"A thousand generations live in you now."
—Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master
In 35 ABY, the Sith were destroyed forever. Rey of Jakku and Ben Solo, the redeemed Kylo Ren, confronted the reborn Emperor Palpatine, the last Dark Lord of the Sith as a fleet of allied ships from worlds across the galaxy rose up to destroy the First Order fleet. Rey, the Emperor’s granddaughter, defeated the Dark Lord in the battle—at the cost of her life. But a gravely injured Solo, calling upon the light side of the Force, healed Rey by giving his final life energies to her. With his last breath, the last of the Skywalkers passed away into the Force. But their memory lived on, as Rey took on the name Rey Skywalker as a rejection of her own lineage and to honor the family of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, and Ben Solo— a found family that had been so important to her life.
With the Sith gone and the First Order in tatters, the galaxy embarked on the task of rebuilding itself and recovering from a war that had been started thousands of years earlier when Alais Drast, a fallen Jedi Knight, declared herself Andraste, the first Sith Empress, and turned a band of Jedi Exiles into the Lords of the Sith.
Now it has been a century since the Battle of Exegol, the fall of the First Order, and the final defeat of Darth Sidious and the Sith Order. Though the galaxy exists in a general state of calm, it was a long road to peace. What was not clear during the days of the Empire became clear when the Emperor returned: for a thousand years, the galaxy was being manipulated in the games of the Sith in an attempt to restore a rule they had not seen since the Dark Ages. The Sith, let alone the Jedi, were a legend to most. Now the galaxy found itself contending with the outcome of a holy war, and the true evils of the dark side of the Force.
The Republic and the Free Worlds
In the days after the Emperor’s defeat, the New Republic was loosely restored, in a smaller state than it was in the days before the Hosnian Cataclysm. The Emperor may be gone, but the shadow he cast since even before the Clone Wars is long. Worlds across the galaxy are slower to rejoin a galactic government after the decades of turmoil that the Emperor caused. In its nascent days, the Republic suspected that would be the case. While many would-be politicians believed that the people rising up to join the Free Worlds Fleet at the Battle of Exegol marked a major victory in the return of the New Republic, others were not so quick to easy judgments. Lando Calrissian, the first new chancellor of the Republic and the one who rallied the Core systems to Exegol with the Resistance’s message, understood that the people were rallying to the cause of freedom from the Emperor’s tyranny, not to the cause of the Republic.
As time went on, and disaffected systems seemed content to at least ally with the Republic, the belief solidified that, in the aftermath of the Galactic Civil War, the first New Republic government moved too fast and too far. The divisive fractures of the Clone Wars were not easily healed, and the long-standing divisions it caused were exploited by the First Order and the Sith. Even with the First Order ultimately exposed as a pawn of the Sith and its final defeat crushing, there remained those with Imperial leanings who would want to bring the Republic down again. For one hundred years, they have failed to do so. The Republic, though small, is stronger at its core than it was after the old war or during the last days of the Old Republic. The galaxy is more vigilant to tyranny.
One decision by the first New Republic that has since been recognized as wise was Chancellor Mon Mothma’s pursuit of de-militarization in the wake of the Battle of Jakku. Though once viewed by some as naive, including the Resistance once the First Order returned, it has now been re-examined and hailed as the reason why the Free Worlds Fleet was able to come together so quickly at Exegol. With ships and power in the hands of citizens and local worlds, there was no need for endless debate in a Senate to face a threat. No need for politics, deal-making, or compromise. All those in the Free Worlds recognized its true enemy, the Emperor, needed to be destroyed once and for all. After Chancellor Calrissian’s time in office ended, other New Republic leaders, such as Chancellor Rose Tico, continued this policy.
The Republic now exists in what is known as the Free Worlds Alliance, a loose trade organization and defense pact made up mostly of Core Worlds but encompassing some systems from beyond. It includes individual member worlds plus smaller sector and regional governments that have come together outside the Republic, all with the mission of ensuring the continued freedom and sentient rights of the galaxy as well as the defense against those who would seek to dominate it again. There have been some lingering tensions within the Republic over the existence of the Free Worlds Alliance, with some feeling that the Republic should be a widely-encompassing ruling body, but others see it as a necessary check on a galactic government that once gave way to the greatest evil the galaxy has ever known.
