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"Is there anything I might do to help?"
"No. Not unless you can alter time, speed up the harvest, or teleport me off this rock."
C-3PO and Luke Skywalker[src]

Time travel referred to travel from one point in time to another, analogous to travel from point to point in realspace or hyperspace. It does not generally refer to a body's natural experience of the flow of time along with the rest of the universe; rather, it refers to travel to the past against the natural flow of time, or travel to the future at a rate faster than that of the rest of the universe.

While time travel was an exceedingly rare phenomenon, a few cases were partially documented. No record of deliberate, physical time travel is known—all known cases involved unusual hyperdrive malfunctions, the effects of the Force, or similar exotic events.


The term time travel describes the concept of moving between different points in time, either traveling from the present to the future without experiencing the intervening period, or shifting backward in time to the past. Time travel was a rare phenomenon, but it was achieved on several occasions, mostly by accident. The known incidents mostly involved people or objects traveling to the future,[1][3][6] however, several occurrences of time travel to the past were also documented.[5][9]

Methods of time traveling[]

Though most variations of time travel were discovered accidentally, at least one method of traveling to the future at a seemingly faster rate was widely known in the galaxy. Time dilation—though not strictly defined as time traveling, as there was no actual "skipping" over any period in time—was a phenomena that caused time to flow differently for two observers due to them being in relative motion to each other. This way, a period of time that lasted several hours from one person's point of view could take days and even years from the other person's perspective. Because of the high velocity of hyperspace travel, time dilation was a common side-effect of it, and the ship traveling in hyperspace would normally move forward in time faster than the rest of the galaxy. To counteract this effect, relativistic shielding was installed aboard hyperspace-capable starships, which aligned the hyperspace-traveling object's time perception with that of the outside world. The shielding, however, was not perfect and could malfunction in some rare cases, leaving the person inside the starship open to the effects of time dilation.[3]

As an extension of the above effect of hyperspace, a malfunctioning hyperdrive could open an unstable hyperspace tunnel leading to another time frame,[1] and even to a different part of the galaxy.[6] In addition to hyperspace travel, time dilation could be achieved by entering a large mass of black holes with high gravitational fields, such as the ones that formed the Tyus Cluster. Provided that the traveler survived the dangerous trip, he could virtually emerge from the anomaly at any future time period, as time moved very fast at the center of the mass, to the point that it appeared not to exist at all.[4] There were also several items that allowed time travel. The Darkstaff was a powerful and seemingly sentient Sith artifact, which power could be possessed by a Force-sensitive to create a Force storm leading to another time period.[2] Another artifact, the Orb of Passage, was implied to control the flow of time; it was discovered on the planet Benja-Rihn and kept by the Jedi Order.[5] Finally, it was rumored that the Jerni civilization used the so-called Eternity Crystal to reset the timeline in case of a major crisis.[8]

Some species, such as the Bedlam Spirits, also had the power to manipulate time, and even claimed that they had "invented" it.[9] Two distinct usages of the Force to travel in time were also known. The first was the simple will of the Force, as it could bind two individuals together, allowing them to relive the past in their last moments, though retaining all their memories of the future events.[11] The other was a rare Force power used by the Aing-Tii monks called flow-walking. It allowed one to see the past and the future, though they could not change anything there, except for leaving an imprint of themselves in the Force.[12]


Confirmed cases[]

The flight of the Harbinger[]

Relin Druur caused a hyperspace jump to span five millennia by sabotaging the hyperdrive of the Harbinger.

In 5000 BBY, during the Great Hyperspace War, Jedi Master Relin Druur and his Padawan Drev Hassin tracked the Sith dreadnaught Harbinger, captained by Druur's Jedi apprentice–turned–Sith Lord Saes Rrogon, to the Phaegon system. Druur infiltrated the Harbinger and sabotaged the ship's hyperdrive. Druur then dueled Rrogon and fled the Harbinger aboard an escape pod. The Harbinger fled into hyperspace using its damaged hyperdrive, causing both the Harbinger and Druur's escape pod to travel through time to the year 41.5 ABY.[1]

Darth Rivan and the Darkstaff[]

