How Long After Phantom Menace Is Attack Of The Clones (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 10 years

‘The Phantom Menace’ is the first Star Wars Episode. The film was released in 1999 and went on to become an unparalleled blockbuster that pioneered the legacy of the other two prequels in the series. The movie was directed by George Lucas and consisted of a star-studded cast including the likes of Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, and others. The plot is based on the Jedi Knights who are assigned the duty of protecting Naboo from the trade federation’s blockade.

This movie was chronologically followed by the release of ‘Attack of the Clones’. This installment of the prequel was classed as Star Wars Episode 2. The story highlights the beginning of the clone wars after Anakin Skywalker is assigned to protect the Queen of Naboo after a failed assassination attempt, while Obi-Wan Kanobi attempts to investigate the attempt.  

How Long After Phantom Menace Is Attack Of The Clones?

Much like many franchise movies in Hollywood that have released multiple installments to complete the onscreen world of their franchise, the Star Wars films also have a confusing and often complex chronology. The problem primarily arises from the issue of having two simultaneous timelines. The first is the release dates and the consequent chronology created in the real world. While the second corresponds to the in-story chronology of the events occurring in the reel world.

The First Star Wars Episode titled ‘Phantom Menace’ was released in the year 1999. While the second installment in this prequel trilogy, titled ‘Attack of the Clones’ was released in the year 2002. This film was to be the Second Episode in the Star Wars universe. Thus, the chronological gap between the two films was merely 3 years. This is, however, according to the real-world time frames.

On the other hand, in terms of the in-story timelines, there is a significantly longer gap between the two stories. The events of the ‘Phantom Menace’ occur 10 years prior to the events occurring in the ‘Attack of the Clones’. This would mean that the in-story chronology puts the First Star Wars Episode at least 10 years before the Second Star Wars Episode.

Since there are several prequels and sequels to the already established and explored storylines in the Star World universe, without keeping a tab on these chronological details, understanding the flow of events can be daunting and misleading. It can confuse an individual who is watching the franchise for the very first time.

In Summary:

Star Wars StorylinesChronological Difference
Release Chronology3 years
In-Story Chronology10 years

Why Is Attack Of The Clones So Long After Phantom Menace?

The 10-year gap between ‘The Phantom Menace’ and ‘Attack of the Clones’ is because of the events in the overarching storyline. The Battle of Yavin is the time measuring yardstick in the Star Wars universe. Every event in this universe is thus described as either Before the Battle of Yavin (BBY) or After the Battle of Yavin (ABY).

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Therefore, by following this time-stamped trajectory we find that ‘The Phantom Menace’ occurs 32 years BBY or before the Death Star is destroyed. On the other hand, ‘Attack of the Clones’ occurs 22 years before the Death Star is destroyed. Thereby, creating a 10 year lag between the two. Moreover, one must remember that these films were both part of a three-part prequel trilogy to the initial Star Wars movies- Episode 4: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

The real-world timeline of the release of the two films was contingent on the considerations like procuring a budget, shooting and editing the films. The VFX effects used in each film also took time to create and perfect. Thus, there exists a 3-year gap between these two prequel installments.

The 10-year lapse encompasses the Jedi Knight training that according to the texts lasts for up to decades at a stretch. Moreover, during this period, the characters of the story also went on to mature and develop. To view the entire Star Wars universe, an in-story chronology will be better than a release chronology. This will help a novice viewer to understand the nuanced of the story’s progress and development than a release timeline.

Conclusion

The Star Wars universe has been the subject of many intense debates and discussions, primarily with regard to the timeline of the events portrayed in the story. However, enthusiasts of the franchise argue that even though the timeline of the stories portrayed onscreen and the release of the installments do not coincide completely chronologically, it is quite easy to figure out the chronology of the movies released under the franchise.

Simply put, the official release timeline is different from the in-story timelines. ‘The Phantom Menace’, as the First Star Wars Episode was released just 3 years prior to ‘Attack of The Clones’, its successor. However, in the storyline, the events of the former occur 10 years before the events of the latter.

References

  1. https://search.proquest.com/openview/5f5fe66403758b4b09c08267ea5b87ff/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=5938
  2. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/337/6095/636.summary  
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