- "For centuries, Alderaan stood as a beacon of hope in the Republic. But the Empire came, and with one savage strike, brought Alderaan to her knees. Now, time is running out, as few are left to face the enemy. For those that remain, there is but one choice. We must fight—to victory, or death—for the Republic!"
- ―Captain Jace Malcom
The Battle of Alderaan was a major conflict between the Galactic Republic and the reconstituted Sith Empire that occurred at the height of the Great Galactic War, in 3667 BBY. The peaceful and verdant Core World of Alderaan was a founding member of the Republic and widely viewed as an embodiment of the ideals and principles upon which the galactic government was founded. It was that reputation that made it a military target for the Sith Empire. As the Great Galactic War dragged on elsewhere in the galaxy, the Sith formulated a plan to crush Republic morale by invading Alderaan and shattering its fabled serenity. The incursion was led by the Sith Lord Darth Malgus, who planned for it to coincide with a diversionary feint that would pull the ships of the Republic Navy far from Alderaan. As the planet sat undefended by the Republic fleet, it was beset by a massive Sith invasion force that bombarded the planet from orbit, obliterated its local defense forces, and took the royal family of Alderaan hostage. Malgus and his forces burned entire cities to the ground and brutalized the peaceful noble families, all while the small number of Jedi who were on-planet at the time of the invasion struggled to make even the slightest dent in the Sith invasion force.
Unknown to the Sith forces, groups of Republic troopers returning from battles in the Outer Rim were stationed across the surface of the planet prior to the invasion. These troopers banded together and took to the forests of Alderaan's Juran Mountains during the Sith attack and proceeded to wage a guerrilla war against the enemy. As Darth Malgus led his forces in a march toward the planet's capital city, he was ambushed by the troopers of Republic Special Forces Division' Havoc Squad. Much of the squad was killed during the battle, but with the timely arrival of Jedi Knight Satele Shan to aid the men of Havoc Squad, Malgus and his Sith forces were routed. Following the skirmish outside the city, the Republic fleet returned from the diversionary feint to drive the Empire off of Alderaan. The battle was a major victory for the Republic, but had grave consequences for the future of Alderaan. Although historically a voice for peace, the Alderaanian government became a vocal proponent of harsh military actions against the Empire in the aftermath of the battle. This new stance came into conflict with the peace established by the Treaty of Coruscant in 3653 BBY, which ultimately led to a bloody planetary civil war.
- "While Coruscant has always been considered the heart of the Republic, to some extent, Alderaan has been its soul."
- ―A HoloNet dossier on Alderaan
After its return to galactic prominence in 3681 BBY, the reconstituted Sith Empire stabbed into Galactic Republic space in a brutal campaign for domination. As the Great Galactic War dragged on, the Sith seized much of the Outer Rim Territories and continued to advance toward the Republic's bastion worlds near the galaxy's center, known as the Core Worlds. Despite two major setbacks at the Mid Rim planet of Bothawui in 3671 BBY, the Empire continued to press their offensive in the hope of ending the war quickly. The Empire's ruling Dark Council also sought to take revenge on the Republic for the capture of the six Sith Lords known as the Dread Masters a year earlier, as the loss of the Dread Masters' power angered the Council. To that end, the Core Worlds became an even greater focus, and in this region lay Alderaan, a verdant and historically tranquil planet that had long been a voice for peace in the Republic's Galactic Senate. Alderaan was seen as the soul of the principles the Republic had been founded on, and it was that reputation that made it a military target for opportunistic Sith commanders hoping to capitalize on what had the potential to be a major blow to Republic morale.
