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"The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am."
―Darth Vader[src]

The Galactic Emperor, also known as the Sith Emperor or simply the Emperor, was the sovereign ruler of the Galactic Empire during the Imperial Era of galactic history. Despite the existence of the Imperial Senate, the last remnant of the Galactic Republic in the New Order, the Emperor was invested with supreme authority over both the Imperial government and the Imperial Military. As such, the Emperor had free rein to govern the galaxy as he so desired, from replacing senators with Moffs as regional governors, to disbanding the Senate altogether.

In the aftermath of the Clone Wars, the democratic Republic was transformed into an authoritarian state by Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, who anointed himself Galactic Emperor in 19 BBY. Unbeknownst to his subjects, Palpatine was in fact the Sith Lord Darth Sidious who conspired to take over the Republic and destroy the Jedi Order. The Emperor's reign brought the galaxy under the rule of the Sith, which lasted for a generation until Sidious was killed in 4 ABY. Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax seized power in the ensuing crisis, becoming Emperor in all but name while Grand Vizier Mas Amedda was forced to serve as a figurehead for Rax's regime. After Rax's demise, the Galactic Civil War concluded with the Empire's capitulation to the New Republic in 5 ABY.

During the New Republic Era, the First Order and the Sith Eternal emerged from the Unknown Regions as offshoots of the Emperor's Contingency. Despite his own death, Sidious returned to oversee the final stage of his plan to create a Sith Empire that would rule the galaxy forever. In his weakened state, he had considered Supreme Leader Kylo Ren and the Jedi apprentice Rey as potential successors, but after discovering their nature as a dyad in the Force, Sidious siphoned the energy of their Force-bond to regain his full strength as the one true Emperor. Before he could unleash his fleet against the galaxy, Sidious was destroyed by Rey with the help of all the Jedi who were one with the Force. As a result of the Resistance victory, the people of the galaxy were inspired to rise up against the military junta.

Powers[edit | edit source]

"The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I've just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away."
―Wilhuff Tarkin[src]

The Galactic Emperor was the ruler of the galaxy during the Imperial Era.

The Galactic Emperor[8] was the sovereign ruler of the first Galactic Empire.[9] Replacing the office of Supreme Chancellor,[1] which had been empowered with wartime powers by the Galactic Senate during the last years of the Old Republic,[10] the Emperor was the ultimate authority in political and military affairs of state. As a result, the Emperor had the power to unilaterally implement policies that affected the Empire as a whole[9]—from directing the Imperial Military to subjugate entire planets,[11] to dissolving the Imperial Senate and transferring their administrative responsibilities to a cadre of regional governors.[9] To that end the Emperor could delegate power to others, allowing him to rule the Empire through subordinates who served as an extension of his authority.[11] The Emperor's power over the galaxy remained relatively unchallenged until the rise of the Alliance to Restore the Republic,[12] an organization that was committed to the restoration of democracy.[13]

History[edit | edit source]

Darth Sidious[edit | edit source]

"In order to ensure the security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire! For a safe and secure society."
―Darth Sidious — (audio) Listen (file info)[src]

Darth Sidious, publicly known as Sheev Palpatine, declared himself Emperor of the First Galactic Empire.

At the conclusion of the Clone Wars in the year 19 BBY,[2] the Galactic Republic which had existed for a millennium was transformed into the Galactic Empire by proclamation of Sheev Palpatine, the last Supreme Chancellor of the Republic.[1] In secret, Palpatine was Darth Sidious—the Dark Lord of the Sith who orchestrated the galaxy-wide civil war between the Republic and Confederacy of Independent Systems, as well as the subsequent purge of the Jedi Order. Without the Jedi to oppose him, Sidious exercised his control over the Galactic Senate by supplanting a thousand years of democracy with the absolute rule of the Sith through himself as Galactic Emperor.[12] Having attained ultimate power, the Emperor had no further use in cultivating two identities[14] and although he would rule the galaxy through fear and tyranny[12] as "Emperor Palpatine," he was henceforth Darth Sidious in thought and action.[14]

With the demise of Emperor Palpatine, the Empire began to crumble during the New Republic's rise to power.

