This article is about the Supreme Leader of the First Order. You may be looking for the title used in the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
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"The Supreme Leader is dead."
"Long live the Supreme Leader."
―Kylo Ren and Armitage Hux[src]

The Supreme Leader was the ruler of the First Order, a hermit state that rose to power in the years after the fall of the Galactic Empire. Invested with absolute power, the Supreme Leader controlled every aspect of First Order policy, and could also delegate authority to officers that acted on his behalf. The technological war machine that the First Order engineered to conquer the galaxy was under the Supreme Leader's control. As such, all who lived under the First Order's rule were required to render unquestioning loyalty and obedience to the Supreme Leader. This was especially the case with First Order stormtroopers, who were trained since birth to become an army of elite soldiers loyal to the Supreme Leader.

During the New Republic Era, Snoke—a mysterious being with a powerful connection to the dark side of the Force, later revealed to have been created by Darth Sidious—gained control of the First Order by becoming the Supreme Leader. Under his rule, the First Order completed its military buildup in secret, its activities hidden in the Unknown Regions, beyond the veil of the galactic frontier. As a ruler, Snoke governed his dominion from the Mega-class Star Dreadnought Supremacy, which served as a mobile capital for the First Order in lieu of a planetary seat of government. He used both holoprojectors and propaganda to project himself as an omnipresent leader in the minds of his subjects, but also relied on a select few individuals who were trusted to lead in his name, specifically General Armitage Hux and the dark warrior Kylo Ren.

By 34 ABY, the First Order was locked in a Cold War with the New Republic and the Resistance. With the Starkiller Base operational, Supreme Leader Snoke granted General Hux permission to deploy the superweapon's full power against the Republic capital in the Hosnian system. After decapitating the Republic leadership, the Supreme Leader deployed his fleets and armies to conquer the galaxy. He also oversaw the First Order's retaliation against the Resistance in response to the destruction of Starkiller Base. However, Snoke's reign was brought to an end with his death at the hands of his ambitious apprentice Kylo Ren, who saw himself as his grandfather's heir and the rightful ruler of the galaxy. Ren declared himself the new Supreme Leader as he set forth to end the war and forge a new galactic order.

Powers[edit | edit source]

"Head of the First Order. My word, unchallenged."
―Kylo Ren[src]

The Supreme Leader governed with absolute power over the First Order.

The Supreme Leader was a self-appointed title of ultimate authority,[4] and as such the head of the First Order with undisputed command of its military.[6] The Supreme Leader had the authority to make strategic decisions at will; altering the First Order's strategy required the Supreme Leader's expressed approval.[1] The Supreme Leader could also rule by proxy, choosing to cede control of the armed forces to First Order officers of high military rank. Such was the approach of the artificial strandcast Snoke, who preferred to concentrate on religious matters during his tenure as Supreme Leader.[4]

The authority of the Supreme Leader was considered absolute within the ranks of the First Order, with personal interests regarded as secondary to orders from the Supreme Leader.[1] It was the prerogative of the Supreme Leader to summon his subordinates at his pleasure, as well as to administer punishment to those who failed him.[5] Due to the Supreme Leader's status in the First Order, an officer who had direct access to his person effectively wielded greater authority than their rank would indicate.[7]

During the war between the First Order and Resistance, it was a crime to say malicious, objectionable, or defamatory things about the Supreme Leader.[8]

History[edit | edit source]

Origin[edit | edit source]

"The Empire is ended. A new one must begin."
―Gallius Rax[src]

Grand Admiral Rae Sloane was a leader in the First Order before Snoke came to power.

A successor to the Galactic Empire in all but name,[9] the First Order was ruled by the Supreme Leader, an office invested with absolute power[10] not unlike the authority wielded by Galactic Emperor Darth Sidious.[11] With the Emperor's death, however, a new era dawned in which the New Republic rose to power. After defeating the remnants of the Empire at the Battle of Jakku, the nascent democracy concentrated on restoring peace and stability to the galaxy[12] while Imperial holdovers escaped into exile in the Unknown Regions, refusing to accept the conditions of the Empire's surrender or the peace treaty that ended the Galactic Civil War.[13]

