In retrospect, Star Wars‘ First Order weren’t the most original villains. The Force Awakens rightly took some criticism in 2015 for repeating the basic structure of A New Hope, including bringing back the Empire in a slightly remixed form. Over the subsequent films (and in various other media) we learned about their philosophy, organisation and goals – culminating in the reveal that Emperor Palpatine hadn’t died after all and was secretly puppeteering the First Order from behind the curtain.
Now a new Star Wars book, imaginatively titled The Star Wars Book, has shed a little more light on their earliest days. We already knew that the First Order was formed by from fanatical Imperial holdouts, but the book reveals that their supporters in the New Republic also exerted subtle political influence to pave the way for their rise:
“While we know that the military might of the First Order was built up in the Unknown Regions by the escaping Imperial leadership in the decades after the Battle of Jakku, the First Order also had its start inside the New Republic. Agents of the First Order helped push for a stronger centralized role of the New Republic government, which in turn caused a political stalemate, forcing systems that fear losing control of their autonomy to break away from the New Republic — in a coalition called the First Order.”
The revelation is somewhat damning of Leia Organa’s plan to restore the Galactic Republic as seen in the prequel trilogy – which I guess is about what you should expect from a temporarily deposed aristocrat. While an improvement on Imperial rule, the old system had its own massive flaws (not least being so inert that it couldn’t prevent itself being overthrown) so simply recreating it was just inviting defeat once again.
We don’t know what’s going to fill the void in the wake of the First Order’s destruction in The Rise of Skywalker, but I’m betting the Star Wars universe won’t be without a big bad flying around wedge-shaped spaceships full of soldiers in white armor for too long…
The Star Wars Book is now available to buy if you want more interesting nuggets of info.