Its easy to see why SkyNet is so evil: they want to exterminate humanity. Its easy to see why Romulans are evil: they want to destroy the Federation. The Empire … they want to … put down a rebellion? So they’re as evil as George Washington during the Whiskey Rebellion? They change for form of government. Ok that’s bad, but its not exterminate humanity evil. They destroy a planet with plenty of innocent civilians that also was a hot spot of rebellion. Ok, that’s (recent political figure that authorized torture that shall remain nameless) evil, but not Adolf Hitler evil. But that’s it? One incident that occurred after the Rebellion started?
I was thinking about this is morning and the more I think about it the more I realized that Star Wars doesn’t do a good job of showing why the bad guys are bad. A classic example of “Telling” and not “Showing”, something all authors should avoid. As I work on my setting, I’m making sure that the race generally assumed as the bad guys demonstrate their evil ways repeated instead of just saying “They’re bad because they’re ugly.” Slavery is present, so is mass genocide, underhanded dealings, and a desire to oppress those simply because they can. There are perfectly good reasons for all of this from the point of view of the bad guys as well as reasons to see why they do not see themselves as bad. But they do commit some rather nasty acts nonetheless.
The one thing in this setting that I feel is most important is room for individuals to make a difference. In this setting, a single person can mean the difference between home and hell.