During the New Sith Wars, the Sith Lord Darth Rivan had strange dreams about being called by the artifact known only as the Darkstaff and tracked it down to Almas in the Cularin system. According to Rivan's dreams, the Darkstaff had already caused some ancient tragedy in the Cularin system, and had been hidden away to prevent any further catastrophe. Rivan believed that the destruction of the planet Oblis, which created the Cularin system asteroid belt and a nexus of dark side power, was the aftermath of this event. Rivan believed that the Darkstaff drew him there, hoping to use him as a way to leave the system.[2] Having consolidated an army of darksiders, Rivan settled on Almas, erecting a fortress there, where he began learning the mysteries of the dark side of the Force.[15] Further investigation led Rivan to believe that the Darkstaff was not intentionally created, but was rather the byproduct of another experiment.[2]

The Darkstaff, a Sith artifact, caused the Cularin system to jump forward in time by ten years.

Measuring a meter in length and four centimeters in diameter, the Darkstaff seemed to consume any light around it. It also consumed any Force energy in the vicinity, literally feeding on the Force. The Darkstaff wanted to be discovered by Rivan so that he could use it as a weapon against his enemies, so it invaded his dreams. Its release would allow the Darkstaff to gain power, both for itself and over Rivan, until it eventually consumed Rivan himself.[2] Rivan initially refused to go in search of the artifact, fearing that its release would cause great damage to the galaxy. However, when the Jedi assaulted Almas, he obtained the Darkstaff and it created a Force storm that swept him through time and space to the planet Ruusan, during the battles between the Jedi Army of Light and the Sith Brotherhood of Darkness several centuries later. There, with his Force power drained by the Darkstaff, he was easily slain by a Force-sensitive warrior.[16]

Centuries later, Darth Rivan's writings were discovered by the Jedi Knights who built the Almas Academy. Word of the Darkstaff reached the ears of the smuggler Len Markus, who set out to search for it. Markus was observed removing something from the Cularin system's asteroid belt, an event which preceded the appearance of strange creatures hiding among the asteroids. Shortly after the Invasion of Naboo, the Cularin system disappeared for several years, before reappearing just as suddenly during the Clone Wars, with its inhabitants not experiencing the passage of time. It was believed that Markus found the Darkstaff, and that its release from captivity was the cause of the entire Cularin system's shift in time.[2]

Bosbit Matarcher, the 225-year-old man[]

"I engaged the jump drive for a trip in outsystem. It took about two hours. When I got out, it was 200 years later."
―Bosbit Matarcher[src]

Bosbit Matarcher, the "225 year old man"

In 212 BBY, the Human male Bosbit Matarcher engaged the hyperdrive on his newly purchased Delemedian starhopper, intending to take a short trip from his homeworld of Delemede. Due to faulty relativistic shielding, what he experienced as a two-hour trip took 190 years from the perspective of the rest of the galaxy. His experiences brought him brief notoriety when he arrived in 22 BBY, resulting in a HoloNet News interview. Matarcher took the experience in stride, as his run-down homeworld had become prosperous in the meantime. However, he decided to let someone else fly him home.[3]

Matarcher's trip was not strictly defined as time "travel" to the future, however, as he did not "skip over" any period of time. Instead, time merely passed in a distorted manner for him due to the well-known effects of time dilation.[3]

Kinnin Vo-Shay's escape from the Tyus Cluster[]

Renowned gambler Kinnin Vo-Shay's experiences were similar to those of Bosbit Matarcher. Circa 50 BBY, Vo-Shay's ship, the Ashanda Ray, was caught in the Tyus Cluster, a mass of black holes. Vo-Shay would have died, crushed in a black hole with his ship like many travelers before him. However, one of the Tyus Cluster's previous victims was the Jedi Master Aryzah, who had managed to survive the destruction of her body as a Force ghost. She made contact with the slightly Force-sensitive Vo-Shay, and helped him fly the Ashanda Ray out of the cluster.[4]

However, the high gravitational fields of the region had caused significant time dilation. In Vo-Shay's words, "at the center of that mass of ugly black holes, time was nonexistent." When Vo-Shay and Aryzah escaped the cluster, he found that some fifty years had passed for the rest of the Galaxy since Vo-Shay's disappearance.[4]

The secret of Tet-Ami[]

"Always must a Jedi start the job he finished!"

