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Star Wars' New Republic Explained: Origins, Leaders, Laws, Canon Changes & More
The Mandalorian season 3, episode 3 finally gave viewers their first glimpse of life under the New Republic. The war between the light and dark sides of the Force has raged across the galaxy for millennia. There's a sense in which the different forms of government perfectly represent the different aspects of the Force; Sith tend to hoard power by establishing empires, while the Jedi Order exists in a form of symbiosis with democratic republics. The defeat of Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi was soon followed by the Empire's collapse, in part because of the Emperor's own contingency plans.
Sadly, the fall of the empire was only a brief blip in galactic history - so brief life under the Empire's successor, the New Republic, has yet to be explored in any depth in Star Wars canon. All that began to change a little in The Mandalorian season 3, which featured an extensive subplot on the city-planet of Coruscant - once the galactic capital. Here's everything viewers need to know about the New Republic.
The Emperor's death in Return of the Jedi was a turning point in galactic history, and the Rebel Alliance - more fully, the Alliance to Restore the Republic - capitalized upon this. The leaders of the rebellion swiftly reorganized to establish a new government, initially one that rivaled the Empire; the New Republic. Conflict escalated across the galaxy, with the Empire launching potentially genocidal attacks against worlds that seceded to the New Republic, but the Alliance defended them. The New Republic was officially founded a year after the destruction of the Death Star at Endor, and it initially claimed Chandrila as its capital - homeworld of Mon Mothma, who was elected the New Republic's first chancellor.
How The New Republic Established Peace With The Empire
The early days of the New Republic are chronicled in Chuck Wendig's Aftermath trilogy, which tells how the New Republic pursued Imperial warlords across the galaxy. Mon Mothma's goal, however, was always for an end to the violence and bloodshed. At first this seemed an impossible goal, with Imperial attacks continuing due to Emperor Palpatine's (apparently posthumous) commands. This culminated in a battle over the skies of the junkyard planet Jakku, a world Palpatine had rigged to explode; New Republic agents managed to defuse the planet-sized bomb, however. The Empire was routed, with Palpatine's loyalists fleeing to the Unknown Regions (where they would regroup as the First Order). Mas Amedda, a key member of Palpatine's court, untimely signed the Galactic Concordance - a peace treaty that ended the Galactic Civil War.
Who Led The New Republic
The Republic was led by an elected chancellor, with Mon Mothma serving in this position for years. The Republic Senate initially met on Chandrila, but began moving across the galaxy after an Imperial terrorist attack, with different worlds becoming the temporary capital. In the end, the Republic Senate settled on the Core World planet Hosnian Prime.
What Luke, Han & Leia's Role Was In The New Republic
Although Mon Mothma believed a restored Jedi Order to be essential for galactic stability, she did not pressure Luke Skywalker to make the Jedi a formal part of the Republic; Luke's Jedi Temple was established on Ossus, a remote world far from the hustle and bustle of the Galactic Core. He and Mon Mothma were keen to ensure the Jedi did not become politicized, and he was allowed a great degree of independence.
Leia Organa naturally continued her career as a senator in the New Republic, representing the Alderaanian refugees scattered across the galaxy. She became one of Mon Mothma's most important political allies, and unsuccessfully campaigned for chancellor when Mon Mothma eventually retired. Her husband Han retired his commission as general, preferring not to get involved in politics.
Why The New Republic Decommissioned The Alliance Fleet
Mon Mothma wasted little time scuttling the old Imperial fleet - and decommissioning the Alliance Fleet as well. As a senator in the Old Republic, she had opposed the creation of the military back before the horrs of the Clone Wars; although she had no problem with planets defending themselves, she viewed the galaxy's militarization as a dangerous threat to peace. "I've seen war," she announced in one high-profile speech. "I know its shape. I know its margins. But I'll never be comfortable with it... The war must stop soon. We cannot keep fighting it." It's important to remember Mon Mothma did not know Palpatine had survived, or that the Empire was gathering in the Unknown Regions. Still, The Mandalorian seasons 1 and 2 have strongly suggested her hope for peace was political naivety.
How Life Under The New Republic Was Different To The Empire
The New Republic was wary of centralized power, meaning member worlds were largely allowed to self-regulate. This proved to be something of a mistake, because many planets maintained the Imperial way of life. Coruscant was no longer the galactic capital, but the ecumenopolis was historically important, and The Mandalorian season 3, episode 3 suggested life on the city-planet was barely different to that under the Empire. Outside of the Galactic Core, though, matters were very different; slavery was outlawed and the Empire's repressive legislation towards non-human species was repealed. The New Republic became known for freedom and liberty to many across the galaxy.
The Difference Between The New Republic & The Resistance
As the decades passed, senator Leia Organa came to believe the attempt to integrate former Imperial governments into the Republic had been a mistake. Not only had these governments clung to their Imperial ways, they had formed a powerful political bloc to push them in the rest of the Republic as well. Though Leia did not realize it, they were actually the political wing of an Imperial resurgence; she was watching the rise ofthe First Order. Leia only became aware of the scale of the threat after a failed bid to become chancellor, which was defeated due to a conspiracy. She left politics, drawing on old friends and allies to create a Resistance movement against the darkness she sensed growing across the galaxy
Leia's instincts were soon proven correct, with many Imperial worlds seceding from the New Republic and forming the First Order. Her Resistance movement swiftly responded by arming up; but the New Republic, reluctant to return to war, refused to follow her lead. This would prove to be a fatal mistake.
How The New Republic Ended
An uneasy new status quo developed in the Star Wars galaxy, one in which the Republic clung to pacifist ideals even as the First Order prepared for war. Finally, as seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the First Order activated the superweapon called Starkiller Base and destroyed the Republic capital, Hosnian Prime. This was followed up by a Blitzkrieg, as fleets that had traveled around the galaxy through the Unknown Regions barricaded entire planetary systems. The Resistance struck a powerful counter-attack, successfully destroying Starkiller Base, but they were soon forced to go on the run. The Republic fell with shocking speed, and for a year the First Order ruled the galaxy.
How Canon's New Republic Is Different To Legends
The canon New Republic is heavily influenced by the old Star Wars Expanded Universe, which has now been branded non-canon (or "Legends"). There, as in the canon timeline, Mon Mothma was the first leader of the New Republic (called "Chief of State" as well as chancellor), and internal divisions almost tore it apart. Unlike canon, however, in Legends the New Republic did not demilitarize; its version of Mon Mothma saw the need for a military, largely because of the threat of the Imperial Remnant. There, she was succeeded by Leia Organa, who became a longstanding and successful Chief of State.
In Legends, the New Republic chose Coruscant as its capital, and the city-planet occupied this role until it fell during an invasion by the extragalactic aliens called the Yuuzhan Vong. The New Republic collapsed after Coruscant's fall, replaced by a new government called the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances (GFFA, a pun on the traditional "galaxy far, far away" term used to describe the Star Wars galaxy). Whether in Legends or canon, then, Star Wars' New Republic was destined to fail.