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In the original trilogy (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi) calling Luke, Leia, Hans, etc made sense. They're rebelling against an evil empire.

In the latest set of Star Wars movies, they are still called The Resistance (and generally see themselves as such), and the First Order routinely calls them "Rebel scum".

Except if my understanding of the plot is correct The First Order is actually the rebel scum! They destroyed the capital, then used their fleet of ships to began taking control of the galaxy in between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

It seems like it would make more sense for the First Order to use "democratic scum", "government scum". Even during a civil or revolutionary war, the insurgents don't call the other side rebels - they call them Brits, Northerners, etc, not rebels.

Has this ever been addressed either in Star Wars media or in cast and crew interview?

EDIT: Out of universe calling people rebel scum is part of Star Wars. There is a reason many of the walk-ways in Star Wars don't have guard rails - I wondered if this is the same.

marked as duplicate by Rand al'Thor, Meat Trademark, Napoleon Wilson Mar 4 at 1:32

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    They are called The Resistance IIRC. – A J Mar 2 at 19:05
  • @AJ - good catch. Question still stands though. I'm pretty sure plot-wise, the First Order would be Rebels. – sevensevens Mar 2 at 19:09
  • There is some ongoing back story being built between RotJ and TFA that is telling us a new Republic began to emerge as they finally destroyed the Empire (however Palpatine wanted it destroyed: Operation Cinder), but the First Order actually grew out of an imperial remnant apart of the New Republic that was kept secret in unknown regions of space until it finally broke apart. Claudia Gray's Bloodline tells us how Leia went from being a galactic senator to forming the resistance due to deadlocks and infighting and while uncovering a conspiracy, in which the Senate refused to take any action... – Darth Locke Mar 2 at 20:21
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    I think because of how the first order derived, they think they are the politically correct ones so this kind of gets back to Obi-Wan's 'from a certain point of view' idea, even though surely most people think that the scum are The New Order. I think it's being used as a kind of "Star Wars" in-universe anachronism to thematically tie itself all together, rather than it being a realistic thing to incorporate. – Darth Locke Mar 2 at 20:29
  • Well, 'cause they rebel – Ginge Mar 2 at 22:22
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After following some links in the comments, I managed to find a good answer to the "Rebel Scum" comments from the First Order.

Based on The First Order Wikipedia Entry and this entry Battle of Jakku the Star Wars fandom wiki, here is why the First Order still use "Rebel Scum"

Post Return of the Jedi, mounting military losses and defeats took a heavy toll in the Imperial Empire (a.k.a The Emporer and Darth Vader's government). This forced the Imperial Empire Government to sign a peace treaty essentially splitting up the galaxy and recognizing the Resistance, now called the New Republic, and ceding most of the former Imperial Empire to the New Republic.

Several lieutenants and sympathizers still loyal to the Imperial Empire went off to a corner of the galaxy and formed the First Order. Apparently, the treaty didn't have a disarmament clause, as they took the Storm Troopers and what was left of the Imperial Empire fleet with them.

Since the First Order sees itself as the Imperial Empire, they'd call members of the New Republic "Rebel Scum" who unfairly took their planets from them.

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