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Was there any indication how long the Empire was around before the prequels?

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I was rereading the Thrawn Trilogy, and in it Palleon said something about serving the Imperial fleet for 50 years, implying the Empire was around much longer than just 23-24 years that post-prequels state it was. 

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There was some discussion on this topic sometime back in this thread:

http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Implied-starting-date-of-the-Empire-from-OT-dialogue/topic/17700/

That thread focused on the OT, though, and didn't really delve into the EU. IMO, the early EU was somewhat inconsistent in regards to the timeframe of the Empire's formation. Some writers -- like Zahn -- went with a c. 50 BBY date, while others seemed to go with a shorter c. 18 BBY date.

Religious fundamentalism and irreligious fundamentalism are two sides of the same worthless coin.

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I would say The Empire Strikes Back shrunk the timeline of the Empire down to about 20 years. Simply due to Vader being Luke's father.

At that point a date was set for when Anakin turned to the Dark Side and the age of Luke sets that date about 20 or so years in the past.

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It doesn't necessarily mean the Empire didn't exist before Vader turned evil, though.  It could have already been there a while before he joined up and the Jedi were destroyed.

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George's original conception was that the evil Empire was more or less timeless, and the whole Star Wars universe was based on the for-all-intents eternal struggle of the forces of good against the Empire.

I don't think there is anything in Star Wars, ESB or even ROTJ that necessarily contradicts this.  Ben's yearning reference to a time "before the dark time, before the Empire" could be a reference to something extremely ancient and remote.  There's no reason it wasn't 200 or even a thousand years before the events of SW, and Ben was the last of a long dwindlage of torch-bearers.

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<blockquote><p><strong>Darth Id</strong> said:</p><p>George's original conception was that the evil Empire was more or less timeless, and the whole Star Wars universe was based on the for-all-intents eternal struggle of the forces of good against the Empire.</p>
<p>I don't think there is anything in <em>Star Wars, ESB </em>or even<em> ROTJ</em> that necessarily contradicts this.  Ben's yearning reference to a time "before the dark time, before the Empire" could be a reference to something extremely ancient and remote.  There's no reason it wasn't 200 or even a thousand years before the events of SW, and Ben was the last of a long dwindlage of torch-bearers.</p></blockquote><p> </p>

Even in the first draft, the Emperor is presented as the first emperor, coming to power with the aid of corrupt robber barons and the Sith Pirates (or something like that).

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Darth Id said:

George's original conception was that the evil Empire was more or less timeless, and the whole Star Wars universe was based on the for-all-intents eternal struggle of the forces of good against the Empire.

I don't think there is anything in Star Wars, ESB or even ROTJ that necessarily contradicts this.  Ben's yearning reference to a time "before the dark time, before the Empire" could be a reference to something extremely ancient and remote.  There's no reason it wasn't 200 or even a thousand years before the events of SW, and Ben was the last of a long dwindlage of torch-bearers.

In that case, how old was Ben supposed to be? 

Also, according to http://boards.theforce.net/threads/dark-empire-article-series-in-insider.50032523, Veitch initially wanted to write a comic about the Great Jedi Purge, and when Lucas rejected that, Veitch wrote Dark Empire instead.

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

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darklordoftech said:

Darth Id said:

George's original conception was that the evil Empire was more or less timeless, and the whole Star Wars universe was based on the for-all-intents eternal struggle of the forces of good against the Empire.

I don't think there is anything in Star Wars, ESB or even ROTJ that necessarily contradicts this.  Ben's yearning reference to a time "before the dark time, before the Empire" could be a reference to something extremely ancient and remote.  There's no reason it wasn't 200 or even a thousand years before the events of SW, and Ben was the last of a long dwindlage of torch-bearers.

In that case, how old was Ben supposed to be? 

Also, according to http://boards.theforce.net/threads/dark-empire-article-series-in-insider.50032523, Veitch initially wanted to write a comic about the Great Jedi Purge, and when Lucas rejected that, Veitch wrote Dark Empire instead.

 Ben looked to be about 65 to 70 to me.

The Emperor, on the other hand, indeed appeared to be roughly 200-1,000, so he could still be the First Emperor even if the Empire was ancient--what with the force of Magicks and whatnot...