The thousand-year regime did not outlive its founder. The death of Palpatine at the Battle of Endor threw the Galactic Empire into tumult, as the autocracy did not have ironclad instruction of succession in the event of such a disaster. Ambitious members of the Imperial Council attempted to grab into their fiefdoms of power, while distant governors and Imperial military leaders seized what territories they could. Other loyalists tried to uphold Palpatine’s vision and considered such power grabs traitorous. Still more Imperials were relieved to be free of their sovereign and sued for peace with the victorious Alliance at their earliest opportunity.
This was a time of chess. The Empire’s expansion stalled, and its aggression turned inwards. Governors used their propaganda apparatus to spread tailored messages, which in aggregate were a contradictory and bewildering mess. Some, like Governor Abelhard of the Anoat sector, insisted that the Emperor lived on and that the Rebellion was spreading lies. Others downplayed the threat of the newly emergent New Republic, or refused to name it as such to avoid giving the victors any kind of legitimacy. Some ramped up fear by describing the New Republic as monstrous terrorists, swallowing former Imperial worlds whole with their anarchy.
For the New Republic, it was a crucial time to avoid missteps. Mon Mothma insisted on absolute clarity of message – although she held the position of Chancellor, she made it clear it was provisional. This new version of the Republic would undo the overreach of Palpatine and would be a government that was reflective of its members. The communication bureau of the nascent Republic worked around the chrono to craft inspirational messages of invitation. Mothma aspired to host a Galactic Congress on Chandrila where worlds would vote on how the New Republic would be structured. The messages of rebirth, empowerment, and self-determination were strong – calculated to win back the former Separatists worlds that had no interest in the last Republic, let alone a new one.
The Galactic Concordance, the peace treaty that brought an end to hostility, was at last signed after the last remnants of the Imperial fleet vanished following the Battle of Jakku. Former Imperial governors were invited to the New Republic, though many of them bore the weight of crushing reparations.
Once the dust of the Galactic Civil War settled, the New Republic was a fraction of the size of the Empire and the Republic that preceded it. Its size was dictated by the egalitarian process that created it. Many systems opted out of galactic representation, but remained on friendly terms with the galactic government. A Galactic Senate would convene on the capital – a capital that would have no fixed location and would travel to different worlds determined by election.
Over time, the former Imperials reunited as the First Order and coolly inhabited a wing of Republic politics until tension reached a breaking point. The First Order seceded from the New Republic, a move that was welcomed by many in the galactic capital. But others realized that without Republic oversight, the First Order would return to the Empire’s draconian ways and ambitious expansion. To counter this specific concern, Leia Organa of Alderaan founded the Resistance, a paramilitary group that probed the neutral space separating the First Order and the Republic for signs of treaty violation.
It was an age of interstellar tensions, of opaque political borders that fostered intrigue and suspicion. The New Republic obsessed over maintaining peace with a light hand, so as not to repeat the errors of the Empire. As part of the provisions of the Galactic Concordance, the New Republic initiated a drastic demilitarization meant to strip the galaxy of any single fighter force capable of vast conquest. New Republic politicians assumed the defeated Imperials would honor this treaty, and in fairness to their naivety, the hunger for peace was palpable across the galaxy. The Resistance tried to warn the Republic that the cost of peace was vigilance, although General Organa was subjected to accusations of fearmongering and saber rattling.
When the First Order’s true agenda was exposed in the most spectacular and horrific display of war technology known to history, the arguments evaporated as quickly as the Hosnian system. The Republic was burned away in minutes, the result of long-term plotting on the part of the First Order. The minuscule Resistance instantly became the galaxy’s only hope. And emerging from the depth of hidden space, the First Order appeared as a fully mechanized military threat.
Once again, war engulfed the galaxy. Once again, the candle of hope guttered in the winds of troop movements. Once again, artists took up their tools to do their part in the next great war.