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Editorial: Historical Precedent for the Empire’s Survival

Stormtroopers - The Force Awakens teaserWith the reveal of the plot outline for Journey to the Force Awakens the question of how did the Empire survive the destruction of the second Death Star and the death of the Emperor at the end of Episode VI? Trying to put his history degree to good use, hit the jump to see Bluestreaking explain his views on how we just have to look to a time long ago to figure out what happened in a galaxy far far away.

 

 

Since before the release of the teaser the debate over the existence of the Empire raged across the Cantina forums. The complaint against the existence of the Empire is an easy one “The whole point of the end of Episode VI was that they lost and it’s over,” well as a student of history that answer never really sat well for me. Even if Star Wars is a fictional world it is one grounded in the motifs and themes of ours. By that sense if we look at how the Empire can exist following the death of THE Emperor we should look to the history of our own Empires.

 

To Begin I am going to list some of the points I have come across arguing against the Empire’s survival

 

1. The Emperor was the central authority figure and he died, this has several subpoints as well

2. The Imperial Navy was wiped out
3. Everyone would’ve turned to the Rebellion after Endor
These three main points also have several subpoints related to them that I will try to address. So to begin I will first address the counter points.

 

 

Palpatine

 

1. No Emperor = No Empire

 

The idea that the Emperor was in some way the only force holding together the Empire is a logical thought process at first. These people view the Emperor as a figure similar to Yugoslavia’s Josip Broz Tito who held together a collection of different Slavic people with almost sheer force of will, and after his death Yugoslavia eventually splintered without him at the head. What’s important to note is that even if Palpatine was such a figure for the Empire, it took even Yugoslavia 11 years to fracture after Tito’s death. But that point is irrelevant because I don’t feel the Emperor was anything more than a figurehead, and we need to look no further than the first ever Star Wars film.

 

 

Grand Moff Tarkin

 

Tarkin is referred to as a “Grand Moff” and in one of his early scenes he discusses the fact that the Imperial Senate has been dissolved and now “all power” lies with the regional governors. When we see Palpatine in VI he isn’t thinking or talking about everyday political affairs like the dissolving of the senate, all he cares about is being evil and other dark side shenanigans. Tarkin is the sort of person real power was given too, Moffs and Governors. With the dissolution of the senate it is suggested that all three branches of authority- legislative (making laws), judicial (interpreting laws), and executive (enforcing laws) now reside within Moffs. What this reminded me of was the Persian satrapy system.

 

 

satraps

 

Running an empire isn’t easy, especially for a centralized ruler. Some of the most effectively run empires, such as the Achaemenid Persian Empire, developed a system of “viceroys” or “governors” and in Persia these men were known as Satraps. They ruled under the direct authority of the Persian king, but were given high reigns of autonomy in their own regions and basically ruled as kings in their own right. In that sense Moffs are similar to Satraps.

 

 

In a post on The Cantina I mentioned my theory on political organization for the Empire pre-Episode VI:

 

Here’s how I assume the Empire was set up based on the films. The Emperor is the central figurehead and all people are said to “serve” the Emperor but real authority was originally in the Imperial Senate, when the Senate is dissolved that gave total executive/legislative/judicial power to the Moffs. A Grand Moff handled intersystem affairs for a region such as the Outer Rim and they answered directly to the Emperor, chosen based on absolute loyalty to the Empire. Below them would be Moffs of certain sectors who had affairs concerning interactions between planets and how the system as a whole benefits the Empire (such as overseeing the Kuat Shipyards), below these Moffs would be Planetary Governors who handle affairs on their planet. For more populated planets such as say Corellia they may have even had the equivalent of mayors overseeing certain populated regions of the planet.

 

 

The Emperor was nothing more than a figurehead, the only troubling aspect of his death for the Empire is the fact he probably never designated a successor, since Palpatine planned on living forever. What this means is that after his death there is a succession crisis, which actually has caused the downfall of Empires (and why kings HAD to have a son). So there would be instability in the Empire following his death, but power is drawn to those with power and influential Moffs would begin to consolidate power. The Empire also knows it is in the middle of a Civil War and can’t afford petty infighting, uniting the powerful Moffs together to save the Empire isn’t that difficult of a task. “If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.”


 

Battle of Endor

 

2. The Imperial Navy was wiped out at Endor

 

“A legion of my best troops,” a phrase that apparently suggests Ewoks as the most powerful force in the universe has also been misinterpreted to mean that the Empire suffered insurmountable losses in the climactic battle of Episode VI. There is something that needs to be understood here, well besides legion not meaning all, it takes a lot of soldiers to run an empire the way Palpatine was running his. Just look at it this way, the amount of soldiers needed to keep control of a GALAXY-wide Empire would require a lot more ships than could actually fit in a single sector.

 

The Empire probably lost a big chunk of their best and brightest, an idea put forth in Heir to the Empire. On a sidenote I was never fond of the “The Imperial navy fought well because of the Emperor” plot point made in that book. But losing that doesn’t mean the entire Imperial navy is destroyed. For historical comparison I will look towards one of the most famous examples of an entire navy getting wiped out in the blink of an eye.

 

 

Pearl Harbor

 

There are very few comparisons I can actually make between Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Endor, but there is one very vital one I wish to make. The American Pacific Fleet was virtually wiped giving the Japanese Military a huge advantage in that theater. But unless you are a long forgotten Japanese officer trapped in the depths of a jungle in the Pacific you know that America still defeated Japan in the pacific theater, even before the usage of the nuclear bomb (the original superweapon). While the American destroyer fleet was virtually wiped out, the Americans instead changed their strategy and tactics in the Pacific, focusing more on Aircraft Carriers since those were still intact.

