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"Imperial officers aren't known for flexibility."
―Captain Raymus Antilles[8]

Imperial officers were individuals who held a position of authority and responsibility in the military forces, and some civilian elements, of the Galactic Empire.

When the Empire succeeded the Galactic Republic after the end of the Clone Wars, most officers were tasked with overseeing the Imperial Army and Navy, while some lead the stormtroopers, shock troops of the new regime.

After the sighing of the Galactic Concordance, the position of Imperial officer was made illegal as part of the disarmament and any who did not adhere to the terms of surrender to the New Republic were to designed as war criminals.


"I am an Imperial officer. I do not tolerate disrespect, my love."
―Captain Cerasus Ehllo, to his wife Aryssha[9]

Officers were high-class soldiers who held various positions of responsibility, authority, and duty within the various branches of Galactic Empire's armed forces. Common traits among those officers were ambition, ruthlessness, and strong approval of Emperor Palpatine's plans to destroy the rebellion.[10] Since its creation, the Empire inherited a complex military hierarchy, within which many Imperial officers discovering that most of them were permitted promotions. This created a culture of shifting blame on others for mistakes and attempting to avoid exposure of committing unprincipled actions. Officers understood that exploiting the mistakes of others was a way to advance their own careers.[11] Pride and ego resulted in situations where a new commanding officer would order changes to their command, such as changes for what was allowed aboard a starship, entirely to wipe away traces of the preceding commander and the culture they had instilled.[12]

Imperial Army trooper

An Imperial officer in combat gear

Among these officers were those Imperial who authentically believed in the legitimacy of the Galactic Empire, and sought to expand its influence in the galaxy, as well as those who joined the Imperial Military with the intention of earning a comfortable livelihood at the expense of the Empire's opponents.[11] The upper echelons of the Empire included those whose influential families afforded them preferred treatment and advancement. Officers were put through one of several prestigious academies across the galaxy that raised ambitious men and women who would perfectly echo the Imperial mantra of control through authority. As the line between the Imperial political machine and Imperial war machine became more blurred, the Empire so gradually transformed into stratocracy that many in the galaxy simply took no notice.[13]

Since the Empire favored humans at the expense of aliens,[14] the ranks of its officers were dominated by the former.[15] Additionally, most of those holding high ranks were males.[16] One notable exception to the Empire's humanocentrism was Mitth'raw'nuruodo, a Chiss who was eventually promoted to the military rank of Grand Admiral.[17] Imperial officers wore a uniform that consisted of a double-breasted tunic with matching trousers, a pair of black boots, a belt and an Imperial kepi command cap. There were regulations that made sure all officers maintained a neatly groomed appearance while wearing their uniforms.[18]

Although officers often cut their hair short for optimal efficiency, all were permitted to keep it long on the condition that they wore it pinned back in tight braids. This allowed Nash Windrider, a male officer from Alderaan, to retain a traditional hairstyle from his homeworld.[19] In addition to those officers who exerted command in the Navy or the Army, there were other specializations. Loyalty officers,[20] also known as Security Officers, were tasked with identifying and culling any seditious individual within the Empire's own ranks.[10] The Galactic Empire made an effort to identify recruits in its Imperial Academies who were potential officer material. Recruits identified to potentially have such talent were sometimes sent to specialized officer academies, such as the academy on Arkanis.[21]


Imperial control[]


Imperial officers were the successors of the regular, non-Jedi officers of the Galactic Republic.

At the end of the Clone Wars, Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, leader of the Republic, unilaterally reorganized the regime into an autocratic Galactic Empire and also ordered the extermination of all Jedi.[1] The Republic Military was then reformed into the Imperial Military.[18] Although most of the Imperial leadership, in particular that of the military, hailed from the Core Worlds and Inner Rim, the heart of the Empire, there was room for mobility. Wilhuff Tarkin, who became the Empire's first Grand Moff, was born on the Outer Rim world of Eriadu, which, before the rise of the Empire, was not a particularly well-known world.[18] Although it was annexed by the Empire during the height of its reign, the planet Jelucan, a world of poor farmers and minor nobles, provided several prominent officers, such as Thane and Dalven Kyrell and the peasant Ciena Ree.[19]

