The Star Wars movies take place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. But just how long ago? The obvious answer is “there’s no such as a blue elephant playing the organ, so stop wasting your time,” but where’s the fun in that? In his new book The Physics of Star Wars: The Science Behind a Galaxy Far, Far Away, author (and Georgetown University assistant professor) Patrick Johnson used physics to determine the timeline of George Lucas’ creation.
“The best theories that we have indicate that our universe is about 13.7 billion years old,” he wrote in an excerpt from Forbes. “Assuming the Star Wars galaxy is in our universe, we need a few indicators to determine when in our universe’s history Star Wars could occur.” The indicators include the age of the universe (13.7 billion years ago), when the first galaxies were formed (a billion years after the Big Bang), and how long it took for single-celled organisms to evolve into multicellular organisms (two billion years).
“Altogether,” Johnson writes, “this means that Star Wars needs to be at least nine billion years after the Big Bang. This leaves plenty of years before the current time (about 4.7 billion to be precise), so it could still count as ‘a long time ago,’ but it is certainly closer to now than to the Big Bang.” In other words, the events of Star Wars, beginning with the prequels (shudder), took place five billion years ago, give or take a few hundred mile years. Think how many Boba Fetts a Sarlacc could digest in that amount of time!
To read more of Johnson’s findings, click here.