- "The galaxy knows Alderaan as 'the planet of beauty.' Nature, poetry, philosophy, art, couture, cuisine—we freely share all with all."
- ―Bail Organa
Alderaan, located in the Core Worlds, was a terrestrial planet covered with mountains. During the waning decades of the Galactic Republic, it was ruled by Queen Breha Organa and represented in the Galactic Senate by her husband, Senator Bail Prestor Organa.
Following the rise of Sheev Palpatine's Galactic Empire, Alderaan played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Rebel Alliance, a movement that sought to restore the Old Republic's values. Because of its ties with the Alliance, the planet was destroyed when Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin decided to test the superlaser of the Death Star, a moon-sized battle station developed by the Empire, at full strength. Among the few survivors of that disaster was Princess Leia Organa, adopted daughter of Bail and Breha Organa and heiress to the royal house of Alderaan.
- "This is going to sit inside you forever… and if I'm going to die, I want to really think about this. Imagine actually killing Alderaan. Alderaan of all places! Alderaan is nice. Who'd blow up Alderaan? Hell of a place. Incredible history. Good party town. Hell, even had great sunsets. Now it doesn't even have a sky."
- ―Chelli Lona Aphra
From space, the planet of Alderaan, located in the star system of the same name, appeared as a blue-green orb enveloped in a white web of clouds. Its surface had vast bodies of water and was covered in snow-capped mountains, with patches of green grassy hills. Alderaan was known to the galaxy as "the planet of beauty." Famous natural landmarks of Alderaan included the Cloudshape Falls and the Isatabith rain forest.
A variety of grapevines grew on Alderaan, which notably allowed to produce Toniray and emerald wine. The local fauna included the Alderaanian wolf-cat and a species of white-winged bird.
The cities on Alderaan were carefully designed to respect the natural beauty of their environment. For example, the palace of the royal family and the city around it blended into the local snow-capped peaks. Alderaanian architecture made use of white synthstone, which inspired the architecture of certain mining economies of the Outer Rim Territories, like the floating colony of Cloud City, and the planets Lothal and Garel.
The Old Republic
The peaceful world of Alderaan was among the oldest members of the Galactic Republic, the democratic union that governed most of the galaxy, and was among the worlds that originally founded it. By the time of the Invasion of Naboo by the Trade Federation, it was represented in the Galactic Senate by Senator Bail Antilles. That year, the then-Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, Finis Valorum, was ousted from office, and Antilles was nominated for the position in the resulting election. However, the Alderaanian senator was defeated by Senator Sheev Palpatine, who represented the sovereign system of Naboo.
The Clone Wars
Ten years later, Alderaan was represented in the Senate by Viceroy Bail Prestor Organa, the prince consort of the planet's ruler, Queen Breha Organa. At that time, the Republic was facing a secessionist crisis due to the existence of the Confederacy of Independent Systems led by Count Dooku, pushing the galaxy to the brink of war. Through Organa, Alderaan was a member of Chancellor Palpatine's Loyalist Committee, which concerned itself with the stability of the Republic during the Separatist crisis and would later strive to limit Palpatine's increasing executive authority. That year, an army of clones was discovered on the planet Kamino, which would be appropriated by the Senate in order to combat the Separatists. To save the Republic from the impending threat, the Supreme Chancellor was granted emergency powers, a decision that was contrary to the pacifist values of Alderaan and its representative and which ultimately led to the outbreak of the Clone Wars.
At some point during the Clone Wars, Alderaan hosted a conference concerned with aiding war refugees. Padmé Amidala, then senator of Naboo, was nearly assassinated during the conference when the Hutt crime lord Ziro, whom Amidala had sent to prison, hired the bounty hunter Aurra Sing to take revenge. The plot, however, was thwarted by the Jedi apprentice Ahsoka Tano. Around the time of the Battle of Kadavo, two Alderaanian tourists visiting Tatooine died in a speeder-bike accident. The Zygerrian News implied that the two had gotten intoxicated in the cantina of Mos Eisley, which caused the accident.
Age of the Empire
- "It's a long way to Alderaan."
- ―The codephrase spoken to EG-86 identifying Ezra Bridger and Sabine Wren as rebels
With the Clone Wars coming to an end, Chancellor Palpatine abolished the Republic, establishing the Galactic Empire in its stead. However, a small number of systems rebelled against this new regime, and the Alliance to Restore the Republic was ultimately formed by Bail Organa and his former colleague in the Galactic Senate, Senator Mon Mothma of Chandrila. During this time, Alderaan became the Alliance's main source of munitions. The planet's crown princess and representative in the Imperial Senate, Princess Leia Organa, adoptive daughter of Bail and Breha Organa, began using her diplomatic immunity as an Imperial senator to carry out Rebel missions in restricted Imperial systems.
During the Galactic Civil War, Alderaan was listed as an Alliance safe world. It was included in a map of the galaxy with a legend listing the various Alliance safe worlds, starfighter hubs at level five or higher, rebel operations sectors and regional headquarters, and shadow planets with deep space caches. The map would later be incorporated into The Rebel Files.
About three years before the Battle of Yavin, Senator Bail Organa dispatched three Sphyrna-class Hammerhead corvettes to the Phoenix Cell, which has sustained losses while fleeing Garel. Since Alderaan could not be seen directly supporting the rebels, Senator Organa arranged for his adopted daughter Leia to deliver the vessels to Lothal. The Alderaanians risked losing their seat in the Imperial Senate among other Imperial sanctions. Senator Organa had arranged for the crew of the Ghost to "steal" the ships from an Imperial depot on Lothal so that Alderaan could not be blamed for the "theft." With the help of the crew of the Ghost and the former Governor Ryder Azadi, Leia managed to deliver the three Hammerhead corvettes to the Phoenix rebels following a skirmish at the Imperial depot.
