The galaxy, as it was commonly referred to, was one of trillions of galaxies in the observable universe. The galaxy was a vast composite of over 400 billion estimated stars and over 3.2 billion habitable systems orbiting around a supermassive black hole at the heart of the galaxy. The four galactic arms rotated around this black hole across a diameter of around 120,000 light-years. It was home to countless sentient species and star systems.
The galaxy would serve as the setting for trade, politics, and war throughout galactic history. In historical memory, the galaxy would see the successive eras of the Galactic Republic, Galactic Empire, New Republic, among others, and was home to the Force-using orders of the Jedi and Sith.
- 1 Astrography
- 2 History
- 3 Behind the scenes
- 4 Appearances
- 5 Sources
- 6 Notes and references
- "There's so many! Do they all have a system of planets?"
"Most of them."
- ―Anakin Skywalker and Qui-Gon Jinn
The galaxy had at least two companion galaxies, one of which was known as the Rishi Maze. The galaxy was divided into several regions. The regions were subdivided into sectors and then star systems which contained planets. During the reign of the Galactic Empire, oversectors were created and were composed of several sectors ruled by a Grand Moff. Notable sectors/autonomous regions included the Arkanis sector, Bothan Space, Centrality, Corporate Sector, Gordian Reach, Greater Javin, Hapes Consortium, Hutt Space, Mandalorian Space, Moddell sector, Senex-Juvex, Tion Cluster, and Western Reaches.
The Standard Galactic Grid was used to give the location of a galactic point in grid coordinates. Areas of the galactic disk could be referred to as the galactic north, south, east and west. Notable points of interest were the 50 wonders of the Core, 30 wonders of the Mid Rim and the 25 wonders of the Outer Rim.
The Deep Core served as the innermost and most brightly lit region of space. It was the most densely-packed with stars, nebulae, and other anomalies. As such, it was dangerous to navigate, leaving it relatively few explorers. It was from here that the ancient, super-massive black hole bound the galaxy together.
The Core Worlds were home to the richest and most important worlds in the galaxy. Densely inhabited and located on the strategic ends of several major trade lanes, its planets were hubs of fashion, education, finance, and technology. It is where the human species arguably began. It was from Coruscant, Corellia, Kuat, Hosnian Prime, and other systems that the fate of the galaxy was often decided.
The Colonies consisted of worlds colonized by the Core. Many of its planets sat along major trade routes, and were extremely wealthy. Notable planets included Abednedo, Cato Neimoidia, and Carida.
When first settled, the Inner Rim served as the frontier of galactic civilization for centuries, known simply as "the Rim." As colonization spread outwards, Inner Rim worlds prospered. Notable planets included Bestine, Onderon, Thyferra, and Taanab.
The Mid Rim was a tranquil region of space that brimmed with varied galactic worlds that boasted successful governments and thriving economies. Distance from the Core gave these worlds less fame or notoriety than planets closer to the galactic center. The Mid Rim was unofficially considered the lawful extent of the Galactic Republic and Galactic Empire. Spillover piracy from the Outer Rim affected the region. Those headed towards the Outer Rim saw it as the last taste of civilization, while those heading corewards saw it as the last grasp of frontier living. Notable planets included Naboo, Malastare, Bothawui, Kashyyyk, Ruusan, Ringo Vinda, and Ord Mantell.
Outer Rim Territories
The largest region of the known galaxy, the Outer Rim Territories were considered to be lawless, strange, and savage. Criminal organizations, including the Hutt families of Hutt Space, the Black Sun, Pyke Syndicate, and Zygerrian slavers operated in abundance within the region. Notable worlds included Arkanis, Mon Cala, Kessel, Ryloth, Eriadu, Sullust, Geonosis, Mustafar, Crait, Nal Hutta, Cantonica, Hoth, Lothal, Dagobah, Endor, Nar Shaddaa, Florrum, Yavin 4, Saleucami, Scarif, Felucia, Dathomir, and Tatooine.
The Unknown Regions was composed of the westward arm of the galaxy that was mapped, but largely unexplored. Hyperspace anomalies, solar storms, rogue magnetospheres, black holes, gravity wells, and other handicaps to hyperspace travel left it largely unexplored throughout galactic history. Mysterious species shrouded in myth such the Chiss and Grysk originated from the Unknown Regions. Notable planets included Csilla, Ilum, Rakata Prime, Exegol, and Ahch-To.
- "Those systems are beyond the Outer Rim, in Wild Space. Not on any map."
