- "The Isards make their own luck."
- ―Armand Isard
Armand Isard was a male Human who served the Galactic Republic as both the Director of the Senate Bureau of Intelligence and the Director of Republic Intelligence, and he later acted as the Director of Imperial Intelligence for the Republic's successor regime, the Galactic Empire. From humble beginnings as an agent within the Senate Bureau of Intelligence, Isard worked his way up through the ranks, doing sterling work for the Republic, and he became a close ally of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, the Republic's leader. During the Clone Wars, a conflict between the Republic and the breakaway Confederacy of Independent Systems, Isard aided the Republic's war effort as a member of the Security and Intelligence Council, a war council made up of Palpatine's most trusted advisors.
Following the formation of the Empire in 19 BBY, Isard continued to serve Palpatine, as the leader of Imperial Intelligence. He worked closely with Palpatine's Sith apprentice Lord Vader and the Inquisitorius to hunt down the survivors of Order 66, a decree issued by Palpatine that called for the execution of all members of the Jedi Order. On several occasions, Isard's men were able to pinpoint the location of Jedi for the benefit of Vader or Inquisitor Antinnis Tremayne. Simultaneously, Isard began grooming his daughter, Ysanne, for a career as a field operative within Imperial Intelligence. After the outbreak of a civil war between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance, Isard acted to crush Rebel cells, and he also dispatched the Imperial agent Jahan Cross to investigate a clandestine project in the Corporate Sector.
As Ysanne grew, she became more and more capable in her role as an intelligence operative, and, naturally, Armand felt threatened. He sent her on a mission to the planet Darkknell to recover some stolen Imperial plans as a means of getting rid of her, convinced that she would be unsuccessful and would be executed for her failure. Much to Armand's surprise, she deduced his motives for sending her on the assignment and had Armand framed for treason. Ysanne was rumored to have personally executed him, ending his decades-long career as Director of Intelligence and launching her own.
Intelligence reforms and the Separatist Crisis
- "For too long the unscrupulous have been taking advantage of chinks in the bureau's armor. I say, 'no more.' The SBI will be a vital weapon in the fight against those who would fragment our Republic, and not a tool of convenience for the wealthy and corrupt."
- ―Armand Isard
Armand Isard was a male Human who was born during the later years of the Galactic Republic, and he went on to work for the Republic's Office of Analysis, in which he rose through the ranks. Isard also had a brother, but his sibling was killed during the Stark Hyperspace War in 44 BBY. He became an associate of Senator Palpatine of Naboo, and shortly prior to Palpatine's election as Supreme Chancellor of the Republic 32 BBY, Isard worked with Palpatine's aides Kinman Doriana, Janus Greejatus and Sate Pestage behind the scenes, to plant incriminating evidence against Palpatine's rivals. Circa 30 BBY, Isard became a father to the girl Ysanne Isard. By the time of the Separatist Crisis, Isard had reached the rank of Director-General of the Senate Bureau of Intelligence and Director of Republic Intelligence—positions he would hold until the dissolution of the Old Republic. Shortly before the Clone Wars, he had a Crisis Branch created for the SBI, an act that had not been seen since 60 years prior. During this reform, Isard fired the 32 Mid Rim subdirectors of SBI, claiming that they were "rife with corruption". But Isard's detractors claimed that these reforms were only giving more power to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine—an assumption that would later prove to be correct.
To further the suppression of anti-Republic feeling, Isard had the Sluis sector HoloNet node shut down, as a response to the rallies in the area in support of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, a separatist coalition of worlds that sought to secede from the Republic. Isard told HoloNet Regional: "This isn't about freedom of speech. The HoloNet is a Republic asset, and Sluis sector has opted to leave the Republic. It's well within our jurisdiction to shut down their network during this crisis."
Isard had to work overtime to deal with the constant menaces that endangered the Republic. Due to the impending threat of war, fear was rife throughout the populace of the Republic's capital, Coruscant, causing people to panic at any given thing. There was also the threat of lone operators: those not affiliated with the Confederacy, but still capitalizing on the crisis to do personal damage to the Republic.
Count Dooku, the Confederate head of state quickly became SBI's top priority, when he was sighted in the Gree Enclave. Though Dooku managed to escape under the radar once again, he had been sighted using an unidentified and exotic craft, a prospect that had SBI worried. SBI's concerns were directed back home once again, however, when protests were held outside the Senate Rotunda. Despite claims to the contrary, Isard's handling of the situation was purely non-violent, and he was able to disperse the crowds effectively, with the help of the Senate Guard.
