Is Rogue One a sequel? A prequel? A spinoff? The answer is yes—to all of the above. It’s the first standalone Star Wars story that doesn’t fit directly in the Darth Vader-Luke-Rey storyline. Rogue One is set just before A New Hope and introduces an entirely new cast of characters—Rebel spies who set out to steal the plans to the Death Star.
The events of the film fit right into the middle of the Star Wars timeline, which will get even more complicated with several planned sequels and spinoffs hitting theaters in the coming years. Star Wars fans measure time in the universe relative to the Battle of Yavin, the clash that led to the destruction of the first Death Star in A New Hope. Events that take place before that battle are called BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), those after ABY (After the Battle of Yavin).
Here’s where all the movies all fit on the fictional timeline and (spoiler alert!) summaries of the plots for those who have forgotten what’s happened so far.