View Full Version : Basic Timeline Questions

02-24-2002, 09:34 PM
I know most of you can probably answer these questions in your sleep, but for some reason I can't seem to find any information regarding the following:

1. How long was Luke on Dagobah training with Yoda in ESB?

2. How much time passes between ESB and ROTJ?

Rough estimates are fine since it's mostly EU anyway. Thanks in advance.

02-24-2002, 09:53 PM
There is hot debate about the Dagobah issue, some fans say "days" while I think it's more like 6 weeks (it'd take hundreds of years for the Falcon to get to the next nearest system without a working hyperdrive, so my theory is the hyperdrive was PARTIALLY working and just kept breaking down, so they had to "hop" to Bespin over the course of 6 weeks). I don't think there's any official info on this, certainly nothing canon, but obviously it's still up for interpretation. The 6 weeks thing makes the most sense to me though because it seems like any less wouldn't be enough time for Luke to really get enough training from Yoda to be an almost-fully-trained Jedi knight.

As for the ESB to ROTJ issue, this has been accepted as roughly 6 months. I've seen a few timelines that corroborate this, and the EU multimedia extravaganza Shadows of the Empire seems to fit this timetable as well, so that's what I accept for that.

master jedi
02-25-2002, 02:00 PM
I've always thought that there was about a 1 year difference between ESB and RotJ.

02-25-2002, 02:41 PM
Originally posted by master jedi
I've always thought that there was about a 1 year difference between ESB and RotJ.

I always thought it was a year too, but wether it's a year or 6 months I wouldn't like to be Han in the carbonite block - a long wide awake nothing as he puts it in the cut sand storm scene.


02-25-2002, 03:56 PM
I never really considered how long Luke was on Dagobah, but I agree it must have been for several weeks.

As for ESB-ROTJ, the common time frame I've seen is 6-12 months.

What about the events of ANH? I guess it would be a few days from the beginning of the film to the escape from Mos Eisley, and then a day until the Falcon "escapes" the TIE fighters. How long might it have been from that point until the battle of Yavin? Surely it must have taken the Death Star a lot longer than the Falcon to arrive.

02-26-2002, 10:03 AM
I've always seen the 6 month interval for ESB-ROTJ, I think first back in '83. Perhaps it's in the novelisation.

As for the Dagobah interval, as a kid it always seemed to me like a few days, but on reconsideration, one would think Luke couldn't learn to be a Jedi in a week. Six weeks even seems short. After all, in the prequels, we've discovered that Jedi are trained practically birth to adulthood. However, learning to tap into the Force may only take a short while (especially for powerful natural Force users like the Skywalkers) - the years of apprenticeship may be more on the rights and wrongs of applying that power.

03-04-2002, 01:38 AM
I'd love to hear from Lucas film on the Dagobah issue.

I don't see how it can be weeks and weeks when it seems like just days from the Han / Leia perspective. They certainly aren't drifting in space for weeks on end. I always thought the got to Bespin within hours . . .

03-04-2002, 09:03 PM
Originally posted by mark2d2
They certainly aren't drifting in space for weeks on end.Explain why not please, it seems like they could have spent MONTHS in there.

03-04-2002, 09:13 PM
Well besides "hopping" to Bespin, they might've also been able to get a ride from other ships with a tractor beam or sticking to them.

03-05-2002, 02:00 AM
For one, they'd probably have changed clothes or I dunno, their hair would have grown. Frankly, it just doesn't seem like much time has passed. There is no progression of the Han/Leia relationship either. I think that it only takes a matter of hours for them to get to Cloud City. A quick look at the script backs me up. It cuts from them deciding to try for Bespin --- to one quick scene of Luke and Yoda training when Luke has his vision --- then cuts right to them arriving on Bespin. If weeks and weeks were passing, I think we'd have more training sequences or something. There is no sense what-so-ever of time passing. Also, is the Falcon really that set up for long voyages? I don't think so.

03-05-2002, 09:08 AM
It's got to be at least a couple of weeks time in transit. You figure that HAn tricked the Imps into thinking he went one way across the galaxy. Also Han had to consider if he had enough supplies/fuel to make the trip. After the Imps left the asteroid field Fett followed Han long enough to figure out where Han was going and then plan the trap w/ Vader.

I do agree that the movie does make it seem like hours though.

Leaving the movie for a moment...

One of the things I like about the SW Rebellion PC game is the way it establishes a more believable time frame for the inter-planetary space travel.

BTW, it put's Luke's training at about 100 days, which seems to fit w/ the 6-8 week theory. Remember, that in addition to all the physical training Luke underwent, he had a lot to "unlearn", and new Force skills to develop. Heck, even in our real world, basic military training lasts 9 weeks.

03-05-2002, 02:31 PM
First --- let me just clarify tha I only go by what is actually in the movies. EU stuff is frequently wrong.