- "Our recruitment methods for the crypt teams are aggressive and unprecedented, which is indicative of the importance of the matter."
- ―Armand Isard, speaking of the CIS propaganda threat
After the Battle of Geonosis, open war broke out between the Republic and the Confederacy, and Isard became a member of the Security and Intelligence Council, a war council made up of Palpatine's most trusted advisors. When the Confederates began transmitting propaganda along conventional Republic communication lines, Isard decided that it was time to take extreme measures. He formed an entirely new Intelligence Committee, called the Cryptanalysis Department, that would be dedicated to the protection of Republic HoloNet channels. The Committee would dissuade both CIS propaganda and viruses, thereby hopefully keeping Republic media free of enemy taint. Isard resorted to unusual recruiting techniques for the new Committee: while the heads of department would be drawn from existing SBI ranks, slicers would be enlisted from the populace. Candidacy was determined by the transmission of a unique encrypted recruitment guide, which the hopefuls would receive and decrypt to pursue the job further.
As the Wars ground on, Isard devised the shadow trooper, a new type of clone commando that would be used in covert operations during the war. They were used as a replacement for the Republic's dwindling special forces ARC troopers. These troopers, fitted with state-of-the-art Phase II armor, would operate in a solitary manner, and would be the precursor to the storm commandos and shadow stormtroopers of later years.
To combat the technological advantage held by Dooku due to his alliance with Foreman Wat Tambor and the Techno Union, Isard appointed Baron Orman Tagge, head of TaggeCo, to a position in the SBI Analysis Bureau, in a bid to compete with the Union in the arms race.
The conflict continued and unrest developed among the population of the planet JanFathal, due to their lack of political rights. However, Isard believed that the Republic needed JanFathal, so he thought that the Fathalians would have to wait until the end of the war for democratic change to begin. A short time later, the Confederacy broke Republic communications codes around JanFathal, so Palpatine told Isard that the codes should be changed more regularly.
In 20 BBY, the planet Duro fell to the forces of the Kaleesh General Grievous. This caused widespread panic in the Republic capital, due to Duro's relatively close proximity. Isard held a press conference to assure the citizens that there was nothing to panic about, and that core world security would be increased. At the same time, the Republic officer Terrinald Screed was given direct control of Coruscant's garrison, but Isard insisted that this had nothing to do with any tip-offs that SBI could have hypothetically received as to an attack on the capital.
When Praesitlyn, home to the Intergalactic Communications Center was attacked by Confederacy forces under the command of the Muun Pors Tonith, Isard needed to collect information from unorthodox sources. He was able to gain intelligence on the attack from Captain Zozridor Slayke, a former pirate, much to the chagrin of Isard's peers. Along with Palpatine, Shayla Paige-Tarkin, Mas Amedda, Jannie Ha'Nook, Sly Moore and Sate Pestage, Isard planned to resolve the Praesitlyn crisis. The SBI provided the two Jedi commanders dispatched, Nejaa Halcyon and Anakin Skywalker, with all the relevant information needed, and the resulting operation was a success.
In 19.5 BBY, Kishi, in Coruscant's Westport district, fell prey to what Isard perceived to be a terrorist attack. The locale was overrun by Separatist-controlled stone mites, which had been carried to the capital on the freighter Spinner. In retaliation to the supposed Confederate attack, Isard had a batch of mutant stone mites bred, while his agents discovered that the Spinner's last port of call had been Orleon. Believing Orleon to be the location of the Confederate bio-labs in which Doctor Jenna Zan Arbor was breeding the stone mites, he had his own batch of the creatures deployed on the planet. However, the Director had been wrong, and Orleon contained no bio-labs. Nothing could stop his stone mites, and in the course of a week, the planet's structures were nothing but dust. Its entire population was forced to flee while the creatures slowly devoured their homeworld. As a result, Isard was responsible for the destruction of an entire planet.
Isard was a mainstay at Palpatine's conferences, even at those with the Jedi Council. Palpatine had him on hand to provide critical info to others in the room, although Isard was always under strict orders from Palpatine not to reveal everything. This loyalty earned Isard some degree of respect from Palpatine, and served him well in the coming Imperialization of the galaxy. He became wary of the Jedi Order toward the final months of the Clone Wars—when in 19 BBY a team of Jedi began investigating Senate sessions and exploring sub-levels around 500 Republica, the home of much of the Senate, Isard resented the intrusion and began to view the Order in a suspicious light.
