The Mandalorian season three has been exploring the New Republic more in-depth than anything we’ve seen on-screen in Star Wars before, and it’s been extremely interesting to see.
A big theme that has emerged with the New Republic is that, for all their good intentions, they are nonetheless inadvertently repeating some of the same mistakes of the Empire. Throughout the entirety of the Star Wars canon we have seen how the heroes found establishing a new government harder than overthrowing one, which makes perfect sense but is still difficult to watch as it’s played out on-screen.
In the most recent episode, “Chapter 21: The Pirate”, New Republic pilot Carson Teva receives an urgent plea from Nevarro High Magistrate Greef Karga asking for help after a pirate attack. Teva takes the request to Coruscant, but he is stonewalled and not able to procure any help. He is told, in no uncertain terms, that because Nevarro is an independent world they can’t help, since they’re already backlogged with helping member worlds.
But Teva’s bigger concern isn’t even so much this one incident on Nevarro, but rather the New Republic’s continued complacency with what he views as rising threats in the outer rim. Teva has been sounding this alarm for a while now, and he’s convinced that Moff Gideon, the increased Imperial activity, and this pirate attack are all connected. The New Republic doesn’t take it seriously, and that’s the bigger concern.
“There’s something dangerous happening out there,” Teva says as he’s leaving. “All these events, it’s not a coincidence. And by the time it becomes big enough for you to act, it’ll be too late.”
That statement is a perfect summary of the conflicting views of the New Republic’s approach, but it’s also a prescient statement too, for this is the very thing that will lead to the rise of the First Order later on.
Not long after their victory at the Battle of Endor, in which Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader were both killed, the Alliance to Restore the Republic (a.k.a. the Rebellion) was formally re-organized into the New Republic. They continued the war until the Battle of Jakku, which happened a year after Endor, where a decisive Rebel victory brought the war to an end. The Galactic Concordance, a peace treaty signaling the formal end of the war, was signed between New Republic Chancellor Mon Mothma and Imperial Grand Vizier Mas Amedda. Alongside that was a piece of legislation passed by the New Republic Senate called the Military Disarmament Act, supported by Mothma but opposed by Leia Organa, which drastically reduced the size of the Republic military. The formal Empire was dissolved and its remnants were splinted into different factions, while the disarmament was intended to be a message to a war-weary galaxy that the fighting was done.
The New Republic turned their attention to policies and governing rather than fighting, but in doing so they became so preoccupied with other (legitimate) concerns that they began to turn a blind eye toward those Imperial remnants. Some, like Teva, were growing increasingly concerned with what was happening, however, and tried to raise alarm. It remains to be seen just how much the New Republic will respond to these particular threats rising in The Mandalorian, and they’ll presumably have to get involved at least somewhat when Thrawn returns.
But all of this foreshadows the rise of the First Order decades later. Rumblings are going on about the First Order, but the New Republic mostly believes that as long as they stay on the fringes of the galaxy and stay a small faction that they pose no harm. Unbeknownst to many, however, the First Order was growing larger than anyone dreamed, and New Republic Senators were secretly aligned with them. Few people took the rising threat seriously, however, with some rare exceptions: most notably Leia Organa. With her political career in shambles after the revelation that she was Darth Vader’s daughter, Leia officially resigns from the New Republic Senate to form the Resistance. Forming it with some close allies like Gial Ackbar and Snap Wexley, the Resistance was designed to work in cooperation with the New Republic by preparing to counter a threat that few were taking seriously.
By the time the First Order revealed its full strength, however, it was too late. The Hosnian System was destroyed by Starkiller Base, wiping out the New Republic Senate and most of its leadership. All that remained standing in-between the First Order and dominion of the galaxy was Leia and her Resistance, which stepped up to fight.
It didn’t need to get to that point, however, and it only did so because the New Republic was doing exactly what Carson Teva accused them of: waiting until it was too late. Teva is right, that the best way to ensure the Republic’s survival and the Empire’s continued defeat was to deal with the smaller issues before they became larger ones. He recognizes that if they have the resources to help people they should, and that they should seek to counter threats sooner than later. Letting it fester does no good, except for those working in secret to grow in power.
Unfortunately, the New Republic would eventually learn this lesson the hard way, as Teva warned they would.