- "Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff […]"
- ―Han Solo
The galaxy, as it was commonly referred to, was one of the many galaxies in the universe. Composed of a collection of stars, planets, and other astronomical objects, it was originally formed by a super-massive black hole in its center. The galactic disk would eventually span over 100,000 light-years in diameter, and become home to countless sentient species and star systems. The galaxy would serve as the setting for trade, politics, and war throughout galactic history. In historical memory, the galaxy would see the successive eras of the Galactic Republic, Galactic Empire, New Republic, First Order, and others, and was home to the Force-using orders of the Jedi and Sith.
- "There's so many! Do they all have a system of planets?"
"Most of them."
- ―Anakin Skywalker and Qui-Gon Jinn
The galaxy was divided into several regions, with the Deep Core served as the innermost and most brightly lit region of space. It was encircled by the populous Core Worlds where the human species would begin. The regions beyond the Core were the Colonies, Inner Rim, Expansion Region, Mid Rim and Outer Rim Territories. Areas of the galactic disk could be referred to as the galactic north, south, east and west, in which the Western Reaches existed in the galactic south.
The Unknown Regions existed to the galactic west, and remained largely unexplored throughout galactic history owing to many trade routes heading outwards towards the galactic east, while Wild Space referred to regions inhabited by sentient species but never fully charted, explored, and civilized.
Due to the unimaginably large distances between systems, spacecraft utilized a propulsion system known as a hyperdrive to travel through hyperspace, an alternate dimension where a starship could take advantage of the wrinkles in the fabric of realspace to reduce journey time significantly, effectively "jumping" from point to point without having to travel directly between them.
The galaxy had at least two companion galaxies, one of which was known as the Rishi Maze. Notable points of interests were the 50 wonders of the Core, 30 wonders of the Mid Rim and the 25 wonders of the Outer Rim.
- "The Sith killed each other, victims of their own greed. But from the ashes of destruction, I was the last survivor."
- ―Darth Bane's specter
Approximately ten millennia before the Battle of Yavin, one or more ancestor species discovered the hyperdrive, which opened the galaxy up for exploration and travel. Some like Hera Syndulla believed that the space-faring purrgils inspired sentient beings to develop the hyperdrive and travel the stars.
The Jedi Order, a noble order of protectors unified by their ability to harness the power of the Force, was founded over five thousand years before the Battle of Yavin. According to Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi served as the guardians of peace and justice for over a thousand generations in the Old Republic. Later, a group of Force-users split from the Jedi to form the Sith during the Hundred-Year Darkness. In one of their wars, Malachor was devastated during the Great Scourge of Malachor, which left the battlefield littered with the petrified corpses of the Sith and Jedi combatants.
The Sith eventually built a galactic-wide empire through the use of slave labor. During their period of galactic dominance, the Sith built a shrine on Coruscant. After the Sith were driven away, the Jedi Temple was constructed over the shrine's foundations. By 3966 BBY, galactic travelers were navigating hyperspace using hyperspace sextants.
Roughly a millennium before the Battle of Yavin, the Sith were defeated by the Jedi and driven into hiding. However, the Sith Lord Darth Bane survived and instituted the Rule of Two; passing the Sith legacy down to his apprentice. While the Old Republic collapsed, members of House Vizsla recovered the darksaber from the Jedi Temple and used it to rally and unify the Mandalorians. The Jedi also defeated the Zygerrian Slave Empire.
- "The Republic is not what it once was. The Senate is full of greedy, squabbling delegates. There is no interest in the common good."
- ―Sheev Palpatine
A thousand years before the outbreak of the Clone Wars, several star systems united to form the Galactic Republic, which was based on the planet Coruscant. As the home of the Galactic Senate, Coruscant would become the political capital of the galaxy. The Republic would become the dominant galactic government until the Separatist Crisis With the establishment of the Republic, the Core Worlds underwent a wave of expansion by settling new worlds and establishing trading colonies. In the process, they also cut deals with native populations or simply overran them. In 1019 BBY, the Yavin Code was established during the Yavin Convention to govern the treatment of prisoners.
