(Note: If your response to this starts with, “In the extended universe…” then go away. Disney owns this franchise and says that EU crap isn’t canon. Enjoy your misprints.)
Star Wars isn’t a complex story. It’s a straightforward good versus evil. The good guys wore white and the bad guys wore black.
But one day, while watching A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, I wondered what happened to cause the rebellion? Was it ever established that the Empire was screwing over the entire galaxy? How do we know we’re rooting for the good guys?
The Empire did some shitty things in Star Wars. They dissolved a senate, kidnapped a princess, and blew up a planet.
Look at it from their point of view. A terrorist group broke into the Empire Space Pentagon and stole top-secret documents. It’s not like this information was laying in the dusty streets of Tatooine. Stealing government secrets takes months, maybe years planning. These files contained information about the weakest spot in the entire space base. A spot so weak, two torpedoes would destroy the base and kill millions.
You can see why the empire would be so desperate to get those plans back.
Yes, the Empire rose to power in a crappy way, but the whole system isn’t evil. There are honest people working to make the galaxy a better place.
On screen, only Darth and Palpatine carry out any despicable actions. They are the pieces of shit, not their employees. Clone #352 or Commander Cody #75 just want to do their job and go home at the end of the day.
Nothing says living under the Republic was any better.
In Episode 1, we see Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi Wan trying to settle political unrest between two fish-faced groups or something. In Episode 2… In Episode 2… okay, can we just admit the prequels were bad and move on? I don’t recall much more than a gnat needing a shave, an age gap between Anakin and Padme, and Obi Wan cutting Anakin’s everything off.
It’s possible things were better after the Senator took over. Maybe Senator Palpatine had a space-healthcare system that helped a gazillion space grandmas save money on their space meds. He could have proposed an aggressive domestic economic policy to end space unemployment. But since we don’t get to SEE what happened between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific failed policy.
The rebellion we see in the original trilogy can’t be holdover political thought from the prequel. By the beginning of A New Hope, the only ones who know what happened in the first trilogy are Obi Wan, Darth Vader, Yoda, and Chewbacca.
If the rebellion was formed as a direct response to the events of Episodes 1 through 3, then Kenobi, Yoda, & Chewbacca would have had a more active role. Does that happen? No, Yoda and Obi Wan go into hiding at the end of Ep. 3. They have nothing to do with the fighting at the beginning of A New Hope.
Running a government, regardless of size, takes money. The bigger the government, the more money needed to run it. Imagine the yearly cost of the Empire’s public services. Galactic fire department? $45 gabillion space bucks. Oh you want to have a clone army and navy? Just fork over a number that has a ton of zero’s behind it. Build 1.5 Death Stars? Then open your wallet because a Death Star is fucking expensive.