What does BBY mean in Star Wars? We all know that the Star Wars movies are set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, but what does “a long time ago” actually mean? Well, not a lot, to be honest. George Lucas just wanted his science fiction movies to sound epic, and setting them in the past lent them a certain degree of prestige.
But how do the Star Wars characters we know and love keep track of time? Do they use the birth of a religious figure like some countries in the real world do? Is there a calendar based on Darth Vader’s birth? As fun as it would be to have BDV (Before Darth Vader) as a way of delineating time, they actually use a major battle to keep an eye on the year, so here’s exactly what BBY means in Star Wars.
What does BBY mean in Star Wars?
‘BBY’ means ‘Before Battle of Yavin’, and it’s used in the Star Wars universe as a dating system. Basically, anything that happened before the Rebellion blew up the Death Star in the Yavin system is described as BBY, while anything that happened ‘After the Battle of Yavin’ is described as ABY.
So the prequel movies begin in the year 32 BBY and end in 19 BBY, while the Sequel trilogy is set between the years 34 ABY–35 ABY. Understand? Good. The Battle of Yavin isn’t the only calendar used in a galaxy far, far away; it’s just the one favoured by the New Republic.
The Galactic Empire (AKA the main Star Wars villains) preferred to use the Imperial Calendar, which used BFE (Before Formation of the Empire) and AFE (After Formation of the Empire). Out of the universe, BBY was first used in the second edition of the non-canon Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. In 2014 it was adopted for official use in the Star Wars Workbook: 2nd Grade.
If you love the new Star Wars series Andor, check out our guide on where the Star Wars cast is now, or find out more about the Sith and the Jedi. Alternatively, keep up to date with Andor with our guide to the Andor season 2 release date.