As Palpatine declared himself Emperor, fooling much of the galaxy by playing both Separatist and Republic against each other, he destroyed the Jedi. People who feared the Separatists now were eager for a strong leader. Those who saw what was coming were seen as just new Separatists. The Republic became a Galactic Empire.
But those who were aware of what befell the Jedi and those who saw the growing atrocities began to resist. In small groups, scattered and uncoordinated, to large ones, until finally a full fledge official Rebellion was formed.
The Empire which had toppled an ancient Republic only lasted the time it took a baby to grow into a young man.
Here are some of the highlights. But make no mistake, there are many battles fought, large and small that are not listed here. All were important to those who fought in them.
Jedi on the Run
Vader and the Emperor hunt down the Jedi
The Wookiees after enslaved, with the excuse being they were harboring Jedi & causing rebellion.
Ferus Olin wanted
Obi-Wan leaves Tatooine for the only time, briefly, to rescue former Jedi padawan Ferus and fill him in on the Sith situation. Ferus continues the fight on his own. Kenobi immediately returns to Tatooine.
Senators Plot Rebellion
They had already expressed concerns about Palpatine before Empire was declared. Several Senators ended up on the run for this. Mon Mothma, Bail Organa and Garm Bel-Iblis discuss organizing the various resistance groups into an Alliance.
An Official Alliance
With the encouragement of a young Leia Organa, among others, as well as rumors of super weapons and increased danger of arrest, the three sign the treaty of mutual assistance.
Attending the Carida Academy
Han Solo meets several future associates here, including Mako Spince and Badure. He does well and becomes a Lieutenant. Eventually, helping a wookiee slave named Chewbacca gets him in trouble. Stripped of his commission and blacklisted from legal piloting. He turns to smuggling. Chewbacca swears a life debt to him and becomes his copilot.
Han Solo leads Defense
The Empire decides execute base delta zero on the smuggler’s moon. This will destroy all life. The smuggler’s choose to fight and form their own defense fleet, led by Han Solo. They are victorious.
Kyle heads to Carida Academy
Unknown to Kyle, his father is a local Rebel leader. Morgan discovers the Valley of the Jedi on Ruusan & shares that info with the Jedi Rahm Kota. Shortly thereafter, his home of Sulon is pacified by the Emperor’s servant, the Dark Jedi Jerec and Captain Thrawn. Morgan is executed. Kyle Katarn discovers this immediately after graduation and deserts the Empire with the aid of Jan Ors.
– There are other battles between the rebels and imperials at this time as well.
Several Rebel agents are involved in collecting the Death Star plans. Their are various versions, some early versions, some engineering only, others focused on the weapons. The most famous is Kyle Katarn for his daring nearly single handed theft out of an Imperial base. They are collected at Toprawa
Also at this time:
– Han Solo loses Jabba’s spice shipment & owes him money.
– There were several other skirmishes between Alliance and Empire at this time.
Tipped off by a rebel agent on Raaltiir, Leia is sent on the Tantive 4 to collect the plans in restricted space. Chased to Tatooine, Leia sends R2D2 and C3PO to find the Jedi Kenobi. She is captured and taken to the Death Star for interrogation.
The Droids & the Lars
Taken by the Jawas, the droids are sold to the Lars & meet Luke Skywalker. Luke is drawn to Kenobi when R2 continues his mission. The Lars are killed, leaving Luke to join Obi-Wan in the mission to deliver the droids with their plans to Alderaan & begin Jedi Training.
Hired to deliver the droids, Kenobi and Skywalker to Alderaan. They escape the Imperial blockade. Luke begins Jedi training with Obi-Wan
Leia refused to give the Rebel Base
Governor Tarkin orders her executed. But the Millennium Falcon shows up and is tractored in. The crew hide in smuggling departments. Kenobi sneaks off to disable the tractor beam. Skywalker & Solo rescue the Princess.
The final showdown
They face off for the first time and only time since Mustafar. Obi-Wan sacrifices himself to let the Rebels escape, but his body vanishes when the killing blow is struck.
Victory at Yavin 4
Luke Skywalker using the Force, advised by the voice of Kenobi, fires the shot that destroys the Death Star. All command personnel are aboard except Vader, who escapes in his fighter..
Rebels Hunt for New Base
Various missions go out seeking a new location for a base, as well as a means to escape the Imperial blockade of the system
– The Battle of Taanab happens about this time.
The rebels receive news from disgruntled Imperials of a new ship, a super star destroyer. Luke Skywalker is sent to investigate. He barely escapes as the trap closes.
– Vader discovers that Luke Skywalker destroyed the Death Star. Suspecting that this might be his son, he hides this information from the Emperor, who finds out anyway.
– The Mon Calamari come to the Rebels aid with ships for the evacuation
– The Rebels attempt to destroy the ship. They succeed in temporarily crippling it.
At this point General Dodonna promotes Luke to commander, but this is not made official because he fails to board the evac ship. He sets off the base self destruct, leaving everyone to assume he is dead. He is taken prisoner.
The rebels hunt new allies and a new base. Luke Skywalker is promoted as a hero to inspire new allies (this sometimes backfires). Leia seeks to convince others to join diplomatically.
At this point of time the Dark Trooper project is discovered. Kyle Katarn and Jan Ors are sent to deal with it.
Luke and C3PO crash on Hoth during a scouting mission. They manage to summon rescue and reveal the new frozen planets potential to Rebel leaders
Luke and Leia, crash on Mimban (AKA Circapous 4). There they discover a dangerousthe Kaiburr Crystal. They battle the swamp, the Imperials and Darth Vader to escape.
Renegade Flight Destroyed
Commander Narra, leader of Red Squadron, was guarding the supply convoy when it was ambushed. The supplies were meant for Hoth. Luke Skywalker was promoted to full Commander, left with the remains of the Squadron, the part known as Rogue Flight.
