The Rebel Alliance is Disorganized and Weak
They may have been able to stage daring assaults on two impregnable Imperial superweapons, but it seems that the Rebel Alliance isn’t quite as adept at the long-term war games that come with fighting a galaxywide threat.
The novel’s prologue on Coruscant establishes this theme with a startling series of events: While demonstrators celebrate the Emperor’s death by toppling a statue of him, Imperial police show up and mow down the protesters, proving that the Empire is just as deadly as before, if not moreso.
We then shift to Wedge Antilles flying through space on a reconnaissance mission, and we learn that the Rebel Alliance’s military may not be as organized as we thought:
"“The pilot, Wedge Antilles, once Red Leader and now—well, now something else, a role without a formal title, as yet, because things are so new, so different, so wildly up in the air…”"
Wendig makes it sound like the galaxy is changing so fast that the Rebel Alliance is struggling to keep up with maintaining order and law.
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If that wasn’t enough, we get a clue that the resistance fighters aren’t well-equipped when it comes to tangible resources either:
"“He pulls up his datapad. Scrolls through the list with a tap of the button on the side. (He has to hit it a few extra times just to get it to go—if there’s one thing he looks forward to when all this is over, it’s that maybe they’ll start to get new tech. Somehow, this datapad had actual sand in it, and that’s why the buttons stick.)”"
It’s a nice juxtaposition. The rebels’ guerilla tactics and widespread network allowed them to counteract the Empire’s cutting-edge technology and rigid hierarchy, and yet those Imperial traits are exactly what they need to effectively govern the galaxy.
Of course, the rebels aren’t the only ones on the ropes…
Next: The State of the Empire