- "Project Harvester is run from a secret installation on the planet Arkanis, one connected to Imperial headquarters there—and the Arkanis Academy."
- ―Merei Spanjaf
The Arkanis Academy was an Imperial Academy on Arkanis that specialized in training Imperial officers. Project Harvester, a program into which the Grand Inquisitor drafted Force-sensitive cadets, was connected to the Arkanis Academy.
Within the academy, its overseeing officer, Commandant Brendol Hux, ran a "secret academy" of sorts known as the Commandant's Cadets. Lieutenant Chiron tasked Zare Leonis with infiltrating this group, not realizing that Leonis was a mole within the academy's ranks, interested only in rescuing his sister, Dhara. Brendol Hux was among the Imperials who fled the Academy after the Galactic Concordance ended the Galactic Civil War.
- "This academy is for the best, Leonis. If you want to be the best, watch the company you keep. Don't waste your time with losers."
- ―Anya Razar
The Arkanis Academy was established by the Galactic Republic sixty-three years before the rescue of Kanan Jarrus above Mustafar. It was based in a fortress that had been built by an extinct native species. During the Age of the Empire, the Academy became a senior Imperial Academy that trained Imperial cadets as officers for the Imperial Military. The planet Arkanis was regarded as a good location for the Academy because it lacked the "social unrest" that plagued other Imperial worlds like Lothal. Despite its small size and remote location, it had a good reputation within Imperial circles for producing exemplary officers. However, the Arkanis Academy was considered by some Imperial cadets to be less prestigious than the Raithal Academy and Coruscant's Royal Imperial Academy.
About four years before the Battle of Yavin, the Arkanis Academy was headed by Commandant Brendol Hux, a charismatic Imperial officer who was interested in breeding loyal soldiers that would regard the Empire as their family. When the Imperial military establishment refused to support his ideas, Hux created a secret society of cadets known as the Commandant's Cadets. To join the society, prospective recruits had to kill a fellow cadet and make it look like an accident. Eventually, rumors about Hux's activities reached Major Siward Cass, aide to Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, who dispatched Lieutenant Chiron to investigate the Arkanis Academy.
That same year, Zare Leonis, a cadet at the Academy for Young Imperials, was transferred to Arkanis under the pretext of being reward for his excellent performance. In secret, Zare was an undercover rebel sympathizer who wanted to rescue his sister Dhara Leonis, who was being held at the nearby Area Null. Leonis' transfer was also fast-tracked by the Grand Inquisitor, who suspected that Leonis was secretly connected to the Spectres. The Inquisitor hoped to expose Leonis but was killed during a skirmish above Mustafar.
After befriending the cadet Penn Zarang, Leonis learned about the Commandant's Cadets and agreed to assist Chiron's investigation. Leonis passed the test to join the Commandant's Cadets by faking Zarang's death. Before he could be initiated however, he was exposed as a traitor by his former friend Beck Ollet, who had been conscripted into Project Unity. Leonis was condemned to death by Colonel Julyan but managed to escape with his sister due to a rescue mission mounted by Merei Spanjaf and the Spectres. Chiron was killed during the rescue mission and Hux was able to continue with his project.
Following the Battle of Endor, Arkanis and its Academy was besieged by the New Republic, the successor government created by the Rebel Alliance. By then, Commandant Hux had sired a son named Armitage Hux. With the help of Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, Brendol and his son escaped offworld and joined Gallius Rax's Shadow Council. In the years following the Battle of Jakku and the Galactic Concordance, Brendol Hux's ideas influenced the First Order's stormtrooper training regimen; a legacy that was continued by his son Armitage, who became a General in the First Order.
Curriculum and organization
- "You've been accepted for initiation into our ranks, Zare Leonis. But now you must prove yourself worthy. This academy prides itself on the quality of its graduates—but the way we ensure that quality is by weeding out the weak ourselves."
- ―Le Hivre inviting Zare to join the Commandant's Cadets
The Arkanis Academy was a senior academy that trained officers for the Imperial Military during the Age of the Empire. Imperial cadets at the Academy wore gray field uniforms with white stripes above carefully polished boots. In addition, cadets also wore a black dress uniform that included a shoulder braid and ceremonial scabbard. Most recruits were between sixteen and eighteen years old and were graduates of junior academies like the Academy for Young Imperials on Lothal and the Jelucan preparatory academy. While most of the cadets were senior students, the Arkanis Academy did take in some junior cadets like Zare Leonis and Anya Razar in the middle of the year; with the latter planning to continue as a junior cadet at the Raithal Academy. In the fourth year before the Battle of Yavin, the Academy had at least seventy cadets. Since it frequently rained on Arkanis, cadets were also equipped with foulweather gear consisting of hoods and faceplates.
The Arkanis Academy's curriculum consisted of a mixture of theoretical classes and field exercises including Colonel Julyan's Strategy and Tactics and live-fire exercises in both Arkanis' wilderness and the nearby high-gravity planet of Sirpar. Since Julyan's Strategy and Tactics class used classified Imperial military information including fleet movements, informants' tips, and arrest records as its course material, all Arkanis cadets were required to hold a class-three clearance. The Arkanis wilderness life-fire exercise involved cadets riding on diplopod mounts under simulated enemy fire. Meanwhile, the Sirpar exercise involved cadets commanding stormtroopers in gruelling combat exercises. Cadets also attended regular assemblies and communal dinners at the Academy's banquet hall.