At any rate, I still say it's only a few days of training. And a mere matter of hours until they get to Bespin. Watch the film again or read the script. There is just no sense of time passing. I think they must be closer to Bespin than any of you realize. Please re-examine the film . . .

Han and Co. decide to go to Bespin.

CUT TO: Luke having his vision.

CUT TO: Han and Co. arriving in Cloud City

CUT BACK TO: Luke is packed and ready to go. Yoda is telling him that "You must not go! You must complete the training."

This is the only place for this six week interval to go. Do you honestly believe that Luke and Yoda continued training for weeks and weeks endlessly arguing over whether or not Luke should go? I don't by it. Luke always behaves rashly. And this time is no different. He immediately starts packing his ship. End of story.

Furthurmore --- nowhere in any of the other films is there ever a gap of six weeks or so in the middle of the film. All the action seems to take over a week or maybe two tops in each film. Even the ENDLESS tatooine sequence in TPM is only a matter of days. The reason for this is to maintain a sense of urgency.

Now, I agree that it seems pretty quick for Luke to complete his training. But wait, he doesn't complete it. He leaves early. Also, desperate times call for desperate measures. They can't wait around for Luke. And he can't be anyone's padowan. Who is left? Plus --- bear in mind that ESB was filmed a long time ago, I doubt Lucas hadn't yet decided that kids start training before the reach nine. (If he had then isn't Luke WAYYYYYYYY to old then? I mean if Anakin was too old, come on!) Besides, maybe Luke is so powerful he picks things up much quicker.

In the end, it may be a flaw in the film. But you can't fix it by saying that six weeks HAVE to pass when it makes no sense when you watch the film. Frankly, it just doesn't wash . . .

03-05-2002, 04:21 PM
Just because there's no time lapse shown doesn't mean no time has lapsed. A good film needs to be properly paced so as not to bore the audience by bogging down the film. SW has never used narration or text to explain shifts of location or time, no "three months later, in Darth Vader's Super Star Destroyer".

As for clothes, there's never really been a showing of clothes-changing in the SW universe, Luke never changes his clothes in all of ROTJ, he only takes things off as the film progresses, yet clearly that film takes more than one day.

The 6-week interval could take place anywhere after Ben's spirit speaks with Yoda about Luke's training and the Falcon lands in the "cave". In fact, we know for certain from the script that Han and the Falcon are in there for at least one day because when Yoda is finally revealed to Luke, the scene is "Dagobah-Night", but the next time we see Luke and Yoda is "Dagobah-Day" where the training is already clearly underway -- in this same scene, Luke is given a major test and confronts the Vader spirit. Perhaps the Falcon is in the slug for a few days, and then spends a few more days avoiding the Imp navy in other parts of the asteroid field, then flies out and grapples onto the back of the Star Destroyer for a few days, or perhaps even longer for each interval. The time spent in the asteroid field gives Vader enough time to call several notorious bounty hunters to his ship as the Imperial navy has been unable to find the Falcon. I don't think the Imperials would give up looking after only a few hours - failure would be risking Vader's wrath, they'd want to postpone that wrath as long as possible.

From there, how long did it take Fett to get Slave I into the garbage system, how long did the Falcon stick to the Star Destroyer before the fleet finally gave up searching the area and took off? We can see that Leia and Han are advancing their relationship (though it's clearly a "two steps forward and one step back" type of relationship) - they had been together for 2 years between ANH and ESB, do you really think they'd just kick their relationship into high gear only at this point? Heck, even the relationship between Han and 3PO changes in this time, you can hear it in the way 3PO speaks to Han in these scenes.

At this point, another day has passed since Luke is undertaking a strenuous training session and clearly has gained much more understanding of how the Force works, but he's still struggling - this alone could have been weeks later. Then we're shown the Falcon detaching from the Star Destroyer, and Han even says "Bespin. It's pretty far, but I think we can make it.", without lightspeed, it'd take HUNDREDS of years to get to another star system in real life, but even in the SW universe, there must be great distance between habitable systems or there'd be no need for a hyperdrive. Since Han is talking about getting the hyperdrive fixed at Bespin, we know he can't be using it the whole way to get there, and because he mentions it's pretty far, we know it can't be a quick trip. From here we see Luke yet again during the day and he's doing better controlling the Force, then he gets his vision of Han and Leia in pain at Cloud City... but he DOESN'T leave yet.

At this point, the Falcon finally lands at Cloud City, but as pointed out above, how long did it take Fett to beat the Falcon to Bespin and then get Vader and the SSD to show up before Bespin as well? We don't know, but it could be days beforehand - there's NO indication of time spent "on the road" from Anoat to Bespin. We see Han & co going through Cloud City and then hanging out in their room, but there's no indication of time spent there either. Finally, another day arises on Dagobah and Luke is leaving for Bespin, but how long does it take Luke to get from Dagobah to Bespin? We don't know, and again, there's no indication of time.