While the Jedi were conducting the investigation that was so unwelcome to Isard, Coruscant was suddenly assaulted by the forces of the Confederacy's Supreme Commander, the cyborg General Grievous. During the chaos, Chancellor Palpatine was abducted and taken aboard Grievous' flagship, only to be rescued by a pair of Jedi—Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Although Grievous' forces retreated shortly after Palpatine's recapture, Isard was vexed by the Chancellor's seeming lack of care for his safety, as the elderly Human arrived at the Senate Annex in a speeder bus accompanied by only two guards. Isard was able to agree with the Chancellor that no media should be present when Palpatine disembarked the speeder bus, and personally monitored the activities of the senators who welcomed the Chancellor.
Isard was soon informed by the SBI's assistant director that several senators linked to the Delegation of 2000, a political movement opposed to the scope of the executive powers held by Chancellor Palpatine, were meeting clandestinely with two pilots from a YT-1300 light freighter in a berth below where Palpatine had disembarked. The news that J'oopi Shé, a Jedi Master from the Order's Technical division, was present with the senators, and the fact that the group had accepted a carry case from the two pilots, heightened Isard's suspicions, especially following the activities of the Jedi prior to the Battle of Coruscant. It transpired that the YT-1300 had attained access to Coruscant airspace by masquerading as an emergency vehicle and had reached the Senate Annex with a stolen authorization code. With the meeting already under surveillance and with pretexts for arresting or dispersing all individuals present, Isard ordered a squad of shock troopers to disrupt the affair. By the time the troopers had done so, however, the senators—Largetto, Fang Zar and Des'sein—had absented themselves. The two pilots fled the scene in the YT-1300; despite Isard's efforts to coordinate a pursuit, the freighter was able to flee the system.
Hunting the Jedi
Several days later, following an uprising by the Jedi which resulted in the issuing of Order 66—an executive order to eliminate the Jedi—Chancellor Palpatine declared the Galactic Republic obsolete and the Galactic Empire its successor, with himself at its head as Emperor. In the wake of the changes, Armand Isard was appointed Director of SBI's successor, Imperial Intelligence. As a part of the Imperialization process, Isard arrested a batch of Imperial Senators suspected of treason. Shortly after Palpatine had established the Empire, Isard accompanied Palpatine's Sith apprentice, Darth Vader, on a mission to the Jedi Temple to retrieve Sith holocrons from the temple archives. While there, Isard's men detected unauthorized remote access to the archives, and Vader ordered them to track it. As they did, Vader was able to surmise that the hackers were two Jedi, Roan Shryne and Olee Starstone, fugitives of his purge. While Isard pinpointed their location, they were able to escape.
On the world Oznar, Isard witnessed a change in the state of mind in the citizenry under the Empire. Twenty-six Imperial enforcement officers had been deployed on the planet, and they received an influx of reports on criminal and anti-Imperial activity. Ninety percent of the reports came from regular citizens who were branding their neighbors and denouncing them. Isard observed that the populace were not being stifled under Imperial rule—instead, they were taking the opportunity to settle scores or make a demonstration of their fealty to Palpatine. The director also guessed that these citizens would deny that they had ever done so. He later received a report from Section Controller J506 H.F. Marigand, on the various clone trooper desertions that the Empire had endured, as well as the fact that former Jedi Bardan Jusik had joined the Mandalorians, as well as several other issues. The controller issued a series of resolutions to Isard, suggesting that the director follow them to help avert future disaster.
As the Empire continued to forge ahead, Lord Vader founded the Inquisitorius, which would be a Force-sensitive branch of Intelligence. Isard found it difficult to work with one particular Inquisitor, Antinnis Tremayne, who was hunting for a Jedi fugitive called Jodd Sonta. The parameters that Tremayne set for Isard's staff to pinpoint Sonta's location were far too broad, preventing any kind of specific localization. Vader, at Tremayne's urging, requested that Isard devote more resources to the Inquisitor's mission of hunting the Jedi, but that did not help matters. Eventually, Tremayne was able to link Sonta to the hospitalized Omwati Kodo Finn, yet he failed to apprehend the criminal.
Eventually, Vader took the reins from Tremayne on the Sonta operation, and put him to work with both Isard and the clone trooper CC-5052 in order to catch the fugitive and his Jedi accomplices. Among them was Ekria, a talented hacker. Isard was indignant when CC-5052 suggested that the young Jedi girl may have sliced the Intelligence network, but he had flags set up at choice points, hoping that Ekria would trip them in her slicing efforts. She did so, but only intentionally. Both Ekria and "Sonta," who was actually Drake Lo'gaan, were believed to have been killed on the world Tepasi.