- ―Kanan Jarrus
Unlike other regions of the galaxy, Wild Space existed along the entire circumference of the galactic disk and on the borderlands of the Unknown Regions. It was inhabited by sentient species but not fully charted, explored, and civilized. Explorers and cartographers sought their fortune here at their peril.
The Old Republic and Jedi–Sith conflict
- "The Sith killed each other, victims of their own greed. But from the ashes of destruction, I was the last survivor."
- ―Darth Bane's specter
The history of the galaxy has unraveled for untold millennia. The development of civilizations in all of its regions was not only influenced by physical geography, but also by urban geography and architecture, as inhabitants sought to put their own stamp on the worlds in which they inhabited.
Due to the unimaginably large distances between systems, spacecraft utilized a propulsion system known as a hyperdrive to travel through hyperspace, an alternate dimension where a starship could take advantage of the wrinkles in the fabric of realspace to reduce journey time significantly, effectively "jumping" from point to point without having to travel directly between them.
Approximately twenty five millennia before the Battle of Yavin, one or more ancestor species discovered the hyperdrive, which opened the galaxy up for exploration and travel. Around 25,000 BBY, the Galactic Republic was formed by the Core Founders, twenty-two Core Worlds which include such planets as Alderaan.
The Jedi Order, a noble order of protectors unified by their ability to harness the power of the Force, was founded over twenty five thousand years before the Battle of Yavin. According to Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi served as the guardians of peace and justice for over a thousand generations in the Old Republic. Later, a group of Force-users split from the Jedi to form the Sith during the Hundred-Year Darkness. In one of their wars, Malachor was devastated during the Great Scourge of Malachor, which left the battlefield littered with the petrified corpses of the Sith and Jedi combatants.
The Sith built galactic-wide empires through the use of slave labor. During their period of galactic dominance, the Sith built a shrine on Coruscant. After the Sith were driven away, the Jedi Temple was constructed over the shrine's foundations. By 3966 BBY, galactic travelers were navigating hyperspace using hyperspace sextants.
Roughly a millennium before the Battle of Yavin, the Sith were defeated by the Jedi and the Galactic Republic and driven into hiding, presumed extinct. However, the Sith Lord Darth Bane survived and instituted the Rule of Two, passing the Sith legacy down to his apprentice, Darth Zannah. While the Old Republic collapsed, members of House Vizsla recovered the darksaber from the Jedi Temple and used it to rally and unify the Mandalorians. The Jedi also defeated the Zygerrian Slave Empire.
- "The Republic is not what it once was. The Senate is full of greedy, squabbling delegates. There is no interest in the common good."
- ―Sheev Palpatine
Around 1032 BBY, the modern Galactic Republic was founded with the time before its rebirth being forgotten as a dark age known as the "Old Republic." As the home of the Galactic Senate, Coruscant would become the political capital of the galaxy. The Republic would become the dominant galactic government for a thousand years until the Separatist Crisis and the Clone Wars. With the establishment of the Republic, the Core Worlds underwent a wave of expansion by settling new worlds and establishing trading colonies. In the process, they also cut deals with native populations or simply overran them. A millennium before 19 BBY, the Yavin Code was established during the Yavin Convention to govern the treatment of prisoners.
During the High Republic Era, the galaxy was believed to be at peace, resulting in less of a need for military forces. Protected by the Jedi and the Republic Defense Coalition, the Republic expanded into the Outer Rim to spread its era of ambition and Great Works, yet it would instead find itself in conflict with the Nihil after the Great Hyperspace Disaster around 232 BBY.
In the years leading up to the Clone Wars, Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas foresaw an upcoming conflict and, against the wishes of the Jedi Order, commissioned the Kaminoans to create a clone army on Kamino. In 32 BBY, a dispute between the Galactic Republic and the Trade Federation over the taxation of trade routes to outlying systems led the Federation to impose a blockade on the Mid Rim world of Naboo. The Federation was eventually expelled by a coalition of Naboo humans, Gungans, and Jedi. Senator Sheev Palpatine of Naboo took advantage of the occupation of his homeworld in order to succeed Finis Valorum as Supreme Chancellor. In secret, Palpatine was the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, who was dedicated to reestablishing Sith rule over the galaxy.
The Clone Wars
- "The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun, the Clone War has."
By 22 BBY, dissatisfaction with the Galactic Republic had led to the emergence of a secessionist movement led by the former Jedi Count Dooku, who had secretly become Darth Sidious' apprentice Darth Tyranus. During the Separatist Crisis, several thousand star systems and corporations declared their intention to leave the Republic. The discovery of the clone army on Kamino and a Separatist Droid Army on Geonosis set the stage for the First Battle of Geonosis, which became the catalyst of the Clone Wars. At the urging of Junior Representative Jar Jar Binks, the Senate transferred emergency powers to Chancellor Palpatine, who used his new-found powers to formally create the Grand Army of the Republic.