The Orb of Passage is activated.

In the last decades of the Galactic Republic, the Temple of Tet-Ami on Benja-Rihn was the subject of much speculation. Built some four thousand years earlier, the temple commemorated a great hero called Tet-Ami, the Time Guardian, who saved the armies of the capital city Carthas from a plague of insect-like beasts in an epic battle. The temple contained a statue of Tet-Ami, holding an artifact called the "Orb of Passage" which was said to control the flow of time. Sometime after the temple's construction, the orb was secretly taken by the Jedi Order, and the temple was lost. Just as the rediscovered temple was about to be excavated by an archaeological dig, the Jedi High Council sent Mace Windu to secretly enter the temple. His mission was to place the orb into the outstretched hand of the statue of Tet-Ami before the archaeologists arrived. Windu had no trouble entering the cave without being seen, and easily fought off a few ancient battle droids who guarded the temple's inner sanctum. He was surprised, however, to find that Tet-Ami's statue resembled him.[5]

Even more surprising was what happened when Windu placed the orb in the statue's hand. Windu was sent backwards in time, appearing on a battlefield just as the Carthasian armies were about to be attacked. Windu joined the fight, and turned the tide of battle. After spending four days in the past, he returned to his own time period, arriving just as the archaeologists entered the temple. When he returned to Coruscant, Yoda revealed to Windu that the Jedi Council had long known the secrets of Tet-Ami, and were simply waiting for the orb's energies to recharge, and for a Jedi Knight named Mace Windu to join the order, take the Orb of Passage back to Carthas, and win the battle. Thus, the time paradox was neatly resolved.[5]

The Sooma/Alzar incident[]

"I'm only a droid, and not very knowledgeable about such things. Not on this planet, anyway."
―C-3PO disavows any knowledge of time travel to Luke Skywalker[src]

While working as diplomatic couriers around 15 BBY, the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO were assigned to escort the child Prince Plooz from the planet Sooma to his home world of Alzar. Along the way, their ship was attacked by the forces of General Sludd, a renegade from Alzar who was plotting to kill the prince in order to start a war which would allow him to conquer both planets. In an effort to escape, R2-D2 engaged the hyperdrive even though Prince Plooz, in an effort to help, had damaged the antimatter power systems. The droids and the prince jumped to hyperspace just as Sludd's electron torpedoes detonated. Whether because of the damage to the hyperdrive power systems, the explosion of the nearby electron torpedoes, or both, their ship came out of hyperspace in a starless void. Their only apparent exit was a rift which took them to the Endor system—but when they went through the rift, they discovered that they had not only traveled to another system, but to another time.[6]

Plooz, believing himself to be in his home system, ran away from his caretakers in an escape pod which took him to the forest moon of Endor.[6] After some adventures on Endor, where R2-D2 and C-3PO met the Ewoks of Bright Tree Village and rescued the royal toddler from a group of Duloks led by King Gorneesh, the droids and the prince returned to their ship and went back through the time rift. They arrived only minutes after they left, escaped Sludd's forces, and brought the prince back to Alzar safely.[17]

While C-3PO and R2-D2's readings on arrival in the Endor system implied that they had traveled anywhere from ten to one hundred years into the future,[18] the Ewoks and Duloks they met on Endor included such figures as Wicket W. Warrick and Chief Chirpa who participated in the Battle of Endor.[6] When C-3PO returned to Endor in 4 ABY, he did not seem to recognize any of the Ewoks he had met previously, though memories of the golden droid's previous, seemingly supernatural appearance affected the Ewoks' worshipful attitude towards him.[18][19]

The Bedlam Spirits and Princess Leia[]

Leia Organa encounters Tilotny and the other spirits.

