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.
Padmé Amidala was a courageous, hopeful leader, serving as Queen and then Senator of Naboo -- and was also handy with a blaster. Despite her ideals and all she did for the cause of peace, her secret, forbidden marriage to Jedi Anakin Skywalker would prove to have dire consequences for the galaxy.
A clumsy, well-meaning Gungan outcast on Naboo, Jar Jar Binks struggled to prove his worth throughout his life. Putting his awkward past behind him, Jar Jar left the swamps of Naboo to enter the even murkier waters of Coruscant politics, becoming a representative for his people in the galactic capital. There, his best intentions and eagerness to serve were exploited by scheming Senators and others in positions of power.
A well-meaning civil servant whose chancellorship was hampered by corruption in the Senate and bureaucratic snarls, Valorum secretly turned to the Jedi Knights for help breaking the Trade Federation's blockade of Naboo. But Valorum was betrayed by Naboo's Senator Palpatine, who maneuvered Queen Amidala into asking the Senate for a no-confidence vote in the Supreme Chancellor's leadership. A stunned Valorum was removed from office in favor of Palpatine.
Bail Organa, a member of Alderaan's royal family and the planet's representative to the Republic Senate, earned respect on Coruscant for his honesty and his commitment to justice. Prior to the Clone Wars, Bail served alongside Senator Padmé Amidala as a member of Chancellor Palpatine's Loyalist Committee. The two became close friends, and recruited like-minded allies to prevent Palpatine's alarming grabs for power. At the end of the war, Bail Organa adopted Padmé's daughter Leia and raised her as an Alderaanian princess. Bail died when the Death Star destroyed his homeworld.
To hear Lott Dod tell it, the actions of Nute Gunray did not reflect the true intents of the Trade Federation, which remained loyal to the Galactic Republic. Sure, the Separatist Alliance did use Trade Federation starships and battle droids as part of their fighting forces in the Clone Wars, but this was equipment legitimately purchased in the open market. The Trade Federation was committed to commerce across the entire galaxy, and had no interest in getting caught up in territorial wars, Dodd would say. In truth, the Senator received a healthy income to ensure both sides of the war stay well equipped.