Due to resentment towards alien species because of the many aliens whom had participated in the Separatist Movement, very few found it easy to serve as officers in the military, mostly serving as low-ranking servicemen, noncombatants, and occasionally in government positions. However, there were few exceptions. The Chiss Mitth'raw'nuruodo, better known by his core name "Thrawn," was one of them, having attended the Royal Imperial Academy on Palpatine's personal order. Although initially unpopular with the Imperial Admiralty for his unconventional tactics, he ultimately became highly regarded to a few of his peers, being promoted to Grand Admiral and given command of the Seventh Fleet. Ironically, he had only accepted his commission as a means to infiltrate the Empire in order to assess its might, as his fellow leaders in the Chiss Ascendancy, where his true loyalties laid, believed that it could make a powerful ally against or distraction for the looming threats in the Unknown Regions,[12] chief among them the Grysk Hegemony.[22]

The Empire did not shy away from welcoming colonials from the fringes into their ranks either, although they did not often garner as much respect from their superiors, meaning that they had to work extra hard if they were to rise through the ranks. Lieutenant Commander Eli Vanto was born on the planet of Lysatra, which was deep in Wild Space, near the Unknown Regions, where the Empire's influence was scarce. Vanto ultimately gained admission into the Royal Imperial Academy on Coruscant and became one of the most prominent officers in the Seventh Fleet under Thrawn, serving as second in command aboard the Star Destroyer Chimaera.[12]


Tala Durith, an Imperial officer turned defector

One Imperial officer, a captain[23] named Tala Durith, joined the Empire on the hope she could bring positive change. However, an execution of Force-sensitive families on[24] the planet[25] Garel convinced her the Empire did not stand for the ideals she had joined for. Before the execution, she had even been told the families she helped arrest had simply not paid taxes. The execution convinced her to abandon the Empire and help the Hidden Path group,[24] which worked to help Force-sensitives escape Imperial reach. Working undercover, she served as an officer in the Imperial detachment that maintained control over the mining planet Mapuzo, where she helped many Force-sensitives escape. Ultimately, she helped Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi escape Mapuzo[26] in 9 BBY[27] and again went undercover to help Kenobi infiltrate Fortress Inquisitorius to rescue Princess Leia Organa.[28]

Empire at war[]

"Eyes on an officer."
―Del Meeko[29]

The Imperial losses sustained in the Battles of Yavin and Endor both resulted in younger officers being promoted.

Prior to the outbreak of the Galactic Civil War, there were more captains, lieutenant commanders, and commanders than there were ships in the navy, meaning that the younger and more inexperienced officers, particularly those who had joined after the Proclamation of a New Order or had not served in the Clone Wars, either served in positions that they were overqualified for or were inactive altogether.[30] That changed after the destruction of the Death Star, which left a power-vacuum in the high command. As such, many younger officers were promoted. The same exact thing happened after the Emperor's death at the Battle of Endor.[19] In the time after the Battle of Endor, the Imperial turncoat Ralsius Paldora noted that 1 in every 148 Imperial officers would surrender to the New Republic and sought asylum.[29]

Collapse of the Empire[]

Contrary to how it was two decades earlier, many younger, under-qualified officers as young as in their early twenties were promoted and given command of their own ships, even Star Destroyers, as was the case when Ciena Ree was promoted to commander and given captaincy of the Star Destroyer Inflictor shortly before the Battle of Jakku.[19] With much of the leadership destroyed either over Endor or during the rebellion on Akiva,[20] the government slowly lost much of its power. The military took control over the Empire, effectively transitioning it into a stratocracy under the command of Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax and his Shadow Council. Despite this, some greedy Imperial officers would try to seize power for themselves or take their forces and leave the Empire altogether, hoping to build factions of their own.[31]

Strength Through Order

Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, new leader of the Empire

Rax, after declaring himself Counselor to the Empire,[31] would then unite the Empire and lead them to Jakku, where they made one final stand against the New Republic, which proved to be a devastating loss for the Empire. After the Empire's defeat on Jakku, its leadership, under Grand Vizier Mas Amedda, signed the Galactic Concordance with the New Republic. The conditions of the surrender placed various restraints on the weakened Empire. One of these conditions stated that those Imperial officers who did not repent for their actions were to be branded as war criminals.[32] Despite this formality, the Imperial Navy was still permitted to remain organized, so long as it relocated to the Imperial remnant established in the Core and the Inner Rim.[19]

