- "The Supreme Leader is dead."
"Long live the Supreme Leader."
- ―Kylo Ren and Armitage Hux
Supreme Leader was the title of the self-appointed rulers of the First Order. Invested with absolute power, the Supreme Leader controlled every aspect of the First Order military and government, but could also delegate authority to First Order officers. In addition, the First Order utilized propaganda to promote unconditional loyalty to the Supreme Leader, particularly in the case of stormtroopers who were conscripted at birth to become soldiers of the First Order and its master.
The First Order was an offshoot of the Contingency, a plan devised by Galactic Emperor Darth Sidious to destroy the Galactic Empire and rebuild it in the Unknown Regions. In addition, Sidious had created Snoke—an artifical strandcast who was strong with the dark side of the Force—to serve as his proxy while he recuperated on Exegol following his first death. Although Snoke possessed ultimate authority in the First Order, he favored the title of Supreme Leader instead of Emperor. He was also content to allow officers, such as General Armitage Hux, to lead the First Order's forces while he focused on spiritual matters of the Force. In 34 ABY, Snoke was assassinated by his apprentice, Kylo Ren, who was the grandson of the Sith Lord Darth Vader.
Neither Snoke nor Ren designated a planet as their capital; Snoke had chosen to rule the First Order from his flagship, the Mega-class Star Dreadnought Supremacy, while his successor did so as well from the Resurgent-class Star Destroyer Steadfast. In 35 ABY, Ren forged an alliance with Sidious who offered the Supreme Leader an armada of Xyston-class Star Destroyers. Despite Ren's ambition to rule the galaxy as the new Emperor and Dark Lord of the Sith, he was ultimately turned back to the light side of the Force, leaving the First Order without a Supreme Leader. As a result, Allegiant General Enric Pryde pledged his loyalty to Sidious. However, their forces were destroyed by the Resistance in the Battle of Exegol, which, in turn, inspired a galactic uprising against the First Order.
- "Head of the First Order. My word, unchallenged."
- ―Kylo Ren
The Supreme Leader was a self-appointed title of ultimate authority, and as such the head of the First Order with undisputed command of its military. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
- "The Empire is ended. A new one must begin."
- ―Gallius Rax
A successor to the Galactic Empire in all but name, the First Order was ruled by the Supreme Leader, an office invested with absolute power not unlike the authority wielded by Galactic Emperor Darth Sidious. With the Emperor's death, however, a new era dawned in which the New Republic rose to power. After defeating the Empire at the Battle of Jakku, the nascent democracy concentrated on restoring peace and stability to the galaxy 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.
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—fulfilling the mandate of Counselor Gallius Rax who sought to build a new empire upon the ruins of its predecessor. 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. Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and Commandant Brendol Hux were among the officers who fled from known space, and it was initially believed that one of them would lead the new Empire emerging in the Unknown Regions.
The rise and fall of Snoke
- "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
The title of Supreme Leader existed as early as 24 ABY. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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—as his chief commanders, 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, and as rivals they competed for Snoke's approval. At times they were required to work together despite their rivalry; 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.
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. 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. 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.
Upon completing the construction of Starkiller Base in 34 ABY, 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.
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. 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. Having gained new insights into Ren's inner conflict through their bond, 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.
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.
The reign of Kylo Ren
A new Supreme Leader
- "I enjoy the simplicity of it all. Like my grandfather before me… I lead—they follow."
- ―Kylo Ren
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, Hux was intimidated into proclaiming Ren as the new Supreme Leader. 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.
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.
In his desire to destroy the Resistance, Ren acted without mercy to anyone who either contacted or provided aid to the fugitives. Even neutrality punishable by death. 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.
The Supreme Council was formed as an advisory board to Supreme Leader Ren. Comprised by high-ranking members of First Order High Command, such as Admiral Frantis Griss and generals Amret Engell and Bellava Parnadee, the purpose of the Council was to implement Ren's plans for the conquest of the galaxy. Although Ren allowed General Hux to serve in the new cabinet, he ensured that his former rival would have neither the power nor the autonomy that he once exercised under the previous Supreme Leader. The officer who succeeded in gaining Ren's favor was Allegiant General Enric Pryde, a veteran of the Old Empire whom Snoke designated as commander of the First Order's reserve forces. 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.
Return of the Emperor
- "He's gone mad. Flames of rebellion burn across the galaxy, and Ren chases a ghost."
