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  1. #1
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    Default What was life like for the average person living under the Empire

    In the movies the empire is described as a horrible place to live in but does anyone know from EU sources and canon what life was like for the average citizen?

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    Astonishing Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mider2009 View Post
    In the movies the empire is described as a horrible place to live in but does anyone know from EU sources and canon what life was like for the average citizen?
    We saw it to an extent in Rebels with the people of Lothal but that may have been a sort of worst case scenario with the Empire cracking down on the populace harder than normal due to the heavy Rebel presence. Personally I tend to think it was worse on non-human planets and probably no different than it was under the Republic for the wealthier Human worlds.

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    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Yeah, I don't think Coruscant was much different, especially for the upper class, but any non-human world or worlds where there were resources to plunder and use would be treated like they were under an Occupation.

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    Astonishing Member ChrisIII's Avatar
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    Yeah, we saw that with Jedha as well. Although not really populated the Empire and later the First Order made a mass out of Illum (Illum is confirmed to be Starkiller base by Jedi:Fallen Order and Rise of Skywalker's extra material).


    Outer rim worlds not part of the Republic and probably not the Empire such as Tatooine pretty much were the same though, more or less, although we see Imperial troops and ships move freely there in ANH so maybe they at least have some embassy or some deal with the Hutts if needed-like the Republic making a deal with them in the Clone Wars movie. (I also think we see Jabba and Vader have a chat in one issue of the Vader comic). Also Tatooine citizens could apply to Imperial academies as we also see in ANH (and it's deleted scenes). Even if Luke and Bigg's lives were probably not as affected as others, they still seemed to think joining the rebellion was the right thing anway ("It's not that I like the Empire, I hate it!" "I want to be with the side I believe in".).
    Last edited by ChrisIII; 09-08-2020 at 11:59 AM.
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    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    When we talk about an entire Galactic Civilization of multiple planets and species, the concept of "average person" is pretty difficult to map out because you have so many different planets and places.

    In the OT and PT,

    -- We have the example of Cloud City, a city that does not want to be under the Empire and somehow has independence and autonomy, and it's the only part of the Galaxy in the OT that has the same aesthetic as the PT.
    -- In the case of Tatooine...well it was a hellhole full of slavery under the rule of the Hutts during the Prequel Era during the Republic, and it was a hellhole full of slavery under the rule of the Hutts during the Empire. So the Empire didn't improve Tatooine for the better even if it was pretty easy as far as a propaganda victory goes.

    The Galactic Republic seemed to have some kind of Federal Government, i.e. each planets send representatives to Coruscant and follow common trade laws and so on but individually different planets have autonomy and there are parts of the Galaxy (Tatooine) where Republican laws and directives weren't enforced at all. I'd say that, based on Tatooine and also Cloud City is that the Empire replaced the administration of Coruscant with something more authoritarian but in other parts retained the federal structure for most of its existence until the creation of the Death Star.

    When the Death Star arrived you had a battlestation that destroyed a planet, Alderaan simply to intimidate one senate member. So that's when you see the Empire able to be as totalitarian as it wishes to be and much more centralizing and authoritarian than it was before. There were pockets like Cloud City that were able to evade for a long time, the influence and reach of the Empire.

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    From Thrawn and Lost Stars, I think a good summation would be: “In the best case scenario, like the Republic, but just a little bit worse in every way, while in the worst case scenario, abominably horrific.”

    Thrawn and Lost Stars seem to suggest that Coruscant has had the cutthroat politics aspect charged up a bit as Palpatine goes full fascist, and corruption, graft, and “palace politics” become the name of the day for the elite while military officers are deliberately pitted against each other and unti cohesion is sacrificed in favor of blind obedience... and that’s the limit only because Palpatine would find it more annoyingly difficult to outright exploit and tyrannize the demographics most likely to offer him resourceful resistance.

    All safety regulations, accountability, and rule of law aspects are now strictly in the hands of pseudo-feudal Governors and Moffs who can do whatever they damn well please, so the poor and downtrodden are simply lucky if they aren’t in the way or exploitable for the increased wealth and power of those feudal overlords, who will casually displace, enslave, work to death, or lazily poison and starve them if the “equation” equals some kind of profit for them.

    It’s the epitome of a fascist, but inefficient police state - people who whisper the wrong ideas have mountains of resources dedicated to persecuting them, while actual crimes are unlikely to be punished as long as the crime lords stay useful to the Moffs.

    And if you’r e a slave species, you’re just plain screwed.
    Last edited by godisawesome; 09-08-2020 at 08:29 PM.
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    Astonishing Member Starter Set's Avatar
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    If life was any good under imperial rule the rebellion would have never been even a thing.

    "Damn, life is good under that wise and nice leadership we are enjoying...let's rebel just for shit and giggles" said no one ever lol.

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    Astonishing Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starter Set View Post
    If life was any good under imperial rule the rebellion would have never been even a thing.

    "Damn, life is good under that wise and nice leadership we are enjoying...let's rebel just for shit and giggles" said no one ever lol.
    I mean, that's the black and white of it and it's certainly how I saw it as a child but as I've gotten old I've definitely seen that the truth of the matter might be different...from a certain point of view.

