FALL OF THE REPUBLIC
Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, with assistance from the Geonosians, had plotted to build the first dreaded Death Star -- a weapon unlike anything the galaxy had ever seen. Palpatine, secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, had his apprentice Darth Tyranus (also known as Count Dooku) deliver the plans from Geonosis to Coruscant at the start of the Clone Wars.
Even as the Clone Wars raged, the Death Star secretly took shape in space above Geonosis. Access to the former Separatist world was restricted, with very few in the Imperial hierarchy allowed to know about the battle station’s construction.
THE DARK TIMES
The Empire initially appointed Vice Admiral Rancit to supervise the network of bases protecting the Death Star, an effort overseen from the remote Sentinel Base. Rancit’s replacement, Wilhuff Tarkin, faced a host of challenges, from delayed shipments and raw-materials shortages to missed engineering deadlines and attempts at sabotage. Tarkin proved a capable commander, and Palpatine rewarded him by making him a Grand Moff with greater control over the project. Tarkin would become the battle station’s greatest champion, seeing it as the key to vanquishing all resistance to Palpatine’s rule.
GALACTIC CIVIL WAR
The Empire completed construction of the Death Star, but Rebel Alliance spies managed to steal data tapes containing its schematics. Their goal: to find a weakness within the superstructure and exploit it. Darth Vader, an Imperial enforcer serving the Emperor and Grand Moff Tarkin, led an Imperial hunt to recover the plans. While he proved unsuccessful on that front, the Sith captured Princess Leia Organa, a suspected Rebel sympathizer. In a display of the Death Star’s might, Grand Moff Tarkin used the space station to destroy the Princess’ home planet of Alderaan, killing billions.
After the Princess’ rescue, however, the stolen plans -- which Leia had hid in the droid R2-D2 -- were finally delivered to the Alliance. It was discovered that a proton torpedo, shot precisely into a small exhaust port, could trigger a reaction that would destroy the Death Star. The Rebels launched a desperate attack, and a young pilot named Luke Skywalker -- strong with the Force -- flew an X-wing down the Death Star’s trench, making the impossible shot. The space station was destroyed, and Tarkin with it. Darth Vader, however, absconded in his TIE Advanced.
An ambitious, ruthless proponent of military power, Wilhuff Tarkin became a favorite of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and rose rapidly through the Imperial ranks. Shortly after the Empire's creation, he was put in charge of the construction of the Death Star. Tarkin saw the Death Star as a way to crush all dissent to the Empire's rule -- fear of the station's planet-killing superlaser would keep the galaxy's star systems in line. He demonstrated the station's power by destroying Alderaan, but died soon afterwards when the Death Star itself was destroyed.
Luke Skywalker was a Tatooine farmboy who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known. Along with his friends Princess Leia and Han Solo, Luke battled the evil Empire, discovered the truth of his parentage, and ended the tyranny of the Sith. A generation later, the location of the famed Jedi master was one of the galaxy’s greatest mysteries.
Once a heroic Jedi Knight, Darth Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force, became a Sith Lord, and led the Empire’s eradication of the Jedi Order. He remained in service of the Emperor -- the evil Darth Sidious -- for decades, enforcing his Master’s will and seeking to crush the fledgling Rebel Alliance. But there was still good in him…
Stormtroopers are elite shock troops fanatically loyal to the Empire and impossible to sway from the Imperial cause. They wear imposing white armor, which offers a wide range of survival equipment and temperature controls to allow the soldiers to survive in almost any environment. Stormtroopers wield blaster rifles and pistols with great skill, and attack in hordes to overwhelm their enemies. Along with standard stormtroopers, the Empire has organized several specialized units, including snowtroopers and scout troopers.
The Rebel Alliance's starfighter corps was one of its greatest assets. There were nearly as many stories as there were pilots: Rebel starfighters were flown by Imperial defectors, reformed mercenaries, adventure-seeking farmboys, and daredevils who only truly felt alive in a cockpit. Regardless of their backgrounds, Rebel pilots learned to work together, relying on their wingmen as well as their training in countless battles against the Empire.
Scheming, powerful, and evil to the core, Darth Sidious restored the Sith and destroyed the Jedi Order. Living a double life, Sidious was in fact Palpatine, a Naboo Senator and phantom menace. He slowly manipulated the political system of the Galactic Republic until he was named Supreme Chancellor -- and eventually Emperor -- ruling the galaxy through fear and tyranny.