(WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the Aftermath trilogy and Bloodline.)
One of the big questions (aside from who are Rey's parents) that came out of watching #StarWars #TheForceAwakens is just what the heck is the so-called sinister #FirstOrder? They have stormtroopers, a planet-destroying weapon and shady dude in the shadows pulling the strings with a crimson-saber baddie, but the faction itself left many confused as to its purpose and its origin, especially since last we checked, the Empire was destroyed.
In the original films, it was clear the Empire was the dictatorship that ran the galactic government with an iron fist, but the exact purpose of the First Order wasn't made that clear to moviegoers. Thankfully, over the course of the last year, the canon has grown and, thanks to some books and comics, we have a better understand of what the First Order is, where they came from and what their goal is. So, for all those who wanted to know a little bit more about who the First Order is but haven't been interested in reading any of the books, look no further!
What Is The First Order?
The First Order is a political and military force that was conceived after the tactical defeat at the Battle of Jakku as orchestrated by Gallius Rax. The surviving members of the Imperial High Command, including Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, Brendol Hux and the young Armitage Hux (later, General) fled into the Unknown Regions of space with the sole objective of restarting what had previously failed and perfecting the mistakes of their predecessors.
In public, Mas Amedda signed the Galactic Concordance, which officially ended the war and put heavy sanctions of the surviving members of the Empire and their system of government, effectively turning the Empire into a powerless state unable to wage war. The Concordance's signing was merely a ruse however, and the defeated Empire had no intention of honoring it.
"It is the task of the First Order to remove the disorder from our own existence, so that civilization may be returned to the stability that promotes progress."
The Order seeks to rid the galaxy of the last Jedi, Luke Skywalker, with the aid of the Knights of Ren, while also overthrowing the New Republic, who they deem to be an illegitimate government formed after successfully overthrowing the legitimately voted in rule of Emperor Palpatine. There, over the course of three decades, they would wait and slowly rebuild until they had enough power and resources to launch an attack. Since they identity as essentially The Empire 2.0, they upgraded the technology they already had instead of inventing new weapons and armor, hence the modified stormtooper armor and TIE fighters.
Supreme Leader Who Now?
While we don't know for certain the identity of Supreme Leader #Snoke, we have enough evidence to suggest that Palpatine himself felt a calling coming from these Unknown Regions of space and that the call was sent out by Snoke himself. How and why are yet to be seen, but it does seem that Palpatine was aware of another Dark Side user in the galaxy. How Snoke ended up as the leader of the military faction is also a mystery for now. But we do know that Snoke was likely alive for the events of the original trilogy and either directly or directly witnessed most of the major events. If it's indirectly, his knowledge of the Force must be extremely well focused.
Political And Criminal Ties
In the novel Bloodline, we get a peek into the First Order seven years before the events of The Force Awakens. The political landscape is ripe with opposition and tension as the two main parties continue to fight with each other. Unknown to most is that the First Order has actually infiltrated the Centrist party (whom were not short of Imperial sympathizers) to help sway the tide in their favor. Lady Carise Sindian actually defamed Princess Leia of the Populist party by revealing her true parentage in front of the entire senate, forever ruining her reputation.
As this was going on, the First Order was quietly rebuilding their armies by using various cells as proxies in the crime syndicates to receive large sums of currency to pay for their expenses. With the help of their political moles, the First Order set in motion plans to have the Centrist party pull out of the New Republic and officially recognize the First Order.
With their money, fleet and political influence, The First Order's patience eventually became their most valued asset. In order to combat the emerging threat, Princess Leia (with the help of some close allies) formed the Resistance, a group of like-minded fighters who engaged the First Order in a cold war leading up to the events of The Force Awakens. The New Republic publicly denounced the Resistance, but secretly supplied them with resources as time went on.
So, how the heck did that come to be? Well, there's not too much information on that as of yet but we can make some deductions based on the limited scraps we have. We know that the Empire were in the Kyber crystal-harvesting business in the years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope (and business was a'boomin), which created a huge stockpile of crystals.
One such planet was Ilum, which can be seen in the fifth season of the animated series The Clone Wars. The planet itself has natural deposits of crystals and is actually located right next door to Starkiller planet, possibly a twin planet in the same system. Before the Battle of Jakku (and ultimately fleeing into space), the Empire Remnant acquired all the scientific research in the Empire's databases and used it to find all the kyber sites, which included the planet that would become Starkiller Base. The First Order in its earliest days quickly occupied the planet, wiped out all life and began construction on the planet to make the superweapon.
You should now be more up to date with the ins and outs of the First Order. Stay tuned for more information as we inch closer to the trailer debut for The Last Jedi!
What do you think will happen with the First Order in The Last Jedi?