There are at least 3 days there minimum, and there are a lot of places to stick weeks of extra time. I just don't see how, because of clean editing and swift pacing, the scenes shouldn't be able to take 6 weeks.

03-05-2002, 04:24 PM
I always thought that a year passed inbetween ESB and ROTJ.

03-05-2002, 08:31 PM
I understand quite a bit about film pacing --- it's what I studied in college. Screenwriting. Film is my life.

If that much time was supposed to have pass -- then the film did not show it clearly at all --- hence we are having this debate.

There is no way in HELL you will ever convince me that SIX WEEKS have somehow passed. A few days, sure. But frankly, I will hold fast to my feelings on this until I here otherwise form Lucas Film.

03-05-2002, 08:53 PM
I don't know if there's much I can add to this but here goes.
I don't buy 6 weeks but at the same time I don't buy a few days either.I don't think the falcon was in the slug or clinging to a star destroyer for very long.I'd sooner say they were in transit to bespin for the vast majority of the time.
as far as the passage of time spent in Bespin.3po gets blown apart pretty soon after their arrival.Chewie doesn't seem to make alot of progress putting him, back in working order.but all of a sudden he's back up and going.So there is some time spent there but I'd only say another few days.
I also think Lukes training would be much faster than normal.Maybe if we get a medichlorian count on him in the future we'll have some proof of that assumption.
Lastly,I gotta say there really isn't an answer to this.It's fiction pure and simple.it would take life times for two droids, a woman,Man, and a wookie to fly a star ship to another planetary system with no hyper drive.
But then again there are no Droids,Wookies,stra ships or hyper drives. I try not to get bogged down

03-06-2002, 07:35 PM
So what, the bounty hunters just appear on the Super Star Destroyer in a matter of minutes after Vader makes the shout-out? In the slug, in the asteroid field, and on the Star Destroyer could each be a day or more by themselves. The point is, from the Falcon leaving Hoth to the Falcon landing on Bespin, this was not a few hours.

Personally, I think it's 6 weeks, a few days in the slug, a few more days in the asteroid field, the bounty hunters finally arrive, then the Falcon attaches to the SD for a day or so, and the next 3 to 5 weeks or so are spent limping/hyperdrive-hopping to Bespin. You don't have to agree with me, but a few days seems really unlikely for all that happens for Luke and for Han & Leia.

03-06-2002, 08:16 PM
I'll back JT on this one. The reasoning is pretty sound, though I understand Mark's concerns. In answer to them, a part of storytelling is to keep some kind of pacing going that is conducive to entertainment value which at times, is at the expense of logical progression of time. We are given the distinct impression that Luke's training on Dagobah wasn't too short, as he learned how to lift rocks and stuff, but not long enough, as he didn't have the mental blocks removed to lift his own ship. There may be an equation here to figure it out, but taking into account the normal "childhood through young adult" period of time that we presume it takes to "fully" train a Jedi and then factoring in Luke's presumed high Midichlorian count (ACCKKKK, can't believe I just said that!), it's probably safe to say that his stay on Dagobah was somewhere between 4 to 8 weeks tops. No less, no more.

That amount of time helps give the Empire a chance to chase the Falcon, realize that they lost it, put a call out for Bounty Hunters, WAIT for them to arrive, then they get there.

The one HUGE flaw in the timeline is precisely what JT brought up concerning the hyperdrive. There is creative license in action (or a plot hole, if you care to think of it that way). It's the same glossing over of what really would have happened that you see in Independence Day with the Macintosh interfacing with the alien ship and in Speed when the news guy transmits the phony bus footage back to Dennis Hopper. Movies tend to be full of these convenient lapses in logic in order to propel the story forward.

So if we figure out time based on the Dagobah scenes, it looks like 4-8 weeks or so. Base it on the Falcon itself, more like 300 years. Much like the question of Midichlorians, these issues are mutually exclusive and trying to mesh them into one coherent line of thinking is impossible.

03-07-2002, 12:16 PM
Originally posted by JediTricks
So what, the bounty hunters just appear on the Super Star Destroyer in a matter of minutes after Vader makes the shout-out? In the slug, in the asteroid field, and on the Star Destroyer could each be a day or more by themselves. The point is, from the Falcon leaving Hoth to the Falcon landing on Bespin, this was not a few hours.

Personally, I think it's 6 weeks, a few days in the slug, a few more days in the asteroid field, the bounty hunters finally arrive, then the Falcon attaches to the SD for a day or so, and the next 3 to 5 weeks or so are spent limping/hyperdrive-hopping to Bespin. You don't have to agree with me, but a few days seems really unlikely for all that happens for Luke and for Han & Leia.

I'm with you JT.