 

 

 

In that same vein even if the Imperial losses at Endor are greater than I believe, the Imperial Navy would just adapt rather than give up. The Imperial swarming tactics may no longer be feasible so they could have adopted strategies that involve smaller precision attacks towards specific targets rather than crushing with full force of numbers. In a sense using the Rebellion’s own tactics against them, something seen in war time and time again (see Battle of Zama for one of my favorite examples)

 

 

Rebels

 

3. Everyone would’ve turned on the Empire after Endor

 

“I don’t like the Empire, I hate it,” Luke Skywalker said a variation of these words during his attempts to refuse the call to action and from our point of view we would imagine everyone hates the Empire and wants it gone.

 

 

Anakin Skywalker

 

But from someone elses point of view the Rebels are evil. They are a force of instability desiring a return to a corrupt former Republic. They are terrorists who do more harm than good in their foolish crusade. So ideologically there are certain people who favor the Empire. If you look in history and even today there are people who look back at governments we view as oppressive and evil with a sense of nostalgia. It may not be black and white like Star Wars often is, but it’s what life is like in the real world.

 

 

Now let’s look at the practicality of who to support, the Rebel Alliance has scored a stunning victory taking out the symbolic head of the Empire and his dreaded enforcer alongside the next Imperial superweapon. But the Rebel Alliance did this at a heavy price, their primary fleet has suffered humongous losses and won’t be able to mount a major offensive against the Empire for awhile. While the Empire regroups and reforms the Rebel Alliance has to rebuild their strength, neither situation is that good.

 

 

coruscant-celebration1

 

What is good for the Rebel Alliance is that planets will now declare open Rebellion. The Rebel Alliance in both the films and the TV Show Rebels is depicted as a guerilla insurgency. They move from base to base and only emerge for lightening quick strikes behind Imperial lines. This is a very effective way to fight a war, we’ve seen it in Cuba, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Mexico, and even the United State during the American Revolution. But it’s difficult to win a war with this method, the end goal is to render the enemy incapable or unwilling to fight. When fighting someone with the resources of the Empire it’s difficult to bring them to a point where they are incapable of fighting. Sooner or later you have to fight pitched battles, but putting a guerilla force against a standing army usually leads to some bad results. In Star Wars we need to look no further than Hoth.

 

 

hostile environments

 

The Rebel Alliance army was crushed at Hoth and barely bought enough time to evacuate the system, the last ships getting out as the base is getting overrun. In Episode IV the Rebel Alliance pilots are being wiped out before Luke makes a one in a million shot to destroy the Death Star. In Episode VI it took the intervention of the Ewoks to turn the tide of the battle for Endor.

 

 

With planets declaring open Rebellion the Rebel Alliance would then have a front in which to engage the Empire in a conventional war. Think of Endor not as the Star Wars Yorktown, but rather the Star Wars Saratoga. The Battle of Saratoga was the first major victory the Americans had over the British in an actual pitched battle, and it was the victory at Saratoga that convinced the French to fully support the American war effort which would prove the turning point of the war. The Rebel Alliance has shown itself to be capable of defeating the Empire, but there is still plenty of fighting left.

 

 

Han's Ship?

 

But don’t forget that the Empire has a stronger base to build from. They have more men, more ships, more supplies, etc. Just because they lost at Endor doesn’t mean the Empire as a whole is done. Rome didn’t fall after Cannae, Persia didn’t fall after Marathon, Japan didn’t fall after Midway. The idea of the “climactic” battle is one that permeates history but there are very few actual examples. The prime example of a climactic battle in history is perhaps Waterloo (even if I consider the Battle of the Nations to be a better example). But let’s took a moment and look at the Napoleonic Wars, it was a case of virtually one Empire (France) vs almost the whole remainder of Europe. In a situation like that a single climactic battle actually could occur because France was fighting from a severe disadvantage and couldn’t really afford to lose. If the Rebellion had lost at Endor that probably would’ve been the end of the Rebellion.

 

 

Let’s look at poker for a non-martial example. Let’s say you’re the short stack, meaning you have the fewest amount of chips on the table, you get a good hand and go all in against the biggest stack at the table. While you’ve just put all of your chips on the table, the big stack only had to put a fraction of their chips into the pile. If you lose you’re out, if they lose they have plenty of other chips to play with. It will be a huge blow to the big stack player to lose in this situation but the game still has a lot more playing to do. The Empire was the big stack bully for the entire OT, the Battle of Endor was the Rebel Alliance going all-in and they came out on top. They may have more chips than the Empire now, they might still be behind (all the while the Hutts are letting these two fools play each out of their chips) but the point is the Empire isn’t out of the game yet.

 

 

imperial-navy11

 

So in conclusion I have only touched on a fraction of the reasons both historical and narrative the Empire is still around in VII. Don’t consider it “lazy storytelling” or “making Episode VI meaningless” if anything I consider it to be a sign of good storytelling and a realistic approach to the world of Star Wars. If you wish to probe myself or others for more reasons, or wish to provide your own counterpoints to what I mentioned above we have a thread in The Cantina dedicated to the “State of the Empire” here. Or you can comment your thoughts below. It’s a big topic and a lot of it can’t be covered in the span of a single article.

 

 

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  • Adavanter

    I feel like you’re stating the obvious but I can see how some might not realize what goes into an actual empire.

    Also before anyone goes banana’s he’s not saying America is an evil empire and the Japanese are plucky rebels we crushed under foot. It’s just an example of how major setbacks do not decide a war.

    Again kind of stating the obvious but you know how some people get… :P

    Great article! I for one love the Empire as a force in Star Wars and I’m glad they are still around. It’ll be interesting to see Boyega assumedly go from loyalist to rebel.

    If it’s been stated otherwise I probably missed it as I don’t want the main arc of the story ruined. So no I didn’t read the rumored synopsis!