The Clone Wars engulfed much of the galaxy for the next three years. Republic, Jedi, and Separatist forces fought on multiple worlds and fronts including Christophsis, Ryloth, Umbara, Onderon, Coruscant, Utapau, and Kashyyyk. The Confederacy of Independent Systems collapsed with the deaths of Dooku, General Grievous, and the Separatist Council on Mustafar. Palpatine then took the opportunity to destroy the Jedi Order and to transform the Republic into the first Galactic Empire. Emperor Palpatine also took on Anakin Skywalker as his new Sith apprentice Darth Vader. With Order 66 marking the end of the Jedi Order, the Jedi, who once numbered thousands, practically disappeared. However, some managed to survive and the flames of the Jedi continued to burn in the galaxy, although with much less force than before. Pursued by the imperial forces, some surviving Jedi chose to hide instead of fighting the new government that increasingly spread its dominance among the stars of the galaxy. Planets considered unimportant and unpleasant, like Tatooine, a desert world with great criminal influence, Dagobah, a wild and swampy world, and Bracca, a scrap world where the Scrapper Guild worked, were used as hiding places by the Jedi.
Age of the Empire
- "In order to ensure the security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society!"
- ―Darth Sidious
The fascist Galactic Empire became the dominant government of the galaxy for the next two and a half decades. The Empire assumed control over galactic society, interplanetary economies, the HoloNet, and a sprawling Imperial Military. As Emperor, Palpatine wielded considerable power over the Empire's military, resources, and inhabitants. The revamped Imperial Senate saw more of its powers being transferred to planetary and regional governors who had been appointed by the Empire.
The Imperial Survey Corps took an interest in exploring the uncharted reaches of space, including the Unknown Regions and Wild Space. As a result, the demand for maps and cartographers exponentially increased. This allowed explorers such as Auric and Rhyssa Graf to make a decent living from selling maps until they were kidnapped by the Imperial Captain Visler Korda. In addition, the Empire created a galactic-wide network of Imperial Academies to indoctrinate and train youths to serve in the Imperial Military. In secret, the Empire embarked on an ambitious program to create a planet-destroying superweapon called the Death Star.
The Empire also expropriated land and resources and ruthlessly stamped out dissent. HoloNet and other media became a propaganda medium for the Empire. In addition, the Empire was xenophobic and favored humans at the expense of alien species. In the Imperial order, aliens were regarded as serfs, slaves, and obstacles needing to be tamed, removed, or ignored. Humans came to dominate the Imperial government and military while alien species such as the Wookiees and Talz were enslaved. Other alien species such as the Lasat and Geonosians also experienced genocide. Despite this entrenched xenophobia, some aliens rose to positions of prominence in the Empire such as the Chagrian Grand Vizier Mas Amedda, the Pau'an Grand Inquisitor, and the Chiss Grand Admiral Thrawn.
In 10 BBY, Han Solo set a new galactic record by making the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs aboard the Millennium Falcon, which he later acquired from Lando Calrissian. Solo and his companions Chewbacca, Qi'ra, Tobias Beckett, Calrissian, and L3-37 had earlier stolen coaxium from the spice mining world of Kessel in order to settle Beckett's debts to the Crimson Dawn syndicate. Solo and his companions were later involved in the death of the Crimson Dawn leader Dryden Vos.
As the Empire tightened its grip on the galaxy, resistance movements sprang up on a number of worlds. Most of these movements were strictly local, determined to free an individual planet or star system from Imperial rule. Eventually, however, dissatisfaction and opposition to the Empire culminated in a scattered network of rebel cells. Around 4 BBY, rebel cells began to coalesce into larger groups such as the Phoenix Cell, ending a previous policy of maintaining secrecy and beginning the Galactic Civil War. As the rebellion grew in power, some Imperial tacticians such as Thrawn realized that the Empire was facing a galaxy-wide insurgency. By 2 BBY, these disparate rebel groups had formed the Alliance to Restore the Republic under Mon Mothma and Bail Organa. In 0 BBY, in an attempt to obtain the Death Star plans, the Rebel Alliance launched an attack on Scarif, which marked the first victory for the Rebellion in the Galactic Civil War.