The exodus of Imperial officers, nobles, and scientists ultimately led to the creation of an new state called the First Order— inspired by the old regime's ideology[13]—fulfilling the mandate of Counselor Gallius Rax who sought to build a new empire upon the ruins of its predecessor.[14] Rejecting the treaties and war reparations that reduced the once mighty Empire to a rump state, the First Order secretly adopted a rearmament policy in order to create new fleets and armies.[13] Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and Commandant Brendol Hux were among the officers who fled from known space,[14] and it was initially believed that one of them would lead the new Empire emerging in the Unknown Regions.[15]

The rise and fall of Snoke[edit | edit source]

"You think you can turn him? Pathetic child. I cannot be betrayed; I cannot be beaten. I see his mind; I see his every intent. Yes… I see him turning the lightsaber to strike true! And now, foolish child, he ignites it and kills his true enemy!"
―Snoke's last words, said to Rey[src]

The First Order developed into a mighty technological war machine under Supreme Leader Snoke.

The title of Supreme Leader existed as early as 24 ABY.[2] Contrary to the beliefs held by some that either Sloane or Hux would lead the First Order, it was Snoke—a mysterious being with a strong connection to the Force, the dark side in particular—who outmaneuvered his rivals and secured absolute power as Supreme Leader.[15] His reputation as the First Order's master preceded him by the last days of the Cold War between his regime and the New Republic.[7] During his reign, he remained steadfast in his refusal to designate a planet as the First Order's capital, having chosen to rule his dominion from a mobile command center. An ambitious ruler, Snoke was not content to rule a handful of sectors claimed by the First Order in the Outer Rim Territories, nor was he satisfied by colonizing clusters of worlds beyond the frontier. In his view, ambitions limited in scope would have made the First Order no different than the various nonaligned states that emerged in the wake of the Empire's collapse, or the hermetic kingdoms in the Unknown Regions that had been dismantled or destroyed by the First Order during its secret rise.[15]

Leader Snoke presided over the First Order from his throne room aboard the Supremacy.

Ultimately, it was Snoke's desire to see the First Order reclaim the galaxy that the Empire lost in its war with the Rebel Alliance. The Supreme Leader would then build on that rebuilt foundation, taking the First Order beyond what the Empire achieved in its time. Until that goal was achieved, however, the Supreme Leader wanted to keep the First Order's capital mobile. He therefore chose to rule from his throne room in the Supremacy, the first in a line of gargantuan warships known as the Mega-class Star Dreadnought.[15]

Snoke's authority was uncontested, although he did designate General Armitage Hux and Kylo Ren—Brendol Hux's illegitimate son and Snoke's dark apprentice, respectively[15]—as his chief commanders,[5] allowing them to lead the First Order's armies in his name. As such, they were both among the few individuals who could contact the Supreme Leader directly,[7] and as rivals they competed for Snoke's approval. At times they were required to work together despite their rivalry;[1] however, their objectives were different insofar as Hux oversaw the First Order's militarization program on the Supreme Leader's behalf; and Ren pursued his personal quest to destroy the last Jedi, his former Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.[10]

A rivalry existed between Snoke's chief lieutenants, General Armitage Hux and the dark apprentice Kylo Ren.

While they both projected the airs of loyal and obedient lieutenants in the presence of their master, in secret Ren and Hux coveted the title of Supreme Leader.[7] Hux was especially careful to never hint at his ambitions, knowing the Supreme Leader had spies spread throughout the First Order, and only went so far as to imagine himself as Snoke's successor.[15] Nevertheless, possessing the Supreme Leader's favor granted him greater authority than his rank as general would indicate. He therefore requested the title of Grand Marshal, but his request was denied by the Supreme Leader.[7]

Upon completing the construction of Starkiller Base[1] in 34 ABY,[16] Hux persuaded Snoke to authorize the superweapon's use on the Hosnian system, reasoning that a direct attack on the capital of Hosnian Prime would destroy the New Republic's leaders, including the Galactic Senate and Chancellor Lanever Villecham. Agreeing with his general's plan, Snoke permitted Hux to carry out the attack, resulting in the system's annihilation and the fall of the New Republic.[1]

Although Starkiller Base was subsequently destroyed by the Resistance, a paramilitary group founded by General Leia Organa, the First Order felt confident that victory was inevitable. At Snoke's direction, the First Order deployed its vast military forces across the galaxy with the intent of seizing control over the major systems. He also continued to pursue his objectives of eliminating the surviving members of the Resistance, as well as hunting and killing Skywalker.[7] Using Hux's hyperspace tracker, Snoke personally oversaw the First Order Navy's assault on the Resistance fleet. At the same time, he used his mastery of the Force to create a Force-bond between his apprentice and Rey, a Force-sensitive Jakku scavenger who sought to learn the Jedi arts under Skywalker.[5] Having gained new insights into Ren's inner conflict through their bond,[7] Rey ultimately left Skywalker to seek out the fallen Jedi, determined to turn the tide of the war by restoring Kylo Ren to his former persona of Ben Solo.[5]

Snoke's reign ended with his assassination by Ren, who sought to rule the galaxy as his Master's successor.

