This article is about the reincarnated Sith Empire run by the reborn Palpatine.
You may be looking for the comic series of the same name.
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The Dark Empire, also referred to as the Empire Reborn,[4] was a short-lived restoration of the Galactic Empire located in the Deep Core and led by the reborn Emperor Palpatine, also known as the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious, following the Battle of Endor. The new regime tried to reclaim the territory of the Galactic Empire after it had succumbed to a civil war and splintered into various opposing factions. Although this reincarnated Sith Empire was formed when Palpatine revived himself in a clone body in 4 ABY, it officially revealed itself in 10 ABY, when the Sith Lord became strong enough to attack the New Republic. It fell apart less than a year later in 11 ABY, upon Palpatine's final death on Onderon, as well as the destruction of Byss, the stonghold of the Dark Empire.

The Dark Empire was openly run by dark side users, and the Emperor kept a group of Force-sensitives, called the Dark Side Elite, to carry out his will, similar to the Emperor's Hands of the Old Empire. There were always seven of them, and once one died, another was immediately appointed. Despite being trained and empowered by the Emperor himself, the Elite took heavy casualties during Operation Shadow Hand and were wiped out by the end of it.

The Emperor intended to eventually use solely the dark side of the Force to run the Dark Empire, but had to use regular vehicles until that could be accomplished. His rule introduced a new line of superweapons to take the place of the two Death Stars his earlier Empire had. They were the Eclipse-class dreadnoughts, massive warships that were equipped with small superlasers. Both of them, the Eclipse and later Eclipse II, were destroyed. The first was consumed by Palpatine's Force Storm, which he lost control of, and the second was destroyed when R2-D2 set it on a collision course with the Galaxy Gun, another superweapon, similar to the Tarkin.


Dark empire map

A map of Emperor Darth Sidious' territories and military incursions

Emperor Palpatine, known also as the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, had already planned to replace the Galactic Empire with the Dark Empire since prior to the Galactic Civil War.[5]

After Palpatine, perished in 4 ABY at the hands of his former apprentice, the redeemed Anakin Skywalker, the Emperor's spirit traveled to Byss by possessing Jeng Droga, one of his Emperor's Hands, a process that cost the latter his sanity until he managed to gain a clone body as well as contact Sate Pestage, who was also partially responsible for his revival. The Emperor, needing to recover his strength before resuming his conquest and revealing his revival, observed the crumbling state of his Empire from behind the scenes. Likewise, the New Republic, although fully aware of Byss's existence, did not know of its connection to Palpatine, and likewise thought it was simply a civilian population, and thus did not investigate it. Palpatine and Pestage were also indirectly responsible for the Trioculus affair in 5 ABY, as they had leaked information about the Glove of Darth Vader to the false Kadaan. The reborn Emperor and the Grand Vizier intended to seize the Sith amulet and use it to boost Palpatine's weakened power and regain control of the galactic stage. In addition, after Lord Cronal's presumed death at the Battle of Mindor, it was rumored that Lord Pestage used the late Prophet's codename and identity of Blackhole to further push the Dark Empire into open existence.


The Emperor's Citadel on Byss, stronghold of the Dark Empire

In 10 ABY, having recovered more than enough of his strength, Palpatine eventually decided to reveal himself via summoning a Force-created wormhole that resulted in damage to Coruscant — which had already seen enough damage from feuding warlords after it was reconquered by the Empire — although he deliberately didn't stop the mutiny sooner out of revenge, wanting them to "cull the weak." His Force Storm also resulted in the Jedi Luke Skywalker being captured and delivered to Byss. The Emperor then seemingly converted the Jedi Knight into his new Sith apprentice. Anointing Skywalker Vader's replacement as Supreme Commander, Palpatine proceeded to launch an attack on Mon Calamari with his World Devastators. In actuality, Skywalker feigned allegiance to Palpatine in order to defeat the dark side from within, and proceeded to leak the override codes for the World Devastators, although this did not last long. The Dark Lord of the Sith eventually traveled to the New Republic's headquarters, Pinnacle Moon, in his flagship, the Eclipse, and created a Force storm to destroy the Pinnacle Moon. However, Palpatine's plan backfired when Skywalker and his sister, Leia Organa Solo, cut him off from the dark side and had him consumed by his own creation.

However, Palpatine had beforehand designed a reboot method in case this were to happen and proceeded to take over another clone body, although the rest of his clone bodies were destroyed by two traitorous Dark Jedi disciples, Sa-Di and Nefta, and orchestrated Operation Shadow Hand. However, the Dark Empire's leader suffered a loss of sanity as a result of this brush with death, and utilized the Galaxy Gun to destroy various targets, eventually cowing several former Imperial worlds into surrendering and having the New Republic scattered. However, several Imperials were disturbed at the Palpatine's behavior, and arranged for Carnor Jax, a member of the Emperor's Royal Guard and Sith apprentice belonging to another Sith sect, to bribe his physician to tamper with the Emperor's DNA samples to increase the clones' deterioration rate from his dark-side presence. Palpatine was eventually killed on Onderon, failing to possess Anakin Solo, and Byss was destroyed shortly beforehand, thus not only ending the Dark Empire, but also severely crippling the holdouts of the Galactic Empire beyond any chance of recovery. Its remaining assets were later reorganized into the Crimson Empire led by the self-styled Emperor, Carnor Jax, although it was short-lived thanks to a joint effort by the New Republic and Kir Kanos, the latter intending to avenge Palpatine's death.