The plan for an Imperial invasion of Alderaan was headed by the Sith Lord Malgus, who had recently been granted the honorific title of "Darth." Malgus specialized in surprise assaults and utilized that ability in planning the attack on Alderaan. In 3667 BBY, the Sith Lord manipulated the forces of the Republic Navy into all but abandoning the planet in order to deal with a situation light-years away—a situation that was in fact nothing more than a diversionary feint fabricated by Malgus to pull defenses away from his target. Unbeknown to the Sith, however, a number of Jedi—including Satele Shan,—were on the planet to investigate rumors of Imperial interference in the politics of the ruling noble families. Additionally, many troopers from the Republic Army, specifically the Special Forces division, were on Alderaan, for the peaceful Core World served as a rest and medical recuperation center for soldiers returning from brutal battlefronts across the Mid and Outer Rim.
War comes to Alderaan
- "There were Jedi and at least one squad of Republic Special Forces on the planet, but we have had no contact with them since the attack began. If all these reports are true, I fear we are far too late to make a difference and that Alderaan is already lost."
- ―Jedi Master Gnost-Dural, expressing his fears while aboard a Republic naval vessel rushing to aid Alderaan
With Alderaan's naval defenses far from their charge, the forces of the Empire invaded the world in a swift and savage assault. Prior to landing their vessels, the Empire initiated a heavy orbital bombardment of the world, which decimated a number of townships and filled much of the atmosphere with ash and thick black smoke. Darth Malgus himself led the incursion force, which consisted of several thousand assault droids, hundreds of fellow Sith, large numbers of Imperial soldiers, and the Mandalorian bounty hunter and saboteur Shae Vizla. The ground forces were joined by vessels of the Imperial Navy, including Mark VI Supremacy-class starfighters and Harrower-class dreadnoughts. Once his forces were on the planet, Malgus began a devastating campaign across the once-tranquil world. The Sith forces obliterated the local Alderaanian defense forces and continued on to burn entire cities to the ground. Jedi Knight Aryn Leneer participated in the conflicts on the planet, alongside Knights Satele Shan, Warren Sedoru and other Jedi defenders.
Upon learning that the Empire had come to Alderaan, Satele Shan rushed to ensure the safety of the Alderaanian Queen Silara Panteer. However, upon arriving at Castle Panteer, she found the building in ruins—the Imperials had already captured the royal family. The Sith held the Panteer royals hostage throughout their invasion, earning the ire of the Alderaanian government and people. They also targeted and brutalized House Organa, Alderaan's most Republic-friendly noble family. Although other Jedi attempted to push back against the invaders, their efforts were easily swatted down. Jedi Knight Warren Sedoru was critically injured in the fighting, while others took to hiding in ruined cities in the hope of ambushing a lone enemy. After learning that she would be unable to help protect the Queen, Satele Shan had a vision that Jace Malcom, whom she had fought alongside previously, would need her aid, contacted the Jedi High Council on Coruscant to request reinforcements. Word began to spread of the Empire's attack, and although Republic forces rallied to strike back, it was widely accepted that the battle had already been lost—Alderaan had fallen to the Sith.
As Malgus continued his brutal campaign across the planet, he set his sights on Alderaan's planetary capital city and Castle Organa. While he led his forces in a march toward the city through the Juran Mountains, the Republic forces that had been stationed on Alderaan's surface mobilized. Up until the Sith advance on the capital, the soldiers of the Republic Military had been recovering from the wounds of battle and awaiting orders from their superiors. In response to Malgus's overtures, they took to Alderaan's forests and mountain ranges in preparation to fight a guerrilla counter-campaign against the Sith invaders. While the rest of the Republic personnel on the planet set out to repel the Sith across Alderaan, it fell to the elite Special Forces group Havoc Squad to defend the capital and Castle Organa by engaging the Imperial forces under the direct command of Darth Malgus.
Hope for the Republic
- "It was a battle they could not win, and if I had arrived before they launched the attack I would have counseled them to hold back. In retrospect, though, it was the courage and selflessness of those men that changed everything that day."
- ―Grand Master Satele Shan recounts the efforts of the Republic Army at the Battle of Alderaan
Captain Jace Malcom of Havoc Squad led his forces into position on a ridge overlooking the forest route through the Juran region that was to be traversed by Malgus's troops. As the Imperials marched past the Republic's position, the trooper commander opened fire with a blaster cannon, initiating the ambush. The rest of Havoc Squad leaped down from the ridge to join their captain in battle against the Sith through the forests of Alderaan. The troopers were able to destroy a number of Mark I Imperial assault droids with thermal detonators and blaster fire, but were eventually engaged by Darth Malgus himself. Upon seeing the Sith Lord impale one of his comrades, Captain Malcom took aim at Malgus, though his first several shots were ineffective. The captain's final cannon blast engulfed the Imperial commander in flames, badly damaging his face. When Malcom attempted to rush the Sith Lord and finish him off, Malgus assaulted him with Force lightning and threw him across the battlefield.
The remaining Sith forces gained the upper-hand in the skirmish, eventually forcing the Republic soldiers on the defensive. Havoc Squad troopers that fell behind were systematically executed by the Sith, until intervention from Satele Shan, who had raced to Malcom's aid after contacting the Council. The Jedi Knight allowed Havoc Squad the opportunity to press their attack once more while she engaged Sith Warriors, their war droids, and Malgus himself. Shan and the Sith Lord's fierce melee was nearly ended when Malgus disarmed his opponent and attempted to stab her with his lightsaber. His attack was unsuccessful however, as Shan was able to absorb the energy from Malgus's lightsaber, essentially catching the blade with her own hands. While the Sith Lord attempted to penetrate the Jedi's defenses, he was tackled once again by Captain Malcom, who had recovered from their earlier scuffle. While the two grappled with one another, the Havoc squad captain activated a handheld grenade, sparking a blast that threw the two combatants apart, and grievously injured both.
Jace Malcom was rendered unconscious, though Malgus quickly recovered. Despite surviving the explosion, the Sith Lord was again assaulted by Satele Shan, who threw him with the Force into a large rock face. As Malgus struggled against her telekinetic attack, the Jedi mustered strength through the Force and delivered a powerful Force Wave, impacting the Sith Lord and shattering the rock around him. With the Imperial commander incapacitated, Republic forces continued to wipe out the Sith forces both in the forest battle and across the rest of Alderaan. Malcom later recovered to find the Imperials defeated, along with many of his own men. Upon being joined by his savior Shan, the commander fired a signal flare into the sky to indicate the Republic victory. The flare was matched by dozens of others across the planet that were immediately followed by the arrival of the Republic fleet, which had returned from addressing Malgus's diversion.
The return of the Republic's naval forces prompted the surviving Sith invaders to initiate a full retreat from the Alderaan theater. The seriously wounded Darth Malgus was rescued from the battlefield by his subordinates and possibly the bounty hunter Shae Vizla, and loaded into his personal shuttle, bound for safer regions. While the Sith Lord recovered in his escaping vessel, he felt the presence of a Jedi in the ruins of a township destroyed by the orbital bombardment. Furious over the failure of his invasion, Malgus was determined to take the life of the Jedi in revenge. The Sith Lord ordered his pilot to reduce their speed and lower the shuttle before he jumped from the airborne vessel into the streets of the devastated town. On the surface, Malgus encountered a Zabrak Jedi who had planned a trap for the Sith Lord. When Malgus charged at the Zabrak, the Jedi quickly overwhelmed him by using the Force to crush the Sith beneath the rubble of surrounding buildings. The Imperial commander survived the attack and reciprocated with a flurry of lightsaber strikes that beat the Jedi into a defensive stance. Malgus realized that his target was simply baiting him into an ambush, and so used the Force to discern his plan: there was another Jedi lying in wait, hoping to strike at the Sith while he was distracted. Darth Malgus responded by kicking the Zabrak into a building while seeking out the other Jedi, the Human Vorin, and crushing his windpipe. The Zabrak Jedi, angered by the death of his comrade, charged at Malgus in a desperate attempt to finish the Sith. Malgus easily broke the attack with a concentrated blast of Force lightning, which drove the Jedi to the ground in pain. The Sith Lord executed his ruined opponent before rejoining his forces in retreat.
