Department of Lore Studies: Galactic History 104 - Ascendance of the First Order

1. Introduction

Greetings students. The purpose of this course is to serve as a refresher on the most recent events in history. More specifically, the events as they have occurred within the past thirty years. We shall be continuing on from where our previous course ended, the death of Emperor Palpatine at the hands of the redeemed Anakin Skywalker, formerly known as Darth Vader, at the cost of his own life.

2. A New Republic Rises (4 ABY - 5 ABY)

2.1 A Galaxy In Chaos

Across the galaxy, citizens cheered and celebrated the end of a tyrannical age of oppression beneath the iron fist of the Galactic Empire. Peace, however, would not come easily. With the death of the Emperor and his enforcer — many within the galaxy refused to believe the menacing Darth Vader had turned on Palpatine — the Empire was fractured. Remnants of the Imperial Aristocracy and their military were vying to occupy the power vacuum, consolidating power however they could. To their detriment, the news spread of the Imperial defeat at Endor, and in a matter of days the Empire’s denial of the matter ended in failure. On Coruscant, rioting broke out at Monument Plaza when Imperial Security attempted to subdue the crowds of citizens and Rebel sympathizers.

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Soon after the Battle of Endor, the Alliance to Restore the Republic was reformed into the New Republic. Considering Coruscant remained the seat of Imperial power, the new government was forced to choose an alternative. Chandrila was chosen as the first capital of the New Republic, and it was from their Senate Buildings they would continue to direct and lead the war effort. However, it was decided that the Republic would have a rotating capital based on Senate elections.

Civil unrest spread across the galaxy, most notably in the Anoat Sector. The Imperial Governor there attempted to blockade the entire galactic region and feed the citizenry misinformation regarding the status of the Empire. This incident became known as the Iron Blockade. The infamous blockade lasted for months, with the Rebellion trying numerous times to dismantle it. The suffering citizens trapped in the sector formed a resistance, attempting to strike at the Imperial forces from within local systems. Eventually, internal pressure from the trapped population and continuous attack by the Rebellion ended the blockade.

2.2 An End to Imperial Aggression

Following the end of the Iron Blockade, Chancellor Mon Mothma - one of the former leaders of the Rebel Alliance - agreed with the Senate and other important leaders that the Imperial threat had to be dealt with. Even while the Empire was crumbling from within and was deeply divided, it retained the ability to spread contradictory propaganda and sought to retake planets by force or render them uninhabitable. The New Republic and the Imperial remnants fought numerous engagements, with the former finding itself on primarily the offensive against numerous Imperial leaders. After a time it seemed as if the Imperial factions were searching for peace, with Grand Admiral Sloane reaching out through secret channels. However, their diplomacy was a ruse to mask their true intentions of attacking the New Republic capital in order to weaken its internal structure, and the resolve of its citizens.

An attack on Chandrila was successful, thus continuing the war indefinitely. After peace talks ceased between the New Republic and the Imperial Remnants, Gallius Rax assumed command as Councilor of the Empire. In his role as leader, Rax ordered that all Imperial forces relocate to Jakku. Once there, this location became the headquarters of the Imperial faction and Rax ordered the construction of a weapons facility there to draw in the New Republic forces for a final showdown. Unbeknownst to his subordinates, Rax had been tasked with a contingency plan set forth by Emperor Palpatine; should Palpatine perish, Rax was to ensure neither the Rebels nor the Empire could recover. The plan was to send Sith artifacts into the core of the planet which would result in a cataclysmic explosion. The purpose of the explosion was to destroy both fleets during a battle whilst Rax and his children fled to safely.

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A massive battle known as the Battle of Jakku raged for a considerable time. The constant warfare was notably fierce, as both sides of the conflict knew this would either spell the end of the Empire or cripple the New Republic within its first year. When part of the Imperial fleet suddenly fled to the Unknown Regions via hyperspace, the Empire began to destroy their own base and weapons factory. Upon their defeat, the Galactic Concordance was signed in 5 ABY, completely dissolving the shattered remnants of the Empire and discontinuing a large fraction of the New Republic Fleet.

Further Reading

3. The First Order Revealed (Circa 5 ABY - 30 ABY)

With the threat of the Imperial remnants seeming to likely become a thing of the past, the New Republic focused on rebuilding rather than seeking out the portion of the Imperial fleet that abandoned their allies during the Battle of Jakku. Within the Unknown Regions, those who had fled were fed propaganda about the ‘New Republic stealing the future of the Empire’. This bastion of Imperial power in the Unknown Regions formed what would come to be known as the First Order, the New Republic’s first and greatest challenge following the end of the Galactic Civil War.