Shortly later, the Empire destroyed the planet Alderaan under Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin's orders to showcase the power of the Death Star. In response, the Rebel Alliance used the stolen Death Star plans to destroy the Death Star during the Battle of Yavin. For the next four years, the galaxy was locked in a civil war between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance. Fighting took place at locations like the Mid Rim, Sullust, Hoth, and Cloud City. In response, the Emperor commissioned the construction of a second Death Star above Endor and laid a trap for the Rebel Alliance in a calculated gamble. However, Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker managed to redeem his father Darth Vader, who sacrificed himself to save his son by killing the Emperor, which restored balance to the Force. The death of the Emperor and the destruction of the second Death Star had a cataclysmic effect on the galaxy.
- "Join us in the foundation of a new Republic to be shaped by the will of the governed. Claim your freedom and your future. Help is on the way."
- ―Leia Organa
Following the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance transitioned into the New Republic. The Galactic Civil War reached a new crescendo as the New Republic made numerous advances on multiple fronts against the bewildered remnants of the Empire. The Alliance and subsequent New Republic foiled Operation: Cinder, a posthumous contingency plan by the Emperor to devastate Naboo and at least a dozen other worlds. In the months after the events at Endor, New Republic and Imperial forces clashed on numerous fronts including the Anoat sector, Malastare, Geonosis, Naalol, Sevarcos, and Akiva. A civil war also broke out on the galactic capital of Coruscant.
By 5 ABY, the New Republic had reconstituted the Galactic Senate on Chandrila and gained control of the HoloNet and large swaths of the galaxy including Akiva and Kuat. Han Solo, Chewbacca, and a team of Wookiee exiles and other allies also liberated the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk from Imperial rule. However, the chaos caused by the civil war and the death of the Hutt crime lord Jabba Desilijic Tiure allowed various criminal factions including the pirate lord Eleodie Maracavanya and the Red Key Raiders to gain traction. A string of Imperial defeats led Grand Admiral Rae Sloane to propose peace talks with Chancellor Mon Mothma. However, the attack on Chandrila destroyed the mood for diplomacy and enabled Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax to seize power.
Proclaiming himself Counselor to the Empire, Rax brought most of the Imperial remnants to the desert world of Jakku for a showdown with the New Republic. In truth, Rax planned to execute the final stage of the Emperor's posthumous secret Contingency plan which involved exploding the planet Jakku in order to destroy what remained of Empire. Rax planned to lead a worthy remnant into the Unknown Regions to build a new order. Several months later, New Republic agents discovered Rax's forces and the Senate dispatched a fleet to Jakku. Amidst the fighting, Sloane joined forces with the New Republic agents Norra and Brentin Lore Wexley to foil Rax's plans. Meanwhile, Mas Amedda escaped house arrest and signed the Galactic Concordance with Chancellor Mothma, facilitating the Empire's surrender to the New Republic. While the New Republic celebrated its victory, Sloane and other loyal Imperial forces fled into the Unknown Regions.
Following the Battle of Jakku, the defeated remnants of the Empire signed the Galactic Concordance, which imposed harsh war reparations and demilitarized the galaxy. With the Empire defeated, the New Republic turned its attention to reshaping the galactic order. Under New Republic rule, the galaxy endured peace for the next twenty-nine years. A group of Imperial hardliners eventually left Imperial space and rebuilt themselves upon joining the First Order, a military junta founded by former Imperials in the Unknown Regions secretly dedicated to overthrowing the Republic. In the veil of the Unknown Regions, the First Order rearmed their military forces and built Starkiller Base in anticipation for their war to retake the galaxy, though this was all in direct violation of the Galactic Concordance.
By 28 ABY, the New Republic had become weakened by infighting between two powerful factions: the Populists, who sought greater autonomy, and the Centrists, who desired a stronger central government. The New Republic's inability to enforce financial regulations and patrol the galactic shipping lanes allowed criminal factions such as Rinnrivin Di's cartel and the Amaxine warriors to emerge. In secret, these were front organizations that had been created by the First Order to generate revenue for its rearmament program and to subvert the New Republic. With the New Republic leadership unwilling to take action against threats to its existence, Princess Leia Organa founded a paramilitary outfit called the Resistance.
Rise of the First Order
- "Today is the end of the Republic! The end of a regime that acquiesces to disorder! At this very moment, in a system far from here the New Republic lies to the galaxy while secretly supporting the treachery of the loathsome Resistance. This fierce machine which you have built, upon which we stand, will bring an end to the Senate! To their cherished fleet! All remaining systems will bow to the First Order! And will remember this as the last day of the Republic!"