    • Anonymous

      Make sure you mention that he states the obvious. We all need to know that you’re already familiar with this type of power dynamic.

      • Adavanter

        The second one was to make it clear he didn’t have some kind of hidden agenda by his Pearl Harbor example. Some people do think along those lines anymore. It wasn’t doubling down on how an Empire could survive.

        See? No matter how hard you try… someone still misses the point.

  • Anonymous

    Well said! I’m sure Lucasfilm had similar discussions.

    • Anonymous

      Actually lucasfilm just thought: “we’ve got to make the OT fans happy so yes on an Empire, yes on Han Solo being chased by pirates, and yes on 30 year old x wings.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, clearly 30 y/o X-wings…

      • Anonymous

        hell yes on xwings!! love those ships i dont care what era. no reason ep7 they cant be updated xwings just as it looks like we’ll have updated ties. and han solo!! i saw anh in the theater as a 5 year old and love BOTH trilogies. (hell rots is sometimes my fav of all 6) nothing wrong with having some familiar looking ships and locales, characters in ep7. they ARE star wars. but of course it should also move forward with fresh ideas and designs. looks like the old cast is handing off the baton as it were to the new generation. so far it looks like theyre pretty conscious of having some fun for we old fans while setting the stages for the new. to this day, parts of europe are still haunted by devastation of ww2, star wars galaxy would still have a lot of ties to return of the jedi era just 30 years later. im confident itll be cool. but im an eternal star wars optimist i suppose :P

        • Anonymous

          God forbid 30+ year old weapons would be utilized by a military! Hello, B-52 Bomber, M1-A1 Abrams tank, etc.. Yes, sarcasm is intended here. (in ref to X-Wings & the like still floating around a mere three decades post ROTJ).

      • Gaw

        What’s wrong about 30 yo x-wings?
        Even America’s modern frontline fighter, the F-22, is nearly 25 years old by now (first flight in 1990).

  • Star Trek

    My sources are saying that Rick and the group will be facing a newer, deadlier threat against Alexandria in season 6, if that’s what you were talking about.

  • Anonymous

    Great article and analysis!

  • Anonymous

    Whoever runs the Empire could be someone entirely new. Did any OT generals or officers survive? Veers? Anyway its seems “obvious” that one would claim an ‘Heir’ to consolidate the power left after losing its leader. Someone with OT screentime and ties?

    • Anonymous

      They allowed Tagge to survive in the new canon. No idea if he’ll die in the new Vader comic, but for now, he outranks Vader post-Yavin.

    • Paulo Henrique

      Well, General Veers still alive. He appeared in Dark Empire, if I’m not mistaken. In the Old Canon, he died 10 years after the Battle of Yavin.

      • Sabalan

        Um, I remember Veers being on the bridge when that A-Wing crashed through the window, so I don’t think Veers survived that. If the crash didn’t kill him the lack of oxygen did.

        • Anonymous

          That was Admiral Piett who died on that bridge not general Veers. I’d love to see Veers, Motty, or Tagge in the sequels but only if they could get the original actors cause otherwise what would be the point?

          • The Reb

            Motti’s actor, Richard Le Parmentier, passed away in the last couple of years. Julian Glover, Veers, is still on the Star Wars convention circuit though! Maybe he’d be down for a scene or two…

            • Anonymous

              veers would be killer, that guy has great presence. hell he’d make a good “new” emperor. (not gonna happen i know, just daydreaming)

  • Only one issue

    The only problematic thing is:

    “Was the Rebel Alliance able to stamp out the Empire in the approximately 30 years following Endor?”

    That seems like a lot of tie to be unable to eliminate the Imperial Navy as a real threat (to the extent its a serious problem in the ST) or whether the Empire is still the ruling regime and the Rebels have still been fighting for 30 years. Not many resistance groups last that long without becoming something else.

  • TKLS

    As a college history professor, I give your analysis an A+

  • Darth McCringleberry

    Excellent analysis. Really, you can just look at the Roman Empire, why it went from a Republic to an Imperial system and really just the first five emperors. They had two good ones (Augustus, Claudius), two bad/crazy ones (Caligula, Nero), and one pretty much absentee (Tiberius) and they got along fine. Also, not a single one of them was the natural son of the one before them. There were some adoptions, but not a single straight father-to-son succession at all.

  • Anonymous

    loved the historical references. great article. would love to see more from you.

  • Nick

    I believe lothal is the imperial headquarters in the outer rim territories. Moreover, Star Wars rebels has yet to cover the strategy of lothals position in the galaxy.

    • Anonymous

      I didn’t get the impression that Lothal was the Outer Rim Imperial HQ. It’s a crucial industrial world for them. But Tarkin’s trip to Lothal seemed out of the ordinary for them, and as Grand Moff of the Outer Rim, that doesn’t jive with it being his HQ.

  • Anonymous

    This is yet another thing I love about Star Wars. It’s an avenue to learn about history, mythology, religion, politics, literature, etc. So many layers! xD

    This is why I hope they consult with experts in these fields in order to help them tell the best story possible.

    This is EASILY one of the best articles on this site! Thank you so much!

    • Bad Motherfulcrum

      The fictional history is pretty close to the official history they teach in school, because the official history is fictional for the most part too.

  • Ola

    I completely buy that a strong Empire would remain many years after Endor. But what I have trouble with is the incredible length of time: nearly 40 years. That is a very long time, even in the galaxy far far away. By then I would except the only way an Imperial faction could survive would be by way of a peace treaty with a new Republic. But why the Republic would allow some part of the galaxy to remain under oppressive rule by the Empire, I don’t know.