Sidious remained relatively unchallenged as Emperor for two decades.[12] In that time he consolidated his reign over the galaxy by eliminating rivals and directing the Imperial Military to conquer planets beyond the Republic's frontier.[11] With the dissolution of the Imperial Senate in 0 BBY,[2] Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin and the regional governors were free to exercise full authority over their territories on the Emperor's behalf.[7] However, as a result of Sidious' efforts to subjugate the galaxy, the scattered cells of a growing rebellion gradually coalesced into the Rebel Alliance[11]—a resistance movement determined to overthrow the Emperor and restore democracy.[13]

Throughout most of the Galactic Civil War, Sidious directed his attention to destroying the rebellion that opposed his rule as Galactic Emperor. This goal culminated in a plot to lure the Alliance forces into a trap at Endor. The plan ultimately backfired however, resulting in the Emperor's death and the Empire's defeat at the Battle of Endor[15] in 4 ABY.[2] In the aftermath of the battle, the remnants of the Imperial Navy regrouped to determine the next Emperor.[16] However, no clear chain of succession was evident, since Palpatine had no known family and was always supposed to remain in power.[5]

Mas Amedda[edit | edit source]

"I am the head of the Galactic Empire. I am its pinnacle!"
―Mas Amedda[src]

Grand Vizier Mas Amedda was a powerless figurehead.

As the Grand Vizier of the Imperial Ruling Council, Mas Amedda effectively became the proxy Emperor[5] in 4 ABY.[4] Despite his claim to the throne, however, he was a mere figurehead with limited power over the Empire beyond Coruscant where entire sectors of Imperial City rebelled against his reign, causing Amedda to become entrenched and trapped in government districts. His request for assistance was refused by the Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax, who did not allow Grand Admiral Rae Sloane to send reinforcements to the "proxy Emperor" Amedda as the throneworld had no place in his vision of a renewed Empire and had effectively took Amedda's powers and influence from him[5] in 5 ABY.[4]

In an act of despair and desperation, Amedda attempted to surrender himself into the custody of the New Republic during a secret meeting on Velusia, believing there was no greater target or prize than himself. However, his offer was declined by Chancellor Mon Mothma and Princess Leia Organa, both of whom regarded Amedda not as an Emperor but rather an administrator. As such, they demanded that he find a way to regain his power in order to sign the the Galactic Empire's full surrender. With his reign effectively over upon returning to Coruscant, Amedda considered suicide by jumping off of one of the Imperial Palace's balconies. Instead, he and Sloane forged an alliance to undermine Rax and his cult-like ideas for the Empire by conducting an investigation into his past and preserving the New Order. By assisting the Grand Admiral, Amedda hoped to secure his place under Sloane's Empire.[5]

Gallius Rax[edit | edit source]

"I only serve Palpatine."
"Emperor Rax serves Palpatine, too."
―Yupe Tashu and Windom Traducier[src]

Counselor Gallius Rax seized power and presided over the Empire's demise at the Battle of Jakku.

In contrast to Amedda, who had lost control over most of Coruscant after his request for reinforcements was denied, Gallius Rax successfully plotted his own rise to power following Palpatine's demise. However, he also continued to serve the late Emperor according to the Imperial agent Windom Traducier. Instead of openly ruling the galaxy, Rax sought to govern the Empire as the head of a new ruling body, the Shadow Council, while supporting a figurehead as Palpatine's official successor.[5]

Although Rax was Emperor in effect, according to Traducier who referred to him as "Emperor Rax," he rejected the title and—in keeping with his intention to rule the Empire as the power behind the throne—created the position of Counselor to the Empire for himself. Officially, he continued to recognize Amedda as the leader of the Empire, but in reality Rax had the Chagrian imprisoned within the Imperial Palace. In secret, Rax planned to eliminate the Shadow Council on Jakku with the exception of Commandant Brendol Hux, who was essential to his plans.[5] Rax ultimately perished in the Battle of Jakku, however; and through the signing of the Galactic Concordance, the Galactic Civil War ended with the remnants of the Empire capitulating to the New Republic.[6]

Rise of the Supreme Leader[edit | edit source]

"Kill the girl! End the Jedi, and become what your grandfather, Vader, could not. You will rule all the galaxy as the new Emperor."
―Darth Sidious, to Kylo Ren[src]

Supreme Leader Snoke was created by Sidious to prepare Kylo Ren for his future role as the new Emperor.

