- "As I am the adviser to this group and to the Empire at large, I shall take for myself the title of Counselor to the Empire, serving as an interstitial leader only until Grand Admiral Sloane returns to us."
- ―Gallius Rax, to the Shadow Council
The Counselor to the Empire, also known as the Counselor, was the de facto leader of the Galactic Empire during the waning days of the Galactic Civil War. Having effectively ousted Grand Admiral Rae Sloane from power, Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax seized control of the government and military. Taking the title "Counselor to the Empire," Rax officially served in an advisory capacity to the Shadow Council but, in effect, ruled as Galactic Emperor despite Grand Vizier Mas Amedda's claim to the Imperial throne as a "proxy" sovereign.
During his brief reign, Rax rallied the Empire's forces under his banner and brought them to his homeworld of Jakku. Unknown to the soldiers in the Counselor's army, Rax conspired to destroy the state in accordance with the Contingency—Emperor Palpatine's final command condemning the Empire, which he held responsible for his death. After the Counselor was killed in the Battle of Jakku, Amedda regained the authority that he needed in order to surrender the Empire to the New Republic and end the war.
- "You are little more than a shadow—and yet you lead the Empire."
- ―Rae Sloane, to Gallius Rax
The Galactic Empire was effectively ruled by the Counselor to the Empire during the final months of the Galactic Civil War. As the Empire's de facto leader, the Counselor superseded the Grand Vizier—the second highest political office in the Imperial government—in power if not in rank. Though the Counselor was officially the equivalent of an adviser, in reality it filled the vacuum of power that ensued after Darth Sidious' death, making the Counselor a Galactic Emperor in all but name. The Counselor was, therefore, the leader of the Shadow Council, rather than its adviser, due to Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax's personal authority and influence as the founder of that organization.
- "It's come to this, then? Death on a dead world. You've driven us all to the edge of the galaxy. To the edge of everything."
"As I say: There is a purpose."
- ―Rae Sloane and Gallius Rax
In the wake of Darth Sidious' demise at the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY, Grand Vizier Mas Amedda was positioned to succeed the late Emperor as the next sovereign of the galaxy. However, beyond his influence over the Core World Coruscant, Amedda lacked the ability to unite the Galactic Empire under his rule. With the Galactic Civil War shifting in the New Republic's favor, Imperial officers such as Gallius Rax took matters into their own hands, seizing political and military power at Amedda's expense. Wielding a degree of authority that exceeded his rank in the Imperial Navy, Fleet Admiral Rax founded the Shadow Council as part of his vision of a reformed Empire that was, in his view, worthy of ruling the galaxy.
Though he also promoted Grand Admiral Rae Sloane as a figurehead, initially planning to rule through her as the power behind the throne, Rax ultimately sidelined Sloane and created the position of Counselor to the Empire for himself. It was an unprecedented title that did not command the full confidence of the Council; General Hodnar Borrum even protested its creation, believing that the title of Counselor was too vague and essentially rendered the Empire leaderless. Although Rax claimed it was only a temporary solution to the Empire's dilemma, his new role enabled him to wield absolute power not unlike what the Emperor possessed throughout his reign. With Amedda a virtual prisoner in the Imperial Palace, tortured and reduced to a figurehead by soldiers loyal to Rax, the Counselor had become the Emperor in effect. To signify his new status in the Empire, Rax began wearing a white naval uniform with a red cape.
By 5 ABY, Imperial forces rallied to the desert planet of Jakku, Counselor Rax's homeworld. Though desperate and hardened by Jakku's harsh conditions, the Imperial troops were unaware that their leader secretly followed the Emperor's posthumous orders instructing him to destroy the Empire as a failed state. As a result, Rax brought his army to Jakku not to turn defeat into a triumph for the Empire, but rather to ensure that both the Empire and Republic perished in the final battle of the war. At the same time, the Counselor sought to forge a new Empire, ruled by himself in the Unknown Regions of the galaxy.
During the Battle of Jakku, Rax's strategy went according to plan until he was confronted by his rival Sloane, who killed him in single combat. Before dying, he implored the Grand Admiral to take his place and carry out the Emperor's final wish by creating a stronger Empire in the Unknown Regions. With the Counselor's death and the destruction of his flagship, the Republic military forces claimed victory on Jakku. As a result, the Imperial government officially capitulated the war under the direction of Amedda, who returned to power for the sole purpose of surrendering the entire Empire to the Republic.
- "Little Rae Sloane, manning an entire Super Star Destroyer all by herself. Our last, isn't it?"
- ―Valco Pandion, to Rae Sloane
Unlike his predecessors Darth Sidious and Mas Amedda, both of whom maintained their government's seat of power on the galactic capital world Coruscant, Gallius Rax ruled the Empire from a mobile command station. As a Fleet Admiral, he served as the commanding officer of the Ravager, a massive and rare warship of the Executor-class Star Dreadnought line. As its highest-ranking officer, Rax had a private upper garden installed within the Ravager for recreational purposes. Retaining control of the dreadnought—also known as a Super Star Destroyer—during his reign as Counselor to the Empire, the Ravager acted as Rax's command ship in a fleet of Star Destroyers orbiting Jakku. During the final battle, the Ravager crashed into the surface of Jakku. Although it was believed to be the last of the Executor-class by the time of the Rebellion on Akiva, the Emperor's flagship Eclipse had been sent to the Unknown Regions in preparation for the Empire's rebirth in that region of space, ensuring its survival as the last of its line.
- Star Wars Battlefront II (Mentioned only)
- Aftermath: Life Debt (First appearance)
- Aftermath: Life Debt audiobook
- Aftermath: Empire's End
- Star Wars: On the Front Lines
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 71 (Databank A-Z: Zam Wesell–Wexley) (Indirect mention only)
Notes and references
- Aftermath: Life Debt
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the Battle of Endor to 4 ABY and further dates Shara Bey and Kes Dameron's move to Yavin 4 in 5 ABY. The move is placed six months after the Battle of Endor by Before the Awakening. Since Aftermath: Life Debt is set just after Shadow Fall, which takes place around six months after the battle, the events of Life Debt must also occur in 5 ABY, around six months after the Battle of Endor.
- Aftermath: Empire's End