The First Order is an organization formed by the Imperial forces after the deaths of Palpatine and Darth Vader, continuing the Empire's mission to bring the galaxy under the rule of the dark side while using a different name in order to restore the Galactic Empire to its former glory. They were led by Supreme Leader Snoke until he was killed by his apprentice, Kylo Ren, who assumed leadership.
The organization is featured in the Star Wars sequel trilogy as the main antagonistic faction of the first two installments Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the secondary antagonistic faction of the third and final installment Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. They fight against the New Republic militia known as the Resistance. The First Order continues the Imperial tradition of using stormtroopers as their foot soldiers.
The First Order was a cold war remnant of the Galactic Empire, created when the Empire fell with the deaths of Darth Sidious and Darth Vader. After a year of fighting, the fracturing Empire made its last stand above the planet Jakku, where it lost to the New Republic in a battle that caused high casualties on both sides. Severely defeated, the New Republic forced the Empire to disarm and sign a treaty called the Galactic Concordance, in which the Empire was incredibly limited in its ability to wage war.
In the aftermath, those Imperial forces that did not and refused to comply with the New Republic's demands retreated to the Unknown Regions of the galaxy, where they would rebuild. Over time, and to help rebuild their power, they entered into deals with corrupt politicians, tradesmen and gangs of outlaws and criminals. As the fragment that would become the First Order was small, it began work into creating soldiers, weapons, armor and warships that were technologically superior to the Empire to give them an edge. This edge was furthered when Supreme Leader Snoke, a powerful practitioner in the dark side of the Force, took the reigns as the organization's Supreme Leader. Among the advancements that emerged were several new types of starship, such as the Resurgent-class Star Destroyer, more powerful armor and weapons, and Starkiller Base. The stormtroopers of the First Order, being fewer in number, were also better trained and better equipped than their Imperial predecessors; they were far more proficient than previous varieties of stormtroopers. They were conditioned since birth into serving the First Order willingly, and were indoctrinated to think that the New Republic had created lawlessness throughout the galaxy, with their leaders stating that only the First Order could restore justice to the galaxy, often using pre-recorded speeches to turn its citizens against the New Republic's "tyranny".
As the ranks of First Order grew, it became more and more bold, and began pushing into New Republic territory. As the New Republic did not wish to instigate another war, it was only able to formally protest against the First Order's violations against the treaties signed at the end of the Galactic Civil War. The expansion of its ranks was alarming, particularly to The Resistance, which privately fought against the First Order, and reconnaissance on their part was shocking in revealing the First Order's strength and numbers.
The First Order's military was comprised of stormtroopers, just as the Galactic Empire's was. However, First Order stormtroopers were far more skilled and better equipped than Imperial stormtroopers and were therefore a much greater threat, despite being fewer in number. Several classes of stormtrooper existed; among these were snowtroopers, heavy assault troopers, flametroopers utilizing powerful flame-throwers, and riot-control troopers, which specialized in melee combat and wielded powerful batons capable of even combating lightsabers. The First Order also deployed such vehicles as walkers not dissimilar to the Empire's AT-AT's and AT-ST's (though little is known about them). The First Order Navy was predominantly comprised of Star Destroyers, including older, Imperial models and new, massive capital ships such as Kylo Ren's flagship, the Finalizer. Despite the Finalizer's size (twice the size of an average Star Destroyer), The Resistance believed that even bigger ships existed in the organization's ranks. The military itself was led by both the generals of the First Order and the Knights of Ren, Snoke's organization of loyal dark side Force users led by him and his apprentice, Kylo Ren. Both branches of command answered directly to Snoke, though they competed against one another, likely because both the authority and agendas of the knights and Kylo Ren trumped that of the generals. Tensions were made higher by the fact that the Knights of Ren were not part of the First Order's formal hierarchy and operated freely and of their own volition under Snoke's orders. In addition to these, an organization of Praetorian Guards served as the Supreme Leader's bodyguards, and protected him against all threats. Armed with various melee weapons as well as lightsaber-resistant and blaster-proof armor, they made up a formidable force that surpassed the normal stormtroopers in ferocity, skill and power.
The First Order also had no planet serving as its true capital, as their Supreme Leader's true base, the Mega-class Star Dreadnought Supremacy, was mobile, but Starkiller Base served as an unofficial headquarters for the organization, particularly during its attack on the Hosnian system and the attempted attack on the planet D'Qar, the site of The Resistance's headquarters. When the superweapon was destroyed by the Resistance, Supreme Leader Snoke merely ordered General Hux to evacuate and bring Kylo Ren to him for further training after Kylo had killed his own father, Han Solo. Snoke also had his soldiers regroup so as to fight another day. Snoke's true base, the Mega-class Star Dreadnought Supremacy, was a truly terrifying vessel, far larger and more powerful than even the Executor-class Star Dreadnoughts of the Galactic Empire.
Sometime after the Battle of Jakku, the First Order was founded by Snoke from the remnants of the Galactic Empire, three decades after the Battle of Endor, the First Order would largely escape galactic attention, with many in the Galactic Senate believing that it posed no real threat to the galaxy at large, with Chancellor Lanever Villecham arguing there was no need for concern as long as it adhered to the dictates of the Galactic Concordance. Despite this, the First Order blatantly defied the accords by ushering in the mass mobilization of superior stormtrooper forces, along with violating Republic bans on the sale of weaponry to the First Order and its rules governing capital ships. Testing the resolve of the New Republic, small skirmishes would occasionally erupt between the First Order and the Republic, all while the Starkiller operation would seek a suitable planet for implementation.
