Galactic Civil War

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Galactic Civil War
Battle of yavin.jpg
Fictional civil war in the Star Wars saga, photo depicting the Battle of Yavin with Rebel X-Wing starfighters approach the Imperial Death Star battlestation.
Location Galaxy (Star Wars)

Galactic Empire dissolved

  • Creation of the New Republic
  • Formation of Imperial Remnant
  • Consolidation of the New Republic

Banner of the Alliance to Restore the Republic (SWG).svg Rebel Alliance /
New Republic

Banner of the Galactic Empire (SWG).svg Galactic Empire /
Imperial Remnant

Commanders and leaders
Mon Mothma
Bail Organa
Leia Organa
Luke Skywalker
Han Solo
Darth Vader
Sage Pestage
Wilhuff Tarkin
Gilad Pellaeon

The Galactic Civil War is a fictional war from the Star Wars galaxy. It serves as the setting for the original trilogy of films A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, as well as many novels, comics, and video games in the Expanded Universe.

The war was fought between the Galactic Empire and Rebel Alliance, later renamed the New Galactic Republic. While it is hard to pinpoint exactly when the war itself began in earnest (although it was surely in full swing shortly prior to the events of A New Hope), the foundations of the conflict are depicted during the events of the clone war, a conflict depicted in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Clone Wars, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Revenge of the Sith.


Galactic Empire / Imperial Remnant[edit]

Banner of the Galactic Empire

The Galactic Empire was the superpower led by authoritarian dictatorship of Emperor Palpatine. The heir to the Old Republic and the personal regime of Palpatine, the Empire was founded upon purging the galaxy of the Jedi and the establishment of the supreme rule of Palpatine over the galaxy. The Empire was closely associated with the followers of the Dark Side of the Force and the Sith Order, with its principal leaders, Palpatine and Darth Vader both being Dark Lords of the Sith. While the Old Republic sought to preserve peace and justice through the Jedi as guardians of these goals, the Empire ruled over the galaxy through instilling terror on dissidents and the use of brute force, including the construction of the Death Star superweapon that could destroy entire planets.

For some time the Empire retained the Galactic Senate of the Old Republic that supposedly held legislative power, but under the Emperor's powerful influence and interference. Prior to the destruction of Alderaan and the Battle of Yavin, Palpatine ordered the Senate to be permanently dissolved, transferring powers to regional governors. With the dissolution of the Senate, the last remnants of the Old Republic were swept away. The Empire was dominated by humans, with few non-humans holding positions in its military.

Palpatine was the supreme leader of the Empire and dealt with its political affairs and strategic decisions. However Palpatine gave Darth Vader general command over the Imperial military though Vader would have to obey Palpatine's inner circle, his Royal Guards who could deny Vader access to visit Palpatine should Palpatine wish it, and the authority of some Imperial military figures that Palpatine permitted to be in superior rank to Vader such as Grand Moff Tarkin. Vader officially accepted the will of Palpatine, though in secrecy he planned to eventually overthrow Palpatine and become leader of the Empire. Vader's discovery of having a Force-sensitive son, Luke Skywalker, made him plan to seek him out, have him seduced to the Dark Side of the Force, and then the two would overthrow Palpatine and together would forcefully resolve the civil war and rule the galaxy.

The Empire collapsed after the death of Palpatine during the Battle of Endor, afterwards supporters of its aims became known as the Imperial Remnant.

Alliance to Restore the Republic (Rebel Alliance) / New Republic[edit]

Banner of the Alliance to Restore the Republic

The Alliance to Restore the Republic a.k.a. the Rebel Alliance, was the rebel organization created by Galen Marek, commonly known as Starkiller, and led by Mon Mothma after his death. The rebellion was dedicated to restoring the Galactic Republic and democracy by overthrowing Palpatine. The Alliance did not match the military power of the Empire, and was forced to resort to holding its main base and leadership in hiding from the Empire.

Political supporters of the Alliance were often secretive of their support for it. Covert supporters of the Alliance such as Princess Leia served in the Imperial Galactic Senate in an attempt to challenge the Empire through diplomatic means, until Palpatine disbanded the Senate. Other opponents of the Empire, including surviving Jedi Knights had been pushed into exile by the Empire, including Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The Alliance had multiple species contribute to it and hold high positions in it, in contrast to the human-dominated Galactic Empire.

After the death of Palpatine and the Empire in the Battle of Endor, the Empire fell apart and the Alliance leadership took power, becoming the New Republic.

The Galactic Civil War beyond the movies[edit]

The Expanded Universe details many more battles of the conflict, such as Prince Xizor's involvement in the Civil War. Many of these events can be found in the timeline below.

Further, the Galactic Civil War continued after the Battle of Endor for many years in the Expanded Universe. With the destruction of the Galactic Empire's central leadership, the institution fell into warlordism, becoming disorganized and weak. Even so, the Empire remained a formidable threat to the New Republic, as it controlled much of the galaxy and still had access to a powerful military. In an effort to fully restore the galaxy to a peaceful state, the New Republic began a campaign of recapturing vital Imperial worlds, including Coruscant, the former capital of the Old Republic and the Galactic Empire alike. The Empire rose again several times under powerful leaders such as Grand Admiral Thrawn and a series of clones of Palpatine, but was always thwarted when those leaders were killed.

Later, a peace treaty was finally signed between the New Republic and the tiny fraction of the galaxy that was under the control of what remained of the Empire, nineteen years after the Rebels' victory at Yavin. At this time the Imperial Remnant, led by Grand Admiral Gilad Pellaeon, consisted of eight backwater sectors bordering the Unknown Regions in the Outer Rim. These systems preferred the policies of the New Order rather than those of the New Republic.[1]

The Force Unleashed later detailed the beginnings of the Rebel Alliance and the events leading up to its formation. The individual most responsible for driving the various rebellious groups together under the leadership of Bail Organa, Mon Mothma and Garm Bel Iblis was a young Force-adept named Galen Marek, codenamed Starkiller. He encouraged the Rebel leaders to unite against the Empire, eventually resulting in a formal declaration of war of Corellia. Unknown to most involved, however, Marek was in fact an apprentice to Darth Vader. He was ordered to form the Alliance under the belief that a war will enable Vader to overthrow the Emperor. In truth, Vader merely used the boy to find the Empire’s enemies and, after ambushing the group on Corellia, turned on his apprentice. Marek survived the attack and tracked the rebel leaders to the incomplete Death Star, where he sacrificed his life to save them. His actions made him a martyr to the Rebel cause and inspired the rebels to continue what he began.

Timeline of the Galactic Civil War[edit]

The following is a timeline of the Galactic Civil War. Note that most of these battles are summarized in the plot synopsis of their respective video game or book article. Dates may not be exact.


External links[edit]