At another time during the Galactic Civil War, Princess Leia Organa, fleeing from the Empire, crashed on an unknown planet. There, she discovered what seemed to be the remains of stormtroopers who had been dead for many thousands of years.[9]

Before she could investigate further, however, she was chased by three stormtroopers and discovered a group of "spirits"—Tilotny, Horliss-Horliss, Splendid Ap, and Cold Danda Sine—who had immense powers, capable of shaping space and time. While the spirits were in the middle of a conversation, they noticed Leia and the stormtroopers who had been chasing her. The spirits decided to "play" with the four Humans, and managed to kill all of them in the process.[9]

Once they were finished, though, Splendid Ap was tasked with returning the four beings to normal. Ap resurrected the three stormtroopers, but not having a concept of time, also transported them back 8,000 years in the past; these were the stormtroopers whose remains Leia had encountered when she crashed. Leia, however, escaped the stormtroopers' fate and was restored just as she had been previously in the correct time.[9]

Lak Sivrak's experience[]

In 0 BBY, Lak Sivrak, a Shistavanen scout who had left the Imperial Survey Corps, met the Lamproid Dice Ibegon in Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina in Mos Eisley. Coincidentally, they met on the same day Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi contacted Han Solo and Chewbacca to arrange passage to Alderaan on the Millennium Falcon. Ibegon recruited Sivrak into the Rebel Alliance and the two fell in love. The couple was parted when Ibegon died in Sivrak's arms during the Battle of Hoth. Sivrak continued to fight with the Alliance, until he too was killed during the Battle of Endor. In his last moments, Sivrak remembered pivotal moments of his life, including his lover's death and the day he and Ibegon saw Skywalker and Kenobi enter Chalmun's Cantina. He was guided in these reminiscences by Ibegon's spirit, which took him to earlier points in his life through the Force. During these travels, Sivrak retained his memories and thus could predict what would happen next. Though he mostly experienced events during which he was present, one trip took Sivrak to Chalmun's Cantina in the aftermath of Jabba the Hutt's death and the subsequent rebellion against the Empire which occurred after Sivrak's death. Eventually, Sivrak's travels ended when he realized that the Force had binded him and Ibegon together, letting them experience these events one more time. Reunited in spirit, the lovers observed the celebrations of the Empire's defeat on the moon of Endor.[11]


"When you drop a pebble into a river, what happens? There's a splash, and then the splash disappears. The splash is real, but the river doesn't change. It continues on just the same."
―Darth Caedus's metaphor on the nature of flow-walking[src]

Jacen Solo learned a Force power called "flow-walking" from the Aing-Tii. This ability allowed him to not only view the past and future, but also leave an imprint of himself there. He used this power in 35 ABY to witness the crash of the Tachyon Flier in 27 ABY, and leave an imprint of himself for his mother, Leia Organa Solo, to follow.[12]

In 40 ABY, Jacen flow-walked two more times, this time to the Jedi Temple to observe the fall of his grandfather, Anakin Skywalker.[20]

Ben Skywalker used flow-walking to witness Jacen while he learned the ability from the Aing-Tii.[14]

Alleged cases[]

Luke Skywalker's first meeting with his father[]

In 9 BBY, young Luke Skywalker ran away from home after an argument with his uncle and guardian Owen Lars. The disagreement stemmed from Lars' refusal to give his nephew any more information about Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker (by then known as Darth Vader.)[7]

As Luke wandered into the Tatooine desert, he became lost in a sudden sandstorm. Soon after seeing a vision of a tall dark figure, he met a boy around his age calling himself "Annie." Though Luke did not realize it, he was speaking to his father as he was in another time. The two boys realized they had much in common: both were natural pilots, both wanted to leave Tatooine someday, both could sense events before they happened, and neither one knew their father.[7]

Discovering the body of a Tusken Raider buried in the sand, the boys took a gaffi stick from the corpse and sought shelter in a nearby cave. A pack of womp rats drove them back out into the storm, where they stumbled upon an R5-series astromech droid. Annie rigged up the astromech's motivator to explode, sending up a flare. Instead of attracting rescue, the flare attracted a krayt dragon, which attacked the two boys. Losing sight of Annie, Luke threw the gaffi stick into the throat of the dragon, killing it. Luke fell unconscious, and was later found by his uncle and a rescue party. While there was no sign of the krayt dragon or Annie, Luke was convinced that his experiences were more than just a dream.[7]

The Eternity Crystal hoax[]

A picture from an image tape shows the Eternity Crystal in use.

