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15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Rebel Alliance


The Alliance to Restore the Republic. The Rebel Alliance. The Rebels. Whatever they called themselves, they were freedom fighters who banded together in a time of need to overthrow and replace an oppressive regime, the Galactic Empire. Hoping to restore the galaxy to glory along with a new galactic government, one in the vein of the Old Republic, the Alliance fought numerous battles across the galaxy against the dominating Empire.

They won some confrontations, and they lost some more. They’ve been a prominent face of Star Wars lore ever since George Lucas’ first adventure in a galaxy far, far away — but the films can only cover so much.

UPDATE: 2022/09/24 22:00 EST BY SHAWN S. LEALOS

The Star Wars Disney+ shows are bringing more lore to the history of the franchise, with shows like Obi-Wan Kenobi and now Andor filling in the blanks between movies. While Obi-Wan’s show takes place after Revenge of the Sith, Andor’s takes place sometime in history before A New Hope. In Andor, the Rogue One captain is back and fans can see him in action long before his sacrifice helped Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance blow up the Death Star. With that in mind, there should be much more about the Rebellion revealed in both Andor and the upcoming slate of Disney+ Star Wars streaming shows.

It Was Started By Bail Organa

During the height of the Clone Wars, senators and other members of the Republic became discontent with not only the way Chancellor Palpatine was handling things but with how much power he had managed to accrue. Remember, the Chancellor was granted emergency powers during the Clone Wars, powers he needed to approve the construction of a Grand Army of the Republic.

Among the disgruntled members was Senator Bail Organa, a longtime friend and ally of Padme Amidala’s. From the outset, Organa was against the Great Jedi Purge, and he even went as far as to help Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi escape their untimely fate. And after that, he led the charge, along with Senator Mon Mothma and Senator Garm Bel Iblis, to form the Alliance to Restore the Republic.

Individual Cells Didn’t Unite Until Shortly Before Rogue One

With every new comic, book, game, TV show, or movie, countless new characters and species come into the fold, only adding to the already vast galaxy of the Star Wars universe. In Rogue One and Star Wars Rebels, many of those new characters rebelled against the Empire during the Galactic Civil War.

For instance, the crew of the Ghost was primarily on their own throughout the first few seasons of Rebels. It was only after they left the Mustafar system that they ended up joining Phoenix Squadron as part of the larger Rebel Alliance — and they weren’t the only ones. The Alliance was disjointed for a long time, and it was the events of Rogue One that prompted all the factions and squadrons to come together and fight the Empire head-on.


Every rebellion or resistance is only as good as its intelligence arm. Without being privy to certain details, how can a small band of people mount a successful rebellion against an imposing force like the Empire? In Rogue One, Cassian Andor met with one of his informants, Tivik, on the Ring of Kafrene. In the film’s novelization, it’s revealed that Cassian was, in fact, an informant recruiter for the Fulcrum program.

Fulcrum is a title given to Rebel informants, some of which exist within in the Empire itself. For example, in Star Wars Rebels, Imperial Agent Kallus — who was at one time a devout enemy of the Ghost crew — became Fulcrum. He feeds intelligence to the Rebels, and sometimes even helps them escape certain situations. Since Cassian was responsible for recruiting informants, it’s very possible he was responsible for turning Kallus.

They Weren’t Politically United

Uniting small bands of rebels from across the galaxy is tough enough, and that strife is only exacerbated when politicians get involved. So one could imagine just how disorganized the Rebel Alliance truly was leading up to the Battle of Yavin in the original film. In Rogue One, members of the Alliance High Command and the Alliance Cabinet, such as Senator Nower Jebel, Senator Tynnra Pamlo, and Senator Vasp Vaspar, all called for the dissolution of the Rebel Alliance mere hours prior to the Battle of Scarif.

When Bail Organa and Mon Mothma formed the Alliance Civil Government, they created a democratic system in the vein of the Old Republic. That way, if they won the Galactic Civil War, there would already be an active system in place to replace the Empire. Part of that system was assigning cabinet positions to people with diverse perspectives, so that there could be a healthy discord among Alliance leaders.

