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"The self-styled commander looks every bit an officer, and he used code cylinders to requisition the fuel cells."
Moff Wilhuff Tarkin[7]

Code cylinders, also referred to as coded rank cylinders, security rank cylinders, coded key cylinders, and data cylinders, were security devices in the shape of short cylinders that were used by the Galactic Empire and, decades later, by the First Order. They contained coded information about their bearers and granted them access to secure areas by usage of scomp links. It was not uncommon for high-ranking personnel to own multiple code cylinders, each with their own encrypted access codes.

Galactic Empire[]


Around the time of the Battle of Hoth, Admiral Kendal Ozzel carried three code cylinders.

Imperial code cylinders had at least two functions. First and foremost, they contained coded information about the bearer[7] including the access points they cleared and the files they read. Detailed analysis of the data stored in the cylinder would allow the Imperial Security Bureau to even determine the owner's precise movements on board an Imperial ship or installation.[1] Secondly, code cylinders granted their owner varying levels of access to secure areas[4] and terminals, including but not limited to detention levels and offices.[3] Along with giving access to different areas, it should be noted that there were at least Code Cylinder classes.[8] New code cylinders were issued with every upgrading of the clearance level,[8] or new assignment.[4] Because the replacement forms and procedures were notoriously complex, bearers of code cylinders were careful not to lose them.[8] Losing a code cylinder of particularly high rank also carried the risk of disciplinary action, as it allowed potential intruders to infiltrate Imperial sites and gather information or enter important areas. Depending on the conditions of the incident, including whether the cylinder was lost by accident or as a result of enemy action, the officer responsible could even be sentenced to execution for treason.[1]

The Galactic Empire used at least four physically distinct forms of code cylinder, marked according to the bearer's rank insignia plaque of red and blue tiles; the different cylinders visually communicated their owner's rank to other personnel.[1] The first kind, worn by officers such as Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin,[2] Admiral Kendal Ozzel, and General Maximilian Veers, had a torus shaped blue or red activator tip and a small pocket clip.[9] The second kind, used by ISB Agent Kallus, Lieutenant Yogar Lyste, and Grand Admiral Thrawn was nearly identical in structure featuring a red or blue bulbous activator tip along with a unique a clip that had inward protrusions near the bottom.[3] The third type, which General Cassio Tagge and Chief Moradmin Bast carried, was identical in structure to the first the only difference being that it lacked any colored tip in general. A side note that deserving mention is that the first and third types also had different colored clips, namely gold and silver. The fourth kind, called the Crewman Code Cylinder, was worn by Admiral Conan Antonio Motti. It was somewhat thicker, lacked a pocket clip, and was topped by a spiral drill bulb and were additionally used by Imperial Pilots.[2]

First Order[]

FO code cylinder

A code cylinder of the First Order

In imitation of the Galactic Empire, the First Order made use of code cylinders, then referred to as "rank cylinders" or "access cylinders." As was also the case in the Empire, the cylinders governed access to command systems and certain areas of First Order vessels and installations. The officers wore their cylinders not in pockets, but in loops fastened on either sides of the breastbone.[6] The First Order lieutenants Dopheld Mitaka and Rodinon both carried access cylinders, but the non-commissioned officers did not, and neither did the higher ranking officers like Colonels Erich S. Datoo and Kaplan or even General Armitage Hux.[10] Captain Tritt Opan additionally had one fake code cylinder, which was used to carry poison inside due to his acting as Hux's personal hitman.[11]


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Non-canon appearances[]


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