The Dark Empire utilized several portions of the Imperial Military to enforce the Emperor's will via a Diet of Imperial Planetary Governors. Unlike the Empire prior to 4 ABY, however, it was openly run by Force users (in this case, Dark Jedi and Sith). The primary method of governance was a dark-side magocracy, where the most powerful Force-wielder (Palpatine) would rule, with several Dark Side Adepts enforcing his will. The Emperor also intended to use the dark side of the Force alone to attack his enemies, to the extent that he eventually wouldn't even need to rely on superweapons to enforce his will. Another difference was that Palpatine designed the Dark Empire to run on autopilot in the event that he was killed before he could do a soul transference, at least while Byss was still in existence.[6]


Although the Dark Empire intended to fully replace all superweapons and vessels and solely use dark-side-related methods of enforcing its rule, it was forced to rely on them to defeat the New Republic. Force-related weapons included the Shadow Droids, which were biomechanical weapons created with Sith alchemy, and Chrysalides, which were rancors mutated by Sith alchemy. Imperial Sentinels, mindless bodyguards used by Dark Side Adepts, often accompanied them on missions across the galaxy.

Non-Force-related weapons and vessels included various capital ships, including the Eclipse and Eclipse II of the Eclipse-class dreadnoughts, at least one Sovereign-class Super Star Destroyers, at least four Executor-class Star Dreadnoughts, at least two Vengeance-class dreadnoughts, at least three Mandator III-class dreadnoughts, at least one Bellator-class dreadnought, at least five Allegiance-class battlecruisers (including the Allegiance itself), at least one Secutor-class Star Destroyer, Imperial-class Star Destroyers, at least three Procursator-class Star Destroyers, many Modular taskforce cruisers of all varieties, Victory-class Star Destroyers, Interdictor-class heavy cruisers. Dreadnaught-class heavy cruisers, and Carrack-class light cruisers, Lancer-class frigates, Lictor-class dungeon ships, Guardian-class patrol ships, Imperial Hunters, Lambda-class T-4a shuttles, Delta-class DX-9 stormtrooper transports and Imperial Customs Frigates were also used. It also held a asteroid siege platforms, which where used to attack Altyr V. Torpedo Spheres were also used. Starfighters also included several TIE/LN starfighters (including the elite Dark Squadron), TIE/sa bombers, TIE/IN interceptors, TIE/D automated starfighters, I-7 Howlrunners and GAT-12 Skipray Blastboats. Security drones likewise included Hunter-Killer probots, Scorpenek annihilator droids, and Shadow Security Droids. It also possessed superweapons, including the World Devastators and the Galaxy Gun, as well as the Eclipse-class dreadnoughts' superlasers. The standard infantry for the Dark Empire was the stormtroopers, scout troopers, and field stormtroopers. The ground vehicles were AT-ATs (and its aquatic variant), AT-STs, Century tanks, XR-85 tank droids, Reconnaissance Troop Transporters and AQ-5 Waveskimmers, and its ground weaponry included the X-1 Viper "Automadon."

The duties of commander-in-chief of the forces within the Dark Empire were attributed to either the Supreme Commander or the Military Executor. During his brief service to Palpatine, Luke Skywalker was granted the position once held by his late father,[1] Darth Vader, that of Supreme Commander.[7] Meanwhile, Sedriss QL held the title of Executor;[2] following Sedriss' death in 10 ABY, Palpatine replaced him with Xecr Nist.[8] In addition, the foot soldiers included a variant of the stormtroopers that were amplified by the power of the dark side of the Force, known as darktroopers. In 10 ABY, when the Dark Empire retook the planet Balmorra, a few SD-9 battle droids were sold to the Imperial arsenal.

Behind the scenes[]

The Dark Empire first appeared in Tom Veitch's Star Wars: Dark Empire comic book series. The empire that the reborn Palpatine ran was not actually given a name when the comic series was released. It wasn't until The Essential Atlas that it was given a name, which was also the name of the series it originated in. A similar action happened with its successor, the Crimson Empire.

While the Dark Empire is part of Star Wars Legends, an organization known as the Final Order from the film Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker in the current Star Wars canon bears similarities to the organization. As with the Dark Empire, the Final Order was led by a resurrected Emperor Palpatine and sought to dominate the galaxy like its predecessor, the Galactic Empire, and reestablish Sith rule. In addition, there was a group of dark side warriors within its ranks (Dark Side Elite/Knights of Ren), both have an alternative name with "Empire" in it (the Empire Reborn for the Dark Empire, and both the Sith Empire and the New Empire for the Final Order), both possessed starships equipped with superlasers and a fleet tasked with retaking control of the galaxy, and both attempted to bring a Jedi over to the dark side (Luke Skywalker/Rey).[9][10]



Emperor Palpatine-HBDE

Darth Sidious, leader of the Dark Empire

Notes and references[]