- "We are the Emperor's Guard. We protect him. Kill for him. Die for him."
The Imperial Guard, also known as the Emperor's Guard, the Sith Honour Guard and the Dark Honor Guard, was a force of elite warriors who served the Sith Emperor of the reconstituted Sith Empire as his personal protectors and enforcers. Founded sometime before 3959 BBY, the Guard was composed entirely of non-Force-sensitive individuals mentally bonded to the Emperor. As a result, each Guardsman was incredibly loyal to their master and willing to lay down their lives in the service of the Sith ruler, and even the members of the Empire's ruling Dark Council feared the Guard's prowess in combat. The warriors of the Imperial Guard were trained to use a wide variety of weapons and combat styles, making them more than a match for a single Jedi or Sith. The Guard carried out the Emperor's will on battlefields across the galaxy during the Great Galactic War, Cold War, and Galactic War with the Republic. Even with the knowledge that the Emperor sought to consume all life in the galaxy, the Guard remained loyal to their master, though they were unable to prevent the Order of Revan from invading the moon Yavin 4 and disturbing the Emperor's slumber there.
Organization and philosophy
- "Those who challenge the Imperial Guard challenge the Emperor himself."
- ―Commander Tainor
An elite group of soldiers chosen from among the ranks of the Imperial Military, the Imperial Guard was generally composed of members who lacked any degree of Force-sensitivity, though their candidates were chosen from among the Sith Empire's greatest non-Force-sensitive warriors. On rare occasions, Force-sensitives would be inducted into the organization, such as Guardsman Xarovit Tovar. Guardsmen were brought before the Sith Emperor and mentally linked to the Sith ruler. As a result, they were fanatically loyal to the Emperor and incapable of ever betraying him, becoming a vital part of his power base. The Guardsmen were perfectly willing to die for the Emperor, and carried out his every command without question. They were the protectors of the Sith Sanctum—the headquarters of the Sith Order—and the rest of the Imperial Citadel on the Empire's capital planet of Dromund Kaas, as well as the Sith Academy on the world Korriban, though they were also deployed wherever the Emperor required. The Empire's ruling Dark Council had no authority over or insight into the Guard's activities.
Equipment and training
- "I am a member of the Emperor's personal guard—as are the men under my command. The soldiers you face are specially trained to kill Jedi—and they outnumber you."
- ―Guardsman Lassicar
Members of the Imperial Guard were clad in armored robes of red and crested helmets, while they wielded a variety of different weapons as the situation required. Imperial Guardsmen would also don variations on the standard Imperial soldier's armor when harsh environments required it, though their stark white armor and red markings distinguished those Guardsmen from normal infantry. The primary weapon of a Guardsman was an electrostaff, though the Guardsmen were proficient enough with blaster rifles and other weaponry to be considered deadly opponents regardless of their weapon. The signal range 47.2 was used exclusively by members of the Imperial Guard, though their transmissions were largely encrypted.
The Emperor himself selected the locations of the Guard's academies, choosing worlds strong with the dark side of the Force so that he could exert his influence and form bonds with his future Guardsmen. Candidates underwent a merciless training regimen designed by elder Guardsmen, and their training included regularly-scheduled battles to the death among the initiates. Each Guardsman underwent an indoctrination process where they were brought before the Emperor and were made to submit to his will; a candidate named Iven resisted the process longer than any other in history, but when he finally broke, his mind also broke with him. If a candidate survived the ordeal, they emerged a incredibly-skilled killing machine bound to the Emperor's will. Guardsmen served for life; when a Guardsman reached the age where he or she was no longer suitable for active duty, they were appointed as training commandants for the next generation of Guardsmen, and the new recruits would eventually kill the teachers whose skills deteriorated in their old age. As an instructor at the Imperial Guard Academy on the moon Yavin 4, Commandant Iven had a candidate kill rate of over 80%.
The Guard also received intense training in martial arts, so that they were more than a match for both Jedi and Sith. Guardsman Lassicar personally executed six different Jedi and over two dozen Sith Lords throughout his career, as well as a highly trained team of agents from the Strategic Information Service—the Republic's covert intelligence agency. The reputation of the Guard was such that even the members of the Dark Council feared them, and throughout the Empire's history many Sith surrendered to the Guard rather than fight them when the Emperor's enforcers came to deliver their master's will. While the Guardsmen were not Force-sensitive, they could draw upon the Emperor's power to strengthen themselves if they were close enough to their master.
Protecting the Empire
- "What about Nyriss? What will the Emperor do to her?"
"She will be purged by the Imperial Guard. Along with her entire staff of followers."