Approximately thirty years later, the First Order destroy the New Republic's current capital on Hosnian Prime, seeking to end its unofficial support of the Resistance with a new superweapon known as Starkiller Base, which could fire a planet-shattering beam through hyperspace, and destroy an entire star system. With the destruction of the Republic's capital and a portion of its fleet, the First Order stood poised to destroy both the New Republic and the Resistance.
Much to its chagrin, former deserter Finn - along with Han Solo and Chewbacca would arrive at the Starkiller Base in an attempt to disable its shields and allow the Resistance fleet to destroy planet-converted superweapon. With the First Order fifteen minutes away from destroying the Resistance's base on D'Qar, the trio would not only manage to shut off the planet's shields but also rescue Rey after a lightsaber duel with Kylo Ren. Escaping the planet with seconds to spare, the First Order's sun-harvesting superweapon would be destroyed by the Resistance's Starfighter Corps, forming a new star where the planet once was. Despite this major setback, the First Order's resolve towards galactic conquest only increased, with Snoke deciding to finish Kylo's training and re-group after the destruction of his superweapon.
The First Order was quick to mobilize upon the destruction of their superweapon, and began hammering the Resistance with fast and heavy attacks, assaulting them at their base on D'Qar. Though quick thinking by Poe Dameron and a barely successful bombing run managed to save the Resistance's main leadership, only three capital ships managed to escape into hyperspace. Even then, General Hux was successfully able to track the Resistance through hyperspace. At the same time, Supreme Leader Snoke, emboldened by his impending victory, appeared with his flagship, the gargantuan Supremacy. Unable to escape, the Resistance was forced to maximize the power of their shields while remaining at the edge of cannon range. At the same time, the Resistance flagship, Raddus was attacked by Kylo Ren, which wiped out all the Resistance High Command, save his mother, Leia Organa.
Though Finn, BB-8 and technician Rose tried to sneak aboard the Supremacy to disable the hyperspace tracking systems, they were ultimately caught by First Order Captain Phasma. Simultaneously, Jedi aspirant Rey boarded the Supremacy and turned herself over to Kylo Ren in an attempt to sway him back to the side of the Resistance. While Interrogated by Snoke, she was forced to watch as Snoke attacked her helpless allies. Snoke then ordered Kylo Ren to kill her, but Ren, hurt and betrayed by Snoke for his failures on Starkiller Base, stealthily betrayed his master, killing him with Rey's lightsaber before tentatively aligning with her to defeat Snoke's Praetorian Guards. Kylo then offered Rey a place at his side to rule the galaxy, but Rey refused and fought him for her lightsaber, a battle that resulted in a draw, which knocked Kylo out and allowed Rey to escape. Finn, BB-8 and Rose simultaneously escaped after defeating Phasma, and Phasma while Resistance Admiral Holdo jumped into hyperspace while piloting the abandoned Raddus to cut the Supremacy in half and destroy twenty other Resurgent-class Star Destroyers. This allowed the survivors to regroup on the planet of Crait. With Snoke dead, Kylo Ren quickly assumed the title of Supreme Leader and Force choked Hux into compliance when his rival protested.
On Crait, the Resistance fought to buy time for their remaining leadership to escape. As they battled the First Order AT-M6s and AT-ATs and the superlaser siege cannon the regime had deployed, Rey used her Force powers to create a way out and get the few remaining members to safety. Simultaneously, to the shock of everyone present, Luke Skywalker appeared to face Kylo Ren. However, after a short duel, Luke revealed to Ren that he was merely an illusion, seeking to distract Ren long enough to allow his comrades to escape. After watching Luke fade away, Kylo Ren entered the base, finding it empty and his plans thwarted.
One year following the death of Snoke, the First Order gained more power in the galaxy under Kylo's leadership as more worlds submitted to his rule. However, the stakes are raised when rumors of the return of Darth Sidious were confirmed after a message was broadcasted to the entire galaxy. Using a Sith wayfinder, Kylo tracked down Sidious' location in the Sith world Exegol in the Unknown Regions. There, he learns that Sidious revived himself by unknown means of the dark side, and that he was the true founder and benefactor of the First Order as he created Snoke as a figurehead to lure Kylo to the dark side. Sidious also revealed that during his absence, he has created a cult called the Sith Eternal and a new massive fleet of Xyston-class Star Destroyers that are capable of destroying planets. Sidious offers Kylo a chance of power by tasking him to track down and kill a scavenger girl named Rey, who turns out to be the granddaughter of Sidious.
With that in mind, Kylo directs the First Order to search for Rey, and when they tracked her down, Kylo explains to her about her true lineage. However, Rey escapes, and Allegiant General Pryde soon learns that Hux has betrayed the First Order by sending out information to the Resistance as he felt disillusioned under Kylo's leadership. As such, Pryde executes Hux while Sidious usurps full control of the First Order from Kylo, which drove an angry Kylo to sever his ties with the First Order and the dark side of the Force.
As Rey heads over to Exegol to confront her grandfather, she is horrified to find out that he is awaiting for her arrival and that he intends for her to kill him so that his power and life force can transfer to him. Sidious also revealed that he had tricked Rey into leading the entire Resistance fleet into a trap in Exegol so that Sidious' Sith fleet (commandeered by Pryde) will wipe them out. However, Kylo arrives to the rescue, which inspired Rey to consume the strength of the deceased Jedi and used them to destroy Sidious for good. With Sidious finally destroyed, the Resistance fleet was able to destroy the entire Sith fleet, crippling the First Order and bringing peace to the entire galaxy.
Notable First Order
- Palpatine/Darth Sidious †
- Snoke †
- Ben Solo/Kylo Ren †
- Phasma †
- Armitage Hux †
- Enric Pryde †
- Finn (formerly)
- Elrik Vonreg †