FALL OF THE REPUBLIC
During the Clone Wars, the focus of the Jedi Knights on defeating the Separatists meant a decline of law enforcement, particularly in the sparsely patrolled Outer Rim Territories. This allowed criminal elements, like the notorious Black Sun syndicate, to flourish. The Black Sun's tentacles reach across many worlds. Many of the organization's operatives had no idea that they were benefiting Black Sun, so layered and intricate were the fronts that the syndicate hid behind. During the time of the Clone Wars, Black Sun was led by a cabal of Falleen nobles, who operated out of a well-defended fortress on Mustafar. The group’s Mustafar operations weren’t impregnable, however – Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos penetrated them to retrieve a family of captives taken in an underworld dispute between Black Sun and the Pyke Syndicate.
Discovered as a slave on Tatooine by Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker had the potential to become one of the most powerful Jedi ever, and was believed by some to be the prophesied Chosen One who would bring balance to the Force. A hero of the Clone Wars, Anakin was caring and compassionate, but also had a fear of loss that would prove to be his downfall.
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.
Neimoidians are known for their business skills, but Nute Gunray, Viceroy of the Trade Federation, was more cutthroat than most. It was Gunray who conspired with the Sith Lord Darth Sidious to launch the blockade and subsequent invasion of Naboo. Once the planet was under siege, Gunray attempted to force Queen Amidala to sign a treaty that would legitimize the occupation. Amidala escaped, and returned to infiltrate her own palace and blast through Gunray's protectors. Arrested by Republic officials, Gunray was carted off to answer for his crimes, but evaded imprisonment and kept his post.