- ―Armitage Hux
By 34 ABY, the Trans-Hydian Borderlands had become a buffer zone between the New Republic and the expanding First Order. Unwilling to risk conflict with the Order, the Republic ordered its military to avoid hostilities with any of it forces. After failing to stop the Resistance droid BB-8, the scavenger Rey, the former stormtrooper Finn, and Han Solo from escaping with a map leading to Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi, who had gone into self-exile after his efforts to restore the Jedi Order were destroyed, the First Order used their superweapon on Starkiller Base to launch a preemptive attack on the New Republic capital of Hosnian Prime. Marking the start of the Starkiller crisis, the Hosnian Cataclysm was witnessed across the galaxy since the First Order had discovered a way of firing dark energy through sub-hyperspace within minutes. In response, the Resistance destroyed Starkiller Base.
Prior to the outbreak of the open war between the First Order and the Resistance, the newbie Resistance spy Kazuda Xiono was posted to the Colossus, a supertanker fuel depot based on the Outer Rim planet Castilon. The Colossus was subsequently occupied by the First Order, which wanted to exploit the station as a military supply line. Following the Hosnian Cataclysm, Xiono and the rebel veteran Jarek Yeager led an uprising and brought the Colossus into space. In response, the First Order launched a hunt for the Colossus, seeking to recapture or destroy it.
Despite the destruction of Starkiller Base, the Hosnian Cataclysm decapitated the New Republic. As a result, Supreme Leader Snoke deployed his legions to seize military control over the galaxy. Rey predicted that the major systems would fall to the First Order within weeks. The First Order also launched an offensive against the Resistance, destroying their base on D'Qar and pursuing them through space with a hyperspace tracker. Though the First Order inflicted heavy casualties on the Resistance, the First Order also sustained serious losses when Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo rammed the Resistance's flagship Raddus into Supreme Leader Snoke's flagship Supremacy. Snoke himself was assassinated by his dark side apprentice Kylo Ren, who claimed the title of Supreme Leader for himself. Ren pursued the surviving members of the Resistance to the planet Crait. There, Luke Skywalker made his last stand which gave the Resistance and Rey enough time to escape aboard the Millennium Falcon. The survival of the Resistance ensured that the First Order's war to conquer the galaxy would be met by staunch resistance.[source?]
The Emperor's return
- "People are rising up all over the galaxy. Poe, we did it."
"We did it."
- ―Resistance Generals Finn and Poe Dameron
In 35 ABY, Darth Sidious, who was restored to life after his first death, issued a broadcast under the guise of his old identity, Emperor Palpatine, vowing revenge. Using a wayfinder acquired from Mustafar, Supreme Leader Kylo Ren tracked the Sith Lord to the Unknown Regions world of Exegol, where the Emperor and his followers, an organization of Sith cultists called the Sith Eternal, had built a massive armada of Xyston-class Star Destroyers capable of destroying planets, the Final Order. Sidious revealed that he had created Ren's former dark side master, Snoke, and offered the Final Order and title of Emperor to Ren if he killed Rey, the last Jedi. Sidious warned Ren that Rey was, in fact, his granddaughter.
With the help of an embittered General Hux, the Resistance discovered that Sidious had returned with an armada to attack the free worlds and reinforce the First Order. Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Chewbacca, BB-8, and C-3PO embarked on a mission to recover a Sith wayfinder to reach Exegol. Following a series of adventures with the First Order and Knights of Ren, Rey acquired a wayfinder and fought with Ren on Kef Bir, in the process discovering her true lineage as Sidious' granddaughter. After sensing the death of his mother, General Leia Organa, and conversing with a memory of his father, Han Solo, Kylo Ren returned to the light side and reclaimed his identity as Ben Solo.
After securing First Order Allegiant General Enric Pryde's fealty, the Emperor sent General Pryde one of his Star Destroyers, which was used to destroy the planet Kijimi as a demonstration of the Final Order's power. With the help of Rey, Generals Dameron and Finn led a Resistance attack on the Sith fleet at Exegol. While initially outnumbered, they were reinforced by a massive citizens' fleet led by General Lando Calrissian. Meanwhile, Rey and Ben Solo joined forces to defeat the Emperor at his Sith Citadel beneath Exegol. Realizing that the two were a Force dyad, Sidious drained their life energy and attacked the orbiting Resistance fleet with Force lightning. Rey was able to defeat and destroy the Emperor for good with the help of her Jedi predecessors. Thus, the rebirth of the Sith was prevented. Despite succumbing to her injuries, Rey was resurrected by Ben Solo, who transferred his life force to her.
Behind the scenes
The galaxy first appeared in the 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. In the Star Wars Legends continuity, the galaxy was said to have 3.2 billion habitable systems. However the Canon books Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia stated that the galaxy only had 3.2 million. This statistic was later corrected in later reprintings of Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia.