- "The Rebellion will continue to gain support in the Imperial Senate…"
"The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I've just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away."
- ―Chief of the Imperial Army Cassio Tagge and Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin
The Dissolution of the Imperial Senate was the suspension of the legislative body of the Galactic Empire, enacted by the decree of Galactic Emperor Sheev Palpatine nineteen years after the Empire's founding.
- "In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the First Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society!"
- ―Darth Sidious, in his public guise as Emperor Palpatine
As the Clone Wars came to an end, Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine of the Galactic Republic ordered a special session of Congress and proclaimed himself Galactic Emperor, turning the old Republic into a New Order in his image. The motion was eagerly supported by an overwhelming majority of the Galactic Senate, aided by Palpatine's important popularity following his role in the Clone Wars. In the wake of the regime change, the Galactic Senate became the Imperial Senate which over time started growing weaker as the planetary governors assumed more responsibility over their territories. In addition, the minority of Senators who had opposed Palpatine's declaration of the New Order, such as Alderaan Senator Bail Organa and Chandrila Senator Mon Mothma, grew more and more vocal, becoming a major concern for the Emperor.
Until the dissolution of the Senate, the many atrocities of the Imperial authorities were illegal, but due to the lack of power of the Senate, it was difficult to impose sanctions against these crimes, making the Imperial officials almost above the law.
However, the Emperor preserved the Senate in order to make the Empire's member worlds believe that they still had a part to play in the government. Secretly, the Emperor planned to disband the Senate since the formation of the Empire in the proclamation of the New Order, but needed its body to preserve order until the planet-killing Death Star battle station was completed. Weapons developer Orson Callan Krennic predicted the Senate would be of little concern after the dish was installed on the Death Star.
- "The Emperor has disbanded the Senate. You are no longer a senator. What defense will you use now, I wonder?"
- ―Darth Vader, to Leia Organa
After the Imperial senator Leia Organa, Princess of Alderaan, was found out to work with the enemy Rebel Alliance and arrested above Tatooine, the Emperor finally issued the dissolution order. While being detained aboard the Star Destroyer Devastator, Organa invoked her status as an Imperial senator in hopes she would be released. However, the Emperor's enforcer Darth Vader informed her that the Senate was being disbanded as they spoke. Aboard the Death Star, gathered leaders of the Empire, including several Joint Chiefs, were informed of the situation by Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin.
With the last remnant of the Galactic Republic out of the way, the Imperial governors now had full control over their territories. Along with the Senate, many local governing institutions were dissolved as well, leaving many qualified people unemployed. Meanwhile, the Imperial Security Bureau began the process of arresting many members of the Senate, including some who had served in the past, and taking them to the Arrth-Eno Prison Complex on Coruscant. The former delegates were to remain imprisoned there until the Bureau could assess the level of participation each had had with the Rebels. The Imperial authorities, however, wanted to reach out to possible sympathizers, hoping to convince them to join the "right" side. The Rebel agent Eneb Ray and other allied spies did attempt to rescue a group of senators scheduled to be executed, but fell into a trap set by the Empire. Ultimately, the Arrth-Eno Mission resulted in the death of all the senators and the Rebel spies, except for Ray.
Some of the most prominent Rebel senators managed to stay away from the Empire's grasp. Leia Organa was rescued from the Death Star's detention, and the battle station ended up being destroyed by the Rebels. Mon Mothma of Chandrila, a long-time insurgent and one of the Rebel Alliance's secret founders, also managed to escape the purge that followed the Senate's dissolution. Although the assembly had long been an empty husk, Mothma felt particularly disoriented because she no longer had an official title. Similarly, Leia Organa had always hoped the Senate would be there at the end to help rebuild the galaxy once the Emperor was gone.
The authorized holonews outlets obediently repeated the official narrative: Rebel traitors had infiltrated the Senate, which led to a terrorist strike on a major Imperial military installation on Scarif. Therefore, to bring a swift end to that threat and expose the insurgents among the Imperial bureaucracy, Palpatine needed to supersede and suspend the Senate for the duration of the emergency.
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (First mentioned)
- A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy (Mentioned only)
- A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: A New Hope junior novelization (Mentioned only)
- "Fully Operational"—From a Certain Point of View (Mentioned only)
- "An Incident Report"—From a Certain Point of View (Mentioned only)
- "Eclipse"—From a Certain Point of View (Mentioned only)
- "Verge of Greatness"—From a Certain Point of View (Mentioned only)
- "Contingency Plan"—From a Certain Point of View (Mentioned only)
- Battlefront II: Inferno Squad (Mentioned only)
- Battlefront II: Inferno Squad audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Princess Leia 2 (Indirect mention only)
- Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure (Mentioned only)
- Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Darth Vader (2015) 1 (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Annual (2015) 1 (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Uprising (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Squadrons (Mentioned only)
- Aftermath: Life Debt (Mentioned only)
- Aftermath: Life Debt audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Aftermath: Empire's End (Mentioned only)
- Aftermath: Empire's End audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: A Junior Novel (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: A Junior Novel audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
- Entertainment Weekly's Ultimate Guide to Rogue One
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 1 (Weapons & Uniforms: Imperial High Command)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 26 (Databank A-Z: Imperial Future Council–Inquisitorius)
- Star Wars: On the Front Lines
- Star Wars Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to a Galaxy Far, Far Away
- Star Wars: The Rebel Files (First identified as Dissolution of the Imperial Senate)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 48 (Databank A-Z: Sabe–The Separatist Council) (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: Scum and Villainy: Case Files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Guide to Season One
Notes and references
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- This event takes place during Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places the events of A New Hope in 0 BBY and 0 ABY.
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide
- Star Wars Rebels – "Rise of the Old Masters"
- Darth Vader (2015) 1
- A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy
- Princess Leia 1
- Star Wars: Uprising—Crew Member: "Deposed Sheriff"
- Battlefront II: Inferno Squad
- Star Wars Annual (2015) 1
- "Verge of Greatness"—From a Certain Point of View