There has been an awakening in the debate over just how long it took the Empire to build the Death Star, but there’s only one answer. Before the events of Rogue One, it took about 20 years for the Empire to create a superweapon capable of destroying a planet. However, the Star Wars continuity isn’t perfect — a few scenes from George Lucas’s much-maligned Star Wars prequels, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith throw a wrench into the 20-year timeline, but after a closer analysis of the plot, it all seems to line up.
The supposed timeline “discrepancy” was pointed out by Digital Spy who reminded readers that Count Dooku originally possessed the holographic display plans for the Death Star in Attack of the Clones and promised to take them to his master Darth Sidious, aka the future Emperor Palpatine. Three years later, at the end of the events of Revenge of the Sith Darth Vader and the Emperor gaze out from a prequel-era Star Destroyer onto the framework of the Death Star being built.
Nineteen years go by, and voila, Jyn Erso and her merry band of Rebels attempt to steal the plans to the completed Death Star to help the Rebel Alliance defeat the Empire’s superweapon in Rogue One, which will allegedly end 10 minutes before A New Hope begins.
The main problem, they say, is that Jyn’s father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) designed and developed the laser technology co-opted by Ben Mendelsohn’s Imperial Director Krennic to use to make the Death Star laser operational 22 years before Jyn would go on her mission. They point out that at this point — two decades before Rogue One and A New Hope — in between the events of Revenge of the Sith and Attack of the Clones the Empire didn’t even exist yet.
If you think the heads at Lucasfilm, let alone any Star Wars superfan with some elementary math skills, couldn’t refute this alleged SNAFU then you’d be wrong.
The timeline fits perfectly if we consider that Jyn Erso is probably 28 years old during the events of Rogue One. According to the trailers, she was separated from her father Galen when she was 15.
Knowing that 19 years pass between Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One/A New Hope and Jyn is 10 years old during the events of the third prequel makes everything start to fall into place. We know that Galen and Krennic were best buds working on Death Star science stuff at the time because the Rogue One novel Catalyst will allegedly explore these events.
We can safely assume that this novel takes place during the three years between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith while the Death Star goes from planning to construction. The Empire may not have existed yet, but Palpatine had clearly started his plan to turn the Republic into the Empire during this time.
This makes Jyn about 7 years old during the events of Catalyst while Dooku had the Death Star plans during Attack of the Clones. Add two decades onto that and you get the 28-year-old Jyn battling for the plans for a completed Death Star in Rogue One.
Two decades to build the Death Star and only two proton torpedoes from Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing to destroy the thing. It was totally worth it.
Rogue One hits theaters in December 16.