In the years leading up to the Clone Wars, the Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas foresaw an upcoming conflict. Against the wishes of the Jedi Order, Master Sifo-Dyas commissioned the Kaminoans to create a Clone army on Kamino. By 32 BBY, a dispute between the Galactic Republic and the Trade Federation over the taxation of trade routes to outlying systems had led the Federation to impose a blockade on the Mid Rim world of Naboo. The Federation was eventually expelled by a coalition of Naboo humans, Gungans, and the Jedi. Senator Sheev Palpatine of Naboo took advantage of the occupation of his homeworld in order to succeed Finis Valorum as Supreme Chancellor. In secret, Palpatine was the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, who was dedicated to establishing Sith rule over the galaxy.
The Clone WarsEdit
- "The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun, the Clone War has."
By 22 BBY, dissatisfaction with the Galactic Republic had led to the emergence of a Secessionist movement led by the former Jedi Count Dooku; who was secretly Darth Sidious' apprentice Darth Tyranus. During the Separatist Crisis, several thousand star systems and corporations declared their intention to leave the Republic. The discovery of a Clone army on Kamino and a Separatist Droid Army on Geonosis set the stage for the Battle of Geonosis, which became the catalyst of the Clone Wars. At the urging of Junior Representative Jar Jar Binks, the Senate transferred emergency powers to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine; who used his new-found powers to formally create the Grand Army of the Republic.
The Clone Wars engulfed much of the galaxy for the next three years. Republic, Jedi, and Separatist forces fought on multiple worlds and fronts including Christophsis, Ryloth, Umbara, Onderon, Coruscant, Utapau, and Kashyyyk. The Confederacy of Independent Systems collapsed with the deaths of Count Dooku, General Grievous, and the Separatist Council on Mustafar. Palpatine then took the opportunity to destroy the Jedi Order and to transform the Republic into the first Galactic Empire. Emperor Palpatine also took on Anakin Skywalker as his new Sith apprentice Darth Vader.
Age of the EmpireEdit
- "In order to ensure the security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society!"
- ―Darth Sidious
The fascist Galactic Empire became the dominant government of the galaxy for the next two and a half decades. The Empire assumed control over galactic society, economy the HoloNet, and a sprawling Imperial Military. As Emperor, Palpatine wielded considerable power over the Empire's military, resources, and inhabitants. The revamped Imperial Senate saw more of its powers being transferred to planetary and regional governors who had been appointed by the Empire.
The Imperial Survey Corps took an interest in exploring the uncharted reaches of space including the Unknown Regions and Wild Space. As a result, the demand for maps and cartographers exponentially increased. This allowed explorers such as Auric and Rhyssa Graf to make a decent living from selling maps until they were kidnapped by the Imperial Captain Visler Korda. In addition, the Empire created a galactic-wide network of Imperial Academies to indoctrinate and train youths to serve in the Imperial Military. In secret, the Empire embarked on an ambitious program to create a planet-destroying superweapon called the Death Star.
The Empire also expropriated land and resources and ruthlessly stamped out dissent. HoloNet and other media became a propaganda medium for the Empire. In addition, the Galactic Empire was also xenophobic and favored Humans at the expense of alien species. In the Imperial order, aliens were regarded as serfs, slaves, and obstacles needing to be tamed, removed, or ignored. Humans came to dominate the Imperial government and military while alien species such as the Wookiees and Talz were enslaved. Other alien species such as the Lasat and Geonosians also experienced genocide. Despite this entrenched xenophobia, some aliens rose to positions of prominence in the Empire such as Grand Vizier Mas Amedda, the Pau'an Grand Inquisitor, and Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Eventually, dissatisfaction and opposition to the Empire culminated in a scattered network of rebel cells known as the rebellion. Around 4 BBY, the cells became to coalesce into larger groups such as the Phoenix Squadron; ending a previous policy of maintaining secrecy. As the rebellion grew in power, some Imperial tacticians such as Grand Admiral Thrawn realized that the Empire was facing a galaxy-fight insurgency. By 2 BBY, these disparate rebel groups had formed an Alliance to Restore the Republic under Mon Mothma. In 0 BBY, in an attempt to obtain the Death Star plans, the Rebel Alliance launched an attack on Scarif, which marked the beginning of the Galactic Civil War.
Shortly later, the Empire destroyed the planet Alderaan to punish the Alderaanians for supporting the rebellion. In response, the Rebel Alliance used the stolen Death Star plans to destroy the Death Star during the Battle of Yavin. For the next four years, the galaxy was locked into a civil war between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance. Fighting took place in the Mid Rim, Sullust, , Hoth, and Cloud City. In response, the Emperor commissioned the construction of a second Death Star above Endor and laid a trap for the Rebel Alliance in a calculated gamble. However, Luke Skywalker managed to redeem his father Darth Vader, who killed the Emperor and restored balance to the Force. The death of the Emperor and the destruction of the second Star had a cataclysmic effect on the galaxy.