Rebels Were Making Headway In The Senate Before Dissolution

When Palpatine dissolved the Galactic Republic and formed the First Galactic Empire, the Senate reformed into an Imperial Senate, with many of the same members remaining in office. However, the legislative body would only remain active until the Death Star’s construction was complete, because then, the Empire would be able to rule through sheer fear and terror.

The Emperor dissolved the Imperial Senate following the loss of the Death Star plans and the capture of Princess Leia. Interestingly, though, mere days before all this happened, the Alliance hoped to find proof of the Empire’s secret weapon so that they could present evidence to the Senate and potentially overthrow the Emperor. All the Rebel sympathizers in the Senate were arrested and taken to the Arrth-Eno prison on Coruscant. Unfortunately, the Alliance failed in its attempt to rescue the senators, and all the potential sympathizers with their cause were killed.

Demilitarization Following Battle Of Jakku

The Battle of Scarif (and later, the Battle of Yavin) were the start of a long campaign against defeating the Empire in the original trilogy. Years later, the Alliance celebrated a monumental victory by destroying the second Death Star with the Emperor on board during the Battle of Endor. The loss left the Empire in shambles.

The Empire officially surrendered following the Battle of Jakku. A major part of the treaty between the Empire and Alliance was the Military Disarmament Act, which reduced the Republic’s Starfleet and Army by 90 percent. Demilitarizing is partially what led to the New Republic’s downfall prior to and during Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Luckily, Princess Leia reformed the Resistance, along with allies like Admiral Ackbar, to defend against insurgencies like the First Order.

Rebel Soldiers Didn’t Approve Of Alliance High Command

Mounting a resistance against an oppressive force like the Empire is a two-pronged process. Firstly, the resistance must defeat the enemy in an armed conflict. Along with that, there must be a plan in place for a government to succeed and replace the Imperial government. Both of these aspects are crucial to winning a war of independence, which is evident in the countless wars fought against oppressors in real-life. The fact is, one cannot exist without the other.

Therein lies the problem. In Rogue One, the political leaders of the Alliance don’t always agree, and they certainly don’t always approve of the use of valuable military forces. Because of that, there are Rebel fighters who have expressed frustration with the Alliance High Command’s unwillingness to take action, which is why they sometimes have to force their hand.

The Alliance Was Very Diverse

Stormtroopers may not be the most skilled fighters in the galaxy, but to become one, a person must first meet a specific set of requirements — and, likely, be human. There are a handful of alien species in the Imperial Army, but it’s difficult to say for sure just how many aliens were Imperial collaborators, but there’s no denying the fact that the Alliance was much more diverse.

Humans, Bothans, Sullustans, Iakaru, Lasat, and Sabat, among others, were all part of the Alliance. They even had Mon Calamari as admirals. Numerous species fought in virtually every battle during the Galactic Civil War. And that’s part of the beauty of Star Wars; each new film brings new aliens into the fold. It’s too bad the Empire chose to slaughter most of these species instead of recruiting them to their cause.

Saw Gerrera, The Original Rebel?

Bail Organa and Mon Mothma were critical to the formation of the Rebel Alliance, but were they only giving a name to what people were already doing across the galaxy? Before the rise of the Empire, people were defending their worlds from being conquered by the Separatists and their Droid Army during the Clone Wars. Saw Gerrera was one of those rebels, as he had been protecting his home world of Onderon for years. In many ways, he was the original rebel.

According to Star Wars Rebels co-creator Dave Filoni, “Saw Gerrera is maybe the original rebel. He is the first one in a long line of people that got trained by Jedi to fight for themselves; to save their planets during the Clone Wars. He is the beginning of what would eventually become the Rebel Alliance.” Saw Gerrera spent his entire adult life fighting oppressors who sought to conquer the galaxy. He was a rebel before there even were rebels.

Declaration Of Rebellion

The right of revolution is a common concept in human history. It’s a philosophical thought that states that it is not only the right but the duty of the people to rebel against an oppressive government if said government afflicts the people without reason. In order to formally resist a government like that, a statement must be given, and when it comes to Star Wars, that statement is the Declaration of Rebellion.

