reading this I have so many questions, comments, and puzzlements. Firstly, I find interesting that the first thing mentioned with regards to Star Wars history is the Sith, which is the designated name for ‘evil’ in Star Wars mythos. Secondly, the Galactic Republic along with the Jedi Order are 25,000 years old, and what is more, there is reference to a Jedi “Council” which implies that the Jedi are not just present, but organized as an institution!!! Thirdly, most of the subject matter of this history is focused on the Sith, how they defeated the Rakata, and then came into conflict with the Jedi. Evil does seem to be more interesting than Goodness, doesn’t it! Fourthly, HYPERSPACE!!! Holy crap! There is so much here!!!

There is so much that is not said in this chronology. There is so much that could be said, explored, and dramatized. Fascinating!!!

Ok, now that really ancient Star Wars history has been acknowledged (albeit only briefly. I feel like I can write so much about that 93,000 years!), we can move on to simply ancient Star Wars history.

Sticking with our initial text, Jedi vs. Sith, Jedi librarian Solusar, in her introduction to her task, makes reference to the Jedi order of her own time. She states that conflict has arisen in the Jedi Order that threatens to tear it apart. This is not the first time the Jedi have faced such an ordeal, and using the historical recordings of Jedi Master Vodo-Sosk Baas from millennia past, she recounts the events of ‘The Hundred Year Darkness’.

Our knowledge of these events (7000 BBY) comes from Jedi Master Vodo-Sosk Baas, gatekeeper of the Tedryn Holocron and teacher of Exar Kun. He recounts the second great schism between the Jedi, when some Jedi began using the dark side of the force to transform creatures into “mutant warriors, mounts, and spirit-devouring Leviathans”. Here we have our first account of the dark side of the force perverting nature, and presumably, those who call upon that power. The Jedi who used the light side of the force thought this was wrong, and conflict ensued. The Jedi of light managed to defeat the Dark Jedi, and then banished them to the furthest reaches of space, namely the planet Korriban. It is here that Dark Jedi came into contact with the Sith civilization, subjugated the Sith people (who were Neanderthal-like force users) and then dropped the name ‘Dark Jedi’ and instead called themselves ‘Dark Lords of the Sith’.

There are many things I find worthy of note about ‘The Hundred Year Darkness’, but one tidbit of information I thought intriguing was that it was thought that the Jedi did not use lightsabers against each other in this conflict. Though historians agree that lightsaber technology did exist at this time, (the lightsaber was connected, presumably through a wire or cable, to a power source on the users belt) it was thought that Jedi most likely used actual metallic swords. The non-use of lightsaber technology by the Dark Jedi (and later called “Sith”) was later carried forward into the Great hyperspace war, which I’ll talk about at a later date.

It is in this conflict that we have mention of the first 'Dark Lord of the Sith' in recorded Star Wars history (As opposed to the first Dark Jedi mentioned, General Xendor). Dark Jedi Ajunta Pall was one of the founders of the Sith Empire, and was known to have slain many Jedi at the battle of Corbos, a mining world that was the final battleground of the Dark Jedi. Once the “Dark Jedi” were defeated and banished to Korriban, we have the beginnings of the “Sith” Empire. It is not until 2000 years later that we have the Sith Empire come into contact with the Galactic Republic again.

Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force, is an excellent book for a lover of Star Wars. Written by Ryder Windham and illustrated by Chris Trevas and Tommy Lee Edwards, the information in this book is attention-grabbing, and the art is truly awesome. There are so many great pictures in this book.

For my next post I’ll move on to when the Sith re-emerged in Galactic history, and the ramifications of their arrival.


  1. It's unfortunate, and one reason why I'm rebooting my own efforts, just how out of date the nature of publishing in recent years has made this. As I remark in one of my own articles (which will be published when my new blog is born), Start Wars publishing has been pushing the "earliest published history" envelope farther and farther. The Essential Guides are a beautiful thing, but as of August 2013 there are two comic volumes, a short story and a novel that pre-date this post, with another comic series coming out by the end of the year. Considering that when you started this chronology Path of Destruction was the earliest novel set in the universe, I imagine you have some system in place by now (years later) for dealing with this... I'll be seeing what that is when I get to it.

  2. William, I'm enjoying your insights. I've been thinking about this a lot too - the idea that the framers of the Star Wars universe are consistently pushing back the history of the universe. I think there are a few reasons for this, but I want to highlight what I think is going on here from a literary theory perspective. In my MA thesis I wrote about some of Harold Bloom's literary theories, and focused on his book "The Anxiety of Influence". Let me quote the opening sentences to my thesis to give you some context as to what I mean:

    In order to acquire his own artistic identity, a new writer must willfully revise, distort, perverse, and creatively correct the works of his precursors for the purposes of obtaining a poetic and literary space for himself. To a new writer texts are “psychic battlefields” where influence from one’s precursors fights to move backwards in order to achieve artistic priority."

    I think if we go back and look at the early writers of the EU who wrote in the realm of Star Wars which predates the original films, we'd see an anxiety of influence going on here, in that the writers, like Anderson and the group who wrote the Tales series, are attempting, perhaps sub-consciously, to achieve artistic priority over Lucas, and in a way deal with a giant of a precursor. I'm not sure If I'm going to go back to these texts for a while, but I'd like to do so with Bloom's theories foremost in my mind.

    Essentially, what I think is *really* going on with all this "earliest published history" era were are going through in Star Wars publishing is an attempt by the framers of the universe to deal with their anxiety of influence from Lucas, and then perhaps, even with each other.

    Cheers bud, keep the awesome comments and observations coming.

  3. To quote the dread pirate Roberts, "Truly, you have a dizzying intellect."