It seemed to me that later works took the two unconnected stories and then tweaked the timeline to make them both fit.
Yeah, they did that a lot. The various Star Wars
tie-ins originally went in their own separate directions, as was normal for tie-ins at the time, but then, once the novels and comics were coming along more regularly, Lucasfilm adopted its policy of treating them all as equally real and grafting them together even when they contradicted each other. And I think that's created a false impression in retrospect that they were always meant to be a uniform whole.