"No. Someone was behind that transmission. And Leader Ren will answer to no one."
- ―Armitage Hux and Enric Pryde
Although Kylo Ren directed his subordinates to use every resource at the First Order's disposal in destroying the Resistance, he considered the remnants of his mother's movement inconsequential. Consolidating his reign as Supreme Leader was his priority, and under his leadership the First Order conquered vast regions of the galaxy. After the return of Darth Sidious, Ren focused all of his attention on finding the fallen Emperor whom he regarded as a threat to his power. His actions convinced General Hux that Ren had succumbed to madness for diverting the First Order's resources from its conquest of the galaxy, allowing rebellions to grow while the Supreme Leader hunted the Emperor who was believed to be long dead.
Determined to find the source of the Emperor's mysterious broadcast, Ren traveled to Mustafar and discovered a Sith wayfinder, a Sith artifact that contained the coordinates of Exegol. He used Vader's wayfinder to reach the legendary Sith world where the Emperor's stronghold was located. Deep within the Sith sanctuary, the Supreme Leader found a storage that contained multiple genetic copies of his former master and predecessor, Supreme Leader Snoke, who was revealed to have been a strandcast created by Sidious and the Sith Eternal. Ren confronted the Emperor, whose soul inhabited an imperfect clone of his original form, but Sidious had anticipated Ren's arrival. Aware of the Supreme Leader's ambition to create a new empire, Sidious unveiled his latest creation; the Final Order, a vast armada of Xyston-class Star Destroyers, all of which had the technology to destroy planets. The Emperor offered to make Ren his successor if he succeeded in fulfilling Vader's legacy, destroying the last of the Jedi.
A new empire
- "With what I've seen on Exegol… the First Order is about to become a true Empire."
- ―Kylo Ren
While the Supreme Leader was suspicious of Sidious' motives, he was convinced that combining his forces with the Sith Eternal military would transform the First Order into a true Empire, with Ren ruling the galaxy as the new Emperor and Dark Lord of the Sith. He had his helmet rebuilt, having destroyed it in anger after his master called him a "child in a mask," by the time he returned to the First Order. By then, it was as much as symbol of his reign as the new Supreme Leader as it was a mark of his leadership over the Knights of Ren.
Despite General Domaric Quinn, whose concern about the Sith Eternal was shared by other officers who favored military protocol to the fanaticism of Sith cultists, Ren's enthusiasm was shared by the other members of the Supreme Council, in particular Allegiant General Pryde who supported the Supreme Leader's alliance with the Sith cult. Ren had dealt summarily with Quinn for inquiring about the Emperor's conditions before giving command of the Sith fleet to the Supreme Leader. He then instructed the remaining members of the Supreme Council to suppress all acts of dissent against his rule. With the Knights of Ren at his side, the Supreme Leader embarked on a personal mission to track down Rey, though without the intention of killing her despite Sidious' wishes.
Sidious had revealed the former scavenger's secret heritage to the Supreme Leader; she was the Emperor's granddaughter, and therefore carried the power of the Palpatine bloodline, just as Ren was a scion of the Skywalker dynasty. Moreover, he had discovered that they were joined to each other as two halves of a rare and powerful dyad in the Force. The Supreme Leader was certain that their combined power would allow them to destroy Sidious, take the Throne of the Sith, and rule the galaxy as leaders of the new Sith Empire.
Pryde and Hux remained at Ren's side, using their resources to assist the Supreme Leader and his Knights while they hunted the scavenger across the galaxy. Ren had taken a husk necklace from Rey while their minds were bridged through the Force. An intelligence officer, Tishra Kandia, traced the necklace's origins to the desert planet Pasaana where Rey was searching for a clue to find the Emperor's wayfinder. Though she evaded the Supreme Leader's forces, the First Order tracked Rey to Kijimi where she learned the full truth of her lineage from Ren as well as their connection as a dyad. The Supreme Leader took little notice of the damage to his flagship or the soldiers who had been slain or wounded in his service. As far as Ren was concerned, any loss of life or resource was an acceptable price to see Rey who had managed to escape from him once more.
