Del Rey Books, the biggest publisher of new canon novels, recently updated their interactive Star Wars timeline with their forthcoming Solo tie-in books. We have been speculating since the announcement of the film were exactly Solo: A Star Wars Story lands in the timeline and we finally have some insight. We don’t have an exact BBY date but it provides us with a relative understanding of where Solo sits in the timeline.
Catalyst - 21-17 BBY
Lords of the Sith - 14 BBY
Tarkin - 14 BBY
Thrawn - 11-2 BBY
A New Dawn - 11 BBY
Rebels - 5 BBY
The Del Rey timeline doesn't effectively show individual stories that span across multiple 'years' (Thrawn). The inclusion of The Last Shot novel, which spans from before Solo to post-ROTJ, shows that a novels placement in the timeline reflects its earliest substantial story.
Given the relative position of the Solo novelization, I think at a minimum we can say that the start of the film will likely be set between 14-11 BBY. According to Wookipedia, Han Solo was born ~29 BBY, which will make him between the ages of 15-18 at his youngest in the film (likely 18). The story could (likely?) jump to somewhere around 5-4 BBY (making Han 25) for the bulk of the story and that wouldn't be reflected in the Del Rey timeline. Needless to say, this is all speculation at this point but I wouldn't expect the events of the film to entirely take place in the 14-11 BBY as shown in the timeline.
Unless something specific is stated in the film, this might be as close as we get to knowing exactly where the story in Solo takes place and how it spans the Star Wars timeline.
Let me know your thoughts on were you think Solo: A Star Wars Story fits into the Star Wars timeline!
Thanks for reading!
Tim - The Nerd Room Podcast