However, Snoke anticipated Rey's intentions and used the bond to lure her to him. After successfully probing her mind for the location of Skywalker, Snoke commanded Ren to execute Rey. Although he previously berated Ren, calling him a child and unworthy of his grandfather's legacy, Snoke was confident that his apprentice had now fully embraced the dark side—no longer sensing weakness but strength and resolve emanating from his apprentice. To his shock, Ren used Rey's lightsaber to bisect Snoke at the waist, killing his master and saving Rey in the process. After defeating Snoke's personal bodyguards, Rey urged Ren to save her allies but the First Order warlord came to believe that the Resistance had to be destroyed along with all reminders of his past in order to usher the galaxy in a new era under his rule. To this end, he invited Rey to rule the galaxy at his side, but she ultimately rejected his offer and fled to help the Resistance, causing Ren to blame Snoke's death on her.[5]

The reign of Kylo Ren[edit | edit source]

"I enjoy the simplicity of it all. Like my grandfather before me… I lead—they follow."
―Kylo Ren[src]

Without Snoke's protection, Hux was forced to recognize Ren as the new Supreme Leader.

Knowing that the last of the Resistance would make their stand on the planet Crait, Ren ordered Hux to send their forces in pursuit of the survivors. Hux was initially opposed to following orders from his rival, leading Ren to silence the general's protests by asphyxiating him through the Force. Unable to breathe,[5] Hux was intimidated into proclaiming Ren as the new Supreme Leader.[17] Under Ren's leadership, the First Order all but destroyed the Resistance at the Battle of Crait, although Rey managed to save a handful of survivors due to the sacrifice of Luke Skywalker.[5]

Under the new Supreme Leader, the First Order devoted its resources to hunting down the remnants of the Resistance, with Rey and her friends deemed priority targets by Ren himself. While Hux considered it a waste of his time to investigate every rumor of a Resistance sighting, Ren declared that the First Order would indeed follow up on every rumor and utilize all of its assets, from informants to bounty hunters until every trace of the Resistance was destroyed. Hux, whom Ren controlled through fear and intimidation, notwithstanding his authority as Supreme Leader, was compelled to acquiesce and carry out his ruler's orders.[18]

The galaxy was under strict warning to avoid the Resistance, under pain of death, by order of Supreme Leader Kylo Ren.

In his desire to destroy the Resistance, Ren acted without mercy to anyone who either contacted or provided aid to the fugitives.[19] Even neutrality punishable by death.[18] After learning that the Resistance had been to Fondor, the First Order deployed a fleet of Star Destroyers to seize control of the planet's shipyards. A Fondorian prisoner explained that his world refused to support the Resistance to no avail. The fact that Fondor had any communication with the Resistance at all was treason in Ren's view. He therefore declared that the First Order would seize control of the shipyards effective immediately, believing that Fondor's actions necessitated extreme measures. When the prisoner protested by citing his homeworld's history of independence, which even the Galactic Empire respected, Ren revealed his belief that the Empire's weakness was its leniency. The Fondorian was summarily executed by the Supreme Leader as a warning to the rest of the galaxy.[19]

The Supreme Council was formed to assist Leader Ren with achieving his goal of galactic conquest.

The Supreme Council was formed as an advisory board to Supreme Leader Ren. Comprised by high-ranking members of First Order High Command, the Council's purpose was to implement Ren's plans for the conquest of the galaxy. Despite Ren's growing responsibility and maturity, the Council grew concerned by their Supreme Leader's complete submission to the dark side in his pursuit of power, as they favored much more orthodox tactics and strategies. However, Ren's return from Exegol revealed that Sith cultists had built a massive invasion force,[20] known as the Final Order,[21] as the final phase in the First Order's long-gestating plan of galactic conquest. This discovery bolstered the Supreme Council's confidence in Ren's leadership. While his ultimate goal was to rule the galaxy,[20] Ren nonetheless remained fixated on capturing Rey, and turning her to the dark side.[21]

