- "The use of Imperial Scarlet predominated, with gold, silver, blue and green accenting various features. Just when the clash of color would become too much, we'd walk past an alcove or a wall panel that housed artwork from one of the myriad planets in the galaxy."
- ―Corran Horn
Color symbolism in the Republic and Imperial societies
In the time of the Galactic Republic, red was prominently displayed as a symbol of diplomatic affiliation, and so many ambassadorial capital ships were painted red. Any consular ship hailing directly from Galactic City was colored red all over its hull, while others would only bear stripes in that hue. Under the Galactic Empire, some of those habits were seemingly kept in use, for what was called "Republic red" followed the teaching of seemingly co-opting the republican traditions. Emperor Palpatine personally favored the color scarlet as it featured prominently on the family crest of House Palpatine. His preference for several variations of the color red, including crimson and burgundy, were reflected through the interior design of his private apartments, as well as the uniforms of the Red Guard and their Imperial successors. Because it was the color of Human blood, red was also associated with murder. Crimson, a shade of red, was a traditional signifier of royal authority. During the Clone Wars, like most other colors, red was also used as an indicator of rank among clone forces within the Grand Army of the Republic: In particular, red was used to indicate those holding the rank of either Major or Captain.
On Naboo, orange and red vestments symbolized rebirth and renewal.
Blue was associated with chancellorship in the waning days of the Republic, and lavender drapes were known to have hung in the Grand Convocation Chamber. Indeed, lavender blue was the only shade that had never been historically associated with war, anger or mourning in any civilization within the Republic. Chancellor Finis Valorum and Senator Palpatine would often don blue coats or robes to express their interest in leading the Republic. In the old Jedi Order, a blue-bladed lightsaber was traditionally associated with the Jedi Guardians, whose talents lay in martial skills. Despite its previous positive associations, blue was the color of shame and disgrace in the late Imperial culture. During the Clone Wars, like most other colors, blue was also used as an indicator of rank among clone forces within the Grand Army of the Republic: In particular, blue was used to indicate those holding the rank of either Lieutenant or Second Lieutenant.
As green was the color of most plant life, it was generally perceived in a positive light, and was a symbol of life and youth. Lush planets were commonly described as "green" (such as Kashyyyk, Onderon, Naboo, Yavin 4 or the Green Coruscant). At the time of the Cold War, green was adopted by the Corellian Jedi to show their devotion to the ancient flag of Corellia. They began to wear emerald robes, and this tradition lasted until the time of Corran Horn. Additionally, Jedi Consulars often used green-bladed lightsabers to symbolize their commitment to peace. During the Clone Wars, like most other colors, various shades of green were also used as an indicator of rank among clone forces within the Grand Army of the Republic: In particular, the standard shade was used to represent Sergeant-Major, while olive green was used to represent Sergeant.
Despite the color's general positive connotations, one who was inexperienced at something, such as a raw recruit in the military, was sometimes said to be "green."
Black was generally associated with night and darkness, especially the Sith. The color "Sith black" was considered a symbol of their ancient dread. In the culture of the Galactic Empire, black was considered a symbol of victory.
A light medium gray was the traditional hue the Empire chose for its ships and stations. The aim was to make the Imperial presence recognizable at glance, and to instill fear by insisting on the weapons' power and not on their appearance. Though some distinctive unit markings did exist, they still were marginal.
While the color white was associated with the Force by some (such as the the White Current of the Fallanassi), it was also chosen by the Empire for its elite force of stormtroopers. Their full anonymous armor was chosen by designers who knew that what people couldn't see was more terrifying than what the Empire could do. For the full paint job of large spaceship, "Star Destroyer White" was the only industrial shade of paint that was available at reasonable prices. Sheets of paper were usually white, and so was the fur of creatures such as the Hoojibs of Arbra and the Wampas of Hoth.
The color yellow was associated with lies in the Imperial culture. When the mutant warlord Trioculus met the fake Supreme Prophet of the Dark Side, the pseudo-Kadann, he told him he was the son of the late Palpatine. The fake Kadann then crushed a yellow chalk ball in his hand, meaning he did not believe Trioculus' claim. In the days of the Old Republic, Jedi Sentinels often owned yellow-bladed lightsabers. During the Clone Wars, like most other colors, yellow was also used as an indicator of rank among clone forces within the Grand Army of the Republic: In particular, yellow was used to indicate those holding various ranks of Commander, in particular battalion commander, regimental commander, senior commander, and marshal commander.
Some species (like the Hutts or the Kaminoans) could view more colors than others, notably light in the ultraviolet. Such extra colors included berl, crynor, nusp, and onsible. They are the only known ultraviolet colors.
Colors as a language
The reptilian Tarasin from Cularin used to express their ideas or emotions through a complex system of skin color changes. For example, their light green skin changing to purple indicated amusement. Though much of their Tarasin Skintone Language couldn't express complex thoughts, the changing colors of the skin could give basic directions without speech while the Tarasin were hunting or attempting to evade the massive kilassin that roam the jungles of their homeworld.
Similarly, the skull feathers of the avian Fosh would shift color depending on their mood. Green indicated inquisitiveness, thoughtfulness or amusement; orange was a sign of happiness; and gray reflected anger, disgust, irritation or seriousness.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Rise of the Hutt Cartel
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Onslaught (Mentioned only)
- (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- "Assignment: Decoy"—Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 7
- Debts to Pay
- Beyond the Rim
- The Jewel of Yavin
- Operation: Shadowpoint
- "Idol Intentions"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 12
- Shadows of the Empire novel
- Shadows of the Empire audiobook (Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing)
- Shadows of the Empire audiobook (Talking Book Publishers Inc.)
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Episode I Incredible Cross-Sections
- Darth Plagueis
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Mission from Mount Yoda
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 29 (GAR1-2, Naboo royal garments)
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Star Wars: Episode I The Visual Dictionary
- The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force
- Prophets of the Dark Side
- Star Wars Adventures in Colors and Shapes
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- I, Jedi
- Dark Force Rising
- Death Star Designer
- Star Wars Miniatures Battles Companion
- MedStar II: Jedi Healer
- The New Jedi Order: Traitor