The Disaster

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"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."
―Obi-Wan Kenobi senses Alderaan's destruction[src]

The Disaster, otherwise known as the Destruction of Alderaan, was the name given to the destruction of the planet Alderaan in the Coruscant Core at the hands of the Galactic Empire during the Galactic Civil War. Before the Disaster, the Rebel Alliance stole the plans for the Death Star, the Empire's deep-space mobile battle station. Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan was captured during an Imperial attempt to intercept the plans, and she was brought aboard the Death Star following her capture aboard the Tantive IV above the desert world of Tatooine. Once aboard, the young princess was tortured in the hopes that the Empire could extract the location of the Rebel base from her. Organa refused, and the station's commander, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, Governor of the Outer Rim Territories, threatened to use the Death Star to destroy Alderaan if she did not comply. Organa provided a false location, and although Tarkin believed her, he destroyed Alderaan—and the billions of people living there—to demonstrate the station's power to the galaxy.

The destruction of Alderaan sent a disturbance through the Force. Alderaanians who were off-world at the time took to calling Alderaan's destruction "the Disaster." Riots broke out in Alderaanian immigrant areas of the planet Coruscant, and the Empire killed many rioters and arrested many more immigrants. The Rebellion was ultimately able to prevent further planets from being destroyed when the Rebel pilot Luke Skywalker destroyed the Death Star during the Battle of Yavin. After the battle, Organa set out to find surviving Alderaanians in order to preserve what remained of the planet's culture.


"I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit. My father will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."
Princess Leia Organa, in a holographic message to Obi-Wan Kenobi[src]

The Disaster as foreseen by Anakin Skywalker

During the Clone Wars, a trio of JediObi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Ahsoka Tano—were brought to the realm of Mortis by a group of Force wielders who dwelled there. These beings believed that Skywalker was the Chosen One who would one day bring balance to the Force and destroy the Sith. One of the beings, the Son—a representation of the dark side of the Force—showed Skywalker a vision of the Jedi Knight's future as Darth Vader, a Dark Lord of the Sith. In the vision, Skywalker witnessed the destruction of the planet Alderaan, an influential member world within the Galactic Republic. Skywalker briefly turned to the dark side as a result of the vision, but he gave up the dark side and his memory of the vision was erased.[6]

Throughout the Clone Wars, Alderaan and its representative in the Galactic Senate, Senator Bail Organa, were publicly opposed to the war effort against the Confederacy of Independent Systems. At the end of the war, Darth Sidious—the Dark Lord of the Sith publicly known as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire.[7] In the years that followed, the Empire considered Alderaan to be a hotbed of rebellious activity, and it warned Imperial citizens that Alderaan was a dangerous world intent on ending the security that the Empire supposedly brought to the galaxy.[8]

Alderaan became a founding member of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, a Rebel Alliance opposed to the Imperial regime.[9] During the Galactic Civil War, the Rebels stole the technical plans for the Death Star, a deep space mobile battle station capable of destroying entire planets. Princess Leia Organa, the adoptive daughter of Bail Organa and secretly the daughter of Darth Vader, was entrusted with bringing the plans to Kenobi, who had gone into exile on the desert world of Tatooine. The princess was captured during a battle over Tatooine, but two droidsR2-D2 and C-3PO—escaped the battle and were able to bring the plans to Kenobi. The Jedi Master, along with Luke Skywalker—secretly Vader's son, and Princess Organa's twin brother—and the two droids, set out to bring the stolen plans to Bail Organa on Alderaan. They hired the Millennium Falcon, captained by the smuggler Han Solo and co-piloted by the Wookiee Chewbacca, to give them passage to Alderaan.[1]

The DisasterEdit

"I think it is time we demonstrated the full power of this station. Set your course for Alderaan."
Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin[src]