Despite still maintaining a superior orbital position, the Imperial fleet chose not to engage the newly-arrived Republic naval forces, opting instead to collect their ground forces and flee the system. With the full might of the Republic Military focused on Alderaan, the Sith were driven from the planet and the royal family was rescued from captivity.
- "The Imperial invasion was not forgotten, though. For the first time in history, Alderaan's leaders became a voice for aggressive military action in the Senate."
- ―A HoloNet dossier on Alderaan during the Cold War
Although Alderaan was safe from Imperial aggression for the remainder of the war, the invasion had a profound effect on the once-peaceful planet. Alderaan's leaders, who had previously been renowned for their pacifism, began to advocate aggressive military operations against the Empire in the Republic's Senate, as a response to the damage the Sith had inflicted on their homeworld. This advocacy, combined with the morale boost from Havoc Squad's victory in the Alderaanian forests, motivated the Republic Military to rally for the next several years. This momentum resulted in victories in the Mid Rim and the long-embattled Minos Cluster in the distant Outer Rim. Jace Malcom was promoted to the rank of general in the aftermath of the victory at Alderaan, and in addition to working with Colonel Elin Garza to expand the Special Forces Division he began leading campaigns against the Empire. Malcom and Shan also began a secret romantic relationship in the days after the battle, though she eventually broke it off six months later during one of Malcom's campaigns when she learned she was pregnant with their child and confronted Malcom about the darkness in his spirit.
However, the Battle of Hoth two years later broke the Republic's recent string of victories, giving the Empire back the advantage but bringing the war to a relative standstill as the Empire struggled to make headway against Republic resistance. In 3654 BBY, the Dark Council was growing increasingly desperate for an end to the war, particularly after the debacle on Alderaan and the loss of a blockade on the Hydian Way. Thusly, the Council called for a peace summit to convene so that delegates from both governments might agree on a cession of hostilities. Alderaan was chosen as the meeting place between the two, but ultimately ended up being little more than a distraction from the true endgame: the Sacking of Coruscant. The Sith attack on the capital and the summit on Alderaan ultimately yielded a peace agreement known as the Treaty of Coruscant—a document that later had severe consequences for the galaxy at large, and Alderaan in particular.
By all measures, the Sith had won the Great Galactic War, and the Treaty of Coruscant was little more than a concession of defeat for the Republic. The agreement was heavily biased toward Imperial interests—a fact that outraged Alderaanian politicians who had taken a hardline stance against the Sith in the aftermath of the Battle of Alderaan. In protest of the Republic's establishment of peace with the enemy, Gaul Panteer, the Crown Prince and senator of Alderaan, stormed out of the Senate and declared his planet an independent system. The secession was met with mixed reaction from the people of Alderaan, particularly in light of the fact that many had expected their world to return to its peaceful ways. Bouris Ulgo of House Ulgo, a decorated Republic general and former leader of Alderaan's security forces, was dismayed to learn that the Alderaanian military would remain on high alert indefinitely, and that he would not be permitted to return to his farming estates while the nobles played politics.
The situation erupted into chaos following the prince's assassination. Queen Silara Panteer, a survivor of Imperial imprisonment during the battle, died in the following days, leaving the Alderaanian throne vacant and the Alderaanian Parliament unable to appoint a new ruling family. It was at this point that the Empire made a new bid for Alderaan—this time by manipulating the return outcast noble House Thul. The reappearance of House Thul, which was now little more than an Imperial puppet family, prompted Bouris Ulgo to declare himself King and demand the obedience of the other houses. Although the patriot Ulgo was attempting to prevent what he saw as a new Imperial invasion, his fellow nobles were repulsed by his institution of martial law and execution of the remaining members of House Panteer. As the usurping House Ulgo, the Imperial-allied Thuls, and the Republic-backed Organas competed to become the new royal family, Alderaan fell back into violence and tyranny. Over the next decade, Republic and Imperial combatants flocked to the world to attempt to influence the outcome of what became one of the bloodiest planetary civil wars in galactic history.