Beyond the Free Worlds
One world that immediately hesitated to join the Republic or the Free Worlds was Mandalore. Between the Separatists, the Republic, and the Empire, Mandalore long suffered under the wars for galactic dominance. The Mandalorians came to believe through their hard-lived experience that they and only they had their best interests in mind. Still reeling from the purge, to find a Mandalorian out in the galaxy is a rare sight. There nonetheless remains a devoted Mandalorian tribe with names like Vizsla, Weren, and Solus who travel to different worlds amongst the Outer Rim, seeking new foundlings to continue rebuilding their culture. To them, this is the way—the way to one day returning to Mandalore, where there’s still a population of civilians, and restoring their once-proud cultural heritage.
As with any time throughout Mandalore’s storied history, there is great discontent amongst clans when it comes to how to return home. Some continue the bounty hunter tradition like the one carried by Din Djarin, the man known to most only as “the Mandalorian.” Others are mercenaries. Some believe that the way of the Death Watch will make them strong again. Others dream of honor, of returning to the ancient cultural roots of the days when their ancestors rode the mythosaur to victory. But the one common idea between them is the way of the Mandalore: they are both hunter and prey, and the warrior way is the only thing that will keep them safe from a galaxy that has long-sought to destroy them. Particularly those who follow the way of the Force; to the Mandalorians, there is no daylight between Jedi and Sith. Those who follow the way of the Force are their enemy.
For better or for worse, many Mandalorians often cross paths with the criminal underworld—a seeming threat that also has the preoccupation of the Republic and the Free Worlds. With a massive power vacuum left in the wake of decades of war and governmental collapses, piracy and criminal cartels have increased dramatically in the Outer Rim and even into the Mid Rim. The five syndicates—the Black Sun, the Crymorah, Crimson Dawn, the Hutt Clan, and the Pykes—remain a major presence in the underworld, directing their resources to worlds and opportunities outside the scope and reach of the Free Worlds Alliance. Those who seek power and resources for themselves are easily drawn into the underworld’s reach.
These syndicates enjoy a fragile alliance with one another, one dating back to the days of the Clone Wars, and while conflict among the factions are not uncommon, they are loathe to risk open confrontation. Most of their conflicts are against others, including the Sector Rangers, a group of law enforcement officials independent of but ultimately responsible to the Free Worlds Alliance. While the Sector Rangers primarily operate within Free Worlds space, they have broad authority from their representative governments to operate outside of that jurisdiction and are often in conflict with the criminal syndicates of the Outer Rim. More recently, several smaller crime groups like the Son-tuul Pride and the Droid Gotra have also allied with the syndicates and have come into conflict with these law enforcement officers.
The Jedi Order
After long being persecuted under the Emperor’s reign, Rey Skywalker brought about the return of the Jedi Order on the jungle world of Ajan Kloss. This was the training ground once used by Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Rey herself, as well as the location of the last Resistance base from which they launched the attack on Exegol. It seemed most fitting; it was from Ajan Kloss that Rey left on the mission where she destroyed the Sith once and for all, and it was where the Resistance rallied the Free Worlds to destroy the First Order and end the march of the Old Empire.
Having been trained by Luke Skywalker, Rey brought with her the sacred Jedi texts that once lived in the tree library of Ahch-To, the birthplace of the old Jedi Order. To house them and other wisdom from across the galaxy, Rey and her earliest students built a Jedi Library deep in the jungle. Teeming with life and purpose, the library became a pilgrimage point for both Jedi and non-Jedi alike. As the story of the Jedi Order’s return spread, as well as the legend of what Rey did to save the galaxy, those seeking knowledge and wisdom would occasionally arrive on the doorsteps of the new Jedi Temple, seeking the way deeper into the jungle. There are even rumors that R2-D2 was given backup recordings of the Jedi texts. No one knows what becomes of him, but some believe he’s still out there, staying quiet for safekeeping in the event the ancient texts were lost.