In hopes of legitimizing and formalizing the Rebellion, Mon Mothma drafted the Declaration of Rebellion that listed the Emperor’s crimes against the galaxy, including but not limited to: disbanding the Senate, raising taxes without consent, illegal occupations, and the worst of all, racism and genocide. The exiled senator delivered this declaration over the HoloNet in hopes of convincing the galaxy that the Rebellion wasn’t a terrorist organization…

The Galaxy Believed The Rebels Were Terrorists

There’s no denying that Imperial rule brought a semblance of stability to a galaxy that was at war with Separatists not long before its creation. For people who benefited from that stability, seeing bands of rebels across the galaxy attempt to undermine that sense of security made the Rebel Alliance look like an organization of terrorists.

Were rebels terrorists or freedom fighters? It’s an interesting question. When looking at the tactics Saw Gerrera’s band of rebels use in Rogue One, that notion might not be so clear-cut — at least not to galactic citizens. This is why Mon Mothma and the rest of the Alliance drafted the Declaration of Rebellion, to curb the belief that the Rebels sought only to create chaos and disorder in the galaxy.

Many Rebels Were Imperial Turncoats

Throughout the original trilogy, it seemed like stormtroopers wouldn’t surrender unless it was necessary. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a stormtrooper defect turned to the Resistance. The same thing happened in Rogue One, with an Imperial cargo pilot (Bondi Rook) not only defecting to the Rebellion but also helping to reveal the Empire’s secret weapon — the Death Star. There were plenty of off-screen defections during the Galactic Civil War.

Many rebels once worked for the Empire. The most famous of all, at least to Star Wars fans, is Biggs Darklighter. He was Luke Skywalker’s friend on Tatooine, but he left to join the Imperial Academy. Another is Wedge Antilles, who defected in an episode of Star Wars Rebels along with a few other Imperial cadets. Everyone who defected had different reasons for leaving, and they all came from different backgrounds, but the fact is, they all left the Empire to join a more noble cause.

The Rebellion Wasn’t Well Funded

Staging a successful rebellion against an oppressive, dominating force like the Empire requires not only brave and skilled fighters, but also the tools and equipment necessary to ensure their success. The Rebellion is a lot of things, but they aren’t capable of manufacturing mass amounts of ships and weapons. Therefore, they needed to steal them.

The Star Wars Rebels animated series has explored this topic in depth. The crew of the Ghost are often tasked with recovering (or stealing) proton bombs, starships, and basic weaponry for the Alliance. For instance, Phoenix Squadron stole several Y-Wings from salvage yards, ships which were delivered to Alliance and later used in the Battle of Scarif. The outdated models didn’t help all that much in the Battle of Yavin, but something is better than nothing.

Yavin IV Wasn’t The Only Rebel Base Before Hoth

When the Empire captures Princess Leia in the original Star Wars movie, she confesses to Grand Moff Tarkin that the Rebel base is on Dantooine. She tells him with the hope that he would spare Alderaan, which he doesn’t, of course. He uses the Death Star to destroy the planet before dealing with her Rebel friends on Dantooine. The thing is, Leia wasn’t bluffing — Dantooine really is the location of a Rebel base, albeit one that no longer exists.

General Cassio Tagge led a survey team to find the base on Dantooine, and while they did find remnants of a Rebel base, they discovered that it had been long abandoned. Franchise fans will know that there was, indeed, a base on Dantooine. Phoenix Squadron also established a base on the planet Antollon in Star Wars: Rebels and named it Chopper Base.

Legends Origin For Rebel Alliance

When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, they removed the Expanded Universe from canon and renamed it Legends. In one fell swoop, they disconnected decades of comics, novels, and games — stories that expanded upon the Star Wars universe and weren’t told anywhere else — from continuity. Lately, though, Lucasfilm has been slowly reintegrating aspects from Legends back into canon.There will always be stories left behind. One of those stories is the creation of the Rebel Alliance.

In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Darth Vader instructed his secret apprentice, Starkiller, aka Galen Marek, to gather known dissidents across the galaxy to form a unified rebel alliance. Instead of overthrowing the Emperor as promised, Darth Vader betrayed Starkiller. Angered and deceived, Marek rescued the captive Rebel leaders, including Bail Organa and Mon Mothma, but at the cost of his own life. Later, in Marek’s home on Kashyyyk, the Rebel leaders officially formed the Rebel Alliance and used Marek’s family crest as their symbol.

NEXT: 10 Best Twitter Reactions To Andor’s Triple-Premiere

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