A book which came out in 2016 sheds light on the origins of the Rebellion which was later to become the Rebel Alliance bravely led by Luke, Han and Leia.

But there is one big question for every fan of the nine movie episodes of the Star Wars saga: when exactly was the Rebel Alliance, represented by a symbol which has become so popular as a tattoo, founded?

Mike Cage, Belfast Blackworks Tattoo, Belfast, Ireland
Mike Cage, Belfast Blackworks Tattoo, Belfast, Ireland

First and foremost, it must be said that the Rebel Alliance (initially known as the Rebellion) was a movement organised under the guidance of Mon Mothma, Bail Organa and Ashoka Tano. There was practically no organisational hierarchy: each of the rebel groups existed in separate cells which did not even know about the existence of the others.

Janice Danger, Grit N Glory, New York, USA
Janice Danger, Grit N Glory, New York, USA

These included the entire crew of the starship Ghost and the freedom movement of Ryloth whose leader was Cham Syndulla. What is more complicated however, is to comprehend precisely what these characters, dissatisfied with the social economies in which they lived, were rebelling against. Which brings us to the fundamental question: what was the seed of the rebellion?

Gitte, Private Studio, Chemnitz, Germany
Gitte, Private Studio, Chemnitz, Germany

Perhaps the answers lies in the novel Catalyst: A Rogue One Story by James Luceno which came out in autumn 2016 where we find among the protagonists the first person narrative of other primordial rebels such as the smugglers Has Obitt and Saw Guerrera.

Henry Kruger, Sailor's Grave Tattoo, Eureka, USA
Henry Kruger, Sailor’s Grave Tattoo, Eureka, USA

Here we learn that, following the reorganisation of the Republic, for the first time some freedom fighter groups were set up, unconnected to one another. Luceno describes how this rebel scum (as they are called by the imperial forces) is actually the product of the separatist struggle. Basically, what we are talking about here are terrorists.

Peta Heffernan, Tattoo Power Mitchell, Canberra, Australia
Peta Heffernan, Tattoo Power Mitchell, Canberra, Australia

In fact, for Luceno, it will be another ten years or so before they move on from terrorism to a common cause, which is better organised (and better aceepted by fans…) against the Empire. A far cry from the watered-down, sanitised version of the Rebel Alliance portrayed in a film like Episode 4 – Star Wars in 1977.

Clown2076, Time Is Too Short Crew, Los Angeles, USA
Clown2076, Time Is Too Short Crew, Los Angeles, USA

The rebels, or “rebel scum” (just to keep the many Stormtroopers fans happy), were ruthless, violent individuals who would stop at nothing to achieve their goals, putting thousands of lives at risk. Their awareness was in direction proportion to their subversive commitment and a character like Saw Guerrera had no trouble defining himself “A patriot; and the resistance is nothing more than terrorism”.

Madame Liesl, The Spirit Of Art Tattoo, Bremen, Germany
Madame Liesl, The Spirit Of Art Tattoo, Bremen, Germany

This meant that the Rebellion found itself in that grey area where “the ends justify the means”; making the cinematic vision of George Lucas no less than a cynical futuristic revisitation of The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli.

Lady Iris, Glitter House Tattoo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Lady Iris, Glitter House Tattoo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

The terrorist-separatists were behind the first Rebellion which would subsequently become the better known Rebel Alliance. An alliance which – led by Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia – would eventually defeat the evil Empire once and for all. So does that make it all clear now?