I've noted in a lot of the discussions here that there's a general assumption the ST will kick off with a setting in which the Empire is either: a) in shambles and on the run from the Alliance/New Republic OR b) altogether defeated and replaced by a New Republic or power vacuum I, for one, don't think that it's realistic to assume that the Empire post-ROTJ is in any imminent danger of being dismantled. From what we've seen in the OT, the Rebels are a loose-knit band of systems that are constantly pursued by the inexhaustible resources of the Empire. By ROTJ, all they've managed to do is deter the Empire's use of the same WMD twice and killed their head of state, but that hardly spells doom for an interstellar government. Think of it this way: In WWII, what would have happened if Hitler had been assassinated, and the nuclear weapon program destroyed? His deputy Herman Goering would have assumed the chancellorship. And there was a line going down from there of people just as ideologically motivated as Hitler himself; Germany would still be warring as fervently as before. Not a perfect analogy, but here's a quote from Inglourious Basterds that sort of puts what happened at Endor into the right context (IMHO): "...yes, some Germans will die, and yes, it will ruin the evening, and yes, Goebbels will be very, very, very mad at you for what you've done to his big night... but you won't get Hitler, you won't get Goebbels, you won't get Göring, and you won't get Bormann. And you need all four to win the war."