    • Bluestreaking

      Why would the Republic suddenly be that much stronger than the Empire? I discussed that issue near the end of the article, see the big stack/small stack point

      • Ola

        I guess my point is, to clarify, that after 40 years of war, one side, be it the Empire or the Alliance, should have won. ROTJ strongly implies that the tide has turned in favour of the Alliance.

        • Anonymous

          Thanks to the Prequels, we know the Republic had turned into a bloated corrupt corpse. These guys come onto the scene 20 years later and kill the Emperor that many saw as having saved the galaxy from corruption. Why would the Rebel Alliance get all this support outside of the OR and some scattered groups in the Core?

        • Anonymous

          “ROTJ strongly implies that the tide has turned in favour of the Alliance.”

          So did ANH. Then I was surprised to see the Empire bounce back in TESB like it was nothing!

    • Snooky Bear

      I dunno. Worked for Battlestar Galactica

  • Darth Reliops

    Outstanding work. Don’t forget to argue the fact that the Empire has controlled the majority of a GALAXY. Even if we dial it down and say the Empire controls not billions or millions but just thousands of solar systems, that’s still a lot of people working for the Empire. Communication could be delayed and manipulated by the Empire. We had over 10 years of war in a tiny space in the Middle East. 40 years in a Galaxy is nothing.

    Also Sidious & Co wouldn’t be foolish enough to not have multiple risk management protocols.

    • Darth Rybo

      You said it best! It cracks me up how people’s brains are so limited in mixing imagination and realism into science fiction. Why would 30/40 years be too long of a conflict spanning an ENTIRE galaxy?? Who says that a clear winner (rebel or emperial) should have shown through in 40 years?? If anything, thinking that the empire could be wiped out by two battles (the loss of 1st and 2nd Death Star) is simply ludicrous. Not only that, but the Empire had only been around 20 years before the start of the OT. I always thought that the small time frame of the empire oppressing an entire galaxy made for crappy drama. I now think the fact they’re taking the story in this direction is much better. I originally wanted this trilogy to kind of move on from the empire, but there is a lot to be shown still. Great article.

  • Onion space

    Whoa nice article I enjoyed it. Plenty of reading and information, I learned a few things on the side too.

    In return of the jedi when the emperor arrives with his dignitaries in purple clothes. Ars dangor, sate pestage etc. Seems he really trusted them they`d been together a long time. Maybe some left early before the death star destroyed. Could have also been more dignitaries behind scenes. One of them practically ruled it for palpatine anyway. Grand vizier ? Maybe it moved from emperor to a grand vizier running things.

    Maybe expect a grand vizier in The force awakens ?

    • Anonymous

      Totally! I would love to see more of those advisors, caterpillars of societal decay who wield true power by whispering into the ears of rulers. Also their ghastly white faces make it look as though, like the emperor, they may have the ability to live far longer than most people. They could be ad wea

  • Anonymous

    i have the feeling that in TFA we have a reborn of the empire

  • Anonymous

    Very good article totally agree!!! Just because the empire was left leaderless doesnt mean it had to fall. Is it possible that maybe just maybe max von sydow’s character is the new head of the empire or the new gran moff or something and not kanan as some people say!! I think it could be possible!!! The kanan version fits to the story but i still have my doubts!! I Dont know im just saying!!!

  • Anonymous

    I always had a problem with the Imperial fleet being wiped out in ROTJ. Please do correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t the Star Destroyers (etc) ordered to stand off and prevent the rebels from escaping? If so, why were they wiped out when the Death Star 2 blew?

    I realise the rebels engaged the Imperial fleet, but in that scenario either the battle would have been drawn close to the Death Star (in which case the rebel fleet would also have been destroyed), or both fleets would have been far enough away to survive the blast. If the former, I doubt if the remaining rebels would have been celebrating. If the latter, surely most of the Imperials would have fought to the death or hyperspaced out of the Endor system, surviving to fight again? When the rebels pulled back, the Imperials wouldn’t have just sat there watching them, would they?

    • re

      EXACTLY! When the rebel force arrives at Endor it realized the large part of the Imperial fleet is waiting for them. They understand that a trap has been set and they are screwed.

      Lando states: “we wont last long against those star destroyers..”

      So when the death star blew up, the hundreds of star destroyers were still there, capable of battle. The Alliance has already declared they cannot beat the star destroyer force head on, so why would the destruction of the DS change that? It wouldn’t.

      The destruction of Vader and the Emperor along with the DS may have caused disorientation and a power vacuum that forced the Empires fleet to flee, but in no way would it have been destroyed.

      The only argument “the Empire died with the Emperor” that someone could try to make is to claim the Imperial Fleet surrendered. Im sorry but id have to say that the majority of us would find that extremely unlikely.

      I also have to agree that its foolish to assume that all the Regional Governors acted and ruled like the Emperor (with little regard to life etc.). Many of them being professional soldiers or politicians may have been good leaders and actually helped or improved their peoples lives under Imperial rule. Certainly being part of the Empire would greatly increase a lot of star systems resources. So why would these systems be in such a quick hurry to suddenly go back to the old “senate” system and join a bunch of Rebels?

      Remember the Emperor had made it clear to the people of the Empire that the Jedi had tried to overthrow the government and seize control.

      I think its VERY plausible that the Empire is not only still around but without a crazy dictator running it (see Hitler) may actually be coming back even stronger…

  • DEKKA129

    Bluestreaking, I love the hell out of this article! Well done, my friend. Very well done indeed.

    And you’re absolutely right on all three points you raise. And it’s food for a massive amount of historical thought.

    I started writing a longer response, but it got away from me, and I figured it’d be far more appropriate for the State of the Empire discussion.

  • Greg Kirby

    Empire is alive and strong!

