At the height of its rule, the Galactic Republic was governed by a body of Senators representing the many worlds of the galaxy. Within the cavernous Senate rotunda, hundreds of politicians would fill the viewing platforms that lined the curved walls. The Senate’s power gradually eroded after it voted emergency powers to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine during the Clone Wars, and the body was sharply divided between supporters of the war and those seeking peace. After Palpatine declared himself Emperor, power was increasingly wielded by regional governors. Shortly before the Battle of Yavin, Palpatine disbanded the Senate.
Scheming, powerful, and evil to the core, Darth Sidious restored the Sith and destroyed the Jedi Order. Living a double life, Sidious was in fact Palpatine, a Naboo Senator and phantom menace. He slowly manipulated the political system of the Galactic Republic until he was named Supreme Chancellor -- and eventually Emperor -- ruling the galaxy through fear and tyranny.
Bail Organa, a member of Alderaan's royal family and the planet's representative to the Republic Senate, earned respect on Coruscant for his honesty and his commitment to justice. Prior to the Clone Wars, Bail served alongside Senator Padmé Amidala as a member of Chancellor Palpatine's Loyalist Committee. The two became close friends, and recruited like-minded allies to prevent Palpatine's alarming grabs for power. At the end of the war, Bail Organa adopted Padmé's daughter Leia and raised her as an Alderaanian princess. While representing Alderaan in the Imperial Senate, he worked secretly with allies such as Mon Mothma and Ahsoka Tano to assist rebel cells scattered across the galaxy, working towards the day that a unified Rebellion could emerge. Bail died when the Death Star destroyed his homeworld.
A well-meaning civil servant whose chancellorship was hampered by corruption in the Senate and bureaucratic snarls, Valorum secretly turned to the Jedi Knights for help breaking the Trade Federation's blockade of Naboo. But Valorum was betrayed by Naboo's Senator Palpatine, who maneuvered Queen Amidala into asking the Senate for a no-confidence vote in the Supreme Chancellor's leadership. A stunned Valorum was removed from office in favor of Palpatine.
A ruthless bounty hunter from the planet Duro, Cad Bane was the preeminent blaster-for-hire in the galaxy at the time of the Clone Wars. No quarry was too dangerous for Bane... if the price was right. Using an impressive arsenal of weapons and allies, the cold, cruel and calculating Bane would literally track his prey to the ends of the galaxy if required. Bane carried custom twin blaster pistols, gauntlets studded with control devices, a concealed bola, explosives, integrated breathing apparatus and rocket boots, ensuring that he was always well prepared for any situation that may arise.