Galactic Civil War
|Galactic Civil War|
Various third parties
|Commanders and leaders|
Bail Organa †
|Sheev Palpatine (Darth Sidious) †
Darth Vader †
Wilhuff Tarkin †
Tiaan Jerjerrod †
The Galactic Civil War (by 43 ABY know as the First Galactic Civil War) is a fictional war from the Star Wars galaxy. It serves as the setting for the original trilogy of films entitled A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, as well as many novels, comics, and video games in the Star Wars expanded universe.
The war was fought between the ruling Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance. 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.
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, then the two would overthrow Palpatine, and together they would forcefully resolve the civil war and rule the galaxy.
Alliance to Restore the Republic (Rebel Alliance)
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.
The Alliance struck a large victory at the Battle of Endor where they not only destroyed the Second Death Star, but also saw the deaths of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. It would soon after be reorganized into the New Republic.
The Galactic Civil War beyond the movies
The Star Wars 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 immediately below.
The Force Unleashed 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 would enable Vader to overthrow the Emperor. In truth, Vader merely used the Marek 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.
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 it 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.
Timeline of the Galactic Civil War
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:
- 19 years BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) - Operation: Knightfall - formation of the Galactic Empire, beginning of the Great Jedi Purge, first organized dissent against Palpatine's rule within the Senate.
- 2 years BBY - formation of the Rebel Alliance, under the leadership of Mon Mothma of Chandrila, Bail Organa of Alderaan, and Garm Bel Iblis of Corellia.
- Battle of Danuta - first Alliance victory, theft of the Death Star plans.
- 7 months BBY - Uprising in the Death Star - A prison break occurs in the Death Star (a mission in Star Wars: Battlefront II).
- Operation Strike Fear - Emperor Palpatine's plan to destroy Mon Mothma and the Rebel Alliance. It was unsuccessful and ultimately resulted in the Rebels destroying the Death Star (depicted in the computer game Star Wars: X-wing). The operation ended with the destruction of the Star Destroyer Invincible.
- 1 month BBY - Battle of Polis Massa - attempt at retrieving the Death Star plans; first major battle of the war (featured in Star Wars: Battlefront II).
- 0 BBY - Attack on Tantive IV - another attempt at retrieving the plans; capture of Princess Leia Organa (from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope).
- 0 BBY - Attack on Tatooine - the search for the droids who have the stolen plans (from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope).
- 0 BBY - Attack on Tatooine (Phase 2) - Imperials scout in Mos Eisley to continue the search (from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope).
- 0 BBY - Destruction of Alderaan - Alderaan is destroyed; Senator Bail Organa among the millions dead (shown in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope).
- 0 BBY - Battle of Yavin - destruction of the first Death Star; chronicled in A New Hope and other sources.
- 0 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin) - First Battle of Yavin Base - Rebels are forced off of Yavin; chronicled in multiple sources.
- Massacre on Talay - introduction of the Dark Troopers.
- Battle of Ralltiir - Imperial attempt to capture Rebel scientists fails.
- Battle of Thyferra - Death of Imperial Moff Seerdon.
- 3 years ABY - Battle of Hoth - Imperial troops locate and destroy the Alliance's base on Hoth (chronicled in The Empire Strikes Back).
- 3 ABY - Battle of Bespin - Bespin attacked by the Empire; Han Solo, a Rebel hero, is captured (chronicled in The Empire Strikes Back).
- 3 ABY - Battle of Gall - failed Rebel attempt to rescue Han Solo from Boba Fett before he can deliver Solo to Jabba the Hutt (shown in Shadows of the Empire).
- 3.3 ABY - Battle of Dubrillion - destruction of a major Imperial facility.
- 3.5 ABY - Battle of Tanaab - Lando Calrissian defends farmers from a force of pirates, shows great skill, and is later recruited by the Alliance and commissioned as a general.
- 4 ABY - Battle of Xizor’s Skyhook - death of Prince Xizor at the climax of Shadows of the Empire.
- 4 ABY - Battle of Kothlis - the Second Death Star plans are beamed to the Razor, which was attacked over Kothlis.
- 4 ABY - Battle of Fondor - the prevention of the production of a new Super Star Destroyer that would have been used at the Battle of Endor.
- 4 ABY - Skirmish at Carkoon - Han Solo is rescued from Jabba the Hutt by several other Rebels (shown in Return of the Jedi).
- 4 ABY - Battle of Bespin continues.
- 4 ABY - Battle of Endor - destruction of the Death Star II and the death of Palpatine led to a fragmentation of the Empire (shown in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi).
- 4 ABY - Battle of Bakura - an Imperial planet is attacked by unknown forces; the Alliance sends aid.
- 6 ABY - Fall of Coruscant - Coruscant finally falls to New Republic forces.
- 9 ABY - Thrawn Campaign - Grand Admiral Thrawn begins a major campaign to destroy the New Republic.
- 9.5 ABY - Battle of Bilbringi - end of Thrawn’s Campaign.
- 10 ABY - final Destruction of Palpatine's First Galactic Empire at Byss (depicted in the Dark Empire and Empire's End comic book series).
- 19 ABY - Bastion Accords between the Imperial Remnant and the New Republic ends the Galactic Civil War.
- "The State of the Galactic Civil War, Part 1: From Endor to Coruscant" (December 2000) By Abel G. Pena
- Episode III: Revenge of the Sith - Novelisation, 1st edition hardcover, 2005. Matthew Woodring Stover, George Lucas, ISBN 0-7126-8427-1
- The Truce at Bakura, 1st paperback printing, 1994. Kathy Tyers, ISBN 0-553-56872-8
- Heir to the Empire, 1st paperback edition, 1992. Timothy Zahn, ISBN 0-553-40471-7
- Dark Force Rising, 1st edition, 1992. Timothy Zahn, ISBN 0-553-08574-3
- The Last Command, 1st paperback edition, 1994. Timothy Zahn, ISBN 0-553-56492-7
- Dark Empire, trade paperback, 1993. Tom Veitch, ISBN 1-56971-073-2
- Dark Empire II, trade paperback, 1st edition, 1995. Tom Veitch, ISBN 1-56971-119-4
- Empire's End, trade paperback, 1997. Tom Vietch, ISBN 1-56971-306-5