- ―Scourge and Yarri
The Imperial Guard, also known as the Emperor's Guard or the Dark Honor Guard, were first created by the Sith Emperor sometime after the founding of the reconstituted Sith Empire in 4980 BBY, and by the year 3959 BBY the Guard were a common and feared sight on the Imperial capital of Dromund Kaas. Upon discovering the existence of the Empire, the Jedi Knights Revan and Malak attempted to infiltrate the Imperial Citadel and eliminate the Emperor, but the pair were unaware that the Guardsman whom they had convinced to help them was actually leading them into a trap. The Guardsman, a female Sith pureblood named Yarri, had already informed the Emperor of the forthcoming attack, and the Emperor easily defeated and corrupted the two Jedi when they confronted him, though Revan would later be redeemed by the Jedi Council.
In 3950 BBY, the Sith Lord Scourge alerted the Emperor to the existence of a conspiracy against him among the members of the Dark Council. As a result, the Emperor summoned the seven innocent members and two of the guilty Councilors to his chambers and killed them, while simultaneously dispatching the Imperial Guard to destroy the remaining three traitors and their power bases. The purge was utterly effective, as the highly trained Imperial Guard overran the defenses of the Councilors' estates and massacred everyone within—including Darth Nyriss and her two co-conspirators. Not long afterward, however, the Guard failed to stop Scourge, Revan, and Revan's allies Meetra Surik and T3-M4 from penetrating the heart of the Citadel, as the Sith Lord and the two powerful Jedi Masters caught the Guardsmen by surprise and battled their way into the Emperor's chambers. While the group's attack ultimately failed, it convinced the Emperor that he needed to take further precautions against death; he began to transfer his consciousness between host bodies, with the current host known as the Emperor's Voice.
After the spirit of the Sith Lord Naga Sadow was eliminated from Yavin 4 by the Emperor's agents around 3756 BBY, the Emperor took control of the moon, and the Guard established an academy there. The academy also served to protect the Temple of Sacrifice, a Sith structure that contained the Emperor's failsafe in case his Voice was slain. During the Great Galactic War with the Galactic Republic, the Imperial Guard continued to serve as protectors of the Imperial Citadel, and after the reclamation of Korriban from the Republic in 3681 BBY, the Guard became the Sith Academy's defenders as well. However, the Imperial Guard also oversaw the machinery and equipment in the depths of the Academy that the Emperor used to create his Children—individuals who were unknowing extensions of the Emperor's will— and the Guardsmen ensured that their master's plans were not interfered with.
Those Guardsmen who protected the Academy and the Dark Council's chambers there were known as the Dark Honor Guard, with Guardsmen such as the cyborg Naman Fal stationed there in the years after the Great War's end in 3653 BBY. Several Imperial Guardsmen also participated in the second Battle of Bothawui in 3671 BBY, where they fought alongside the Imperial Military under Grand Moff Zellos in an effort to destroy the deflector shield generator guarded by Jedi Master Belth Allusis and his small force of Republic defenders.
- "It's extremely rare to see more than one at a time. As a unit, they've never been defeated and answer directly to the Emperor."
- ―General Aves
During the subsequent Cold War, the Guard continued to protect the Emperor and enforce his will, though as conflict began to break out again, members of the Guard were deployed across the galaxy to enact the Emperor's commands. During the galactic conflict, a number of Guardsmen were also Sith Lords; Xoc'dal, Xheoch Den, Djanistak, Chanigresh, Feldrax Kar, Toreshi Xach, Sendesh Xaq, and Doshcra Vael all wielded two lightsabers in combat and served as high-ranking commanders of Imperial forces throughout the galaxy. Several Guardsmen under the leadership of Lassicar were sent to the icy planet of Hoth around 3642 BBY in order to stop the Jedi Knight known as the Hero of Tython from recovering the plans for the Emperor's Fortress, though their initial efforts were foiled by the Knight and the soldiers of the Republic's 301st Infantry. The mission would end in failure when Lassicar and the remaining Guardsmen were killed in battle with the Knight in the ruins of the Star of Coruscant dreadnaught.
When the Knight boarded the Emperor's space station along with the rest of a Jedi strike team led by Master Tol Braga, Commander Trahg led his fellow Guardsmen and the Sithspawn known as Harrower assassins in a defense of the station. However, Trahg was killed along with many of his men by the Hero and the Jedi Knight Kira Carsen, and despite the efforts of the Guard, all of the Jedi reached the throne room—where the Emperor dominated their minds and corrupted them into his servants as he had done to Revan and Malak. The Hero broke free from the Emperor's control, however, and the Jedi was able to escape the station because the Guardsmen still believed the Knight to be a servant of the Emperor. As the Emperor orchestrated an Imperial assault on the Republic prison world of Belsavis, members of the Imperial Guard were sent on multiple missions to the planet. Commander Calum was ordered to retrieve the six Sith Lords known as the Dread Masters from their imprisonment, and Commander Vorel led an attempt to recover technology of the ancient Rakata species that had once inhabited the world.