    1.Storm troopers
    2.Inquisitors Who wear black and chrome gear
    3.Tie Fighters
    4.Imperial Star destroyers

    Um yes Empire is very much alive, with new leadership. The Inquisitors finish the work of their former leader Inquisitor under the new Inquisitor leader who Gwendoline plays. Thus killing off any up coming padawans that Luke trains, fearing they’ll catch up to him he goes into hiding, thus the cyborg character is hired to protect Rey on tatoonie.

    My 2 cents on part of the imperial background leading up to the force awakens?

  • Anonymous

    i think it’s simple really. after the emperor, there would have been a power grab. most certainly there were some who always wanted to overthrow, but never had the means to do so. there would be a lot of jockeying for position. the current state of the empire would be the result of that conflict.

  • Bad Motherfulcrum

    You got the historical facts about Yugoslavia wrong, as you do not mention the massive interference of Western forces in Yugoslasvia then, much like in Ukraine now.
    Without the NATO bombings Yugoslavia might still be undevided. And lets better not talk about Pearl Habour…

    • Anonymous itch

      I’ve read somewhere that prior to the bombing of pearl harbour that the Japanese actually formally declared war on the Americans, but the Americans didn’t have the right translator present and couldn’t or didn’t bother to decipher the message, leading to a ‘surprise’ attack+declaration of war

  • Anonymous

    While I do believe the empires existence can work in the new trilogy, I am quite frankly amazed at the degree to which u have totally miss the point of people concerns on this issue. It has zero to do with weather or not a theoretical empire could servive the death of an emperor (you would have to have an astounding lack of education to think that) the only question is weather it works dramatically. It you make the new trilogy about the post war mop up, showing the Rebels digging out the remnants of the empire than that make for a rather dull story because the enemy is so weak. On the other hand if you have the Empire continue on without missing a beat then that seriously undermines the significance of ROTJ. I personally think that there other options that can work. But they will require a well written story.

    • Bluestreaking

      The thematic and narrative reasons of the Empire’s existence is something I’ve discussed in The Cantina but chose not to make the point of the article. You’d be surprised how many people argue my historical points on the matter, some of it may come from a lack of historical knowledge (I had to explain step by step what Cannae represented to Rome for example) or it could come from looking at different historical examples (Qin dynasty in China for example).

      It is true that you need to have a credible threat of an enemy to make a movie like this work and the Empire may seem like the easy choice, but I think it makes the best sense for the story. I didn’t write about it in the article but I favor a Cold War sort of scenario at the start of VII, the Republic and the Empire being equal in power and have settled into a perpetual glaring contest. The only thing that will be difficult to explain away are those darn celebration sequences from the remastered OT, but I feel identifying them as early defectors to the Republic could work, and I just got this awesome image of a Coruscant split like Cold War era Berlin. Man if they went that route imagine a Spin Off of Star Wars: James Bond expy

      • Prymal

        Bluestreaking, i like your ideas about a “cold war” era in SW…don’t let the celebration sequences down that, think about it: a few sympathizers, maybe even enlisted in the Imperial Navy, grab a few yards of turf, maybe even an airfield on Coruscant, set off a few fireworks and topple a statue and deface public property…then the celebration dies away when the steady thump-thump-thump of the walkers approach along with the 501st to reinstate order…suddenly overhead the rebel-appropriated ships become the fireworks and burst into flame and debris as they rain down and tie fighters buzz through…the giant holo-vids show the local Imperial Grand Moff of Coruscant giving a live feed telling the citizens that civil disobedience will not be tolerated, return to you homes peacefully citizens…interdictor cruisers move in overhead and marshal law is declared for the duration of the emergency…setting the stage for the 007-like intrigue…

    • DEKKA129

      The thing is, the same thing happened after the original Star Wars was a success and Lucas began to make sequels.

      ANH ends with the Rebels victorious, and as of 1977 it looked like they’d actually won the war. Yeah, Vader was still alive somewhere, but the ending of ANH was designed to work as a final truimph if it turned out that the movie flopped and there were no sequels made.

      And then when Empire came out and we saw that the destruction of the Death Star had basically just pissed the Empire off and they were coming after the Rebels harder than ever, none of us batted an eye. Because that made sense.

      Similarly, the end of ROTJ looks like a big final win for the Rebellion, because at that point Lucas was done making sequels and wanted to wrap up the story. But in TFA we’ll apparently see that the Empire never stopped being a problem for the Rebellion even after the death of Vader and the Emperor.

      And that makes sense too.

      I’d be very surprised if the Empire was just a weak string of holdouts. As you point out, that would be pretty weak dramatic sauce. Obviously, they’re going to go with the Empire having enough strength to continue to pose a major problem.

      Will it turn out that they’ve been this strong all along? Or will we learn that the Empire was once scattered remnants that were brought together and risen to prominence again due to some kind of charismatic leader? Who knows, at this point?

      But IMHO, they’d really have to brick it story-wise in order for the threat of the Empire to not make sense in context with what came before.

    • Dude in a hat

      What I find interesting is your ability to call someone “uneducated” and misspell “whether” in the same sentence, twice.

      About the thematic issues, I always assumed the Empire survived, but that didn’t diminish the my satisfaction at all.

      The REAL point is, the Rebels stuck it to the man, CHECK.
      They killed the most feared man in the Galaxy, CHECK.
      The Sith killed eachother off, CHECK
      Luke defeated the evil in himself, thus hope remains for the Jedi to Return, BIG CHECK.
      Yeah, I think the movie still has pretty close to a happy #!$@[email protected] ending, Empire surviving or not.
      We got cool Steve Jobstroopers in a new episode with Mark Hamill involved, hey, I’m happy.

      • Anonymous

        I also missspelled “u” if you want to nitpick but I think you have to be a special kind of douschbag to complain about spelling and grammatical errors on a board like this. By the way I found it this line”interesting” “it didn’t deminish the my satisfaction” great grammar!