Ren found Rey in the wreckage of the DS-2 Death Star II Mobile Battle Station on Kef Bir. She had found her grandfather's wayfinder only to lose it to the Supreme Leader who destroyed it to provoke her anger. They engaged in a lightsaber duel that nearly ended in Rey's death; Ren was essentially paralyzed as he sensed his mother from across the galaxy. Leia Organa had reached out to her son through the Force, reminding Ren that she loved him. Rey seized advantage of his distraction by grievously wounding the Supreme Leader with his own lightsaber. Both she and Ren sensed Organa passing into the Force. Though she had struck down Ren in anger, Rey used her powers to heal Ren's wound. This act of compassion, combined with his mother's love and the memory of his father, destroyed the last traces of Kylo Ren as a persona, restoring his identity of Ben Solo.
The Allegiant General
- "The Princess of Alderaan has disrupted my plan… but her foolish act will be in vain. Come to me on Exegol, General Pryde."
"As I served you in the old wars, I serve you now."
- ―Darth Sidious and Enric Pryde
The loss of Ren was a setback in Sidious' plan, though the Emperor also gained direct control of the First Order as well. Without a Supreme Leader, command of the First Order fell to the next highest ranking officer, Enric Pryde, who, as Allegiant General, controlled the ground and naval forces of the First Order. With Ren gone, Pryde swore his allegiance to the Emperor he once served in the Galactic Civil War. As a result, the First Order and Sith Eternal became official allies, and Pryde was given authority to command the warships of the Sith fleet. By then, the fleet was ready for full deployment.
The Resistance deployed its forces to Exegol in an attempt to prevent the Sith fleet from spreading throughout the galaxy as a reborn Sith Empire. The Battle of Exegol was underway by the time Ben Solo returned to Exegol; no longer in control of the forces he commanded as Kylo Ren, the former Supreme Leader's only goal was to protect Rey from Darth Sidious. As the dyad joined together against the Emperor, a fleet of civilians emerged on the battle scene, journeying to Exegol from across the galaxy to defeat the Sith Eternal forces. The battle ended with the destruction of Sidious and his forces, as well as Pryde who perished aboard his flagship. Solo died as well, sacrificing his life for Rey. With the deaths of the Emperor, the Supreme Leader, and the Allegiant General, the remaining forces of the First Order crumbled under a galactic uprising against its military rule.
Style of office
- "Supreme Leader, Your Leadership, Sir, we are honored to have you here—"
- ―A First Order officer, to Kylo Ren
As master of the First Order, 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. This honorific was inherited by Ren who, as Snoke's successor, was henceforth addressed as "Supreme Leader," even by his rival Hux. The Supreme Leader could also be addressed as "Your Leadership" or "Sir."
- "And, uh, if the price is right I can break you into old man Snoke's boudoir."
- ―DJ, referring to the Supremacy
The Supremacy, the first Mega-class Star Dreadnought, was the de facto capital of the First Order during the reign of Supreme Leader Snoke. 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 where Snoke would broadcast his image across the territories of the First Order through holographic technology. 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.
Access to the throne room was limited to the Supreme Leader's alien Attendants and elite guards 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.
- "Ren's Destroyer."
- ―Rey and Poe Dameron
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 , the Steadfast, effectively demoting the general to third in the military hierarchy as he was now outranked by both Ren and Pryde.
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 such as vibro-voulges, electro-bisentos, and vibro-arbir blades.
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. In spite of their efforts, the entire Praetorian Guard was destroyed by Ren and Rey.
Knights of Ren
- "Prepare to crush any worlds that defy us. My Knights and I are going hunting for the scavenger."
- ―Kylo Ren, to the Supreme Council
As Supreme Leader, Kylo Ren looked to the Knights of Ren as his own equivalent of Snoke's Praetorian Guard. As master of the Knights of Ren, 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.
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.
The Knights of Ren turned against their master after he renounced the dark side, becoming Ben Solo once more. Solo had trained alongside the Knights after turning away from the Jedi path, and as such he considered them his brothers-in-arms. Realizing that their true allegiance was with Darth Sidious, he considered it the final betrayal in his life. However, the Knights believed that their actions were justified; they had sworn fealty to Kylo Ren, not Ben Solo whom they viewed as a weaker version of Ren. The return of the Jedi apprentice who idolized Luke Skywalker filled the Knights with hatred for their one-time master. The Knights tried to kill him, convinced that Solo had traded the dark side's strength for weakness, but in the end they were all destroyed by the Jedi's Force abilities and lightsaber combat skills during the Battle of Exegol.
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. Ren's shuttle functioned as his mobile command station during the Battle of Crait, shortly after his ascension as Supreme Leader. 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.
List of Supreme Leaders
|34 ABY–35 ABY|