- "An explosion bright as a star. A forest world, intrepid defenders, escaping ships, and… you, I think, somehow at the center of it all. Skywalker, it won't matter if you find them. It won't matter if you find and kill every Jedi who survived Order Sixty-Six. I understand now… the Force will never die."
- ―Roan Shryne's vision of the Battle of Endor in 19 BBY[src]
The Battle of Endor, fought between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire in 4 ABY, was one of the largest and most important engagements of the Galactic Civil War. It signified the decline of the Empire with the deaths of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader, as well as many major Imperial leaders, and the destruction of the Death Star II.
Plans for the battle began after the Rebels learned that the Empire was building a new Death Star above the forest moon of Endor. In addition, spies had informed Rebel leadership that not only were the Death Star's defense systems incomplete, but also that the Emperor himself would be overseeing the completion of the superweapon's construction. Seeing an opportunity to strike a crippling blow to the Empire, the Alliance planned an attack on the incomplete space station. Part of the Rebels would fight on the moon's surface in an attempt to destroy the shield generator protecting the Death Star, while another group would fight in space, assaulting the battle station in Endor's orbit once the protective shield was deactivated. Unbeknownst to the Rebels, Palpatine had deliberately leaked false information to them—the Death Star was in actuality operational and ready for combat. The Emperor also had a fleet of Star Destroyers waiting to ambush and destroy the Rebel Fleet upon their arrival.
On the ground, a group of Rebels led by General Han Solo fought the Imperial stormtroopers stationed on the forest moon in an attempt to destroy the shield generator protecting the Death Star. Meanwhile in space, the Alliance Fleet, led by Admiral Gial Ackbar and aided by Lando Calrissian in the Millennium Falcon, battled the Empire's naval forces and attacked the battle station. However, the Empire held a significant advantage in the space battle due to the massive fleet of Star Destroyers defending the battle station. In addition to the numerical advantage of the Imperials, Palpatine's battle meditation further helped the Imperials by scattering the attacking Rebel forces. Shortly, the Rebels realized that they had been tricked for the Death Star's weapon systems were already operational. Despite this quick realization, the Rebel fleet still suffered severe losses through the Death Star's superlaser, secretly controlled by IG-88, who also planned to overthrow the Empire. With the strike team on the ground still struggling to take down the shield, the Rebels were able to turn the tide of the battle with the help of the native Ewoks and gain access to the generator command bunker and rig it with explosives. After Solo's team was able to take down the shield generator, several squadrons of Rebel snubfighters led by Calrissian and Wedge Antilles began their attack on the Death Star's reactor core. At the same time, Darth Vader brought Luke Skywalker to the Emperor in order to turn his son to the dark side of the Force.
Skywalker dueled his father in the Emperor's throne room, and used his anger to emerge as the victor. However, after Skywalker refused to give in to Palpatine's demands and kill Vader, the Sith Lord attempted to torture the young Jedi using his Force lightning. Unable to see his son die, Vader saved his son and killed his master by grabbing him and throwing him down the Death Star's reactor shaft. He had redeemed himself, becoming Anakin Skywalker once again and fulfilling his role as the Chosen One, though due to the damage inflicted by the Emperor's Force lightning, he died in the act.
Soon after, Calrissian and Antilles were able to destroy the Death Star's reactor core, setting off a chain reaction that obliterated the entire battle station, along with IG-88 and the other Imperials inside it. The Rebel fleet was able to escape its destruction, as did Skywalker. The Imperials, having seen the destruction of the Death Star and no longer having Palpatine's battle meditation on their side, were forced to retreat. On Endor, Skywalker and the others celebrated their freedom, as did the inhabitants of many other worlds. With its two main leaders dead, the Empire began its long decline, with multiple warlords fighting for power. Many Rebel heroes of the battle, such as Wedge Antilles, were hailed as liberators, and they helped form the New Republic shortly thereafter. While the actions of the battle did not signify the end of the war, they marked the beginning of the end for the Empire and also succeeded in restoring balance to the Force.