- "Join us in the foundation of a new Republic to be shaped by the will of the governed. Claim your freedom and your future. Help is on the way."
- ―Leia Organa
Following the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance transitioned into the New Republic. The Galactic Civil War reached a new crescendo as the New Republic made numerous advances on multiple fronts against the bewildered remnants of the Empire. The Alliance and New Republic foiled Operation: Cinder, a posthumous contingency plan by the Emperor to devastate Naboo and at least a dozen other worlds. In the months after the events at Endor, New Republic and Imperial forces clashed on numerous fronts including the Anoat sector, Malastare, Geonosis, Naalol, Sevarcos, and Akiva. A civil war also broke out on the galactic capital Coruscant.
By 5 ABY, the New Republic had reconstituted the Galactic Senate on Chandrila and gained control of the HoloNet and large swathes of the galaxy including Akiva and Kuat. Han Solo, Chewbacca, and a team of Wookiee exiles and other allies also liberated the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk from Imperial rule. However, the chaos caused by the Civil War and the death of the Hutt crime lord Jabba Desilijic Tiure allowed various criminal factions including the pirate lord Eleodie Maracavanya and the Red Key Raiders to gain traction. A string of Imperial defeats led Grand Admiral Rae Sloane to propose peace talks with Chancellor Mon Mothma. However, the attack on Chandrila destroyed the mood for diplomacy and set the stage for the Battle of Jakku.
The Battle of Jakku ended the Galactic Civil War in favor of the New Republic. The defeated remnants of the Empire were forced to sign the Galactic Concordance, which imposed harsh war reparations and demilitarized the galaxy. With the Empire defeated, the New Republic turned its attention to reshaping the galactic order. Under New Republic rule, the galaxy endured peace for the next twenty-nine years. The remnants of the Empire eventually reforged themselves as the First Order, a militaristic junta dedicated to overthrowing the Republic. The First Order retreated to the Unknown Regions where they rebuilt their military forces and built the Starkiller Base in anticipation for their war to retake the galaxy.
By 28 ABY, the New Republic was weakened by infighting between two powerful factions: the Populists, who sought greater autonomy; and the Centrists, who desired a stronger central government. The New Republic's inability to enforce financial regulations and patrol the galactic shipping lanes allowed criminal factions such as Rinnrivin Di's cartel and the Amaxine warriors to emerge. In secret, these were front organizations that had been created by the First Order to generate revenue for its rearmament program and to subvert the New Republic. With the New Republic leadership unwilling to take action against threats to its existence, Princess Leia Organa founded a paramilitary outfit called the Resistance.
Rise of the First OrderEdit
- "Today is the end of the Republic! The end of a regime that acquiesces to disorder! At this very moment, in a system far from here the New Republic lies to the galaxy while secretly supporting the treachery of the loathsome Resistance. This fierce machine which you have built, upon which we stand, will bring an end to the Senate! To their cherished fleet! All remaining systems will bow to the First Order! And will remember this as the last day of the Republic!"
- ―Armitage Hux
By 34 ABY, the Trans-Hydian Borderlands had become a buffer zone between the New Republic and the expanding First Order. Unwilling to risk conflict with the First Order, the New Republic ordered its military forces to avoid hostilities with the Imperial remnant. After failing to stop the Resistance droid BB-8, the scavenger Rey, the former stormtrooper Finn, and Han Solo from escaping with a map leading to Luke Skywalker, the First Order used the superweapon Starkiller Base to launch a preemptive attack on the New Republic capital of Hosnian Prime. The Hosnian Cataclysm was witnessed across the galaxy since the First Order had discovered a way of firing dark energy through sub-hyperspace within minutes. In response, the Resistance destroyed Starkiller Base.
The galaxy appears in literally every single piece of Star Wars media. This list only includes specific mentions, descriptions, and hologram appearances of the galaxy.
- Star Wars in 100 Scenes
- Ultimate Star Wars
- "Rebel Rouser"—Star Wars Insider 152
- "The Making of A New Dawn"—Star Wars Insider 152
- "Rebel Friends!"—Star Wars Insider 152
- ; image #6 (of 15)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: Complete Locations
- Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
- Star Wars: Poe Dameron: Flight Log
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide