This article is about the facility on Lothal. You may be looking for the institute known only as the Imperial Academy.
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"How's the Academy?"
"...It's drills and more drills, and then some drills. Running drills, and agility drills, and weapons drills, and drills about drills. But I swear I'm already stronger and faster."
"And tireder."
―Zare and Dhara Leonis[2]

The Academy for Young Imperials on Lothal housed and educated recruits for the Imperial Army. It was overseen by Commandant Cumberlayne Aresko and Taskmaster Myles Grint. Lothal's Imperial Academy was a one-year junior academy. At the end of their term, graduates were expected to move on to a senior academy for a longer stint, then the very best were allowed to enter a specialized service academy for training with the Imperial Army, Imperial Navy or the Stormtrooper Corps, while the remainder went straight into other branches of the Imperial Military.


"Cadets, you entered this facility as children. And in a few short weeks, you will leave as soldiers. By the time you complete your training, you will be prepared to serve your Emperor. Today, we will test your strength and resolve. Are you ready to become stormtroopers?"
―Commandant Aresko[3]

The Academy for Young Imperials was created when the Galactic Empire established a presence on Lothal. The Academy was run by Commandant Cumberlayne Aresko, a senior Imperial Military officer.[2] He was supported by several staff members which included Taskmaster Myles Grint, Sergeant Currahee, Lieutenant Chiron, and Captain Piers Roddance. As a one-year junior academy, the Imperial Academy supplied cadets to several senior and specialized service academies throughout the Outer Rim and wider galaxy.[3]


The Academy was run by Commandant Cumberlayne Aresko.

About six years before the Battle of Yavin, Dhara Leonis enrolled at the Imperial Academy. During the spring season, she mysteriously disappeared. While the Imperial authorities reported that she had run away, her brother Zare and mother Tepha Leonis suspected that the Empire was covering up the real reason for her disappearance.[2][4] The following year, Zare infiltrated the Academy to learn about his sister's whereabouts and to aid any possible resistance against the Empire. He met up with Ezra Bridger, a Lothal rebel who had infiltrated the Academy in order to find a decoder containing the location of a kyber crystal.[5]

With Zare's help, Ezra succeeded in obtaining the decoder. However, Ezra's plans to leave the Academy was delayed after the two cadets learned that he and a fellow cadet Jai Kell had attracted the attention of the Grand Inquisitor, an Inquisitor who specialized in hunting down Jedi. Unwilling to allow Jai to experience the same fate as his sister, Zare convinced Jai to escape with them. While Jai and Zare were riding an All Terrain Defense Pod walker, Ezra's rebel associates assaulted the Imperial Academy and created a diversion which allowed the three cadets to flee its perimeters. However, Zare opted to stay behind in order to find out about his sister's whereabouts and to assist the growing Rebellion in toppling the Empire from within.[5]

Following the rebel attack on the Academy, the Imperial Academy's reputation was dented as a result of revelations that rebel infiltrators had entered the Academy. In response, Imperial authorities began interview cadets to uncover treason and sedition. After the winter break, field exercises at the Academy were suspended in response to the growing Lothal insurgency. Instead, the Imperial cadets were used to assist Governor Arihnda Pryce's planetwide crackdown of crime and sedition. As part of the crackdown, the Imperial cadets were used to investigate illegal activities, detain the children of fugitives, and to assist stormtrooper efforts to apprehend criminals. Captain Roddance also embarked on a program to investigate cadets for criminal "associations." As a result, the cadet Nazhros Oleg was expelled from the Academy for trying to shield his smuggler uncles from prosecution.[6]

Despite Captain Roddance's efforts to break him, Zare advanced sufficiently in his training to be transferred to the Officers Academy on Arkanis. As a result, he was granted a class three courier clearance.[6] His new security clearance enabled him to warn Ezra about a forthcoming Imperial operation at the Lothal City Capitol Building in Lothal's Capital City. Shortly later, Zare was transferred to Arkanis, ending his time at the Imperial Academy.[7]

Following the execution of its leaders, Aresko and Grint, by the Inquisitor, there was a shakeup in the Academy's power structure. Captain Piers Roddance was named its temporary head. Lieutenant Chiron, another officer stationed at the Academy, was transferred to the Arkanis Academy to investigate a personal concern of Grand Moff Tarkin.[8]

Curriculum and organization[]

―Sergeant Currahee was known for her harsh training methods[3]

The Academy for Young Imperials was a one-year junior academy that prepared teenage Imperial cadets for two years of further training at other senior academies scattered throughout the Outer Rim Territories. After graduating from the senior academies, the best cadets would enter a specialized service academy for officer training with the Imperial Army, the Imperial Navy, and the Stormtrooper Corps, while others would go straight into the Imperial Military.[3]

Unit Besh

Cadets were grouped in four member units like Unit Besh.

Prospective cadets would usually submit an application to the Imperial Academy that was reviewed by the proper authorities. After admission, cadets had to undergo an intake test to test their physical and mental abilities. Following the intake test, cadets were sorted out into eight-member squads, which each consisted of two four-member units. One known squad was LRC077, which consisted of Unit Aurek and Unit Besh. Other units included Unit Cresh, Unit Dorn, and the all-female Unit Esk and Unit Forn. Imperial cadets wore white and grey uniforms and white helmets that could be sealed with faceplates.[3]

During the first two weeks, cadets underwent an orientation program which consisted of multiple running exercises and at least one field combat obstacle course. The harsh nature of the orientation program was designed to weed out the weaker cadets and to ensure that only the strongest and most resilient cadets continued training. Cadets could be issued with demerits for disciplinary infractions.[3] Despite its difficult training regiment, stormtroopers who graduated from Lothal's academy were often viewed as inferior to those produced elsewhere by off-world officers.[9]

Following the orientation program, cadets underwent a series of assessments for the rest of the term to test their physical prowess, mental acuity, leadership skills, and strategic adaptability. Most of these exercises took place in the Well, a remotely-configured chamber that could be configured to simulate various obstacle courses and challenges.[3] One such test involved cadets leaping across floating repulsorlift platforms that were shocked. This test was made harder everyday by adding another challenge on top of the last one, such as the ability to move platforms by firing on it with an E-11 blaster. For these assessments, the top three winners were rewarded with work details at the Imperial Complex in Capital City or getting to ride inside an AT-DP walker.[5] On several occasions, the Academy was known to replace washed out cadets with cadets from other Lothalian-based academies like Pretor Flats Academy, which was based on the far side of Lothal.[3]

After the winter break, cadets underwent field training in the Easthills.[2] Following a rebel attack on the Empire Day festivities in Capital City, field exercises were suspended and Imperial cadets were used to help stormtroopers enforce law and order. Captain Roddance also embarked on a program of screening cadets for rebel sympathies and criminal associations.[6]

Unknown to most cadets and the general public, the Imperial Academy also served as a means for the Empire to identify Force-sensitive subjects, who were then inducted into a secret program known as Project Harvester. Project Harvester was run from a secret location near the Imperial Academy on Arkanis.[3] Commandant Aresko would report cadets who demonstrated incredible physical prowess to the Grand Inquisitor, who would then evaluate the cadets himself. If they met his "special criteria," he would take them into custody. To maintain Project Harvester's secrecy, the Imperial authorities claimed that these cadets had run away. One known target of Project Harvester was Dhara Leonis, the older sister of Zare Leonis. Later, the Inquisitor nearly took Jai Kell and Ezra Bridger; the latter being an undercover member of the Lothal rebel cell.[5]


Academy for Young Imperials bunk

Cadets slept on bunk beds in the Academy barracks.

The Academy for Young Imperials was based in Lothal's Capital City and was near Lothal's Imperial Planetary Occupation Facility. The Imperial Academy was near a ten-kilometer field in the Easthills that was used for running drills. The Academy's other facilities included interview cubicles, barracks, a mess hall, toilets, showers, office facilities for Imperial training instructors, and a large hangar bay that could accommodate AT-DP walkers, Imperial Troop Transports, and shuttles. The Academy's assessment hall also hosted a special facility known as the Well that could be used to simulate a wide variety of obstacle courses and challenges. The Imperial Academy's grounds included a lake and a nearby field that was used for an obstacle course. The Academy's had a large blast door that covered its hangar bay.[3] Besides Imperial officers and trainers, the Academy's staff included several protocol and astromech droids.[6]

Faculty and staff[]


Cadet Ezra Fathead

Ezra Bridger posing as "Dev Morgan"

Behind the scenes[]

The Academy for Young Imperials first appeared as the Imperial Academy in the Star Wars Rebels episode Breaking Ranks, which premiered on October 27, 2014. Its backstory was further explored in Jason Fry's Servants of the Empire young adult novel series, which ran from October 2014 to October 2015.


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Notes and references[]

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