I agree on the Emperor thing manipulating things, but I don't view him as "controlling large portions of the Senate" or anything. Manipulating perhaps. Ability to control an individual, perhaps. Controlling who groups of people, like telepathically, to get his way? Eh, I don't agree on that. I'm with Darb on that, in that the Republic was inherently corrupt from the onset of our introduction to it in E1, on through really to the Imperial Senate of ANH which we only hear mentioned. I think like all of politics, there's a pretty corrupt nature backing it with good people too, and people who are some of both.
'the' Rebel fleet massing near Sullust. Again it's inference it's the only one.
See I disagree with that inferring that there's only one. I think it's pretty easy to take it either way, similarly to how everyone's called "Commander" but it doesn't denote a specific rank. It could mean that indeed it's the only one, or it could mean it is just another one that's big enough to get attention.
For instance from the Empire's POV, someone could say, "The fleet has arrived, and will now blockade the Rebels from escaping the Death Star". That's not the only Imperial Fleet it seems, but "The fleet" is still the appropriate thing to say. It's an ambiguous thing to say, is I guess what I'm saying.
Likewise how would the Empire know the Alliance, who they're spread out trying to engage since at least the end of ANH, has this one
fleet and that's all the ships they have to dub it "the (only) fleet"? I think the more ambiguous use of the term is more likely then.
Not to say I don't think Lucas' intent was basically this is it, and this is all the Rebels can muster, and to save on models we'll paint 30 quasi-Mon Cal looking ships in background matte paintings, etc.. Like was said, it's the tidy movie ending scenario... Tidy movie ending scenarios rarely make sense though, and I've always felt like there was more always going on... From Yavin, to Hoth, to Endor, all the battles feel too small for the gigantic galactic nature of Star Wars.
EU always backed that notion up but I don't view EU now any different than before. Honestly I don't view anything Disney's doing as anything than just more EU at this point and Lucas has just bowed out and given up.
Let me also say, why would the Alliance put ALL their eggs in one basket, based on a strategy where their capital ships they're taking are playing a minor role in the mission?
First, what are the plans for those ships? There are even non-combatant ships there which have unknown purpose (The Hoth Transports). One theory is they're packed with explosives... floating bombs. There is at least one medical ship there which one may assume is relatively limited in armament, but why is it there?
The fleet arrives at Endor, they're not surprised to show up and see nothing but a half-finished Death Star, and they just start flying towards it. Again, what is the point of the Alliance fleet being there? Why not just hyper ships in, let them do their thing, and leave, if you were expecting this?
I feel like the fleet the Alliance takes is there as a screen... They'll park in an orbit away from the Death Star's range (supposed range), while the fighters go in. They're likely holding reserve fighters back, ready to go when/if needed, to make sure this DS is destroyed, but they're maybe really only there to set up this basic blockade/screen of the area to make sure nothing gets away perhaps.
Obviously the Empire shows up with their own massive fleet, they pinch the Alliance between the DS and themselves, and "It's a Trap" and all that jazz. But the Alliance fleet seems built for something other than a ship-to-ship battle taking place at this point. It's almost like there are ships there for picking up survivors, evacuees, prisoners, extra fighter support, etc.
What it's NOT there to do, and we know this, is to A) engage the Empire's capital ship fleet, and B) engage a fully functional Death Star Super Laser (Bearing in mind Death Stars are also defensively designed against "large scale assault"... so why try one? The fighters sneaking in and out are the obvious only plan here).
So all that said, would the Alliance have committed their ENTIRE fleet to an engagement where A) they're not expecting ship-to-ship naval engagement outside of fighters, and B) they're not expecting to engage the Death Star itself in any role besides supporting the fighters going inside it to blow it up?
It seems to me the Alliance probably brought what they felt would get the job done, with a little extra umph for safety's sake, and it would've had its other fleets scattered around wherever they were before to avoid having all their eggs in one basket.
Just some thoughts... Endor's also probably one of the more poorly thought-out battles in the OT too. That doesn't help anything. Yavin and Hoth were much more strategically sound battles it seemed.