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.
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.
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.
Poggle the Lesser was the leader of the insect-like Geonosians throughout the era of the Clone Wars. Due to his control of the Geonosian battle droid factories, he was a powerful figure within the Confederacy of Independent Systems and commanded the droid armies that fought against the Republic in two battles for control of Geonosis. At the end of the war, Poggle lost his life to Darth Vader.
One of the wealthiest corporate organizations in the galaxy, the Trade Federation controlled most of the interstellar shipping passing through the Rim territories. The Trade Federation was headed by Viceroy Nute Gunray, and even had its own representative in the Republic Senate to lobby for even greater power. On the orders of Darth Sidious, the Trade Federation sent its battle droids to invade Naboo to create a government crisis. During the Clone Wars, the Trade Federation secretly signed on as a member of Count Dooku's Separatist organization, though representatives in the Senate tried to deny this.
At the height of its rule, the Galactic Republic was governed by a body of Senators representing the many worlds of the galaxy. Within the cavernous Senate rotunda, hundreds of politicians would fill the viewing platforms that lined the curved walls. The Senate’s power gradually eroded after it voted emergency powers to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine during the Clone Wars, and the body was sharply divided between supporters of the war and those seeking peace. After Palpatine declared himself Emperor, power was increasingly wielded by regional governors. Shortly before the Battle of Yavin, Palpatine disbanded the Senate.