In secret, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane took charge of Palpatine's Contingency from Rax in order to reform the Empire in the image of what she envisioned it as being.[32] Indeed, some staunch Imperial officers refused to accept defeat, affiliating themselves with a militarized faction of the Empire that locked itself into a Cold War with the New Republic. Eventually, many would relocate their forces to the Unknown Regions,[33] where Sloane began building her Imperial remnant in the months following the Battle of Jakku.[32] The Imperial forces in the Unknown Regions would help establish the military of the First Order.[33]



Imperial officers wore a uniform comprised of a tunic, pants, cap, belt, boots, and occasionally gloves; the former three of which often varied in color, depending on the officer's branch and duties. Rank insignia plaques were located on the tunic's upper-lefthand chest, and one or mode code cylinders were placed inside of each breast pocket. If the situation required it, officers could don armor and a helmet, to protect their body, head, and neck.[34]


RK-3 BF2

RK-3 blasters were the Imperial officer's primary weapon

Officers primarily used RK-3 blasters, though they were additionally able to wield S-5s, Blurrg-1120s, SE-44Cs, DL-18s, and Homing shots. They were also equipped with flash grenades and a disruptor able to incapacitate enemy weapons. In battle, officers carried portable shield generators or turrets.[29]


Non-canon appearances[]


Non-canon sources[]

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  2. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
  3. Phasma takes place a few weeks before the beginning of Galaxy's Edge: Black Spire which begins during the events of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, which is dated to 34 ABY by Star Wars: Galactic Atlas. As the First Order participates in the mission to Parnassos, which takes place ten years before the main story of Phasma, it can be deduced that mission took place in around 24 ABY, and that the First Order officer was also formed by 24 ABY.
  4. Phasma
  5. 5.0 5.1 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  6. Darth Vader (2017) 12
  7. 7.0 7.1 Dawn of Rebellion
  8. Leia, Princess of Alderaan
  9. Sana Starros 1
  10. 10.0 10.1 ToppsDigitalLogo Star Wars: Card Trader (Card: Imperial Officer - Soldier - Base Series 1)
  11. 11.0 11.1 AltayaCite "Imperial Officers and Agents" — Star Wars Encyclopedia
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Thrawn
  13. Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide
  14. Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide
  15. Star Wars Rebels: Visual Guide: Epic Battles
  16. Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure
  17. Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Tarkin
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Lost Stars
  20. 20.0 20.1 Aftermath
  21. Servants of the Empire: The Secret Academy
  22. Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil
  23. Lucasfilm Story Group executive Pablo Hidalgo confirmed that live-action productions treat rank insignia plaques of the Galactic Empire by two eras: pre–First Death Star destruction and post. The pre-destruction era utilizes the "single row" format for live-action media including Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor per TwitterLogo Pablo Hidalgo (@pabl0hidalgo) on Twitter (June 4, 2022): "@peacemakervitus There's basically two eras for Imperial badges - pre-Death Star destruction and post. So Andor and Kenobi follow the Rogue One 'single row' model." (backup link). Due to this, this individual's rank insignia plaque is consistent with its respective rank insignia and branch in the live-action production chart here, and as such must be that military rank and in that branch.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Obi-Wan Kenobi new series logo Obi-Wan Kenobi — "Part V"
  25. StarWars-DatabankII Garel in the Databank (backup link)
  26. Obi-Wan Kenobi new series logo Obi-Wan Kenobi — "Part III"
  27. Star Wars: Timelines dates the events of Obi-Wan Kenobi to 9 BBY. Therefore, the events of "Part III" must be set in 9 BBY.
  28. Obi-Wan Kenobi new series logo Obi-Wan Kenobi — "Part IV"
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Star Wars Battlefront II
  30. A New Dawn
  31. 31.0 31.1 Aftermath: Life Debt
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Aftermath: Empire's End
  33. 33.0 33.1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
  34. Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back