- "Grand Admiral Ackbar."
"Grand admiral is an Imperial ranking. I, like you once did, identify as fleet admiral—but you seem to have taken the title 'Grand Admiral' for yourself."
- ―Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and Fleet Admiral Gial Ackbar
Grand Admiral was a senior military rank in the Imperial Navy of the Galactic Empire. It was also a rank in the Mon Cala Mercantile Fleet. After the fall of the Empire, the rank was active in the First Order, a successor state of the old Imperial government.
- "The Emperor recently promoted me after my victory at Batonn."
- ―Grand Admiral Thrawn
The military rank of Grand Admiral was active during the Imperial Era. Shortly after his defeat of the Batonn sector insurgency, Chiss Admiral Thrawn was awarded the rank of Grand Admiral by Galactic Emperor Sheev Palpatine, becoming one of the Empire's twelve Grand Admirals.
Imperial Grand Admirals occasionally cooperated in strategic concerns, such as Thrawn and Balanhai Savit concerning delays to Project Stardust. However, their dealings were often colored by intra-service politics—such as Thrawn's advocacy of the TIE Defender program and Savit's opposition to (and sabotage of) the Death Star—and some Imperials, such as Brierly Ronan, considered the Grand Admirals nothing more than political appointees.
Following the Battle of Endor, Rae Sloane served as Grand Admiral and commanded the remnants of the Imperial Navy. New Republic Fleet Admiral Gial Ackbar was considered a Grand Admiral by Imperial officers, although it was not an official rank utilized by the New Republic. Sloane continued to posses the rank of Grand Admiral during the time she was part of the First Order.
The Imperial rank of Grand Admiral was one of the senior ranks in the entire Imperial Military, and to be given the title was seen as a great honor. A Grand Admiral was typically given command of a fleet, such as Thrawn with the Seventh Fleet and Savit with the Third Fleet. A Grand Admiral also had the authority to issue the status of a most wanted bounty.
Unlike the traditional Imperial uniform, which generally consisted of a plain gray tunic, the Imperial Grand Admiral's uniform was white with golden epaulets. Such accessories were generally uncommon in the Imperial Military, as they seemed to put an emphasis on status above duty and humility.
Behind the scenes
Timothy Zahn, author of the 1991 Star Wars Legends novel Heir to the Empire, introduced the rank of "Grand Admiral" for the villain of that novel, Grand Admiral Thrawn. Zahn wanted Thrawn to be a military leader rather than a political title-holder or darksider, but felt a normal Admiral would be too mundane. He therefore decided to use the title "Grand Admiral," which he had encountered while reading William L. Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in the context of its use in the German Navy.
Notes and references
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition
- Aftermath: Life Debt
- Star Wars (2015) 44
- Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow
- Thrawn: Treason
- Star Wars: Scum and Villainy: Case Files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious
- Heir to the Empire
- HEIR annotation #13 on Star Wars Books Facebook page