The Empire launches probes to find the base. One lands on Hoth, another on Dac (AKA Mon Calamari). Luke sees Kenobi’s spirit for the first time.
Discovered by the probe droid, the Rebels prepare to evacuate. General Riekkan arranges it to look like the want to protect the shield generator and Rogue Squadron defends against the advancing At-At. Meanwhile, the personnel evacuate at another location. The ion cannon fires to distract the star destroyers while the fighter escorts draw off the enemy fighters. The Rogues lose several members until the evacuation is called.
Solo and Leia Organa escape in the Falcon. But the hyperdrive fails, forcing them to seek shelter. First in an asteroid field. But Darth Vader hires bounty hunters to track them.
During this time, Zuckuss and 4Lom, initially planning to sell the Rebels to the Empire switch allegiance. The Rebels heal Zuckuss of a serious lung injury.
With Obi-Wan’s guidance, Luke has found Yoda and begun Jedi Training.
The Emperor senses this and calls Vader, insisting he must be destroyed. Vader suggests he could be an ally if turned to the Dark Side.
Vader beats Han & Leia to the safety of Bespin and forces Solo’s friend Lando Calrissian to betray him in order to protect he city. Luke rushes to he rescue as Lando helps them escape. Luke loses a hand & finds out Vader is Anakin. Han is taken by Boba Fett before he can be rescued.
In between various Alliance missions, Luke, Leia, Lando and Chewie hunt for Han Solo. This takes them as far afield as Mandalore
The head of Black Sun arranges to assassinate Luke Skywalker and frame Darth Vader. During this time, the bothan spies also retrieve the Death Star 2 plans. Xixor’s plot fails. The rebels blow up his castle. Vader discovers it and executes him.
During this time Luke successfully builds a new lightsaber.
Jabba the Hutt is killed when Luke, Leia, Lando, Chewbacca and the droids rescue Han Solo.
During this time, the Emperor’s Hand, Mara Jade was sent to ensure Luke was killed in the rescue attempt. She failed.
Luke Returns to Yoda
He confirms from the dying Yoda that Vader told him the truth about his parentage. He also finds out Leia is his sister.
Strike Team Endor
Vader senses Luke is aboard the shuttle infiltrating the moon.
Rebels VS Imperials
The Rebels meet the Ewoks, who choose to ally with them. Luke tells Leia about Vader and her relationship, then goes to face him. Vader takes him to the Emperor.
The attempt to bring down the shield fails when the Empire springs its trap. But the Ewoks are a diversion.
The Rebel Fleet is trapped between a shield, a fully functioning Death Star Super laser and the Imperial Fleet
The final battle
Luke and Vader battle after Luke tries to kill the Emperor. Luke nearly turns to the Dark Side when Vader finds out he has a sister. But he resists. The Emperor tries to kill him. Vader turns on the Emperor and kills him.
Outside the Rebels bring down the shield. Lando Calrissian and Wedge Antillies fly into the Death Star’s unfinished superstructure and fire the final shot.
The Galaxy Celebrates
Anakin Skywalker dies, having fulfilled the Prophecy and becomes a Force spirit, joining Obi-Wan and Yoda. The word spreads throughout the galaxy.
Stories in this Era
- Lone Wolf (short story)
- The Last One Standing (short story)
- Kenobi by John Jackson Miller
- Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno
- Droids animated series
- Dark Times (Comic book series)
- Coruscant Nights by Michael Reaves
- The Last Jedi by Michael Reaves & Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
- The Last of the Jedi (series) by Jude Watson
- Han Solo trilogy by Ann Crispin
- Han Solo Adventures by Brian Daley
- Lando Calrissian Adventures by L. Neil Smith
- Death Star by Michael Reaves & Steve Perry
- Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina (multiple)
- Caravan of Courage (TV Ewok Movie)
- Battle for Endor (TV Ewok Movie)
- Droids (Comic/Graphic Novel)
- Droids (Rebellion)
- Droids (The Protocol Offensive)
- Darth Vader and the Lost Command
- Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin
- Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison
- Darth Vader: Purge
- Dark Forces: Soldier for the Empire (novella and audio) by William Deitz
- Dark Forces (Game)
- Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber
- A New Hope (Movie/novelization/radio drama)
- Rebel Force (series) by Alex Wheeler
- Allegiance by Timothy Zahn
- Choices of One by Timothy Zahn
- Shadow Stalker (One shot)
- Shadows of the Empire novel by Steve Perry, Jr novelization by Christopher Golden. Graphic novel also available.
- The Empire Strikes Back (Movie/novelization/radio drama)
- Empire Comic Book Series
- Rebellion Comic Book Series
- Classic Star Wars The Early Adventures (comic strips)
- Classic Star Wars (comic strips republished by Dark Horse)
- Classic Marvel comics
- Return of the Jedi (Movie/novelization/radio drama)
- Rogue Squadron 3D
- Tie Fighter
- Galactic Battlegrounds
- Battlefront 2 (classic)
- Rebellion (game)
- The Force Unleashed 1 & 2
- Empire at War
Stories that touch on this era:
- Truce at Bakura
- Jedi Academy trilogy
- Children of the Jedi
- Dark Forces 2
- Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor
- Crystal Star
- Young Jedi Knights : Shadow Academy story arc
- X Wing Rogue Squadron Comic book series
- X Wing Rogue Squadron books
- X Wing Wraith Squadron series
- Courtship of Princess Leia
- Tatooine Ghost
- Junior Jedi Knights: Vader’s Fortress
- Young Jedi Knights: Heirs of the Force
References: I used the web archive of the Wookieepedia, along with the timeline in the books and comics to make this list. I also used the New Essential Chronology.