When Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted in 2015, it introduced a new enemy: The First Order, a not-quite-sorta-kinda-angrier successor to the Galactic Empire. Since then, fans of the franchise have only picked up slight tidbits on where the First Order came from, and according to Entertainment Weekly, Disney’s upcoming live-action series The Mandalorian, which takes place 5 years after Return of the Jedi, will help set it up more fully.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, director Dave Filoni notes that the galaxy “doesn’t turn into a good guy universe because you blew up two Death Stars.”
You get that the Rebels won and they’re trying to establish a Republic, but there’s no way that could have set in for everybody all at once. You have in a Western where you’re out on the frontier and there might be Washington and they might have some marshals, but sometimes good luck finding one.”
Showrunner Jon Favreau teased that the world that the The Mandalorian shows off could hold some clues as to where the First Order rose from. “You come in on Episode VII, [the First Order are] not just starting out. They’re pretty far along.”
Filoni builds on that, saying that the First Order is also “pretty well equipped.”
Following the destruction of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi, the Empire went on the defensive, documented in novels like Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath and Alexander Freed’s Alphabet Squadron, as well as videogames like Battlefront 2. We know that the Emperor had put into place some measures to keep the Empire going (and might have left some nasty surprises behind, like a fleet of Star Destroyers, as seen in the recent teaser for Rise of Skywalker).
Set 5 years after the fall of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, The Mandalorian will show off a bit of the aftermath that followed. The show’s first trailer shows off a bit of the wild west atmosphere that the far reaches of the galaxy seem to be taking on—there’s a period of lawlessness that comes when the authority of the New Republic and Empire are missing, allowing bounty hunters and former Imperial officers, like Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon, to run rampant.
In an interview with IGN, Esposito outlined a bit about his character, saying that he’s “very, very intelligent and very knowledgable. He’s certainly rising—he was an Imperial soldier before the Empire fell. He uses all of what he’s learned and has … risen from the ranks because he has some sense of order.” That desire to maintain control and order in the Galaxy certainly seems like a chief motivation for the First Order and its leaders.
While much of the origins of the First Order is a mystery, we do know a little bit: Bloodline explains that members of the Empire fled to the Outer Rim following the Empire’s surrender and eventually formed the First Order, around 6 years prior to The Force Awakens.
Although if The Mandalorian chronicles the very start of the First Order, that will still leave almost 20 years of build-up unexplained. Here’s the timeline as we know it so far.
- 4 ABY (“After the Battle of Yavin”): Return of the Jedi, Alphabet Squadron, Battlefront II, Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig
- 5 ABY: Battlefront II, Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig
- 9 ABY: The Mandalorian
- 28 ABY: Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray
- 34 ABY: The Force Awakens