Originally posted on The Canon Rebel - December 20th 2015
Spoilers for the Force Awakens follow:
Ironically one of the VERY FEW criticisms of The Force Awakens was, due to the tight editing, we didn’t get enough details about the political landscape. Too much politics was a major flaw within the prequels so this oversight is utterly understandable.
Luckily, I have been able to pick up the fabulous Visual Dictionary by the one and only Pablo Hidalgo of LucasFilm story group fame. Thankfully this gives a clear indication as to what has happened in the years gone past…I’m aiming to purely simplify it for my readers. Do pick up this great book* as it’s FULL of valuable information.
The Republic: What do we see Destroyed by Starkiller Base?
Within the book Aftermath we hear that the Republic has set up base on the planet Chandrila, the home of Mon Mothma. Yet, within the film we hear of the destruction of the Hosnian system, where did this come from?!
Pablo states that due to Mothma’s ideals of having a republic where every planet has a say the home of the senate will change. During The Force Awakens the senate is sat upon the planet Hosnian Prime – this, from what I can determine, is the system we see destroyed by Starkiller Base and therefore the whole of the Republic Senate.
Also, Mon Mothma is not around, the Chancellor is a chap called Laneva Villecham who according to Hidalgo, “Is not worried about the First Order” – that didn’t turn out so well…
What happened between the Empire and the Republic?
So..we had a treaty signed! (No…not that one Legends fans) – this was a treaty called the “Galactic Concordance”. This was signed with the remains of the Empire and I guess we shall see this story played out in the rest of the Aftermath trilogy.
Part of this treaty contained a law called the “Military Disarmament Act” which was hinted about within one of the interludes during Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath. This effectively made anyone leftover from The Empire useless (or so they thought).
Mon Mothma had her dream, a weaponless galaxy, fulfilled…this proved to be short-sighted and naive as the First Order had other ideas.
So who are The First Order?
A cold war began between those still loyal to The Empire and the newly formed Republic. I guess some of those loyalists got a little tired of having no weapons to play with and splintered off and formed the First Order.
Again, according to the fabulous dictionary, they disappeared to “Unknown Regions” to reform and completely disregard the “Military Disarmament Act”. The First Order was born and became a legitimate threat to the Republic.
Edit: Having read Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka, more detail has come to the fore on the relationship between the New Republic and the First Order. Each group had their own area of space, a stand off if you will, that was separated by a “buffer zone of neutral systems”. If the Republic or the First order made a strike of any kind then that would be classed as an act of war. A cold war had ensued.
Edit: The Republic, who wanted peace at all costs, would not strike out at the First Order directly, even if evidence showed that the First Order was preparing for war and had in fact made incursions in to Republic Space.
Where Snoke and Hux came from I have no idea. Cannot wait for those stories.
So wait a minute…if there was a disarmament act…why does The Resistance exist?
General Leia fought for it. As I alluded to above, Chancellor Villecham didn’t see these extremists as a threat. Oops.
With her experience and political savvy, Leia was able to form The Resistance, which is allowed by The Senate through gritted teeth. The Senate does not want a war. Sadly for them they get one and again we see a severe lack of awareness from those in power like the Jedi Council before them.
Thats it… from what I can understand that is the political landscape going in to The Force Awakens. After the film, who knows, the First Order are without their base and The Senate are without their politicians and temporary capital.
Who knows what is to come…we only have until May 2017 to find out!
Hope this has been helpful and please do get in contact if you feel I have missed something out!
*Star Wars the Visual Dictionary is out in many a good book shop…seriously, I have just hinted the information provided.