One of the first major actions of the First Order was the discrediting of former leaders of the Rebellion. Leia Organa-Solo withdrew her candidacy for Senator when she lost a large fraction of her supporters due to the revelation of her true parentage by an undercover agent of the First Order. Due to his infamy as the Emperor’s Enforcer, Anakin Skywalker was reviled for his actions as Darth Vader; a closely guarded secret that had been shared with only Luke and Leia’s closest friends. Amidst rumors of the First Order rising against the New Republic, members of the Republic Senate dismissed Organa-Solo’s fears during the ongoing cold war with the Imperial remnants. However, Leia had every intention of protecting the New Republic with or without its help. Thus the former Princess of Alderaan formed the paramilitary unit known simply as The Resistance.

Further Reading

4. A Shattered Dream (Circa 10 ABY - 30 ABY)

Though the exact date is unknown, Luke Skywalker maintained his promise to his deceased mentors to rebuild the Jedi Order. Following the Battle of Jakku and the signing of the Galactic Concordance, Skywalker turned his focus to this task and sought out the lore that had not been destroyed at the hands of Emperor Palpatine and his agents. With this information, the lone Jedi Master set himself the task of training a new generation of Jedi.

One of his apprentices, his own nephew Ben Solo, was sent to be trained with Luke due to Ben’s obsession with his grandfather. Han and Leia had been worried that their son felt the pull of the dark side, and sent him to his uncle in the hopes of saving the young boy from falling. A Force Sensitive humanoid by the name of Snoke had sought out Ben, believing the boy to be a perfect balance of light and dark due to his heritage. Though it took time, Snoke succeeded in seducing Ben to the dark side.

Ben Solo was anointed Kylo Ren, Master of the Knights of Ren by the mysterious Supreme Leader of the First Order. Ren’s first task was to repeat his grandfather’s legacy by eliminating the fledgling Jedi Order. He was partially successful, as Kylo slaughtered all of the other apprentices, though Luke Skywalker himself had escaped.

Believing himself to be responsible for his nephew’s fall to the dark side and his failure with the deaths of all of his apprentices, Luke Skywalker exiled himself to wander the galaxy. Many who were close to him believed he had gone in search of the ancient lore of the Jedi Order.

Following Luke’s disappearance, Snoke assigned Kylo Ren the task of searching for and eliminating the last of the Jedi.

Further Reading

5. The First Order Strikes (34 ABY)

5.1 Peace Is A Lie

After ignoring Organa-Solo’s warnings and remaining focused on squabbling over trade and taxes, the New Republic was unprepared for the appearance of the First Order. Having tracked down a possible lead on the location of the last known Jedi in the Galaxy, Kylo Ren travelled with a small detachment of Stormtroopers to where the intelligence led: Jakku. The First Order was unaware that the Resistance had received the same intelligence and one of their agents had arrived first. The Resistance agent, Poe Dameron, was able to keep the knowledge from Ren’s hands, placing it in the care of his droid, BB-8.

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The droid barely managed to evade the clutches of the First Order with the help of a turncoat Stormtrooper and a mysterious scavenger on the planet Jakku. With the help of Finn, Rey, Han Solo and Chewbacca, the droid made its way to Takodana. However, First Order informants tracked the droid’s movements, and a battle ensued that destroyed the ancient castle of Maz Kanata, though map and its contents remained safe.

This took place only hours after the First Order, under the command of General Armitage Hux, fired their Superweapon on Starkiller Base on the Hosnian System. This cataclysmic event, visible in distant systems, took a matter of minutes. With the destruction of the system and countless innocents, many within the Senate of the New Republic and the remnants of their military were destroyed.

5.2 The Awakening

After the First Order revealed its new superweapon, the Resistance immediately formulated a plan of attack that came to be known as the Assault on Starkiller Base. Time was short, as the Resistance received intelligence that the First Order intended to target their base next. Dispatching all available craft at their disposal, the Resistance attacked Starkiller Base with the intention of destroying the weapon. Simultaneously, a small strike team infiltrated the base hoping to disable a key component of the weapon. Though Han Solo was killed during this operation, the Resistance was ultimately successful in destroying the superweapon.

Upon the return of the remaining attack force to the Resistance Base, Luke Skywalker’s Astromech droid, R2-D2, had awoken from the low-power mode it had been in since the Jedi Master vanished. With the key piece of the map to Skywalker’s possible location revealed, Rey was tasked with finding the self-exiled Skywalker. The last intelligence they were able to gather had Chewbacca and Rey departing the Resistance Base aboard the Millennium Falcon in search of the last Jedi, Luke Skywalker, on the planet of Ahch-To.

Further Reading

6. Conclusion

For now, our study of the galactic past ends here. There remain more stories to be told and decisions to be analyzed. The fate of the galaxy is uncertain, and it is for certain that more has yet to happen.

Good luck on your final exam, students.

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