Sidious was reviled as a tyrant after his death;[12] however, his legacy also served as inspiration to Sith cultists[17] such as Yupe Tashu. A former advisor to the late Emperor, Tashu venerated Sidious' memory[18] and worshipped the dark side of the Force.[6] During the final days of the Galactic Civil War, Tashu served as head of the Acolytes of the Beyond—cultists who shared his faith in the dark side.[18]

The New Republic's rise reduced the Empire to a rump state hemmed in by war reparations and disarmament treaties.[19] Eager to win over the war-weary citizens of the galaxy, the New Republic restored democracy by creating a new Galactic Senate and promoted a policy of peace with the remnants of the Empire.[20] Yet within the Unknown Regions of space, former Imperial officers, nobles and technologists plotted a return to power, culminating in the rise of the First Order[19] as the Empire's successor state.[20]

In time, Imperial-era leaders like Rae Sloane and Brendol Hux made way for the rise of Supreme Leader Snoke, heir apparent to the Contingency that Sidious crafted before his demise. Despite the absolute power that he wielded over the First Order, Snoke made no effort to claim the old title of Emperor and preferred to focus on spiritual matters of the Force, effectively ceding control of the First Order military to High Command. Following the collapse of the New Republic, Snoke was slain and replaced as Supreme Leader by his apprentice, Kylo Ren.[17] As the grandson of Darth Vader, Ren believed it was his birthright to rule the galaxy.[21]

Return of the Emperor[edit | edit source]

"And now, the power of two restores the one true Emperor."
―Darth Sidious, to Ben Solo and Rey[src]

After Ren's redemption, Sidious tried to seduce his granddaughter Rey to the dark side in order to make her Empress.

During the First Order–Resistance war, Supreme Leader Ren discovered that Darth Sidious had returned from the dead and was hiding on the Sith world of Exegol. Ren also learned that his former master Snoke was created by Sidious.[22] The purpose of Snoke's existence was to serve as a final test for Ren. The Sith Eternal cult designed the former Supreme Leader to act as a final crucible, to groom and mold Ren into a master not only of attack, but also cunning. By killing his master and usurping control of the First Order, Ren had taken a critical step on his path to complete submission to the dark side. He was ultimately Sidious' heir to a new Sith Empire that would conquer the galaxy through a fleet—the Final Order—of Xyston-class Star Destroyers and an army of Sith troopers. Ren took on the mandate to return the Sith to power,[17] intending to rule all of the galaxy as the new Emperor. But before Ren could assume command of Exegol's military assets, he was bidden by Sidious to kill the Jedi Rey, who was in fact the former Emperor's granddaughter.[22]

Sidious reclaimed the mantle of Sith Emperor after discarding Ren and Rey as potential successors.

Ren's eventual return to the light undermined Sidious' plans for him. Having secured control of the First Order through Allegiant General Enric Pryde, Sidious turned his attention to preparing Rey as his sole successor. During the battle of Exegol, Sidious encouraged her to take his throne as "Empress Palpatine." His efforts to turn Rey to the dark side of the Force failed, however, due to the intervention of the former Kylo Ren, who reclaimed his identity as Ben Solo. With both of his would-be heirs standing against them, Sidious attacked them through the dark side, but in doing so he discovered that they were a dyad in the Force. Draining the life force of their Force-bond to heal himself, Sidious announced his return as the one true Emperor.[22]

As Sidious prepared to unleash the planet-killer warships of the Final Order upon the galaxy, Rey was able to rise up with the strength of all the Jedi backing her. Despite Sidious harnessing all the powers of the Sith in an effort to kill his granddaughter, Rey was able to vanquish the Emperor at the cost of her life, although she was later revived by Solo. With the Emperor's second death and the destruction of his fleet, the Final Order was never launched from Exegol. As a result, multiple planets across the galaxy began revolting against the military rule of the First Order.[22]

Style of office[edit | edit source]

"This is the Emperor's dream."
"Can't we just call him Palpatine—in private, I mean?"
―Galen Walton Erso and Lyra Erso[src]

The Galactic Emperor was addressed as "Your Majesty."

Majesty was an honorific style used by Darth Sidious during his reign as Galactic Emperor. In direct reference to the Emperor, it took on the form "Your Majesty."[1] Another honorific style applied to the Emperor was Highness, or "Your Highness" when directly addressing him.[15] In the context of nonofficial, everyday conversations, Sidious was generally referred to as just "the Emperor," even between Imperial officers.[7] At the beginning of his reign, clone troopers referred to him as "Sir" and "My Lord."[1] Moff Wilhuff Tarkin once addressed the Emperor as "Your Excellency,"[23] which was Palpatine's honorific style as Supreme Chancellor.[10]

Certain individuals had their own ways to address the Emperor. Lyra Erso still referred to the Emperor by his surname, Palpatine, in contrast to her husband, Doctor Galen Walton Erso, who used Sidious' title when speaking of him.[24] As the Sith apprentice of Darth Sidious, Darth Vader addressed his Sith Master as "my master" or "master," a sign of their master–disciple relation in the dark arts of the Force.[15] Vader would also use the possessive determiner "thy" instead of the more common "your," when inquiring his Master's will.[25]

The title of Empress was the female equivalent to Emperor. Sidious once referred to his granddaughter Rey as "Empress Palpatine" while attempting to mold her as his successor.[22]

Residence[edit | edit source]

Imperial Executive Building[edit | edit source]

"Setting up the mercenary contract from the Emperor's office didn't work either? No mistrust? No dramatic accusations?"
Barokki, speaking with his accomplice[src]

The Emperor still utilized his old office as chancellor during the early days of his reign.