As for Rey’s earliest students, she knew all too well the cautionary tale of Luke building a training academy and how its mistakes led to the rise of Kylo Ren. But she also knew that, like Luke before her, she was not meant to be the last Jedi. Unburdened from the failures of the old Jedi Order, strengthened by the voices of Jedi past, and forever free from the phantom menace of the Sith Lords, Rey learned from history and forged a new Order to bring light and hope to a galaxy still reeling from an eternal war. She sought students in which she saw great potential and great light, as she knew hers would be an Order that would be a new hope and light for the galaxy.
Rey also took inspiration for the Jedi Order from those who helped her on her journey. Finn Dameron was her first student, and he helped her build the Jedi Order and find students from across the galaxy. Many of their earliest disciples were former First Order stormtroopers that Finn sought out, those who had lost their own families and needed a place to find peace, purpose, and redemption. Poe Dameron was invaluable in providing resources for the early days of the Jedi so they could build their first temple and library, often employing the assistance of Zori Bliss and the spice runners who were once of Kimji to discreetly bring supplies to Ajan Kloss. Discretion was necessary; there would always be enemies of the Jedi seeking to find them, and there were those in the early days of the Republic that wanted the Jedi to be held accountable for their part in the wars. Chancellors Calrissian and Tico helped squash those efforts during their terms.
For decades, Jedi have gone out into the galaxy after their training, healing the weak and the sick, helping to rebuild planets devastated by the Empire and the First Order, and restore hope—as well as remaining vigilant to whatever dark threats could still be lurking in the galactic shadows.
The Sith Eternal
The Sith are dead. Forever. Of course, in the aftermath of the Battle of Endor, it seemed that was the case as well. What Luke Skywalker and the Republic were unaware of, however, were the shadowy forces living in the dark corners of the galaxy that worshipped and revered the Sith. It was not simply two; there were only two Sith Lords in the Sith Order of Darth Bane, but an entire cult and religion worshipped them in the Unknown Regions and even parts of the known galaxy. The Sith Eternal of Exegol was responsible for building the largest Sith Fleet the galaxy had ever seen, and for resurrecting Darth Sidious after the Battle of Endor using ancient Sith alchemy. This was vital to their belief system. Sidious contained within him the spirits of all the Sith Lords who came before him, and if he was to die then the Sith would die forever. It was only the Sith magic he used during the Battle of Endor that allowed him to live again. But once Rey obliterated him, and in doing so the Citadel of Exegol, the Emperor was lost. As were the spirits and the alchemic secrets that allowed them to return.
But while most of the Sith Eternal cult was destroyed with the destruction of the Sith Citadel, the legacy and memory of the Sith lives on. Cults who revere the dark side of the Force worship the old Sith like gods to this day. While the galaxy views the Emperor as a pariah, these cults consider him and others—names like Vader, Bane, and Andraste—to be the greatest heroes the galaxy has ever known. Like the Jedi, they rarely leave their dark corners of the galaxy but do occasionally venture out. But while the Jedi help the weak, these cults set out to destroy and punish them—and seek more power along the way.
One such cult that continued despite setback was the Alzamec of Winsit. These were pilgrims who ventured to and spent much time on Mustafar, in the Corvax Fen near the ruins of Fortress Vader. In his search for the wayfinders to Exegol, Kylo Ren massacred most of the cultists who lived there. But those who survived remained undeterred, there to protect the land that they believed was made fertile by the tears of Lady Corvax, an ancient Force-sensitive who legend said once lived on Mustafar and helped devastate the planet in an effort to resurrect the man she loved. As the cult tended to the sacred area, they scavenged the ruins of Fortress Vader, finding clues to ancient artifacts, like the legend of a mask said to contain the memory of the ancient Sith, and a new hope for perhaps keeping the memory of the Sith alive.
These cults were joined by a previously unknown sect: the Legions of Lettow, descended from eons before the Sith ever existed in the days of the First Great Schism and Xendor. With a fundamentally different view of the dark side than the Sith, the now-Eternal Legions took on the primary objective of being the sword of the Sith Eternal after the groups were brought together by a mysterious dark being known only as the Eternal.
Though they know they can never bring about the return of the Sith—and indeed, the Eternal Legions have no desire to as they build influence of their own—these cults are determined to keep memory of the Sith alive and bring the galaxy a new view of the Force.
The year is now 135 ABY.
While the Skywalker saga has come to an end, the story of Star Wars is far from over.