Star Wars is one of the most expansive sagas of all time, but the history, background, and dynamics of the universe are much more expansive than what’s shown in the movies. Diving into the Legends canon as well as the official Star Wars storyline, this series hopes to flesh out the Star Wars galaxy and augment any effort to delve into it, whether it be for game masters, tabletop role players, or fan fiction aficionados.
The tremendous weight of the Galactic Civil War rested heavily on the shoulders of a war-weary galaxy, one that was desperate to find a way to recover. Unfortunately for the good citizens of a galaxy far, far away, the rest that they so desired was a long way away from becoming a reality.
Following the death of Emperor Palpatine at Endor and the destruction of the second Death Star, the Super Star Destroyer Executor, and a number of the Imperial military’s finest assets, the Rebellion – more properly, the Alliance to Restore the Republic – was riding high. The Emperor and his favored henchman were both dead, the Imperial Navy and Army in disarray, and the populations of countless planets rejoicing in the aftermath.
The immediate result of the Battle of Endor was, however, far more devastating than expected. Much like in the time after the invasion of Iraq, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and countless other scenarios in history, a power vacuum was created. Fortunately for the people in those scenarios, however, no one owned a Star Destroyer.
In the aftermath of the Emperor’s death and the collapse of his galaxy-wide New Order, countless Imperial warlords emerged. The Imperial Navy was able to level planets in a matter of hours even without the Death Star – individual Star Destroyers could annihilate single cities in the same time. As such, as soon as the Emperor died – as soon as the monolith of fear he and his New Order represented was gone – every Imperial Navy captain was suddenly a king, a prince, a tyrant of whatever scale he wished. The Battle of Endor was costly for the Rebellion – they didn’t have manpower to hunt down rogue extremists, petty dictators, and tyrannical mercenaries. Nor, for that matter, would the Empire, for dramatically different reasons: with no Palpatine or Vader, no one was around that could issue legitimate orders. As such, any Imperial officer with more than a couple hundred men willing to kill for him (or for mutual profit) was suddenly able to exert his will essentially without consequences.
The ramifications weren’t tied to former Imperial forces, either; former crime bosses, pirate groups, and mercenary factions were suddenly able to operate with impunity. The Imperial Remnant and Rebellion were tied down with one another, fighting constantly and across the galaxy; the people that operated on the fringes of society were free to do what they wished. At the same time, countless bases and treasures were abandoned, the most arcane and secretive Imperial facilities and resources forgotten overnight.
In this era flourished the birth of new organizations. First came the New Republic, a reorganization of the Rebel Alliance into a legitimate galactic government trying to uphold the ideals of a long-dead Galactic Republic; after that came countless Imperial factions, warlord after warlord attempting to seize control. The Imperial Remnant first claimed a minority status in the galaxy after the failed effort to retain Imperial Center, the planet formerly known as Coruscant. Ysanne Isard, the daughter of a former Imperial Intelligence director, assumed power there, attempting to reunite the disparate factions of the post-Endor Empire. Her resistance found an enemy in the forces of the New Republic, especially the various squadrons led by Wedge Antilles, such as Rogue and Wraith Squadrons.
Isard eventually failed, but her resistance cost the New Republic dearly. In the meantime, other Imperial warlords, like Warlord Zsinj, made their claims on the rest of the galaxy, claiming entire quadrants for themselves. The New Republic had its hands full finding and eliminating Imperial warlords from the galaxy, each of which had the habit to stumble upon lost resources, secret superweapons, and countless scurrilous allies.
Adding to the New Republic and Imperial Remnant as arising factions, Luke Skywalker founded the Jedi Order anew, building it from the ground up in an effort to create a new generation of force-sensitive protectors for the galaxy. Naturally, this – plus Luke’s child Ben and his sister Leia’s children Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin – painted a target on the back of the galaxy’s force sensitives, and the Imperial Remnant did its best to hunt down and execute – or, better yet, capture – the next generation of force users. As the New Republic brought ruin to each Imperial warlord it could find, the people of the galaxy slowly but surely had the opportunity to rest easy, finally achieving the peace and security they so desired.
Though this peace would not last, it provided the galaxy with an opportunity to breathe, rest, innovate, and adventure, making it an excellent choice for tabletop campaigns. As the Empire degrades and the New Republic rises, countless opportunities present themselves for fighters on both sides of the conflict to cooperate, struggle, oppose one another, and find peace in new and dramatic ways. The warfare claiming the galaxy is less coordinated and more individualistic than ever before, with countless causes and infinite fighters striving for a new and better galaxy. The time has arguably never been better to strive for individual pet causes and personal motivations, or to upset the established order for reasons person or ideological.
In essence, the New Republic era is one of the best in Star Wars history for a group of player characters to make their mark on the future, especially considering that most of the galaxy is not specifically covered in the books and comics to come for quite some time. The Legends canon is at the height of its permissiveness at this time, presenting unfathomable possibilities for the aspiring player character party.