    I'm certainly not one to sympathize or glorify the Empire but from what we've seen the Republic wasn't really all that much better and that the change in leadership style might not have been that different from one era to the next so it's not unbelievable that many would have went along in much the same way that some people today support the President.

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    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thwhtGuardian View Post
    I'm certainly not one to sympathize or glorify the Empire but from what we've seen the Republic wasn't really all that much better and that the change in leadership style might not have been that different from one era to the next so it's not unbelievable that many would have went along in much the same way that some people today support the President.
    To the people in Tatooine, there was no real difference between the Republic and the Empire. In the Republic, you had the Hutts in charge, you had slavery, you had the Jawas and Tusken Raiders. In the Empire, you had the same thing.

    Anakin's perspective in AOTC where he basically tells Padme that he believes in authoritarianism rather than government process makes sense if you keep that in mind. Lucas never spelled that out but if you factor how Anakin's childhood gave him no real sense that the Republican government and its institutions existed to help him out, and that his only ticket out of that was to be a Jedi because of having the right midichlorian count rather than justice (after all Qui-Gonn Jinn tells Ani, "The jedi are not here to free the slaves"), I think that explains why Anakin was less invested in the institutions of the Republic and why he gravitated towards Palpatine.

    At the same time, visually speaking, the Republic in the PT is more diverse and colorful aesthetically than the Empire. Leaving aside how a lot of people like the OT's "used future" look, the fact is that aesthetically Lucas' intent was to make the Empire in the OT feel gloomy, authoritarian dystopian whereas the Republic of the PT is vibrant, colorful, and diverse, no two planets have the same aesthetic. In Coruscant in AOTC, you see that kind of '50s Diner that Obi-Wan visits to score a lead and it's one of the few times you got a real sense of the common people in the Galaxy (and also earlier in the entire Blade Runner homage with which it starts when Ani and Obi-Wan visit the clubs as beat cops).

    Obviously Lucas' point was that the Republic was corrupt, inefficient, incompetent and was ripe for the right mastermind to come along. A lot of fans have said that Lucas in the PT undermined the cause of the Rebellion in the OT but I don't see how...the Roman Republic was incredibly flawed but it's still a terrible thing that it became an Empire. The Weimar Republic was also flawed but it was still miles better than Nazi Germany. The ideal republic never falls into the empire. It's always an imperfect one, and people always go to restore an imperfect system with some room for reform than one without it.

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    Astonishing Member Starter Set's Avatar
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    Star Wars movies rarely tries to be subtle when it comes who the bad or good guys are really.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Starter Set's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    the Roman Republic was incredibly flawed but it's still a terrible thing that it became an Empire
    Let's be careful when applying words like "republic" and "empire" to old societies. The Roman "republic" wasn't at all like anything we have today. As for the empire, the romans never saw any differences from before and after Augustus, for them it was still the good ol' SPQR.

    Those words have a meaning for us they didn't have for them.

    Plus, the romans never called themselves an empire.
    Last edited by Starter Set; 09-09-2020 at 08:15 AM.

  12. #12
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starter Set View Post
    Let's be careful when applying words like "republic" and "empire" to old societies. The Roman "republic" wasn't at all like anything we have today. As for the empire, the romans never saw any differences from before and after Augustus, for them it was still the good ol' SPQR.

    Those words have a meaning for us they didn't have for them.

    Plus, the romans never called themselves an empire.
    Star Wars is obviously modeled on Ancient Rome in terms of going from a Republic to an Empire.

    As for the rest of your point, obviously its off-topic but historians seriously debate all that stuff and nobody would say it's completely true that the Empire was just like the Republic for most people or that Romans didn't have a sense that the government that came afterwards wasn't a new thing.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member ChrisIII's Avatar
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    It's also heavily implied in the PT that the Republic doesn't have any form of centralized army at that point, just mainly the Jedi who are mostly just sort of peacekeepers, and most of the other armies are planet-based (Like Naboo) or run by corporations (The Trade Federation and the other groups we see starting in AOTC). The Clone Wars of course changes everything.


    The New Republic in the ST apparently tried to undo this, scaling back things back to almost old Republic by having a small fleet (The resistance was only sort of clandestinely helped by some in the Republic, sort of like how many senators were Rebel sympathizers or senior members of the Rebellion itself). This however allowed the First Order to quickly overwhelm them. The fleet seen at the end of the Saga appears to be mostly privately owned craft I think.
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  14. #14
    Extraordinary Member Zero Hunter's Avatar
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    In most sources it is shown the further out you get from the core worlds like Coruscant the worse it gets. The Empire seemed to keep most of the really bad stuff out on the edges where they were strip mining whole worlds and enslaving species like the Wookies. The Empire kept up the positive face to the core worlds (at least until the time of a New Hope when the Emperor decided he didn't need to keep the core worlds happy anymore) to keep things running smooth, but the outer worlds were treated like garbage. Lost Stars did show how hard it was to live on one of those outer worlds, and why so many people were so willing to join the Empire to get a chance at a better life.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member Starter Set's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisIII View Post
    It's also heavily implied in the PT that the Republic doesn't have any form of centralized army at that point
    True, true. Which is i think why Mothma wanted the new republic to not have any army. She wanted so badly for things to be as they were before that sad empire episode that she didn't take into account the new political landscape and risk. (that's me fanfictioning a bit there lol)

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