For a long time, the span between the end of the Republic and the destruction of the first Death Star went largely untouched. We knew the Jedi were gone, the Empire ruled the galaxy, and a rebellion had started. However, it was all very general information. We weren’t sure how the rebellion began or how the Jedi got eliminated. All we had to fall back on were the early rough drafts of Star Wars and Legends content that is basically considered rumors. However, slowly but surely, stories started to fill in the gaps.
The formation of the Rebel Alliance was first glimpsed in the deleted scenes for Revenge of the Sith when Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, Padme Amidala, and a few other senators secretly met to discuss what to do if Chancellor Palpatine does not concede executive powers at the end of the war. Organa claimed they were “putting together an organization.” Before he could finish his statement, Padme stopped him saying “some things are better left unsaid.” The seeds of rebellion were planted, and there was no looking back. Later, Padme told Anakin that perhaps they are fighting on the wrong side, and she brought up her concern over Palpatine amending the constitution. The idea of opposing Palpatine and his machinations was indeed blossoming in Padme’s mind.
In the season five episode of The Clone Wars, “War on Two Fronts,” also known as the Onderon arc, Steela Gerrera, and her brother Saw requested help from the Jedi to fight Separatists on Onderon using guerilla tactics. While this might not be an act of rebellion against the Empire, Saw and his partisans would later use the same tactics against the Empire in Star Wars Rebels. Saw’s extremist strategy was denounced by Mon Mothma, who decided it was best to separate what the Rebel Alliance was trying to accomplish from what Saw thought was necessary. However, by the time the Republic fell, the seeds of rebellion were spreading fast, and nothing could stop its momentum.
In Star Wars Rebels, the Rebel Alliance, as we’ve come to know it, truly came together as one entity. Up until that point, different rebel cells fought independently of each other and, for the most part, were unaware of the other’s existence. But, of course, eventually, they were brought together and were highly successful in their raids against Imperial fuel depots and hitting the Empire where it hurt. By Rogue One, the Rebel Alliance was now a full-fledged fighting force with secret support from wealthy planets and ship manufacturers. But how did it go from a few senators meeting to a fleet of capital ships? Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Lucasfilm is slowly beginning to backfill those stories now. Whether it is on purpose or not, it is evident that each of the series currently running on Disney+ focuses on how the Rebel Alliance came together. For example, in The Bad Batch, Clone Force 99 learned that their fellow clone troopers were corrupted by the inhibitor chips. This led them to uncover the truth that the Empire was in the process of replacing the clones with conscripted soldiers known as stormtroopers. The Empire would then destroy any trace of the cloning facility on Kamino, virtually eliminating any path back to Palpatine.
Looking at the time period 5 to 10 years before A New Hope, three events gave us a glimpse of the state of the Rebel Alliance. In Solo: A Star Wars Story, Enfys Nest, who was first thought to be a marauding swoop bike gang leader, was doing what she had to do to help a Rebel Alliance by stealing a coaxium shipment from an Imperial conveyex. Later, Enfys brought the stolen coaxium to Saw Gerrera to use against the Empire. Then, in Obi-Wan Kenobi, we saw the Imperial officer Tala Durith, played by Indira Varma, working from the inside to smuggle Jedi through their outpost on Mapuzo. And coming this August, in Star Wars: Andor we’ll see how Cassian Andor goes from a thief to a revolutionary and eventually joins the rebellion. A little at a time, we’re seeing people from all over the galaxy coming together to fight back against an evil force set on keeping the population subjugated.
For the first five years after the formation of the Empire, the underground movement among the opposition remained relatively quiet. The only stories of those days appeared in novels like Tarkin and Lords of the Sith and games like Jedi: Fallen Order. The Empire was quickly gaining strength but it was far from the power it possessed in the original trilogy. The Rebel Alliance nearly gave up in Rogue One. If they hadn’t destroyed the Death Star when they did, things might have turned out very differently.
Written By Eric Onkenhout
Syndicated From Culture Slate