The Imperial Guard also served in the Battle of Corellia, with Commander Tainor—the head of the Imperial Guard—directing his Guardsmen in aiding the Imperial offensive in the Axial Park district. General Hesker's forces aided Darth Decimus in the battle for Axial Park and the storming of the Enclave of Corellia's native Green Jedi, and Commander Jastal's forces battled the droid army of the Czerka Corporation in the Incorporation Islands district. Guardsmen Churnis and another Guardsmen were also assigned to Moff Alvon Zamar during his survey of Imperial resources on the Corellian battlefront, and several Guardsmen aided their Emperor's First Son and the Children of the Emperor in securing the fortress known as the Guardian Hold Four on Corellia.
Dozens of Guardsmen accompanied the Emperor to the Dark Temple on the outskirts of Dromund Kaas's Kaas City when the Hero of Tython embarked on a mission to confront the Sith ruler, and the warriors fought in vain to prevent the Jedi Knight from entering the Dark Temple. The Knight's companions engaged the Temple's defenders from multiple directions to draw them away from the Hero's path, though one of the attackers was pinned down in the access tunnels beneath the Temple until the Knight rescued them. Despite the Guard's efforts, the Emperor's Voice—his host body and the vessel for his consciousness and power in the Force—was struck down in battle, and the Emperor's essence retreated to Yavin 4. The commander of the academy there, Commandant Iven, was tasked by the Emperor and agents of the Emperor's Hand with the protection of the moon.
In the Emperor's absence
- "Invaders! Interlopers! This world is off limits! He told us from the start. Only the devoted! Only the purest! His orders, his command!"
- ―A crazed Commandant Iven, after the Revanite invasion
The rogue Sith Lord Darth Malgus established his own New Imperial Guard when he declared his New Empire on Ilum shortly after the Emperor's defeat, choosing the Chagrian Chondrus Berani to lead his protectors. Some members of the New Guard wielded lightsabers in combat, unlike the true Imperial Guard, and the New Guard's armor featured darker hues and black markings to distinguish themselves from their counterparts in the Sith Empire. That insult, as well as Malgus' audacity to seize the Emperor's throne, drove the Imperial Guard to help battle the New Empire's forces on Ilum. However, the Guard gradually withdrew from Imperial affairs, and though it soon become public knowledge among the Empire's upper echelons that the Emperor sought to eradicate all life in the galaxy, the prospect of their death did not faze the Emperor's protectors.
Later in the war, the mad Force-user Revan and his fanatical Order of Revan invaded Yavin 4, as Revan sought to restore the Emperor to physical form in order to kill him permanently. The Guardsmen under Commandant Iven were nearly eradicated by the Revanite forces; the academy was left in ruins, and what little remained of Iven's sanity began to crumble in the face of his failure to prevent the Revanites from intruding on his master's sacred ground. A coalition of Imperial and Republic forces, united in their desire to prevent Revan from resurrecting the Emperor, discovered the academy and captured Iven, whose interrogation revealed the existent of a Sith artifact in the Temple of Sacrifice that could restore the Emperor's strength. By the year 3630 BBY, the Sith Empire maintained an "Imperial Honor Guard," which repurposed both the name and the armor of the former Emperor's Imperial Guardsmen in the service of the Sith Empire.
Behind the scenes
The Imperial Guard first appeared in the webcomic Star Wars: The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire, though no information was given on them beyond their role as protectors of the Imperial Citadel. Drew Karpyshyn's 2011 novel The Old Republic: Revan, which shed light on much of the Sith Empire's backstory and organization, named the Imperial Guard and gave additional history and information on the group. The Guard appeared throughout BioWare's and LucasArts' video game Star Wars: The Old Republic as mission-givers, sentry characters on Imperial worlds, or enemies to Republic characters on high-level planets.
Some Imperial Guardsmen on Korriban are referred to as "Dark Honor Guard(s)," though they are universally referred to as either the Imperial Guard or the Emperor's Guard throughout the rest of the game. The Digital Expansion Star Wars: The Old Republic: Galactic Strongholds added "Conquest Commanders" that are Imperial Guardsmen and also Sith Lords, and the Digital Expansion Star Wars: The Old Republic: Shadow of Revan expanded on the Guard's training and their presence on Yavin 4. Shadow of Revan also includes Xarovit Tovar, a Conquest Commander for Yavin 4 who wears Guardsmen armor, despite the Imperial Guard having split with the Empire.
- The Old Republic: Revan (First identified as Imperial Guard, simultaneous with The Old Republic: Revan audiobook)
- The Old Republic: Revan audiobook
- The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire Act 1: Shades of the Sith (First appearance)
- The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire Act 3: Burn the Future
- (Picture only)
- (Picture only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Cartel Market
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- The Old Republic—The Lost Suns 2 (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Galactic Strongholds
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Shadow of Revan
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Eternal Throne
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Onslaught
- The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Old Republic
- The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Explorer's Guide
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia
Notes and references