Kylo Ren's eventual return to the light side of the Force restored the persona of Ben Solo, leaving the First Order without a Supreme Leader. Nevertheless, Sidious retained the First Order's support[21] through its next highest-ranking official,[20] Allegiant General Enric Pryde who swore his allegiance to the Emperor he once served in the Empire's time. Sidious declared that the time had come to deploy the Final Order from Exegol, and subjugate the galaxy through fear of annihilation.[21]

Style of office[edit | edit source]

"Supreme Leader, Your Leadership, Sir, we are honored to have you here—"
―A First Order officer, to Kylo Ren[src]

As master of the First Order,[22] Snoke was addressed by his official title of Supreme Leader. He was also referred to as "Leader Snoke" by his subordinates, such as Kylo Ren and General Armitage Hux.[1] This honorific was inherited by Ren who, as Snoke's successor, was henceforth addressed as "Supreme Leader," even by his rival Hux.[5] The Supreme Leader could also be addressed as "Your Leadership" or "Sir."[6]

Residence[edit | edit source]

Supremacy[edit | edit source]

"And, uh, if the price is right I can break you into old man Snoke's boudoir."
DJ, referring to the Supremacy[src]

The Supremacy served as Supreme Leader Snoke's headquarters, effectively making it the mobile capital of the First Order.

The Supremacy, the first Mega-class Star Dreadnought, was the de facto capital of the First Order during the reign of Supreme Leader Snoke.[15] A gargantuan capital ship spanning more than sixty kilometers wide, the Supremacy was also a warship equipped with considerable firepower. In addition to housing shipyards, production lines and R&D labs, and army training grounds, the ship contained a throne room[23] where Snoke would broadcast his image across the territories of the First Order through holographic technology.[7] Although various officers and allies argued for a planet to act as their capital, Snoke insisted on using the Supremacy as his headquarters, and refused to establish a planetary capital until the galaxy was under the First Order's control.[15]

Access to the throne room was limited to the Supreme Leader's alien Attendants and elite guards[22] as well as his top commanders General Hux and Kylo Ren. The throne room sustained extensive damage in the wake of Snoke's assassination, around the same time when the Supremacy was cut in half by the Resistance flagship Raddus, which rammed through the First Order battleship at lightspeed.[5]

Steadfast[edit | edit source]

"Ren's Destroyer."
"He's here?"
―Rey and Poe Dameron[src]

The Steadfast was Supreme Leader Kylo Ren's flagship.

Following the death of Snoke and the destruction of the Supremacy, Supreme Leader Ren initially ruled the First Order from the Resurgent-class Star Destroyer Finalizer. Prior to his ascension, Ren shared command of the Finalizer with his rival, General Hux. They continued to serve together as the Finalizer's commanding officers, albeit with Hux superseded by Ren in authority, until their vessel sustained heavy damage at Batuu. Having favored Allegiant General Pryde over Hux, Ren transferred the First Order's flagship from the wounded Finalizer to Pryde's command ship, the Steadfast, which also belonged to the Resurgent line. Ren also brought Hux with him to the Steadfast, effectively demoting the general to third in the military hierarchy as he was now outranked by both Ren and Pryde.[20]

Protection[edit | edit source]

Elite Praetorian Guard[edit | edit source]

Supreme Leader Snoke was protected by a cadre of armored warriors known as the Elite Praetorian Guard.

The Elite Praetorian Guard was a cohort of eight sentinels, heavily armored and well-trained in melee combat. Following in the example of Emperor Palpatine's Imperial Royal Guard, the Praetorian Guard served as Supreme Leader Snoke's personal bodyguards, and therefore, tasked with protecting him against any threat to his safety. The Guard as a whole was divided into four pairs, each brandishing their own unique melee weapons[24] such as vibro-voulges, electro-bisentos, and vibro-arbir blades.[7]

In the aftermath of Starkiller Base's annihilation, Kylo Ren was summoned to the Supremacy throne room where his master scolded him for his failure in the presence of the Praetorian Guard. The apprentice rose to his feet in a fit of anger, causing the Praetorians to snap into an attack formation until the Supreme Leader signaled the Guard to stand down after subduing Ren on his own. After Ren brought Rey to Snoke as a prisoner, the young Jedi hopeful made an attempt on the Supreme Leader's life, to which the Praetorians responded by taking an offensive stance only to stand down once more at their master's command. Having overpowered Rey with the Force, Snoke implored his apprentice to complete his training by executing the girl. Using guile and subterfuge, however, Ren assassinated his master, causing the Praetorians to engage both him and Rey in an attempt to avenge their slain leader.[15] In spite of their efforts, the entire Praetorian Guard was destroyed by Ren and Rey.[24]

Knights of Ren[edit | edit source]

"Prepare to crush any worlds that defy us. My Knights and I are going hunting for the scavenger."
―Kylo Ren, to the Supreme Council[src]

The Knights of Ren served as Supreme Leader Kylo Ren's version of Snoke's Praetorian Guard.