The Emperor's office, located in the Imperial Executive Building on Coruscant, served as the Emperor's seat of power in the early days of his reign.[23] The office suite served as his headquarters since his time as Supreme Chancellor.[10] Although the Emperor still used it as an audience chamber, the office no longer had his desk and chairs save for the chair[23] he used during his chancellery.[10] The Emperor's Royal Guard was stationed in the office for the Emperor's security,[23] just as they had been during Palpatine's chancellery.[10]

Imperial Palace[edit | edit source]

"The Jedi Temple on Coruscant It doesn't exist anymore. It's the Imperial Palace now."
Kreel, to Luke Skywalker[src]

The Imperial Palace, once known as the Jedi Temple, was the Emperor's seat of power on Coruscant.

Darth Sidious continued to rule the galaxy from Coruscant, now known as Imperial Center, after the Clone Wars. As Emperor, he established the Imperial Palace as his headquarters on the galactic capital.[26] Prior to the Age of the Empire, the palace served as the Jedi Order's center of operations, known as the Jedi Temple.[27] With the fall of the Jedi, however, the Emperor had the temple extensively renovated[26] and repurposed to serve as his personal residence.[27]

Though Coruscant remained the Empire's official capital, with the proxy Emperor Amedda remaining on the throneworld as a virtual prisoner in the Imperial Palace, Counselor Rax preferred ruling as Emperor in effect from his flagship, the Executor-class Star Dreadnought Ravager.[6] During his reign, the warship contained a private upper garden for recreational purposes.[5] It was thought to be the last surviving Super Star Destroyer in the Imperial Navy by the time of the Rebellion on Akiva,[18] and was destroyed on Jakku during the final battle of the Galactic Civil War.[6]

Sith Citadel[edit | edit source]

"Find the Wayfinder, get to Exegol… And bring an end to the conflict once and for all."
―Rey, quoting Luke Skywalker's writings[src]

Located in the Sith Citadel, the Dark Throne was offered to Ren and Rey before Sidious claimed it as the one true Emperor.

The Sith Citadel was located on Exegol, one of the oldest Sith bastions dating back a thousand years before the fall of the Galactic Republic and the rise of the Empire—when the ancient Sith ruled the galaxy. A massive, forbidding citadel was also ancient in origin, filled with old, crumbling statuary. Serving as the base of the Sith Eternal cult, the citadel held many sinister secrets.[17] Despite the Emperor's demise, his body was preserved and sustained deep within the citadel, which also housed several duplicates of the entity known as Snoke.[22]

The citadel contained a throne room housing the Throne of the Sith. Opposite of the throne was an amphitheater capable of holding the many cultists[22] who kept belief in the Sith religion alive.[17] It was the site of both Sidious' restoration to power and his subsequent destruction. As neither Ben Solo nor Rey accepted the Dark Throne, Sidious claimed it for himself along with his old title of Emperor. With his destruction, however, much of the citadel was destroyed along with the throne room and the amphitheater.[22]

Protection[edit | edit source]

Emperor's Royal Guard[edit | edit source]

"The Emperor's personal protectors—handpicked from the very best of his forces. Out of millions of soldiers, they are unsurpassed."
Korin Pers, on the Royal Guard[src]

Emperor Palpatine was always accompanied by his Royal Guards.

The Emperor's Royal Guard was an order of elite bodyguards charged with the duty of protecting the Galactic Emperor.[28] Chosen from the very best of the Imperial Military, their loyalty and obedience to Emperor Palpatine was without question.[29] Additionally, the Emperor was guarded by clone shock troopers of the Coruscant Guard[1] before the cloning production on Kamino was shut down,[30] after which the Emperor's security was provided mainly by Royal Guards and Imperial stormtroopers.[31]

Royal Guards wielded force pikes, a staff-like weapon[32] that had a vibro-edged head.[26] Their uniforms consisted of crimson robes and armor,[28] which included featureless scarlet masks that concealed the sentinels' identities.[15]

The remnants of the Royal Guard continued to serve the Empire despite the Emperor's death, with several guardsmen rallying to Palpatine's potential successors such as Grand Admiral Rae Sloane[5] and Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax.[6] During the final months of the Galactic Civil War, Sloane's Royal Guards attacked and killed several New Republic Senate Guards at the peace summit on Chandrila.[5] At the Battle of Jakku, a Royal Guard served in the ranks of Rax's faction and was ultimately killed while fighting against the forces of the New Republic.[6]

Sovereign Protectors[edit | edit source]

"The might of the Final Order will soon be ready."
―Darth Sidious[src]

As guards of Darth Sidious, Sovereign Protectors represented the best of the Sith troopers.