Commandant Hux and Colonel Julyan sought to instil values of leadership, loyalty, and discipline among the Imperial cadets at the Arkanis Academy. On one occasion, Hux summoned the cadets to the Academy's cliffside to watch a juvenile nerf being devoured by a sea monster in order to teach the importance of natural selection and obedience to the cadets. Cadets were issued with demerits for misdemeanors like being out of their dormitories at night and trying to access the secluded Area Null, which was home to secret Imperial operations. Some disciplinary actions at the Academy included sending cadets to clean the diplopod stables. Believing that frequent contact with outsiders was detrimental to a proper military education, Hux allowed cadets to only contact their family in a fifteen-minute Hologram session once a month. Hux's personal droid assistant DeeDee monitored the Academy's offworld communications. Some cadets found a loophole around this rule by visiting Jasko's shop in nearby Scaparus Port.
The Arkanis Academy also had a secret society of cadets called the Commandant's Cadets. Commandant Hux established the society in order to cultivate a cadre of Imperial officers who subscribed to his belief in creating a breeding program that trained children to become stormtroopers. Hux admired the combat prowess and devotion of the Old Republic's Clone troopers and was dismayed by the lesser calibre of the Empire's stormtroopers, who were recruited from normal human Imperial Academy cadets. Since the Old Republic Clone troopers' genetic homogeneity made them vulnerable to Separatist biological weapons and pathogens, Hux believed that training normal human recruits from young would allow the Empire to produce dedicated soldiers who shared the fighting prowess of the Clone troopers but lack their genetic problems. Hux's Commandant's Cadets existed outside of the official Imperial chain of command and prospective recruits were required to kill a fellow cadet in order to join the group.
The Arkanis Academy was built around an ancient fortress that had been built by an extinct alien species before Republic contact. The Academy consisted of three buildings surrounding a rectangular open area. The Academy's grounds overlooked a cliff edged that faced a gunmetal-colored sea. A series of zig-zag stone steps led to the shore. Cadets were prohibited from visiting the shore due to the dangerous marine predators that lived on the shores of Arkanis. The Arkanis Academy was also home to a herd of nerfs, which were used to mow the lawns. An ancient stone tower called Area Null was located about thirty meters offshore from the Academy and could be accessed by a narrow causeway. Area Null housed several secret Imperial projects including Project Unity, which rehabilitated dissident youths and Project Harvester, which identified Force-sensitive cadets.
The Arkanis Academy had a stable that housed diplopods, insectoid creatures that were used as riding beasts during training exercises. The Academy contained numerous facilities including a mess hall, barracks, lecture rooms, and a special banquet hall. The Commandant also had his own special personal quarters which were fitted with a balcony that overlooked the Academy's grounds. The nearest town was Scaparus Port, which lay two klicks up the coast. The Academy had two landing pads including one on a hill that overlooked the Academy and one at Area Null, which was technically not part of the Academy. Arkanis was a wet planet which frequently rained and drizzled. The Academy experienced heavy downpours at least twice or three times a week and experienced drizzles for the rest of the time.
Faculty and staff
Cadets and alumni
- Bedal Cerroux
- Chan Harra
- Xan Lanier
- Zare Leonis
- Tigard Manes
- Anya Razar
- Willard Waylin
- Penn Zarang
Behind the scenes
The Arkanis Academy was first mentioned in the Star Wars Rebels episode "Vision of Hope," which first premiered on January 26, 2015. The Academy first appeared as a plot setting in Jason Fry's junior novel Servants of the Empire: The Secret Academy, which was published on October 25, 2015.
- Lost Stars (Mentioned only)
- Lost Stars audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Servants of the Empire: Rebel in the Ranks (Mentioned only) (First identified as Arkanis Academy)
- Star Wars Rebels – "Vision of Hope" (First mentioned) (Indirect mention only)
- Servants of the Empire: Imperial Justice (Mentioned only)
- "Assessment"—Star Wars Rebels Magazine 11 (Indirect mention only)
- Servants of the Empire: The Secret Academy (First appearance)
- "Tales of Villainy: The Short Goodbye"—Star Wars Adventures (2020) 5 (In flashback(s))
- Aftermath: Life Debt (Mentioned only)
- Aftermath: Life Debt audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Aftermath: Empire's End (Indirect mention only)
- Aftermath: Empire's End audiobook (Indirect mention only)
- Bloodline (Mentioned only)
- Bloodline audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Phasma (Mentioned only)
- Phasma audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 17 (Databank A-Z: Ewoks–Finn (FN-2187))
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 18 (Weapons & Uniforms: The First Order)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 24 (Databank A-Z: The HoloNet–General Hux)
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 36 (Databank A-Z: Cut Lawquane–Lothal)
- The Star Wars Book
- "The First Order" – Star Wars Encyclopedia