As Supreme Leader, Kylo Ren looked to the Knights of Ren as his own equivalent of Snoke's Praetorian Guard.[20] As master of the Knights of Ren,[1] only Ren could command the Knights, much to the displeasure of General Armitage Hux and the First Order Supreme Council. The Knights were Force-sensitive, but to a stunted degree. In past generations, they would have been considered ideal candidates for the Imperial Inquisitorius.[20]

A gang of dark marauders, the Knights of Ren consisted of six warriors: Vicrul, the harvester and reaper of the fallen; Cardo, whose attacks left wide swathes of destruction; Ushar, the Knight most likely to force his victims to beg for mercy; Trudgen, a collector of trophies from fallen conquests; Kuruk, the most solitary of the Knights; and Ap'lek, the strategist who reveled in deception and employed misdirection to trap an opponent. During the war, the Knights were tasked with hunting the scavenger, Rey, who vexed their master.[20]

The Knights confronted Ben Solo, who redeemed himself from the dark side by casting aside the persona of Kylo Ren, during the battle of Exegol. They surrounded and attacked their former master, but were ultimately defeated by Solo's Force abilities and lightsaber combat skills.[21]

Transport[edit | edit source]

Supreme Leader Kylo Ren utilized a personal Upsilon-class command shuttle, a line of shuttles inspired by the ones in the Old Empire, such as the Lambda-class T-4a shuttle which used to carry Emperor Palpatine.[25][26] Ren's shuttle functioned as his mobile command station during the Battle of Crait, shortly after his ascension as Supreme Leader.[5] The distinguishing feature of the Upsilon-class shuttle was its advanced sensor suites and military-focused design, making it more than a mere pleasure craft or luxury starship.[25]

List of Supreme Leaders[edit | edit source]

Period Supreme Leader
34 ABY[27] SnokeTLJ.png
34 ABY[27]35 ABY[3] Kylo Ren TLJ.png
Kylo Ren[5]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

The position of Supreme Leader of the First Order first appeared in the 2015 sequel trilogy film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams.[1]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Non-canon appearances[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  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 Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
  2. 2.0 2.1 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 title Supreme Leader is mentioned in a chapter set ten years before the main story of Phasma, it can be deduced that the title was established by around 24 ABY.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary dates the events of Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker to one year after the events of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. As Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the events of The Force Awakens to 34 ABY, the events of The Rise of Skywalker must occur in 35 ABY.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The Star Wars Book
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Tales of Villainy: Follow and Lead
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
  8. Resistance Reborn
  9. Star Wars Battlefront II
  10. 10.0 10.1 StarWars-DatabankII.png Supreme Leader Snoke in the Databank (backup link)
  11. StarWars-DatabankII.png Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in the Databank (backup link)
  12. StarWars-DatabankII.png The New Republic in the Databank (backup link)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 StarWars-DatabankII.png The First Order in the Databank (backup link)
  14. 14.0 14.1 Aftermath: Empire's End
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 15.8 Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition
  16. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
  17. StarWars-DatabankII.png Kylo Ren Biography Gallery in the Databank (backup link) (Slide 22)
  18. 18.0 18.1 Allegiance 1
  19. 19.0 19.1 Allegiance 2
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
  22. 22.0 22.1 StarWars-DatabankII.png Snoke's Throne Room in the Databank (backup link)
  23. StarWars-DatabankII.png The Supremacy in the Databank (backup link)
  24. 24.0 24.1 StarWars-DatabankII.png Elite Praetorian Guard in the Databank (backup link)
  25. 25.0 25.1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Incredible Cross-Sections
  26. Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
  27. 27.0 27.1 Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places the events of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens in 34 ABY. Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi takes place immediately after the end of The Force Awakens.

External links[edit | edit source]

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