Following her capture, the princess was brought aboard the Death Star, where she was interrogated and tortured by Darth Vader in the hopes that she would reveal the location of the Rebel base, which was located in the Great Temple of Massassi on Yavin 4. The torture was ineffective, and Organa refused to give up the location of the Rebellion. In order to persuade her to give up the information, as well as to finally demonstrate the power of the Death Star to the galaxy, Grand Moff Wilhuff TarkinGovernor of the Outer Rim Territories and the commander of the Death Star—ordered that the station set course for Alderaan.[1]


The Death Star fires on Alderaan

Upon the station's arrival at Alderaan, Organa was brought to the Death Star's command center, where Tarkin threatened to destroy the planet if she did not comply the Empire's demands to provide the location of the Rebellion. Organa was not prepared to give up the Rebels, but she also did not want to lose her homeworld and the millions of people who lived there. As a result, she lied to Tarkin and told him that the Rebel base was located on Dantooine. Although Tarkin believed her, he still intended to make use of the weapon; whereas Dantooine was too remote to give an effective demonstration of the Death Star's power, he saw Alderaan as the perfect target. Tarkin gave the order to fire upon Alderaan, and the Death Star's superlaser destroyed the planet in seconds, sending out a shockwave in all directions. The means of destruction fulfilled the vision that Anakin Skywalker had seen on Mortis years earlier.[1][6]

As a result of its destruction, all that remained of the planet was a debris field.[1] The two billion people living on the planet were killed,[10] including Viceroy Bail Organa[4] and his wife Queen Breha.[5] The destruction was powerful enough that it sent a massive disturbance through the Force, one that Kenobi felt aboard the Millennium Falcon. Although he did not know what had happened, he could feel in the Force that millions of voices cried out in terror before they were silenced—the moment of the planet's destruction.[1]

The destruction of Alderaan was also witnessed by several graduates of the Royal Imperial Academy on Coruscant including Thane Kyrell, Ciena Ree, Nash Windrider, and Jude Edivon. Thane was an elite TIE fighter pilot stationed at the Death Star. Horrified by the Empire's ruthlessness, Thane later defected to join the Rebel Alliance. While sharing Thane's horror, Ciena was unable to abandon her oath to the Empire and would remain loyal even until the Battle of Jakku five years later. While the Alderaanian Nash was distraught by the destruction of his homeworld, he rededicated his life to the Empire. Meanwhile, Jude rationalized that the destruction of Alderaan saved many lives from being killed in a war. Despite Jude's prediction, the planet's destruction only strengthened the Alliance's resolve to overthrow the Empire. Jude later identified a flaw in the Death Star's design but failed to convince her superiors to order an evacuation. Jude later perished during the Battle of Yavin.[11]


"As we speak, the Imperials are hunting down all surviving Alderaanians."
"All? How do you know?"
"Word travels through the Rebel forces. Too much so to simply be rumor."
Evaan Verlaine and Leia Organa[src]

Following Alderaan's destruction, Imperial forces investigated Organa's claim that the Rebels were on Dantooine. Although they found the remains of a base, it had been abandoned for some time. Meanwhile, the Millennium Falcon had entered into the debris field and was captured by the Death Star, forcing the group to find a means of escape. While Kenobi worked to lower the tractor beam that trapped the ship, Skywalker set off with Solo and Chewbacca to rescue the princess. They fought their way out of the Detention Level and returned to the Falcon, where they witnessed Kenobi engage in lightsaber combat with Vader. To give the Rebels a chance to escape, and to achieve immortality, Kenobi allowed Vader to kill him. The Rebels were able to escape to the base on Yavin 4, where the Empire followed them. Having analyzed the Death Star plans, the Rebels mounted the Battle of Yavin, in which Skywalker destroyed the Death Star.[1]

Remember Alderaan poster

Propaganda poster utilized by the Rebel Alliance after the Disaster.