The Sovereign Protectors were the Emperor's elite bodyguards during the rise of the Sith Eternal. Drawn from the ranks of the elite Sith troopers, only the best were elevated to the status of Sovereign Protector.[17] In addition to their crimson armor, Sovereign Protectors wore a scarlet cape and were stationed throughout the Sith Citadel on Exegol.[22]

Like the Sith troopers in general, Sovereign Protectors were the culmination of generations of work in which the Empire sought to strip its soldiers of their individuality, replacing it with fervent loyalty to the Emperor's will. During the Clone Wars, Sidious was dismayed to discover that the genetically engineered clone troopers still exhibited disconcerting amounts of free will despite numerous alterations to their genetic structure. Though the Sovereign Protectors were not clones, they had to undergo flash-imprinting and loyalty conditioning that were built upon the Kaminoan procedures of earlier generations. As a result, Sovereign Protectors were even more loyal and machine-like than the stormtroopers who trained almost since birth under the First Order.[17]

During the Resistance attack on the Sith Eternal fleet, the Sovereign Protectors were unable to compensate for the Force powers of Solo and Rey, both of whom destroyed the Emperor's elite warriors.[22]

List of Galactic Emperors[edit | edit source]

Period Galactic Emperor
19 BBY4 ABY[2] Emperor Sidious.png
Darth Sidious[1]
4 ABY5 ABY[4] Mas Amedda SWE.png
Mas Amedda[5]
5 ABY[4] Gallius Rax[6]
(de facto)[6]
35 ABY[3] Palpatine-TROS-infobox.jpg
Darth Sidious[22]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

The title of Emperor was first mentioned in the novelization of A New Hope, ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster and published in 1976, but this version of the story of the film is now considered part of the continuity of Star Wars Legends and canon only to the degree that its events align with those depicted in the film. A number of additional Emperors were depicted in other now non-canon Legends material.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Non-canon appearances[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary dates the events of Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker to one year after the events of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. As Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the events of The Force Awakens to 34 ABY, the events of The Rise of Skywalker must occur in 35 ABY.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the Battle of Endor to 4 ABY and the events of Shattered Empire 4, which take place three months after the battle, to 5 ABY. Furthermore, the novel Aftermath states that months have passed since the Battle of Endor, while Aftermath: Life Debt begins two months after the end of Aftermath. Therefore, the events of Aftermath: Life Debt begin at least four months after the Battle of Endor, which corresponds to 5 ABY. Additionally, Galactic Atlas dates the Battle of Jakku, as depicted in Life Debt's sequel, Aftermath: Empire's End, to 5 ABY as well, thereby firmly placing Aftermath: Life Debt in 5 ABY.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 Aftermath: Life Debt
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Aftermath: Empire's End
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  8. Encyclopedia Yoda in the Encyclopedia (content now obsolete; backup link)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 StarWars-DatabankII.png Galactic Empire in the Databank (backup link)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
  11. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 StarWars-DatabankII.png Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in the Databank (backup link)
  12. 13.0 13.1 StarWars-DatabankII.png Rebel Alliance in the Databank (backup link)
  13. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
  14. Lost Stars
  15. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
  16. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Aftermath
  17. 19.0 19.1 StarWars-DatabankII.png The First Order in the Databank (backup link)
  18. 20.0 20.1 StarWars-DatabankII.png The New Republic in the Databank (backup link)
  19. StarWars-DatabankII.png Kylo Ren in the Databank (backup link)
  20. 22.00 22.01 22.02 22.03 22.04 22.05 22.06 22.07 22.08 22.09 22.10 Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
  21. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 5
  22. Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel
  23. Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
  24. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Tarkin
  25. 27.0 27.1 StarWars-DatabankII.png Jedi Temple in the Databank (backup link)
  26. 28.0 28.1 StarWars-DatabankII.png Imperial Royal Guard in the Databank (backup link)
  27. Lando 3
  28. Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 2
  29. StarWars-DatabankII.png Senate Guard in the Databank (backup link)
  30. StarWars-DatabankII.png Force Pike in the Databank (backup link)
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