The golden age of the Republic was a time when the Jedi and Sith were many and the galaxy was in constant upheaval. Legend stories such as Tales of the Jedi, Darth Bane trilogy, and Knights of the Old Republic have explored this era in great detail but these can no longer be considered canon.
In the words of a wise man, “you must unlearn what you have learned” and with that front of mind, the only information we have to draw upon about the Old Republic era are from hints and conjecture found in the saga films Episodes I-VI, The Clone Wars, Rebels and beyond.
By using only elements introduced in canon, we can begin to piece together and speculate on the formation of the Galactic Republic, rise and fall of the Sith, Mandalorian wars against the Jedi, and key events that make up this ancient time.
The Old Republic
We can no longer consider the Old Republic and Galactic Republic as one and the same. In “The Mandalore Plot,” Pre Vizsla referred to the Old Republic as a separate entity when he states his Darksaber was taken from the Jedi Temple “during the fall of the Old Republic.”
If we assume one generation is equal to 25 years, we know the Republic was originally formed 25,000 years before A New Hope when the Jedi Knights became the guardians of peace and justice for over a thousand generations. The Old Republic would eventually collapse and reform into the Republic that evolves into the Galactic Empire.
This reformation would occur approximately 1,022 years before the battle of Yavin, based on Palpatine’s quote in Attack of the Clones that this Republic “has stood for over a thousand years.” The Sith and Mandalorians would likely have had a role to play in this collapse of democracy.
Jedi vs. Sith
In Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine states “once more the Sith shall rule the galaxy” and this quote has new significance in canon. It was introduced in Tarkin that roughly 6,000 years before the Clone Wars the Sith built a shrine on Coruscant during what we can assume was a period of galactic domination.
Dave Filoni has also said that far below the Jedi Temple there could be the ruins of a Sith Temple. Using that information we can determine that this Temple could’ve been created by the Sith during a time they ruled the galaxy from Coruscant. After the Sith Order would’ve been driven offworld by the Jedi, the Jedi Temple was built over the shrine’s foundations to bury the remnants of the Sith left behind on the galactic capital.
Saesee Tinn said in Citadel Rescue that battles on the scale of the Clone Wars were not seen “since the days of the Old Republic.” There are hints spread across canon of battles fought across the galaxy between the Jedi and the Sith.
In “The Big Bang”, one of the unfinished episodes of The Clone Wars Legacy, it was stated that long before the Clone Wars, the Sith fought many wars against the Jedi for control of the galaxy and built massive superweapons powered by giant kyber crystals. The Jedi architect droid Huyang in “A Test of Strength” spoke of ancient events such as the Battles of Rashfond and the Peacekeeping of Parliock and in Palpatine’s Chancellor Suite there is a mural that depicts a great battle between Jedi and Sith using giant creatures of war.
These battles would go on for centuries and the homeworld of the Sith, Moraband, would eventually become abandoned after being scarred and destroyed due to so many battles having been fought on that world.
Fall of the Old Republic
The Sith were not the only threat the Jedi faced, as the Mandalorians “fought proudly as warriors against the Jedi” for years as stated by Pre Vizsla in “The Mandalore Plot”. In the city of Sundari on Mandalore there are multiple murals of Mandalorian crusaders battling and decapitating Jedi, depicting great victories over the warriors of the Republic.
During the final days of the Old Republic, the Mandalorians sacked a Jedi temple which we will guess was on Coruscant. The Mandalorians could have been responsible for the fall of the Republic but we know the Sith were still active at this time. The possibility exists that these two groups could have allied together to fight against the Jedi and democracy.
This would be a dark time for the Jedi if the Mandalorians and Sith held the upper hand and the Old Republic was left in shambles. With the Republic’s galactic influence fading, this would be a perfect time for the Zygerrian Slave Empire, introduced in “Kidnapped,” to begin to thrive in the Outer Rim as the Sith would not have interfered with their business.
The Jedi may have been forced away from their temple on Coruscant and this would have been an opportunity for the Jedi to use pre-existing Jedi Temples or build new ones across the galaxy on worlds such as Lothal, Devaron, and Ilum. The Jedi would have used ships such as the Jedi training cruiser Crucible from “The Gathering” to transport Jedi world to world and the interior of the Crucible was adorned with the symbol of the Old Republic signifying its age. Huyang stated he lived on the ship for a thousand years and “never lost a fight” so these ships must have also been involved in conflict.
It’s also interesting to note that Huyang’s memory banks “contain a record of every lightsaber ever made, and the Jedi who fashioned it.” He must have 25,000 years worth of Jedi history stored and could have possibly been created near the dawn of the Old Republic as he states he has “instructed younglings for over a thousand generations.”
Reformation of the Republic
Approximately 1,032 years before A New Hope, judging by content introduced in The Phantom Menace, the Jedi Order fought their final battles against the Sith Order and it was the last time Coruscant would be attacked before the Clone Wars as stated in “Heroes on Both Sides.”
The Jedi would finally defeat the Sith and believe their mortal enemies to be completely extinct. Shortly after this victory the remnants of the Republic would be reformed into the Galactic Republic, their armies dismantled, and the Jedi would abandon their temples across the galaxy to stay on Coruscant. In The Phantom Menace, Sio Bibble says “there has not been a full scale war since the formation of the Republic” and we can assume he refers to the fact that after the defeat of the Sith there are no galactic-spanning conflicts until the Clone Wars.
Unbeknownst to the Jedi, the Sith Lord Darth Bane survived and created the Rule of Two that secretly kept the Sith Order alive with only two Sith at a time, one Master and one Apprentice, until they could achieve revenge against the Jedi and rule the galaxy once more. Sometime before The Phantom Menace, the Jedi would learn about the Rule of Two.
The Zygerrian Slave Empire would have been a target of the Jedi Order after the defeat of the Sith; their slave empire would be dismantled and slavery would be outlawed by the Republic. The Mandalorians would also be punished by the Jedi as their homeworld would be reduced to a wasteland after many years of war and the surviving warriors would turn much of their anger towards the Jedi.
In the era of the Old Republic the Jedi fought countless battles against the Sith and Mandalorians. They struggled through periods that caused them to lose nearly everything but they always fought to protect the ideals of peace, justice, and democracy that formed the Republic. Even in the ancient times when the government collapsed the Jedi still fought against the forces of the Dark Side and achieved a victory that saw the rebirth of their Republic and a millennia of peace.
It will be a long time until we have all the answers we are looking for as the Story Group looks to focus on canon stories based in the Empire and Sequel eras. However, you can bet when we finally start getting stories based in the Old Republic they will be incredible tales.
The only being that has all the answers would be Huyang. Can somebody find his memory banks, please?