During the Galactic Civil War, Luke Skywalker came across an abandoned spacecraft of unknown origins while on a reconnaissance mission for the Rebel Alliance. A set of image tapes recovered from the derelict, once decoded, showed that the ship was an artifact of the extinct Jerni civilization. These tapes also talked about an artifact called the "Eternity Crystal", used by the long-lost Jerni civilization to control the flow of time. According to the tapes, this power was used to prevent conflicts and crises within their society by reversing their history and starting again on a different path. The tape also gave the location of the crystal, in a vault near Adony Station on the planet Jerne.[8]

The Rebel leadership quickly realized that such power could be used to their advantage in the war—for that matter, it could be used to prevent the rise of the Galactic Empire and stop the war from even starting. Luke, together with his droid R2-D2 and Princess Leia Organa, was sent on a mission to Jerne to investigate.[8]

As it turned out, the "Jerni" ship and the image tapes on board were fakes created by Imperial technicians under the orders of Darth Vader. The story of the Eternity Crystal was only the bait for a trap intended for Princess Leia, who Vader knew would want to change history to bring back her beloved Alderaan. As soon as they arrived on Jerne, the three Rebels were immediately met with opposition from the waiting Imperial garrison. They were forced to ask a group of local guerrillas and bandits led by Meeka Reen for assistance, but Reen betrayed them in an attempt to take the crystal for herself. Luckily for Skywalker and Organa, this meant Reen and her henchmen were killed by the Empire's traps, while the Rebels escaped Jerne unharmed by stealing Lord Vader's TIE/sh VIP shuttle.[8]

Sam Heggs's account[]

Sam Heggs bids farewell to his younger self on Nimba Five, as recounted by himself to Jeet Travis.

In 3 ABY, a spacer and hunter named Sam Heggs was traveling through Mos Eisley, where he told an odd story to a bounty hunter named Jeet Travis.[10]

Heggs claimed that while on Nimba Five hunting bemis, he came across a nest of grumph eggs. Soon afterward, though it was the middle of Nimba Five's long winter, he found a lush jungle nearby. In the jungle, he came across a young man being chased by a grumph. Heggs was unable to affect anything in the jungle in order to help the young man, though he was able to communicate with him. However, he somehow discovered that he was viewing an incident in the past, but that changes he made in the present would go backwards in time. Apparently, the grumph was experiencing time in reverse, so destroying an egg in the present would cause it not to exist in the past. Heggs began destroying the grumph eggs, eventually destroying the egg which erased the grumph which menaced the young man. Heggs determined that the young man was himself in an earlier time period, since he recognized his initials on the young man's backpack.[10]

Other than Heggs's story and the sack of grumph eggs he brought with him to Mos Eisley, no evidence of this incident exists. It may only have been a nonsensical story which Heggs used to separate Travis from his bottle of Vaschean rye.[10]

Behind the scenes[]

Although time travel is central in many works of science fiction, it generally plays a minor role in Star Wars works. However, time travel does have rare appearances in the Expanded Universe. Time travel was also a plot device used in Alien Exodus, a canceled and thus non-canonical novel. In Alien Exodus, the humans of the Star Wars galaxy are revealed to be the descendants of a group of refugees from Earth whose ship accidentally traveled through a wormhole. This wormhole took them not just to another galaxy, but to another time, billions of years in the past: in other words, they found themselves "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away."

Another non-canon story which links the Star Wars universe with Earth is "Into the Great Unknown" part of Star Wars Tales 19. In this story, a hyperspace accident leads Han Solo and Chewbacca to crash the Millennium Falcon on an unknown planet which is obviously Earth. 126 years later, the wreckage and Han Solo's body are discovered by Indiana Jones. Depending on how long ago "a long time ago" is assumed to be, the Falcon's trip in this story may also have involved time travel. In any case, since Han Solo dies in the story, Into the Great Unknown is non-canon.



Notes and references[]

External links[]

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