Hello, OTF! I love the OT, generally dislike the PT, and am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the sequels.
With introductions out of the way, here is my question: Did the OT ever really nail down *when* the Empire began (disregarding the prequels entirely)? Some things about the timeline of the PT don't really match up with what we saw and heard in the OT which is why I choose to discard them.
One in particular was Luke's comment in ESB about how Dagobah "felt familiar". Personally I interpret this to mean that through some combination of circumstances, Luke spent a short amount of time on Dagobah at three or four years of age, right around the time the brain starts forming coherent memories.
Secondly, we were never actually told the ages of Obi-Wan and Anakin. For all we know the old man could be a hundred years old by ANH, his systems kept functioning by the power of the Force.
Finally Grand Moff Tarkin's past always intrigued me. If the Empire hasn't been around for that long, then was he once an officer loyal to the Old Republic? If so, was he always the hard-driving, militaristic, fear-will-keep-the-local-systems-in-line type of dude, or was he once a more humane man who got hardened and battered by the strife of the Clone Wars?
I ask these questions because I'm working on a prequel rewrite where some common assumptions about the timeline get challenged, but I'm trying to make them plausible given the depiction of the OT.