- Skywalker: "What's going on?"
- Solo: "Our position is correct, except…there's no Alderaan!"
- Skywalker: "What do you mean? Where is it?"
- Solo: "That's what I'm trying to tell you, kid. It ain't there. It's been totally blown away."
- Skywalker: "What!? How?"
- Kenobi: "Destroyed. By the Empire."
- ―Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Obi-Wan Kenobi[src]
In 0 BBY, shortly before the Battle of Scarif, Senator Bail Organa headed towards Alderaan to tell their people that there would "be no peace," after the plans for the Death Star, a planet-killing Imperial superlaser, were discovered. The plans were later stolen from the data vault on Scarif, and transferred aboard the Tantive IV. Princess Leia of Alderaan, Bail's adopted daughter and thus member of the Elder Houses was captured by the Imperial Navy while smuggling the plans to the Alliance base. Organa was taken prisoner by the Sith Lord Darth Vader, the Emperor's second-in-command, and brought before the Death Star's commanding officer, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin.
Under threat of destroying her planet, Leia gave a fake location of the rebel base to Tarkin, only for Tarkin to nevertheless destroy Alderaan—noting that Dantooine was too remote for an "effective demonstration"—to punish the world for supporting the Rebellion, hoping the annihilation of the entire world would make the rest of the galaxy fear Imperial retribution for supporting the Rebels. The Imperials forced the princess to witness the obliteration of her home planet. The planet's destruction left only an asteroid field behind, which was blockaded by the Empire.
On Coruscant, the Empire's planetary capital, the numerous Alderaanian residents of Level 3204 began to hold vigils for those who had perished in what they called "the Disaster." However, as more information became available about the Empire's role in the destruction of Alderaan, the vigils soon turned into riots, which were quickly repressed by brute force. The Empire defended the destruction of the planet to its military, claiming that its population had chosen its destruction by supporting anarchy. A short time after Alderaan's destruction, the Death Star wars destroyed in the Battle of Yavin, taking Tarkin and many other high ranking Imperials with it.
Under the orders of Vader, the Imperial Military was to "complete" the destruction of Alderaan by hunting any remaining Alderaanians. Almost immediately after the Death Star's destruction, Leia Organa would embark on a mission to rescue the survivors of Alderaan from Imperial reprisals. Also following the Battle of Yavin, Vader took the remains of Alderaan to serve as reminders to worlds that attempted to resist the Emperor; following an assassination attempt on himself at Shu-Torun, Vader then gave Trios, the new Queen of that planet, one of these reminders.
- "What act of terror could be more horrible than what happened to Alderaan? Have you forgotten that? I was there. I saw it happen, stood there watching while they destroyed my world, my home, everyone I had ever loved—"
- ―Senator Leia Organa, to Senator Ransolm Casterfo
By 5 ABY, a flotilla of starships orbited the Alderaanian Graveyard, the new name for the debris remaining of the planet. Princess Leia managed to use her political connections to take scrap from the Death Star, initially intended for incineration, to be used to construct a new space station around the planet.
By the time of the New Republic, Alderaan's destruction would become a stark reminder for future generations about the terrors of the Galactic Empire, and would often be an 'uncomfortable subject' for those that brought up the planet's destruction in conversation. As such, surviving Alderaanians would be treated with great respect for their lost world and people. For collectors, rare bottles of the alcoholic beverage Toniray would become a highly-prized commodity.
- "Soldiers are a thing of Alderaan's past, Leia."
- ―Bail Organa, to his adopted daughter Leia
Alderaan hosted a population of humans, known as Alderaanians, who were known for their philosophy of paciﬁsm. Even in time of galactic conflicts, the Alderaanians shunned weapons. They were not, however, bereft of spirit, as many of them chose to join the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Their society was ruled by the House of Organa, in conjunction with an individual bearing the titles of Viceroy and First Chairman. The female child of the royal couple was referred to as a princess. For diplomatic missions, the Royal Family used streamlined cruisers.
According to Nash Windrider, on Alderaan, its people were encouraged to learn and grow. All education was free, and people would volunteer to teach various skills or crafts just for fun. Queen Breha herself served as the minister of education, and personally mentored a select number of young Alderaanians, including Evaan Verlaine, teaching them about the culture and heritage of their homeworld.
Behind the scenes
- "The Alderaan system actually consists of seven planets. Alderaan was the capital planet of that system. There was a Senate and my father was the president of that Senate."
- ―George Lucas, assuming Leia Organa's character
Alderaan first appeared in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, the seminal movie of the Star Wars saga. In that movie, the planet was only seen from space during the scene depicting its destruction. In the treatment, rough draft, second draft, and third draft of what would become A New Hope, the name of Alderaan was used for the capital of the "New Galactic Empire." At that time, it was described as a giant gas planet that resembled Bespin, with a city that resembled Cloud City on it. In the second draft of A New Hope, the home planet of Princess Leia was called Organa Major. Aquilae, Utapau, and Ophuchi were also considered as names for worlds partially corresponding to Alderaan.
Following the success of A New Hope, a full ancillary world was being built around the movie. In order to get everyone on the same page, George Lucas decided to create a few background stories and ideas. In those notes, Alderaan was described as a four or five million years old Earth-like planet, covered with high snowcapped mountains and green pastures. The same notes also described the planet as being the capital of its star system and possessing its own Senate. In canon, the surface of Alderaan only made its first appearance in the 2005 movie Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. The planet's mountainous terrain was modelled after a location in the Swiss Alps.