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Post #793052

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Implied starting date of the Empire from OT dialogue
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13-Oct-2015, 7:41 AM
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14-Oct-2015, 4:19 AM
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John Doom said:

There's a pre-SE Star Wars reference book called A Guide to the Star Wars Universe. It was published in 1984 and even talks about the Clone Wars. Should we trust its content for the timeline, if necessary?

Well, I actually have that book (or rather the 1994 update, but 95% of the text is the same EDIT: It's actually closer to half the book, but the old entries doesn't seem to have been changed. Rather they added entries about newer novels and comics.) and it has some pretty interesting entries, especially relating to the Emperor which more or less fits with the idea that the Republic disappeared much earlier than previously assumed.

Here's the entry on Palaptine describing his life prior to the events of the films:
"The Emperor ruled the galaxy as the malevolent dictator of the Empire. As the man named Palpatine, he carved his Empire from the dying corpse of the Old Republic, using guile, fraud, astute political manipulations, and the dark side of the Force to forge his New Order.
As a Senator in the Old Republic, Palpatine was an unassuming man at a time of widespread corruption and social injustice. The massive bureaucracy of the Republic had grown twisted and sickly over the span of generations. Like an immense tree with decaying roots, the Republic appeared strong but was slowly dying from within. To appease the member worlds who saw the galactic government as nothing more than a useless burden, the Senate offered up a promising young politician who seemed perfect for keeping the union together. Senator Palpatine appeared to lack drive and ambition, for he had remained apart from the political corruption that racked the Senate. Those who needed a stable government in place to continue their plundering believed they could use Palpatine as a figurehead, teaching him to smile obediently for the holomedia. Those who genuinely wanted to save the Republic saw him as a compromise candidate who could serve as a puppet leader, following and implementing their plans to repair the system. Palpatine, however, had his own plans.
Palpatine exceeded everyone's expectations after he was elected as head of the Senatorial Council and President of the Republic. He got the wheels of government turning again after long periods of inactivity. He stepped forward as a great leader who inspired trust and commitment. During the time of jubilation, promise, and hope that followed Palpatine's election, he slowly introduced the New Order and declared himself Emperor. The brief period of hope and light quickly turned dark as tyranny spread across the galaxy. The Empire was born."
(There's a paragraph about using the Rebellion as an excuse for getting rid of the Imperial Senate, but we already know that from ANH.)
"How the Emperor achieved his mastery of the dark side of the Force remains a mystery lost in the passages of time. Through his dark will, Darth Vader was created, the Jedi Knights were destroyed, the Old Republic was swept away, the Empire was forged, and the greatest military force ever assembled was unleashed upon the galaxy."
(The rest is just stuff from the movies.)

The most obvious deviations from the PT here is the description of of a "young" Palpatine being made President of the Republic shortly before forming the Empire. This at least implies that the Empire, or rather the seeds of the Empire in the form of a political movement called the New Order was formed decades before Luke and Leia, perhaps even Anakin was born.
There's also the reference to the Republic having been corrupt for a long period of time, which again fits with Darth Id's suggestion that Obi-Wan/Ben's descriptions of the Republic as the "guardians of peace and justice" is a description of a "World That Was."
This might also suggest the possibility that the Clone Wars (emphasis on Wars) was actually between The Jedi/Republic and the New Order.

The entry on Darth Vader also has some interesting details, but is for the most part much vaguer that the Palpatine entry:
"Learning to use the Force by Kenobi's methods was too slow for the impatient Anakin. He wanted a quicker, less difficult path to the vast power he sensed all around him. Emperor Palpatine offered him just such a path-the dark side. All Anakin had to do was to give in to his anger, fear, and agression. Ambitious and headstrong, he stepped into the dark side's embrace and became Darth Vader."
(The text does actually mention Anakin/Vader falling into a molten pit like in ROTS, and also makes a vague reference to him hunting down the Jedi Knight during the "last days of the Republic and the opening moments of the Empire.
In addition the entry mentions Ben taking Luke to Tatooine and Leia being taken by her mother to Alderaan.

These two entries could suggest that Anakin was not just turned to the dark side by Palpatine, but that he also joined the enemy side during a conflict and that he embraced both the philosophy of the dark side, as well as the politics of the New Order. 
The last line might seem like a contradiction to Palpatine's entry, but it does say the opening moment of the "Empire", e.g. The Galactic Empire, and does not exclude the existence of the New Order during these events.

This book also sticks to the idea that Owen Lars was Obi-Wan's brother.
The entry on the Clone Wars imply states that is ended 35 years prior to ANH (see timeline below) and that the "Jedi Knights and their allies battled to defend the Old Republic against its enemies." 
The book also suggests that C-3PO may never have had a memory wipe in the past, hence his odd personality and tendency to exaggerate his retelling of events. I'm not really sure how to interpret this entry, but they seem to hint at his eccentricity, and it's funny compared to how his memory was conveniently wipe in ROTS. And although the book forgot to mention it Lucas had originally (as far back as in 1977) established that C-3PO was built in a Cybot Galactica plant on the planet Affa 112 years before ANH.

Finally, there is a timeline included in the book:

25,000 + BSW4 (e.g. before ANH/Ep.4 or BBY)
The Old Republic, the first galaxy-wide government is formed; Jedi Knights appear; period of galactic peace and expansion begins.

896 BSW4
Yoda is born.

200 BSW4
Chewbacca is born on Kashyyyk.

112 BSW4
C-3PO activated.

60 BSW4
Obi-Wan Kenobi is born.

55 BSW4
Anakin Skywalker is born.

48 BSW4 
Mon Mothma is born on Chandrila.

35 BSW4
The Clone Wars end.

29 BSW4
Han Solo is born in Corellian star system.

Fall of the Republic (no date is given here for some reason)

Luke and Leia born and placed into hiding. Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader. Jedi Knights hunted an killed. Palpatine becomes Emperor. Empire formed.