Tab-canon-white  Tab-legends-black 
Z-95 Headhunter

Content approaching. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Book VII: Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon, TIE Fighter Owners' Workshop Manual–class.

Parts of this article have been identified as no longer being up to date.

Please update the article to reflect recent events, and remove this template when finished.

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

The Galactic Emperor, also referred to as the Emperor or the Sith Emperor, was the sovereign ruler of the Galactic Empire. With the end of the Clone Wars and the fall of the Jedi Order in 19 BBY, the Galactic Republic was replaced by the Empire in accordance with the proclamation of the New Order, as outlined by Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine who declared himself Emperor with the support of the Galactic Senate. In secret, Palpatine was the public persona of the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, whose rise to ultimate power fulfilled a thousand-year plot to establish the Sith as the secret rulers of the galaxy. Having decimated the Jedi, Sidious converted his enemies' home, the Jedi Temple—located in the Federal District of the Core World Coruscant—into his personal residence and seat of power, and therefore renamed it the Imperial Palace.

The Emperor's reign ended in 4 ABY with his death at the hands of Darth Vader, Sidious' Sith apprentice, approximately two decades into the Empire's existence. Political and military officials attempted to fill the vacuum of power; Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax all but secured the throne as the self-styled Counselor to the Empire, while Grand Vizier Mas Amedda served as a figurehead Emperor for propagandic reasons. In the end, the Empire capitulated to the New Republic after Rax's faction was defeated at the Battle of Jakku in 5 ABY, thereby concluding the Galactic Civil War and the Imperial Era.


"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."
Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, referring to Emperor Palpatine's decision to disband the Senate[src]

The Emperor was the ruler of the galaxy during the reign of the First Galactic Empire.

The Galactic Emperor was the sovereign ruler of the first Galactic Empire.[6] 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,[7] 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[6]—from directing the Imperial Military to subjugate entire planets,[8] to dissolving the Imperial Senate and transferring their administrative responsibilities to a cadre of regional governors.[6] 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.[8] The Emperor's power over the galaxy remained relatively unchallenged until the rise of the Alliance to Restore the Republic,[9] an organization that was committed to the restoration of democracy.[10]


Darth SidiousEdit

"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."
―Sheev Palpatine, to the Galactic Senate[src]

Sheev Palpatine, the last Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, proclaimed himself Emperor of the Galactic Empire.

At the conclusion of the Clone Wars in the year 19 BBY,[11] 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.[9] Having attained ultimate power, the Emperor had no further use in cultivating two identities[12] and although he would rule the galaxy through fear and tyranny[9] as "Emperor Palpatine," he was henceforth Darth Sidious in thought and action.[12]

Sidious remained relatively unchallenged as Emperor for two decades.[9] 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.[8] With the dissolution of the Imperial Senate in 0 BBY,[11] the regional governors were free to directly administrate their territories on the Emperor's behalf.[5] However, as a result of Sidious' efforts to subjugate the galaxy, the scattered cells of a growing rebellion gradually coalesced into the Rebel Alliance[8]—a resistance movement determined to overthrow the Emperor and restore democracy.[10]

First Death 2

The Emperor's death marked the beginning of the decline and fall of the Galactic Empire.

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[2] in 4 ABY.[11] In the aftermath of the battle, the remnants of the Imperial Navy regrouped to determine the next Emperor.[13] However, no clear chain of succession was evident, since Palpatine had no known family and was always supposed to remain in power.[4]

Mas AmeddaEdit

"I am the head of the Galactic Empire. I am its pinnacle!"
―Mas Amedda, before realizing his lack of power in the Empire[src]
Grand Vizier Amedda

Grand Vizier Mas Amedda was a powerless figurehead in the aftermath of Emperor Palpatine's death.

As the Grand Vizier of the Imperial Ruling Council, Mas Amedda effectively became the proxy Emperor in 4 ABY. 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[4] in 5 ABY.[14]

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.[4]

Gallius RaxEdit

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

Power was seized by Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax, who, as Counselor to the Empire, 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.[4]

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.[4] 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.[3]

Style of officeEdit

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

The Galactic Emperor was addressed as "Your Majesty."

Majesty was an honorific style used by Sheev Palpatine 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.[2] In the context of nonofficial, everyday conversations, Palpatine was generally referred to as just "the Emperor," even between Imperial officers.[5] At the beginning of his reign, clone troopers referred to him as "Sir" and "My Lord."[1]

Certain individuals had their own ways to address the Emperor. As the Sith apprentice of Darth Sidious, Palpatine's true identity, 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.[2] Vader would also use the possessive determiner "thy" instead of the more common "your," when inquiring his Master's will.[2][15]


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

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

Sheev Palpatine 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.[16] Prior to the Age of the Empire, the palace served as the Jedi Order's center of operations, known as the Jedi Temple.[17] With the fall of the Jedi, however, the Emperor had the temple extensively renovated[16] and repurposed to serve as his personal residence.[17]

In the aftermath of the Battle of Endor, the Executor-class Star Dreadnought Ravager served as the flagship and mobile residence of Counselor Gallius Rax, who was Emperor in effect, while Coruscant remained the official capital. During his reign, the warship contained a private upper garden for recreational purposes.[4] 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.[3]


"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 Sidious Guards SWTDS

Emperor Palpatine was always accompanied by his Royal Guards.

The Imperial Royal Guard was an order of elite bodyguards charged with the duty of protecting the Galactic Emperor.[19] Chosen from the very best of the Imperial Military, their loyalty and obedience to Emperor Palpatine was without question.[20] Additionally, the Emperor was guarded by clone shock troopers of the Coruscant Guard[1] before the cloning production on Kamino was shut down,[21] after which the Emperor's security was provided mainly by Royal Guards and Imperial stormtroopers.[22]

Royal Guards wielded force pikes, a staff-like weapon[23] that had a vibro-edged head.[16] Their uniforms consisted of crimson robes and armor,[19] which included featureless scarlet masks that concealed the sentinels' identities.[2]

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[4] and Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax.[3] 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.[4] 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.[3]

List of Galactic EmperorsEdit

Period Galactic Emperor
19 BBY[1]4 ABY[2] Emperor Sidious
Darth Sidious[1]
4 ABY[4]5 ABY[3] Mas Amedda SWE
Mas Amedda[4]
5 ABY[3] Gallius Rax[3]
(in effect)[3]

Behind the scenesEdit

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.


Non-canon appearancesEdit


Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Aftermath: Empire's End
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 Aftermath: Life Debt
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 StarWars-DatabankII Galactic Empire in the Databank (backup link)
  7. Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
  8. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 StarWars-DatabankII Emperor Palpatine / Darth Sidious in the Databank (backup link)
  9. 10.0 10.1 StarWars-DatabankII Rebel Alliance in the Databank (backup link)
  10. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
  11. Lost Stars
  12. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the Battle of Endor to 4 ABY and the events of Shattered Empire, Part IV, 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.
  13. Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
  14. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Tarkin
  15. 17.0 17.1 StarWars-DatabankII Jedi Temple in the Databank (backup link)
  16. Aftermath
  17. 19.0 19.1 StarWars-DatabankII Imperial Royal Guard in the Databank (backup link)
  18. Lando, Part III
  19. Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 2: The Chosen One, Part II
  20. StarWars-DatabankII Senate Guard in the Databank (backup link)
  21. StarWars-DatabankII Force Pike in the Databank (backup link)
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.

Build A Star Wars Movie Collection