In 17 BBY, Isard, alongside Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin and Imperial Advisor Janus Greejatus, accompanied Palpatine in his throne room as the Emperor questioned Vader and the clone stormtrooper Hock Malsuun about the events of the Shrouded Offensive, an Imperial military operation that ended in what was at the time the biggest military disasters the Empire had ever known.
- "I'll have someone from Interrogation bring the man in for a talk."
"That… would be a little difficult, Director."
"I didn't have much choice, Director. And Nar was a traitor to the Empire."
"You used that excuse the last time!"
- ―Armand Isard and Agent Jahan Cross discuss the latter's tendency to eliminate potential witnesses
At some point, Isard established a secret headquarters for himself inside the Lusankya, an underground Imperial prison located within the depths of the Coruscant cityscape. Isard became particularly adept at hunting down Palpatine's enemies and bringing them to justice. He would constantly ferret out cells of alleged Alliance to Restore the Republic sympathizers, even if they had no ties to the Alliance whatsoever. During this time, he trained his daughter, Ysanne, to be a field agent, much as he had been in his youth. She was allowed to sit in on Intel, Imperial Security Bureau, and even Inquisitorius conferences.
In 3 BBY, the Imperial Intelligence agent Jahan Cross killed the Imperial officer Milosh Muhrlein after learning that Muhrlein had been stealing credits from the Empire. Subsequently, Cross met with Isard inside the director's office deep within the Imperial Palace—the seat of the Empire on Coruscant—to report on his encounter with Muhrlein. Isard berated the agent, because Murhlein was from an influential family and had had friends in the Imperial Court, but Cross revealed that Murhlein had been involved with the company Rossum Droidworks in relation to a clandestine project that was referenced by the name "Iron Eclipse." Isard authorized Cross to travel to the Corporate Sector, where Rossum Droidworks was based, to investigate the project, and he ordered the agent to contact Blains Vorlin, the Empire's ambassador to the Corporate Sector.
Cross journeyed to the world Etti IV to meet with Vorlin and the agent was framed by the businessman Iaclyn Stark for the murder of Stark's Nautolan step-mother, Dah'lis, which forced Cross to go on the run from the local security force. Isard was informed of the Nautolan's death, but he was unable to intervene on Cross' behalf because Blains Vorlin believed that the agent was guilty. Cross later contacted Isard via a comlink and awoke the Intelligence director, who had been asleep in bed. The agent explained his situation to Isard and informed the director that Vorlin's aide Emesh Nar had colluded with the Stark family in relation to Iron Eclipse. Isard then became incensed when Cross revealed that the Imperial Intelligence Human replica droid IN-GA 44 had been taken captive by Iaclyn Stark. Despite his displeasure, Isard sanctioned the agent to scrutinize the Eclipse resort on the world Reltooine, which Cross believed was connected to the Iron Eclipse project. Cross discovered that Iron Eclipse was a virus developed by the Stark patriarch Iaco to take control of all of the droids in the galaxy, and the agent shut down the operation. Iaclyn's sister, Elli Stark, agreed to vouch for Cross' innocence, which enabled Isard to have the criminal charges against Cross dropped by the Etti IV authorities.
A short time later, Cross assassinated the noble Count Adan Dooku, the nephew of the former Confederate head of state, at the behest of Imperial Intelligence, on the planet Alderaan. Afterward, Cross returned to Coruscant and convened with Isard in the director's office inside the Imperial Palace, and Isard tasked the agent with ensuring that the Count Rodas Borgin of House Borgin, one of the five Great Houses of Dooku's homeworld Serenno, be appointed as the regent of Dooku's son, Bron. Isard also berated Cross after the operative inquired whether it had been necessary to kill Count Dooku, stating Cross' job was to accept orders unquestionably. Cross journeyed to Serenno and thwarted an attempt by Borgin to kidnap the young Count, so Borgin requested that the agent be recalled from the world. A fleet of Imperial Star Destroyers was dispatched to Serenno to ensure that Borgin be installed as regent, and Isard thereafter contacted Cross and ordered him to leave with the fleet when the task force arrived.
The Darkknell operation
- "That's absurd, completely untrue and absurd. You have no proof of any of this."
- ―Armand Isard, to his daughter Ysanne, after she revealed that she had implicated him as having betrayed the Empire
Despite the pride that he felt towards Ysanne, Armand feared that she would become his rival for the leadership of Imperial Intelligence. After the plans to the Empire's top-secret Death Star project were stolen in 0 BBY, Armand sought to use the theft as an opportunity to eliminate his daughter by dispatching Ysanne to the planet Darkknell to recover the missing blueprints, in the hope that she would be unsuccessful at reclaiming the plans and would be executed for her failure. He summoned Ysanne to his office to provide her a briefing for the mission and ordered that all of Darkknell's spaceports be interdicted, and his daughter departed to commence her assignment.
As Armand had hoped, Ysanne was unable to recover the plans. However, she deduced why her father had sent her on the mission, and she plotted revenge. Ysanne implicated Armand as having been involved in the original theft of the plans and she concocted a story whereby Armand had sought to have her killed, then to use her death as a justification to enable him to join the Rebel Alliance. She claimed that he then planned to reveal secret Imperial information to the Alliance, to allow them to overthrow Palpatine and to put Armand in position to claim the throne for himself. Ysanne also implicated her father as having been behind the bombing of the Treitamma Political Center on the planet Anchoron, which had claimed the lives of the family of the Rebel leader Garm Bel Iblis, purportedly to push Bel Iblis further into the Alliance, by eliminating Iblis' pro-Imperial wife. Ysanne revealed her "findings" to Palpatine, while Armand—who was unaware of his daughter's contact with the Emperor—also spoke with Palpatine, to request that Ysanne's life be spared for her failure on the mission. Armand subsequently met with Ysanne to debrief her on the results of her mission, and she revealed to him the aspersions against him that she had made to Palpatine. Several of Palpatine's Royal Guardsmen escorted Armand away for an audience with the Emperor regarding Armand's fate, and he was subsequently arrested by Imperial Security and executed within the hour. According to an unverified rumor, it was Ysanne herself who fired the shot that killed him.
Isard was eventually replaced as the Director of Imperial Intelligence by the Dark Jedi Cronal. Ysanne Isard later succeeded Cronal as the Director of Intelligence, and she went on to have a successful career, eventually becoming the leader of the Empire after the death of Palpatine during the Battle of Endor. At some point, Ysanne named a Coruscant prison the "Armand Isard Correctional Facility", after her father, out of a malevolent sense of humor. Following the capture of Coruscant by the New Republic in 6 ABY, the prison continued to operate under the same name and was still in use during 44 ABY.
Personality and traits
Isard believed that someone strong and ruthless was needed to lead the Republic, and he was staunchly loyal to Palpatine's rule both as Supreme Chancellor and Galactic Emperor. He did not display any kind of instability, nor did he show any kind of callous indifference towards the sentients of the galaxy until the Darkknell operation, where he effectively sentenced his own daughter to death. When Ysanne turned the tables on him shortly after the Darkknell operation, Isard did not plead for clemency, but instead displayed a tinge of pride for his treacherous daughter. He liked to keep both his allies and his enemies off-balance, and he also valued competence in those who served him. Palpatine knew Isard as a man who knew much, but talked little. He was thought by some to have an inhuman gaze. Isard was fair-skinned, with blue eyes and black-colored hair that had a white stripe running through it.
Behind the scenes
Armand Isard was first mentioned in Michael A. Stackpole's 1996 novel X-Wing: Rogue Squadron. Stackpole created the character as an element of Ysanne Isard's backstory, and, as such, very little information about the character himself was known, other than the fact that he had once been the Director of Imperial Intelligence. In 1999, three years after his initial mention, Isard appeared in Stackpole and Timothy Zahn's Interlude at Darkknell, a short story set shortly before the Battle of Yavin.
Isard would go unused and unmentioned for a further three years, until Paul Ens and Pablo Hidalgo inserted him consistently into the HoloNet news webpages. David Sherman and Dan Cragg later included him in the book Jedi Trial, which marked Isard's first appearance in a major Star Wars novel. Following his Jedi Trial appearance, Isard was a mainstay in "Palpatine's Office" scenes in following works. Paul Ens' Reversal of Fortune finally provided Isard with his first visual appearance, almost a decade after his creation. Isard later received an entry in the 2008 compendium The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, which incorrectly stated that he was the leader of the Imperial Security Bureau, rather than of Imperial Intelligence. In 2012, he appeared in a number of issues of the Dark Horse Comics' Agent of the Empire series.
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary
- "Who's Who in the Delegation of 2000" – Star Wars Insider 85
- The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide
- Star Wars Annual 2009
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Clone Wars Campaign Guide
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 25
- "Blaster" – Star Wars Insider 130
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- (Indirect mention only)