Je n'aime pas dans les vieux films américains quand les conducteurs ne regardent pas la route. Et de ratage en ratage, on s'habitue à ne jamais dépasser le stade du brouillon. La vie n'est que l'interminable répétition d'une représentation qui n'aura jamais lieu.

Star Wars Expanded Universe Chronology: The Fourth Precept!

25,783 BBY

*Okay, so we took a big jump.  If the Dha Werda Verda happened around 36,500 BBY then we jumped around 10,000 years.  If it happened way back around 200,000 BBY, then we’re talking a jump of 175,000 years. 

*So, round about 25,000 years ago.  The land bridge between Europe and North America had probably just closed or was just about to do so.  Our ancestors had invented the spear.  Um, yeah, once again, this is kind of the ideas I’ve been able to glean from being a layman and doing a bit of research.  Hopefully someone reading this will have more information.  If you do, please post in more detail about the 26,000 to 25,000 years ago window and what exactly our ancestors were up to. 

*Right, also, you may notice that I’m skipping quite a lot of material here, namely all of the Dawn of the Jedi stuff.  Simple reason, I haven’t read it yet.  As part of my new found resolve to prioritize this project, I’m going to also be prioritizing getting ahold of the stuff I’ve missed as I go, starting at the beginning of the timeline, so hopefully some Dawn of the Jedi reviews coming soon.  Really looking forward to cracking that era, which I know nothing about. 

*So, Visionaries . . . I’ve written a bit about Visionaries before when I reviewed Prototypes, the ridiculous story about Durge, and the story about Dooku creating Grievous, which it seems to me was called The Eyes of Vengeance or something.  (Reposts of both of those coming . . . in a few years).  My memory is patchy about Visionaries, which is somewhat merciful, I think (though I did like the Dooku story and the Maul/Obi-Wan story; nothing else was really worth the paper it was printed on, but whatever).

*So, I pulled out my copy of it again and took a look at The Fourth Precept.  This story can be summarized very briefly.  Over five pages of stunning visuals, two figures have a lightsaber fight in space, the heart of the earth, maybe some other places, I dunno, before ending up poised together, their bodies perfectly balanced against each other. 

*In other words, you might want to load up on the Mary Jane before you start this one. It’s the 2001 of the Star Wars universe.

*Ok, so let’s plumb the text here.  Well, the story is completely dialogue free, but the title gives a clue.  The Fourth Precept would be, I am assuming, a reference to the Jedi Code, of which the fourth precept is “There is no death, there is the Force.” 


*So, here’s something that I found really amusing about this one in a meta way.  I am using four timelines in conjunction on this project (someone just asked about this too, so here’s a rundown of what they are) and while there are certainly moments where the timelines disagree with each other, there is surely no story about which the timelines are as violently divided as they are on this one. 

*In my baseline” timeline from Wookieepedia, or the default one, the story doesn’t appear at all.  Understandable. 

*In my “secondary” timeline, Rob Mullins places this story at 25,783 years before A New Hope.  He calls it, in a note on the entry, “A surreal amalgamation of images,” which works for me.  He then states that he believes it to be a mythological telling of the foundations of the Jedi religion, which is why he places it here.  He sees it, then, as a myth about how the Jedi order began.  I suppose this marks his timeline as a bit outdated now that we have Dawn of the Jedi and all that nonsense.  Okay, I suppose in some ways this works; the story ends with the opposing figures in balance with each other, so I suppose the rationale is that the moment when the Jedi Order began was the moment when balance and order came to a disordered and chaotic galaxy.  Anyway, that’s why I put it here, because this is where it’s dated on my secondary timeline. 

*In my “tertiary” timeline, DinoJim at the Star Wars Timeline Checklist, puts the story in a separate list from his main timeline and labels it Infinities.  Again, understandable. 

*Joe Bongiorno over at The Star Wars Expanded Universe Timeline, on the other hand, places it at the very, very end of his timeline, just before a batch of public service announcements released in the late seventies to tie in with the movies, released, that is, in this galaxy, where Artoo and Threepio had apparently stumbled.  So, here’s the question, and I may be putting words in his mouth a bit, but it appears to me that Joe’s perspective seems to be that the story is some sort of apocalypse.  It comes after Storyteller, one of the oldest stories in the GFFA, and just prior to the beginning of Star Wars bleeding over into our own galaxy.  Is The Fourth Precept about the apocalypse that ends the Galaxy Far Far Away?  Evidence in support of this?  Well, the fourth precept, which gives this story its title, is about death and how the Force survives even death.  Is this about how even in the death of a galaxy, the Force remains in balance? 

*So, this is either a creation myth of the Jedi order, the story of the apocalypse of the GFFA or it didn’t actually happen at all.  Frankly, I’m going with the third option. 

*I mean, okay, I’m not going to be a total grump.  I will admit that the art is quite spectacular.  But this is a story that forces you to ask if pictures, completely devoid of narrative context or emotional resonance, are enough for you.  I say no.  Your mileage may vary.

*CANONICAL STATUS:  The Fourth Precept is, obviously, a collection of vividly realized artworks.  Various scholars have been of the opinion that this artwork in fact dramatizes and captures actual events.  Some believe that the artist of the Fourth Precept dramatizes a clash, and ultimate reconciliation, between two godlike beings that founded the Jedi Order.  Perhaps even the personifications of the Light and Dark Side of the Force.  While one cannot help but admire the artistic genius on display in the images, any attempt to shoehorn them into a historical narrative is sheer folly at best and, at worst, historical revisionism of a nasty kind and bad art criticism to boot.  These images sprang, not from true events, but from the mind of a great artist.  Appreciate them as such.  This work is NOT RECOMMENDED as a historical resource. 

½ out of **** stars.

Stephan Martiniere

Next time, we’ll jump forward a little over 500 years to get our first look at a legendary figure that I, until reading this story, really knew nothing about.  Yes, it’s a story from the defunct Hyperspace: The Pirate Prince!

Star Wars Chronology!