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"You see? You must allow yourself your own private guards, Supreme Chancellor!"
Senator Viento to Chancellor Palpatine[1]

The Red Guard, nicknamed Redrobes, was an elite organization of bodyguards trained to protect Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, the head of state of the Galactic Republic. Its first members were drawn from the ranks of the Senate Guard. Guardsmen noted for loyalty and efficiency were transferred into the Red Guard; Senate Commandos—regarded as the best and the bravest soldiers of the Senate Guard—were also assimilated into the Chancellor's private security unit.

The Red Guard served as Chancellor Palpatine's protectors prior to and throughout the Clone Wars, a galaxy-wide civil war between the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. After the Republic's transition into the Galactic Empire was completed by the end of the war in 19 BBY, the Red Guard was reorganized into the Imperial Royal Guard by the newly-appointed Emperor Palpatine.


"Yes, I remember how powerful the Red Guards were. They used to bully us."

A Red Guard in full uniform

The formation of the Red Guard was initiated shortly after the election of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine in 32 BBY.[1] For centuries, the Senate Guard, in addition to providing security to the elected officials of the Galactic Senate, served as the elite bodyguards to the Galactic Republic head of state.[6] Allegations of corruption undermined the Senate Guard's reputation, leading to calls for the creation of a separate unit for the Chancellor's protection.[1]

The Senate Guard's traditional role as the Supreme Chancellor's security service detail was ultimately supplanted after several assassins infiltrated its ranks in an apparent conspiracy to murder Palpatine. Though the plot was thwarted by the intervention of Jedi Master Ronhar Kim, Senator Viento saw the incident as a prime example as to why the Chancellor needed a unit that was independent from the Senate Guard and more closely monitored by the executive branch. The end result was establishment of the Red Guard,[1] a group composed of soldiers chosen from the old Guard's best and most loyal members. Even some of the elite Senate Commandos were transferred into the ranks of the new unit.[7]

Afterward, Chancellor Palpatine's further public appearances normally saw him flanked by a pair of Red Guards, especially during the Separatist Crisis.[8] The sight of the Republic's leader and his private guards was interpreted as a sign of the heightened security within the Republic that was on the verge of a galactic civil war.[9] For example, when Palpatine presided over the trial of Ahsoka Tano, members of the Red Guard were on the dais with him standing watch.[10] Despite the advocacy for the Red Guard's creation and the Chancellor's initial show of preference for maintaining the Senate Guard as his protectors,[1] the Red Guard was regarded as a controversial topic.[9] Some members of the Senate, including Senator Bail Prestor Organa of Alderaan, believed that the Red Guards were unconstitutional since their conception was unilaterally approved by the executive branch, absent of a formal act or approval from the legislature.[source?] However, in large part because such accusations ran the risk of violating the new security laws established by Palpatine, any objections were very rarely voiced.[11][12]

The Red Guard continued to exist in its capacity as the private security force of Chancellor Palpatine and acted as his emissaries throughout the Clone Wars,[2][3] the conflict that resulted from the Separatist Rebellion against the Galactic Republic.[2] Senate Commandos—including regular guardsmen—were still occasionally retained as the Chancellor's bodyguards during the war.[13][14] By the near end of the Clone Wars, the Red Guard's reputation was mixed between respect for the skills of its members, and mystery regarding the specific details of its organization. Although its members were acknowledged as highly-trained soldiers by Grand Master Yoda of the Jedi Order, their full strength and numbers remained confidential to outsiders.[15] With the dark side of the Force surrounding the Chancellor,[3] and the secretive nature of the Red Guard, the Jedi High Council came to suspect that the Dark Lord of the Sith had infiltrated the ranks of Palpatine's bodyguards.[15]

Chancellor Palpatine and Anakin Skywalker, flanked by two Red Guards

During the Battle of Coruscant in 19 BBY, the Red Guard protected Chancellor Palpatine[15] alongside their blue Senate Guard counterparts, clone troopers, and even the Jedi.[16] They also aided in the defense of Coruscant's Senate District in Galactic City under the command of Jedi General Mace Windu. As the fighting wore on, some of the Guard's members even expressed anxiety over Palpatine's refusal to retreat to a safer location.[15]

Following the Republic victory on Coruscant, Chancellor Palpatine revealed himself to the Jedi as Darth Sidious, the enigmatic Sith Lord who eluded the Council's attempts to discover him throughout the Clone Wars. He used his various emergency powers and the programmed loyalty of the Clone Army to abolish the Republic, thus allowing him to become emperor of the first Galactic Empire. Under the New Order, the old Senate Guard was ultimately phased out.[6] Emperor Palpatine reorganized his red-robed bodyguards into the Imperial Royal Guard.[3]


"Well trained the Supreme Chancellor's Red Guards are."
―Grand Master Yoda[15]

Although the Red Guard originated from the ranks of the Senate Guard, they differed from their blue counterparts both aesthetically and in the design of their armor and equipment.[1] Red Guards wore face-concealing helmets with a darkened visor,[2] visually reminiscent[17] to those worn by the Sith-affiliated[18] Thyrsus Sun Guard,[17] in contrast to the Senate Guards' face-revealing helmets.[19] Furthermore, they used a meter-long force pike as a primary weapon while concealing their crimson armor beneath a voluminous red robe.[2][3] Their force pikes were also considered lethal, in stark contrast to the stun rifles utilized by their blue counterparts.[11][12]

Behind the scenes[]

Red Guard concept art.

The Red Guard did not make its first appearance in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series until the fifth season episode "The Lawless."



Notes and references[]