Rebel Alliance
Real-world information
First appearance

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Fictional information
Notable members
  • Yavin IV
  • Hoth
  • Rebel fleet


"The Rebel Alliance is too well equipped. They're more dangerous than you realize."
―General Tagge[src]

The Rebel Alliance, officially known as the Alliance to Restore the Republic, is one of the primary factions of the Star Wars Saga, and the main protagonist group of the original trilogy. It was first introduced in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and continued on into the rest of the trilogy. Deleted scenes in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith hint at the formation of the Rebel Alliance. The Alliance has been featured in numerous Expanded Universe stories and will return to the screen in the upcoming television series Star Wars Rebels, which will chart the Alliance's formation.

It is not yet known if the Rebel Alliance will still exist or play a role in Star Wars Episode VII. The Expanded Universe showed that the Rebel Alliance eventually reformed into the New Republic after the defeat of the Galactic Empire at the Battle of Endor, but it is unclear as to whether this same story will be followed. Previous quotes from George Lucas and others have indicated that the sequel trilogy would feature the New Republic.

Historical overviewEdit


Padmé Amidala and Bail Organa during the Clone Wars.

In the Star Wars film and television saga, the Rebel Alliance traces its origins to the Clone Wars. Having amassed unprecedented emergency power in order to wage the war, and to secretly transform the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine used the war as justification to take increasing levels of control away from the Galactic Senate to give to himself. A group of senators—most notably Padmé Amidala of Naboo, Bail Organa of Alderaan, and Mon Mothma of Chandrila—opposed the increasingly dictatorial actions by the Chancellor.[1]

This group of Senators also pushed extensively for diplomacy over war, hoping to end the conflict between the Republic and the Separatists. These efforts manifested in a number of different situations. The senators aided the planet Mandalore in remaining neutral during the conflict, as the Mandalorians feared that a Republic presence on their planet would embolden Death Watch, a group of terrorists loyal to the Mandalorians' warrior past. Amidala also attempted to begin peace talks between the Republic and the Separatists, but these talks collapsed before they could begin. Despite their peaceful nature, the senators—particularly Amidala and Organa—were willing to fight in order to protect the Republic and what they believed in. Amidala herself was present in numerous battles of the Clone Wars, including the Battle of Geonosis that sparked the war.[1]


Amidala and Organa witness the declaration of the Galactic Empire.

As the Clone Wars began winding down, the senators became increasingly concerned that Palpatine was not ceasing his efforts to amass more power, and instead continued to pass sweeping amendments that diminished the power of the Senate and increased the Chancellor’s wartime power. Hoping to persuade the Chancellor to restore democracy to the Republic, the senators gained the support of 2,000 of their colleagues and presented the Petition of the 2,000 to Palpatine himself. The Chancellor lied about his intentions and assured them that he had every intention of giving up his powers once the war ended. However, even after the end of the Clone Wars, Palpatine convinced the galaxy that the Jedi Order was attempting to take control over the Republic, and that treasonous threats continued to persist against the government. Promising to restore stability and increase security, Palpatine transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire, and the efforts of the loyalists senators failed. Amidala died soon thereafter, leaving the responsibility of fighting for democracy to Organa and Mon Mothma.[2]

The Rebel Alliance officially formed over the next two decades. In that time, Princess Leia—the adoptive daughter of Bail Organa, and the biological daughter of Amidala and Anakin Skywalker—became a member of the Imperial Senate and secretly a leader of the Rebel cause. Leia and the Rebels were able to steal the plans to the Empire’s Death Star, a battle station capable of destroying entire planets. It was the Rebels’ intention to use the plans to find a weakness in the superweapon and destroy it. The Empire, meanwhile, furiously hunted the Rebels across the galaxy, with Darth Vader—formerly Anakin Skywalker—personally leading the search for the hidden Rebel base.[3]

Battle of Yavin

The Alliance launches an attack against the Death Star over Yavin.

The Empire pursued the Rebels to Tatooine, where the princess smuggled the Death Star plans into the astro-droid R2-D2 and secretly sent him to the surface of Tatooine. Hoping to learn what she had done with the plans, Vader and his forces took Leia back to the Death Star, where she was tortured for information. The torture proved ineffective, however, leading Grand Moff Tarkin, the commander of the station, to threaten to use the Death Star to destroy Alderaan. Although Tarkin believed Leia when she supplied him with a false location for a Rebel base, the Grand Moff ordered the planet's destruction anyway, showcasing the might of the Empire and what happened when planets resisted Imperial rule. Leia was soon rescued by Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, who brought her and the Death Star plans to the Rebel base on Yavin IV. From there, the Rebels launched an attack against the Death Star, which Luke was able to destroy.