        • Anonymous

          I also misspelled douchebag :)

        • Anonymous

          don’t ferget “deminish” and “servive”

          • Anonymous

            How about “ferget”

      • Anonymous

        Also I think your reading comprehension needs a little work. Because my statement about a “lack of education” was made to indicate that I did not believe that this article delt with the real issue because I assumed that any debate would be over “whether” it worked dramatically as apposed to logically. I did not see how one could claim that it was logically impossible for a galactic empire to servive the death of its emperor. The author has since responded to my post stating that he has had many such arguments and so I stand corrected. Regardless my post did not call anyone “uneducated” because I had not seen any arguments along those lines

  • Paul

    The idea that the Emperor was a mere figurehead is directly contradicted by the ‘Tarkin’ novel where Palpatine is shown to be directly involved in day-to-day governance. He oversees intelligence collection and directly appoints people to positions of power. Palpatine is also shown to play his underlings off against each other to ensure nobody grows powerful enough to challenge him.

    • Anonymous

      Damn you, nonfilm content, spurred on by corporate greed and excess! Why must you challenge my delicately constructed theories?

      What did I ever do to you?! <:'C

  • Anonymous

    Excellent Post. Though Star Wars is an admittedly childish take on world history, and politics. Shows like “Game Of Thrones” and “House of Cards” are a lot closer to how the “real” world functions in terms of true human nature and its relationship to power.

    The Empire Strikes Back was the closest Star Wars ever got to a mature narrative. Don’t get me wrong, the OT is an absolute classic and an essential part of the American Film Canon. But, shades of grey and nuance is not the Disney way…

  • Darrin

    Way to go kid, that was one article in a million! Totally agree with you. A nice touch of reality.

  • Toddy NZ

    One of the best articles to date, thank you for bringing this to us. The ideology behind SW and the idea that the universe does indeed mirror our own in every respect, there are many references and messages that would ring true like its trying to tell us something although, would be missed by many, going straight over their heads, I mean! its only a movie right? An example here would be ROTS, with Padma’ planting seeds of mistrust ” have you ever considered that we may be on the wrong side, what if the democracy we thought we were serving no longer exists and the republic becomes the very evil we been fighting to destroy” This one line is closer to our own reality then many would even consider to realise. Our reality is very much married to the SW universe, not everything is what it seems and what we a led to believe is true, simply is not. This is also true of our written history as well, many things are truth yet, very blurred this truth is. Where Pearl Harbour is concerned, its all about what the Japanese did, Oh really! Main stream America wanted nothing to do with WWII, a shift in public opinion was required as there was vested interests in becoming involved. Did the Japanese just decide Oh heck! let’s do Pearl Harbour Nooooooooo!! I will not say to much about this as it could be sensitive to some although, I will say that after Pearl Harbour, the shift in public opinion resulted in over a million Americans signing up for war. The same provocations and tools are being used right now where Russia is concerned. Not everything is what is seems, even in our own earthly universe, there are indeed two realities, which side are we on? which is the right side? One side goes deeper than any Sith could ever take us. It is possible that the idea of the Empire, could have taken a flip flop and returned to its former glory, by the people, for the people, if indeed the idea of Democracy, actually has any meaningful place in our societies… Peace Out xxx

    • Anonymous

      Well, yes and no. Our world and geopolitics are far (far) more complex than the one portrayed in Star Wars. Rarely is there a clear cut right or wrong in our world. Most things are just a question of “more right” or “less wrong” with many, many shades of grey in between.

      Think about it this way – All politics is about self-interest. So what’s in the best interest of Mandalore may not be in the best interest for Tatooine. Getting two people to agree on anything is almost impossible,… to say nothing of two planets!

      Some planets may actually prefer the Empire.

  • Toddy NZ

    Are messages in movies like SW and the likes of the Matrix, designed to inform us, warn, or taunt us. Another movie that stands out for me where a message is right in our faces but wouldn’t actually mean anything for Ten Years, Terminator Judgement Day! I look back to recent events in our history and the message implanted into this movie becomes evidently disturbing. I will not tell you what the message is but I will tell you how to find it k. When the liquid terminator in a truck is chasing John Connor on his bike through the water ways, Arnold close on their heals, now if you have the movie you really need to check this out, slow the movie down so you can catch the message. Its written in Red on the bridge, just before the truck slams into it in explosive glory. Its very plain to see although easily missed because of the pace of the movie. Freeze frame and it will be as clear as day. Although at the time, for us it had no meaning although, Ten Years later, It is not only really disturbing but BOOM! would change our reality, shift public opinion, have us believe things that a simply not true and it would reshape the directions we are heading in. Very disturbing indeed! Go check it out and then you will SEE….. .Peace out

    • Anonymous

      “Eat at Joe’s”

      • Stephied

        I used to “Eat At Joe’s” in Redondo Beach, CA. all the time.

  • Paul Resendes

    @bluestreaking
    The Empire is dead!
    Drink up!

  • Dude in a hat

    BTW, when I say “I’m not here for the leaks, I’m here for the conversation”, this is what I’m talking about.
    Good read, it feels like it was cut in half before you got to your point though…
    Some good points were made there,

  • Danny

    The point is, after a great battle and Emperor is dead, there is still many men left around the galaxy with their leaders. Not every single man under the Emperor’s rule was fighting in Endor. What men were left, formed together with their leaders and regrouped, possibly with the help of an old Sith, keeping alive the spirit of what the Emperor stood for.

  • Retrotek

    Problem is, Star Wars at it’s best is not based on history but drama. The closer it approaches a fairy tale the better. I’m sure this is why Lucas inserted the now problematic celebration scenes. It made for a more dramatic and larger then life ending.

