Most people that have taken an interest in Star Wars will be familiar with the Battle of Yavin, which took place in 0 BBY. Even when mentioned in passing, it is clearly a significant event with far-reaching consequences.
Why is the Battle of Yavin so important, and what sort of lasting effect did it have on the lore?
Here’s what you need to know.
Why is the Battle of Yavin so important?
The Battle Of Yavin is significant because it marked the first major victory that the Alliance to Restore the Republic scored against the Galactic Empire, which galvanised the resistance effort and saved countless lives and a planet in the process. On a meta level, it’s also one of the most iconic parts of the original Trilogy.
In short, the Battle of Yavin is the true beginning of the resistance.
Realising that the Death Star must be stopped at all costs, the Rebel Alliance sent out 3 squads of fighters to carry out a mission that would cripple the giant space station for good. They were working on information gleaned from the plans for the Death Star, which had been acquired by Rogue One just days beforehand.
Luke Skywalker was one of the pilots present and was able to survive the pushback from both the battle station’s defences and the squadron of TIE fighters that had been deployed to counter the rebel attack.
Many other pilots fell, however, with Vader personally seeing to the destruction of every ship that made a pass at the target the rebels had set out to destroy.
The third pass was made by Luke, with two other squadron members serving as wingmen.
On this third and final pass, both supporting fliers were shot at, with one forced to disengage and the other finished off by Vader. This left Luke as the sole target, and the rebellion’s only chance at dealing a blow to the Empire that day. With guidance from Kenobi’s spectre and the Force, Luke was able to take the shot, firing a torpedo that entered the Death Star’s exposed port and eventually led to its destruction.
This decisive victory was an almost unthinkable miracle to the Rebels, and sparked a wave of belief in their ability to win that led to many more joining the cause and a renewal of spirit for those that had already been fighting.
Why are Star Wars dates based on the Battle of Yavin?
The victory at the Battle of Yavin was so iconic, in fact, that the members of the Rebel Alliance started to date events in reference to that event. When the rebels eventually emerged victorious and formed the New Republic, this internal system became more widespread and was applied retroactively to past events as well.
While there’s minimal use of the system within the material itself, basically every sourcebook and piece of companion media uses it in some way, with many making extensive use of the system to catalogue events.
What calendar did Star Wars use before BBY?
In canon, there is no concrete representation of the system used by the Galactic Republic before the dawn of the Empire. It can best be understood as a result of being told the story of Star Wars largely in the terms of those that won the war and got to write history.
The BBY designation allowed the new system to take effect on events retroactively, removing the need for reference to any earlier system.
While the system was introduced in cannon proper in 2014, it had been used in Legends content since 1996, when it was developed for a roleplaying game based on the Star Wars franchise. So, on a meta level the BBY-ABY system is the only one that was actually properly developed.
However, the system for measuring days and years never changed, with the entire Galaxy utilising measurements based on Coruscant, which works almost the same way Earth does. As such, there are 365 standard days consisting of 24 standard hours in a standard year with no leaps years.
Do the designations 0 BBY and 0 ABY represent the same year?
In the ABY-BBY dating system, the designations 0 ABY and 0 BBY actually do refer to the same year, but the two also denote different time periods. The key to this seemingly confusing dichotomy is simple, 0 BBY can be used to refer to the months immediately preceding the Battle of Yavin.
In contrast, 0 ABY refers to the months immediately after the battle, allowing the titular battle to serve as the midpoint of the zeroth year.
For a property with such a wide expanse of existing lore and myriad ongoing and future projects, a sensible system of chronology is essential. For Star Wars, the system that revolves around the Battle of Yavin is both functional and thematically appropriate and is something that is sure to help new generations of fans navigate the ever-expanding canon of the franchise.
You can find out more about whether the Rebels were actually evil in this article here.
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