|Galactic Empire (First)
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The successor government to the Galactic Republic in the Star Wars galaxy. Declared into existence by then-Chancellor Palpatine. It apparently attained its foundational legitimacy by voice vote of the last Senate of the Old Republic. This act immediately conferred the title of "Emperor" onto the Chancellor. He then continued, but only arguably accelerated, his plans to transfer power from the senate to regional governors. This put an increasing amount of power into the hands of executives, rather than legislators, effectively ending democracy. The Galactic Empire survived for a comparatively brief period of about 3 decades--if you believe, as the novelization of Return of the Jedi makes clear, the Empire died when the Emperor did.However, as much of the Expanded Universe were written between the production of Episode VI and Episode I, there's a substantial body of fiction written without knowledge of the events of Episode I-III. Consequently, most writers from 1983-2005 needed to disregard Lucas' apparent intent that Return of the Jedi spell the end of the Empire; otherwise, they would have very little to write about. Many books, and comic adaptations of them, thus postulate a much later, and more complicated, demise of the Empire.In Star Wars circles the fate of the Empire is as hotly contested--and confusing--as, say, the impact of the Crisis of Infinite Earths on the DC Universe. Because Lucasfilm has made the standard of continuity "it's good if a film doesn't contradict it", the basic issue in determing whether a comic or book is in-canon is a matter of personal perspective. The Thrawn trilogy, for instance, has had a pretty big impact on the nature of the post-ROTJ Empire. Beyond simple comic adaptations of the triology, Dark Horse has published several off-shoots--all of which, obviously, depend upon Thrawn proper being in-canon. Unfortunately, many careful observers of the complete prequel trilogy can now easily pick apart Thrawn on the basis of observations of Palpatine's greatly-expanded role in the prequel trilogies. Thus, for some people, whole sections of Dark Horse's Star Wars catalog are, in the light of the prequels, out of canon--mostly because their portrayal of the Empire and/or Emperor doesn't mesh with what they see in the prequel trilogies.
Some Star Wars chronologists suggest that this group is most completely referred to as "The First Galactic Empire", with the Second Empire starting with the return of the cloned Emperor in the pages of Dark Empire, and ending with his final death shortly thereafter. This makes some sense, as Empires generally do require an Emperor--and no one other than the Emperor was ever unanimously named Emperor after him (though there were many pretenders). Nevertheless, this database will make no effort to truly distinguish between the various (often speculative) permutations of the Empire-after-Palpatine. We at comicbookdb.com value our sanity too much for that. We call it "The First Galactic Empire" simply because that's what Palpatine called it in Revenge of the Sith.
Having said that, if there is an unambiguous contender for the Second Empire (as opposed to a mere rebirth of the First Empire) it's the one that features in the pages of Dark Horse's Legacy series.
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