During this period, the personal journal of the Jedi Master Gnost-Dural was reviewed and entered into the Jedi Archives on Tython. Gnost-Dural had been aboard the Republic fleet that arrived to retake Alderaan, and as such, was able to contribute a personal point of view on the battle. However, due to his distant position from the fighting on the ground, he was unable to accurately describe the progress of the conflict. This gap in information prompted then-Jedi Grand Master Satele Shan to add an annotation to that section of the journal to detail her involvement, as well as the efforts of Havoc Squad.
Behind the scenes
The Battle of Alderaan was created as a background event for LucasArts' and BioWare's massively-multiplayer online video game, Star Wars: The Old Republic. The battle was first mentioned on the Alderaan page of the Holonet, an online feature available on Star Wars: The Old Republic's official website. The Holonet is intended to provide information regarding the history of the galaxy prior to the game's starting point. With regard to the Battle of Alderaan, the Holonet explains the reasons for the Alderaanian civil war found in the game.
The information on the battle was dramatically expanded upon with the release of Hope, the second cinematic trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic. The trailer revealed that Havoc Squad and the Jedi Order were involved in the battle, as well as Darth Malgus—a character who was first introduced in the previous cinematic trailer. The trailer was narrated by a Havoc Squad captain, Jace Malcom, whose voice actor has yet to be confirmed by official sources. The release of Hope also confirmed the conflict's name as the "Battle of Alderaan." In March of 2011, eight months after Hope's release, BioWare senior creative writer and author of Star Wars: The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire confirmed via The Old Republic's online message boards that the unidentified Jedi female in the trailer is Satele Shan, a prominent character in the game itself.
Additional information on the battle is provided in The Old Republic itself, which was released on December 20, 2011. The player character learns the history of the Alderaanian Civil War—including its roots in the Battle of Alderaan—while traversing the planet and engaging in missions for either the Sith Empire or the Galactic Republic. The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural, a book released in collector's editions of The Old Republic, included new information on the battle, including Satele Shan's activities prior to Havoc Squad's attack and Gnost-Dural's presence with the navy. Images of the battle were used as promotional material in anticipation of the game's release, although it should be noted that representations of Darth Malgus in these images presented him with his distinctive jaw covering, which he does not receive until after his injuries at the hands of Satele Shan during the Battle of Alderaan.
The battle was included in a history of the Great Galactic War found in Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded, published on April 30, 2012 and written by Ryder Windham. However, the blurb included with an image of the battle includes several glaring inconsistencies. According to the text, the Battle of Alderaan occurred in conjunction with the Sacking of Coruscant and the Alderaan peace conference—statements in direct conflict with information from The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural and The Old Republic: Deceived and Star Wars: The Old Republic, Threat of Peace. Additionally, this placement is made impossible by Darth Malgus's participation in both conflicts. The 2012 novel The Old Republic: Annihilation revealed that Shan and Malcom began a relationship following the battle that resulted in the birth of her son Theron, but the book incorrectly places the battle in the year 3670 BBY.
- Hope (First appearance)
- "The Old Republic: The Third Lesson"—Star Wars Insider 124
- "The Old Republic: The Third Lesson"—Star Wars Insider: The Fiction Collection Volume 2
- The Old Republic: Deceived (Mentioned only)
- The Old Republic: Deceived audiobook (Mentioned only)
- The Old Republic—The Lost Suns 2 (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (Mentioned only)
- The Old Republic: Annihilation (In flashback(s))
- The Old Republic: Annihilation audiobook (In flashback(s))
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Rise of the Hutt Cartel (Codex entry)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Shadow of Revan (Codex entry)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire (Codex entry)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Eternal Throne (Mentioned only)
- (First mentioned)
- (First identified as Battle of Alderaan)
- The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Old Republic
- The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Explorer's Guide
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia
Notes and references