    To go back now and say peace and freedom were NOT restored to the galaxy and the Empire pushed on makes ROTJ anticlimactic pure and simple.

    But either way since the original theatrical versions make no discrepancy with a continuing empire, it’s just one more reason why I ignore all the special edition versions. HA!

    • DEKKA129

      Yeah, I really don’t think Lucas ever seriously entertained the notion of there being sequels to ROTJ until just about the time he decided to sell LFL. So the extended celebrations across the galaxy he added to the SE DVDs were, as you say, designed to really give a big final ending to the saga.

      IMHO, they may very well need to ditch that ending for the original Teddy Bears’ Picnic Hit Single ending from 1983 in order for the ST to really fit in there afterward.

      I’ll freely admit, I’ve never been crazy about the “Yub Nub” song. At all. As a grade school/middle school movie soundtrack nut, I was always blown away by the Throne Room march at the end of ANH, and the sweeping combo of the Force theme into the Han and Leia theme at the end of ESB, and then when ROTJ finally came out, for the grand finale of the whole trilogy we got… a Muppety song and dance number?! OY!! I didn’t think it could get more eye-rolling than that until we got the cheesy Simpsons ending in ROTS. (“NNN-NNOOOOOOOOOOO!!”)

      But I digress, as always.

      I tend to agree with you. I don’t see that big grand multiple-planet celebration at the end of ROTJ as necessarily dovetailing with the notion that the hard work was still in front of the Rebellion. But then again, we still don’t know exactly what the ST back story will be, so I guess we should probably reserve judgment until December.

      • Retrotek

        But if they are indeed trying to stretch the story and continue on this notion of Star Wars being a “Skywalker story” rather then the rise and fall of Anakin, then the Yub Nub song once again becomes a fitting ending for a movie that no longer is the climax to the story.

        And I never liked that song either. In fact, the whole movie has always left me numb. I thinks it’s because the greatness of the throne room scene and the joy of Han Solo returning is countered equally by the let down of the rest of movie.

        That said, I still want my original theatrical, fully cleaned up and pristine versions on whatever the best format is at the time. Come on Disney and Fox, get with it!

        • DEKKA129

          I agree. Though the “Yub Nub” ending makes me cringe just thinking about it, if they are going to ratchet down the “And the Galaxy Live Happily Ever After” nature of ROTJ’s ending, reverting to the smaller 1983 ending would seem to be the only available alternative (though I suppose they could keep the new music with the Endor shots, and just cut out the multiple planetary celebrations.)

    • Anonymous

      Agreed! I just see ROTJ’s victory along the lines of ANH’s. It was a very important victory, but the Empire is still around in some form.

  • Anonymous

    Even when the Roman Empire ended, there were still two smaller empires, such as: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_Empire and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Roman_Empire

    • Bluestreaking

      I wouldn’t consider the Byzantine Empire “small” they were the dominant power in Europe up until I’d say the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 and by then the Turks just grew too powerful, the Venetians sure didn’t help matters later on during the twilight of the Byzantine Empire. You could count a direct Roman succession starting around 500 BCE all the way to oh I’ll go with the fall of Constantinople in 1453 CE which means it lasted almost 2000 years (albeit in different forms, oh like the Republic becoming the Galactic Empire? hmmm). In that time Rome and the Byzantines suffered several setbacks, renaissances and then more setbacks until eventually it ran out of chips to play with to the latest big stack bully (The Ottomans, who lasted for a good while themselves, even longer if you count modern day Turkey as a direct successor).

      • Anonymous

        I wasn’t saying that the Byzantine Empire was “small.” I was saying that it was “smaller” than the Roman Empire that it succeeded. It wasn’t small though. It was pretty big.

  • Anonymous

    It is realistic to assume that the Empire is not beaten at the end of RotJ and will continue on for many years (decades, centuries). However that is clearly not the intended reading of the end of RotJ. Not the original ending and certainly not the SE ending. How can someone watch the ending of the OT and think that they still have decades of war and loss ahead of them? That battle is the culmination of the story, not a footnote in the decades long conflict.

    I know that the direction of Star Wars for the next several years has already been established and that it is meaningless to comment on it, but I can only hope that the sequel trilogy will be more than the Original Trilogy redux. Star Wars can be so much more than a simple rehash of the original movies. The villains can be more than Stormtroopers and Tie Fighters and Superweapons.

    Keeping an open mind though. We’ll find out in about 9 months.

    • rebelgb

      Agreed. Although im ok with there still being an Empire; I would hope that we get more of a story than a simple rehashing of the OT.

      The fact this new movie has Super Weapons in it (like OT had Death Stars) worries me greatly.

    • Anonymous

      “How can someone watch the ending of the OT and think that they still have decades of war and loss ahead of them? That battle is the culmination of the story, not a footnote in the decades long conflict.”

      How can someone watch A New Hope for the first time and not expect the Empire to act like they suffered a devastating loss when we see them again in V?

  • S. Raw Rats

    I feel that the original Starwars trilogy heavily leans on fantasy and symbolism. Like farytales where the death of an evil wich brings the whole world into a happily ever after.

    But now with the more in depth story line of the prequels all of a sudden it’s not about a princess and a warrior anymore and the flmmakers now have the impossible task to find the sweetspot between continuously polical correct and plane fantasy. I myself hope that they don’t dwell too much on how it technically fits. If they can find a way to make it believable and keep the big picture Empire Vs Rebellion hazy like in the OT/ ( you don’t see the actual size of the Empire or Rebellion.) I would welcome that.

  • Chris M.