In the days after the planet's destruction, word spread that Alderaan had been destroyed. Alderaanians who were off-world at the time took to calling their world's destruction "the Disaster." Vigils were held amongst the Alderaanian immigrant population on Level 3204 on Imperial Center, the capital planet of the Empire, in order to grieve for the missing and dead Alderaanians. When it became apparent through official government statements and pirated newsfeeds that the Empire had destroyed the planet, the vigils turned into riots, with calls for justice and revolution against the Empire. At first, many rioters were killed. Soon, however, Imperial stormtroopers and Coruscant underworld police arrested first generation Alderaanians, justifying the arrests by saying that they needed to be questioned due to reports of so-called Rebel spies attempting to foment rebellion. Rumors suggested that second generation Alderaanians were being given the benefit of the doubt and relocated.[2]

Following the Battle of Yavin, Princess Organa was informed by Evaan Verlaine, a pilot in the Rebel Alliance and one of the surviving Alderaanians, that the Empire had begun targeting the remaining Alderaanians. In order to preserve what was left of her people and her culture, Organa set out with Evaan to locate and save her people from the Empire.[5] Several weeks later, the Rebel Alliance mounted an assault on Cymoon 1 in order to destroy Weapons Factory Alpha, perhaps the largest weapons factory in the galaxy. During the assault, Princess Organa ordered Solo to kill Darth Vader in order to avenge the death of Kenobi and the destruction of Alderaan. Vader survived the attack, however, with only minor injuries.[12]

Behind the scenesEdit

The destruction of Alderaan was first depicted in the 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, written and directed by Star Wars creator George Lucas.[1] Several decades later, in 2011, a vision of the future that depicted the Disaster was shown in "Ghosts of Mortis," the seventeenth episode of the third season of the animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.[6] The aftermath of the planet's destruction has been depicted in a number of canon sources beginning in 2014, including the short story "One Thousand Levels Down"—in which the name "Disaster" was first given[2]—as well as the Marvel comic book mini-series Star Wars: Princess Leia.[13]



Notes and referencesEdit

Galactic Civil War
Galactic timeline

Previous: Early rebellion against the Galactic Empire · Lothal insurgency · Jedi Purge · Jedha insurgency

Concurrent: Ryloth Insurgency

Next: Amaxine warrior crisis

Battles of the Galactic Civil War
0 BBY Scarif · Tatooine (I) · Death Star · Yavin
0 ABY Taanab · Alderaan survivors · Giju · Llanic · Denon · Pasher
Devaron · Cymoon 1 · Tatooine (II) · Monsua Nebula · Nar Shaddaa
Vrogas Vas · Coruscant (I) · Sunspot Prison · Ghost Moon
Harbinger · Tureen VII · Skorii-Lei (II)
1 ABY Mid Rim Retreat (Haidoral Prime · Coyerti · Chonsetta system
Redhurne system)
3 ABY Rebel flotillla · Hoth (I) · Cloud City (I) · Cloud City (II) · Operation Ringbreaker (Mardona III · Obumubo · Najan-Rovi · Nakaia · Naator
Xagobah · Kuliquo belt) · Inyusu Tor · Operation Yellow Moon
4 ABY Hudalla system · Tatooine (III) · Endor (I) · Coruscant (II) · Coruscant (III) · Endor (II) · Cawa City · Operation: Cinder (Naboo) · Tayron
Iron Blockade (Anoat (I) · The Crypt · Mataou · Hoth (II) · Anoat (II))
Malastare · Akiva (I) · Naalol · Geonosis · Uyter · Sevarcos · Akiva (II) · Bespin
5 ABY Vetine · Hyborean Moon · Vorlag · Wild Space · Nag Ubdur (Govneh Ridge · Binjai-Tin) · Arkanis · Kuat · Kashyyyk · Chandrila
Naboo Sieges · Jakku
Related topics and articles
Dragon Void Run · Galactic Empire · Hutt Clan · Jedi · The rebellion · Ivarujar · Zeitooine
Rebel Alliance · Sith · New Republic · Death Star · Death Star II
Imperial Senate · The Disaster · Royal Award Ceremony · Funeral of Anakin Skywalker · Liberation Day · Imperial-Republic peace talks · Taris · Galactic Concordance

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