The Rebel Alliance spent the next three years being pursued by the Empire, which looked to punish the Rebellion for the destruction of the Death Star. The Rebels settled on the ice planet Hoth and set up a new base there, but it was ultimately discovered by the Imperial fleet. An assault force, led by Darth Vader, attacked the planet, forcing the Rebels to flee Hoth and meet at a new rendezvous point.
Battle of Hoth

The Battle of Hoth.

Vader, meanwhile, pursued and eventually captured Han and Leia in an effort to lure Luke into a trap; Vader had discovered Luke was his son, and wanted Luke to join him. After a battle and lightsaber duel on Bespin, Han was captured frozen in carbonite, to be delivered to Jabba the Hutt by Boba Fett due to the bounty on Han’s head. Luke and Leia returned to the Rebel fleet, while Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca set out to find Han.[4]

One year later, after the rescue of Han Solo, the Rebel Alliance briefed its troops on the existence of a second Imperial Death Star, one with more firepower than the first. Mon Mothma explained that the Emperor himself would be overseeing the final phases of the station’s destruction and that it was imperative for the Rebels to strike a final decisive blow against the Imperial war machine. A stolen Imperial shuttle, led by Han, Leia, and Luke, infiltrated the Imperial base on the forest moon of Endor, above which the Death Star was orbiting. Their mission was to take out the shield generator that protected the Death Star so the Rebel fleet could destroy it. The team was able to destroy the generator, allowing the Rebel fleet to begin the battle in space.[5]

While the Battle of Endor was waged, Luke turned himself over to Vader and was brought before the Emperor. Luke engaged his father in one final lightsaber duel in the hopes of redeeming him, having sensed the good left in Vader.

The second Death Star is destroyed.

Luke defeated Vader but resisted the temptations of the dark side, becoming a true Jedi Knight. As punishment, Palpatine unleashed a torrent of lightning from his fingertips against Luke. Unwilling to let his son die, Vader betrayed Palpatine and threw him down a reactor shaft, killing the Emperor and sacrificing his own life in the process. Only moments later, after Luke was able to escape with his father’s body, the Rebels destroyed the Death Star, crippling the Imperial war machine. Numerous planets including Tatooine, Naboo, Bespin, and Coruscant rose up against the Empire, while the Rebels celebrated the Emperor’s defeat on Endor.[5]

Involvement in upcoming projectsEdit

Star Wars RebelsEdit

Main article: Star Wars Rebels

Ezra Bridger, an early Rebel hero.

Star Wars Episode VIIEdit

Main article: Star Wars Episode VII

At the end of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, the Rebel Alliance was shown as having defeated Emperor Palpatine and destroying the second Death Star over Endor. According to the Expanded Universe, this did not mark the end of the rebellion or the final defeat of the Empire. It took another several years before the Rebel Alliance was able to give rise to the New Republic, whereas a weakened Empire survived in various forms for at least another one hundred and forty years. It is not yet clear what the status of the Rebel Alliance, the Empire, or the war will be in Star Wars Episode VII, or if the Expanded Universe storyline will be followed.

Despite the uncertainty, there are past quotes from George Lucas seem to suggest the Rebel Alliance will have become the New Republic by Episode VII. In an interview with TIME in 1980, while talking about the possibility of three trilogies, Lucas said that the third trilogy—now known as the sequel trilogy—would "involve the rebuilding of the Republic." Whether or not these past statements still apply remains to be seen.[6]

Star Wars: BattlefrontEdit

Main article: Star Wars: Battlefront

Star Wars: Battlefront is an upcoming video game currently under development by DICE, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts. The game was first announced on June 10, 2013 at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), where it was revealed through a teaser trailer. The trailer showed a Rebel soldier running through the battlefield during the Battle of Hoth from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. As a Rebel speeder crashes, a giant Imperial AT-AT walker approaches.[7] The suggests the game will take place at least partially during the Rebellion era.

Notable RebelsEdit

Film and TV appearancesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

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