“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” introduces the New Republic, the Resistance (basically the new Rebels), and the First Order (basically the new Empire), but between all the battle scenes, it never exactly explains the relationship between the three organisations.
For those wondering about the new galactic politics, the film’s novelization, written by Alan Dean Foster, offers some insight. We read it and this is what we found.
The New Republic formed in the wake of the Battle of Endor (seen in “Return of the Jedi”) as the new central government, but in the 30 years that have since transpired, it fell into disarray and began to collapse.
The novel begins with General Leia remembering how people failed to take advantage of their newfound freedom and disagreeing about the threat from the First Order, which rose from the fallen Empire.
According to Kylo Ren, the First Order exists to fix what the Republic had destroyed. He explains to a lieutenant:
“It is the task of the First Order to remove the disorder from our own existence, so that civilisation may be returned to the stability that promotes progress. A stability that existed under the Empire, was reduced to anarchy by the Rebellion, was inherited in turn by the so-called Republic, and will be restored by us. Future historians will look upon this as the time when a strong hand brought the rule of law back to civilisation.”
Leia recalls that the former rebellion leaders thought rebuilding after the Empire’s fall would be easy, but they underestimated the challenges that were ahead.
“Those who had led the rebellion had under-estimated the deeply buried desire of far too large a proportion of the population who simply preferred to be told what to do,” she remembers. “Much easier it was to follow orders than to think for oneself. So everyone had argued and debated and discussed. Until it was too late.”
Leia and others who perceived the First Order as a threat formed the Resistance. Due to a treaty between the New Rupublic and the First Order, the Resistance was an unsanctioned organisation, though it did have the private support of the New Republic.
In a scene not featured in the movie, Leia implores her personal envoy, Korr Sella, to travel to the Hosnian System, home to Hosnian Prime, the current capital of the New Republic, to seek support against the First Order.
Sella suspects the Senate won’t listen, but Leia insists that the Senate has changed and might now be willing to help. When Sella asks Leia why she won’t personally go, Leia says it’s because she wouldn’t be safe.
“I would never, never get out of the Hosnian system alive,” she says. “I would have a terrible ‘accident,’ or become the victim of some ‘deranged’ radical. Or I would eat something that didn’t agree with me. Or encounter someone who didn’t agree with me.”
Sella does briefly appear in “The Force Awakens.” Played by Maisie Richardson-Sellers, she is standing on the balcony when the Starkiller Base destroys the Hosnian System.
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