In the final days of the Republic, the galactic government had grown so huge and corrupt that any attempt at change required radical thinking and extreme actions. Outlying systems that saw no benefit from being part of the Republic despite paying heavy taxes, began to rebel. This undercurrent of disgust towards Coruscant was seized by a charismatic leader, Count Dooku. The former Jedi rallied together these worlds in a Separatist movement that saw the departure of thousands of systems from the Republic. When Dooku's alliance was secretly backed by corporate titans that offered their unlimited droid armies to the cause, the Separatists emerged as a major threat to the Republic, and the galaxy tipped towards full scale war.
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.
Rather than use flesh-and-blood warriors, the Separatists prefer mindlessly loyal soldiers that are unquestioning of orders, and easily controlled. The soulless ranks of their battle droid armies consists of tall, thin robotic soldiers with exposed joints and bone-white or rust brown metal finishes that gives them an eerie resemblance to animated skeletons. Battle droids are very efficient, and can be controlled from centralized command centers, like the enormous Droid Control Ships used by the Trade Federation. They are dim-witted, often suffering programming glitches that give them quirky personalities that are too slow to adapt to enemies like Jedi Knights and clone troopers.
Unlike the spindly battle droids, whose humanoid builds allow them a degree of versatility, droidekas are designed with one sole function in mind: the complete annihilation of their targets. Slung at the end of heavy arms are immense twin blasters, which unleash destructive energy at a pounding pace. The destroyer droid can completely envelope itself in a globe of protective energy via its compact deflector shield generators, though at the expense of its mobility. Although slow and awkward on its three-legged gait, the droideka can transform into a much speedier, disk-shaped form.
A resourceful astromech droid, R2-D2 served Padmé Amidala, Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker in turn, showing great bravery in rescuing his masters and their friends from many perils. A skilled starship mechanic and fighter pilot's assistant, he formed an unlikely but enduring friendship with the fussy protocol droid C-3PO.
A harsh rocky world less than a parsec away from Tatooine, Geonosis is a ringed planet beyond the borders of the Galactic Republic. Its uninviting surface is made up of harsh, rocky desert, and the creatures that evolved on Geonosis are well equipped to survive in the brutal environment. The most advanced lifeform are the Geonosians, sentient insectoids that inhabit towering spire-hives. The Geonosians maintain large factories for the production of droids and weapons for the Separatist cause in the Clone Wars.