What happens after the Emperor is defeated by the Rebel Alliance, but there are still remnants of the Empire throughout the galaxy? What does that galaxy look like 30 years later if the fighting never ended?
That's what we're going to find out this Christmas in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, aka Episode VII and the starting point of a new Star Wars trilogy. When Lucasfilm sold to Disney, a new Star Wars braintrust was formed and one of its first acts was to toss out the "New Republic" mythology from the Expanded Universe (books, games, comics, etc.). So there's been no new galactic government formed in the ashes of the Empire, and the galaxy is just as unstable and dangerous a place as we remember it from the classic trilogy.
30 years is a huge gap in storytelling time, and one thing we now know about the new timeline is that the Empire is no longer called "the Empire," and the Rebels are not "the Rebel Alliance" anymore. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, both organizations have been given brand new names.
The Empire is now "the First Order." The Rebel Alliance has become "the Resistance."
This information comes from a special Force Awakens exhibit currently on display at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California. Stormtrooper and "Flametrooper" costumes are displayed next to placards label them as such, noting that they "enforce the will of the First Order." Likewise, the new X-Wing fighter is labeled as belonging to the Resistance.
We've already seen the new emblem of the First Order, as it appears in the movie's second teaser trailer in a scene very reminiscent of the infamous Nazi propaganda film, Triumph of the Will.
The Resistance, on the other hand, appears to be keeping the Alliance's familiar "Starbird" symbol. See Poe Dameron's helmet for proof.
What do you suppose "the First Order" means, exactly? Some kind of elite division of Stormtroopers? And are they under the command of Kylo Ren? Or someone else?