    I always thought of the Rebellion as a terrorist organization. This has become especially apparent with the Rebels television series. True the Empire is corrupt and was led by power hungry madman but most Imperial Soldiers believed they were maintaining order. Just like the corrupt old republic the Empire doesn’t seem to have the answers.

  • Anonymous

    Why loose time and resources behind this thought?

    This is not the original Sequel Trilogy story. This is not the true story as envisioned by the SW creator.

    TFA is a story made up from scratch by JJ Abrams, and for this reason it has the same value and authenticity of a new story that you could have created.

    You do not like the Empire? Immagine your own story, it will be good as the one imagined by JJ.

    Only Lucas for now knows how the Star Wars Saga would have continued.

    All this thanks to Disney hunger for money and JJ’s EGO.

    • Anonymous

      Dude George Lucas was the one who abandoned us fans because he was tired of it.Also he wanted to pass Star Wars off to a new generation.So Episode VII is part of the official story and it always will be.

      • Filo

        No, maybe Disney offiial, but not Star Wars offiicial.

        We all know that GL has left a complete treatment for the sequel trilogy.

        So to me too, TFA is just fan fiction.

        • andychrist

          and yet . here you are rather than just not engaging with it because you know as well as i do that youll go see it and probably enjoy the experience before you remember your stance and slag it off , then buy the bluray

        • Adavanter

          One only needs to read Lucas’s rough drafts to know that things fell into place. This was lightning in a bottle. That hasn’t been recaptured in 30+ years.

          As far as I’m concerned Star Wars is an entity beyond one person. The new Trilogy will be just as real as anything else Star Wars related.

          • Anonymous

            No way, Star Wars is a George Lucas creature, story and life long work.
            He was there from the beginning and behind everything.

            Immagine a new Harry Potter book written by another author.

            For money everything is possible, just think about the new books in the Dune Saga…

            No, Disney at least for this trilogy should have use the original source material that came directly from Lucas.
            Then, and only then, after this sequel trilogy Disney could have Marvel-lized SW.

            • Anonymous

              And if there were anything close to a Jar-Jar character, they would have cut it out and people would be complaining that its not George Lucas’ vision and therefore not SW.

        • DEKKA129

          Do we all really “know that GL has left a complete treatment for the sequel trilogy”?

          Have you seen exactly what he provided to Disney and the TFA production team? I sure haven’t. I don’t know of anyone who has. Yes, he might have created a detailed treatment for the entire sequel trilogy as you suggest, but it’s at least as likely (if not moreso) that his “treatment” consisted of general notes and ideas with some vague bits of story. That’s how his other movies began life, after all.

          Also, do you know what story JJ is making? Have you done an A-B between TFA and Lucas’ treatment notes so that you can conclusively state that what JJ is making has nothing to do with the notes that Lucas provided?

          Yes, Lucas has stated that they ignored his story. And god love him, but this is the same guy who hollered at Irvin Kershner for “wrecking my movie!” when Kersh and the cast dared to change some of the dialogue. George is no stranger to overstatement and hyperbole.

          My advice is to just calm down and see what comes out of all of this in December. I have a feeling that when we read the making-of books about TFA, we’ll find that the production didn’t stray as far from Lucas’ ideas as some fans believe that they have.

          • Well done

            *slow clap

    • Retrotek

      You do realize that the treatment Lucas wrote was not the sequel trilogy of legend right?

      What we were going to get was, as now, something made up after Lucas lied that he never intended a sequel trilogy ever during the PT production days; that the story was in fact conceived- from the very beginning- as the story of Anakin Skywalker and all that nonsense.

      But you know given the way he’s been writing lately I’m sure his treatment was pure crap anyway so good riddance to it.

      • LigaHu

        To be original just need to be “George Lucas Approved”.

      • Anonymous

        We are sure you know.

    • Anonymous

      “TFA is a story made up from scratch by JJ Abrams, and for this reason it has the same value and authenticity of a new story that you could have created. …”

      Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… the sequel hater. Look for them come December! xD

      • Retrotek

        It’s a form of fan that emerged during the PT debates that sees Lucas and Star Wars to be the same thing and to criticize one is to criticize the other. So it’s obvious they would reject anything Star Wars that did not have Lucas’ involvement. It’s nothing new.

    • Toddy NZ

      Actually! JJ didn’t make up the story from scratch, nor did he write the story where TFA is concerned. He is a director! I am sure if I had the opportunity to become involved with SW in any way or form, my EGO would be overflowing as well! As far as Disney is concerned, finance and distribution is the name of the game. It does intrigue me how many believe that the likes of JJ and Disney make the movie from scratch giving an illusion that it will bomb for this reason…peace out

    • SickBoy

      If you really think that a series of six, two hours long each, movies is the product of a SINGLE man’s vision, you really have no idea how movie-making works.
      Proof of this is that the best entries in the SW saga are those in which Lucas’ ideas were being antagonized (ESB) or restrained (ANH)

  • andychrist

    the roman empire is still there, we just call it the catholic church now and the emperor is the pope

    • Anonymous

      What do they teach in schools nowadays… the catholic church has a quite different story… plus itss not like conquering the world with an army and enslaving the locals as the roman empire did…

      • andychrist

        that christianity became the religion of the roman empire and that nearly all of the catholic rituals are old roman ones

      • Toddy NZ

        We are enslaved, need to WAKE UP to what I am meaning and Yes! The idea of Black Popes and Dark Knights is not science fiction! A black pope was actually exonerated by 180 countries. Armies are not necessarily needed to enslave societies.. peace out

  • Anonymous

    Excellent read!

  • Yorktown wasn’t even Yorktown. That battle forced King George III to take pause, because he had lost Parliament’s support, but the war didn’t end for another two years. Fighting in Ohio and on the frontier went on full-scale until the Treaty of Paris, and the British went on to hold fortifications until 1815.