- "Is it so wrong to be a murderer? Or a liar? Or an inhuman monster? I may be all of those things, but I still have a heart."
Trioculus was a three-eyed mutant warlord of the Galactic Empire who declared himself Emperor a year after the Battle of Endor, leading his own Imperial warlord faction. As a figurehead of the Central Committee of Grand Moffs, led by his mentor Bertroff Hissa, Trioculus took control of the remnants of the Empire in opposition to Ysanne Isard.
The self-proclaimed son of Palpatine, Trioculus was in actuality an impostor, usurping the role of Palpatine's true son, three-eyed mutant Triclops. Spurred on by a prophecy of Rajah Ubooki, the false Kadann, he sought the glove of Darth Vader to establish his legitimacy. Trioculus's pursuit of the Jedi Prince Ken and his infatuation with Leia Organa pitted him against rival Zorba Desilijic Tiure, and led to him being taken captive by the Hutt and frozen in carbonite. Trioculus was eventually betrayed by Kadann, who sought the Imperial throne himself, and in the end was assassinated by a New Republic droid.
Unbeknownst to him, Trioculus was the result of secret scientific experiments that were conducted at the behest of Palpatine, then Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. Behind his civilized, almost grandfatherly looks, Palpatine was in fact the public persona of Darth Sidious, a Dark Lord of the Sith who was obsessed with piercing the secrets of life and death. Under the watchful eye of Sly Moore, Palpatine's advisor, the scientists Mammon Hoole and Borborygmus Gog experimented into the spontaneous generation of life by utilizing Niobi, a woman from Bordal, as their "test subject." Initial experiments proved very unsuccessful, resulting in deformed, polycephalic homunculi with misshapen limbs. After constantly putting the matter back on the drawing-board, Hoole and Gog ended up eliminating all abnormalities in their sole successful specimen save one: a third eye, located on the forehead. The resulting mutant child was christened "Trioculus."
What seemed like a disability for the child could in fact have been a blessing. Indeed, the Prophets of the Dark Side knew of a legend stating that the will of the Force would produce a perfectly symmetrical three-eyed being once every millennium. More importantly, the legend added that such a being would be gifted with undeniable power and magnetism. In any event, the birth of Trioculus did not please Sarcev Quest, one of Palpatine's Force-using protégés. The newborn child and his mother Niobi were spirited away on Quest's order, and both were deported to the spice mines of Kessel, which were managed by the brutal Lord Overseer Reskell Twane.
When Trioculus was still very young, his mother met an untimely death in the mines. Perhaps because of his keen intelligence, Twane felt compassion for the three-eyed orphan. He took Trioculus under his protection and even sent him to school. The boy's third eye, however, made him a target of ridicule from his schoolmates. Trioculus hated this and became obsessed with exacting vengeance on his tormentors, and over time developed a knack for spying on and reporting his classmates.
In later years, Trioculus studied military tactics and history and devoted himself to learning the means of manipulation. Trioculus made few friends, but those he had were well placed. He was fully dedicated to the Empire - that and his extensive knowledge of military matters earned him the friendship of several higher-ups in the Imperial Military, including Grand Moff Bertroff Hissa. Hissa oversaw the young man's development, and under his tutelage Trioculus rose to become the ruthless Lord Overseer and Supreme Slavelord of the spice mines on his homeworld of Kessel by 0 BBY.
Trioculus was infamous for his brutal methods. He worked thousands of slaves to their deaths, had thousands more killed during a revolt, and once destroyed a dam to flood out settlers who were causing problems. He also allowed glitterstim to be leaked to certain populations to keep them under control, by Palpatine's command. As an agent of the Imperial Security Bureau, he informed the organization's leadership of operations on Kessel. However, Commander Maximillian Seerdon of the ISB did not see greatness in Trioculus's future.
The new Emperor
- "We have heard from Trioculus, the Emperor's son, and we shall obey him, one and all!"
- ―Bertroff Hissa
In the wake of Palpatine's death at Endor, many of the surviving remnants of the Empire sought to take control of the Imperial state. Eventually Ysanne Isard, former Director of Imperial Intelligence, rose above the rest. In 5 ABY the Central Committee of Grand Moffs, wanting to retain their power, raised their own candidate as a rival to Isard—Trioculus. Declaring him to be the Emperor's son, they rallied thousands of Imperial leaders to join them on Kessel and hear Trioculus's claim to the Imperial throne.
Trioculus's claim to inheritance of the Imperial throne was strengthened by his resemblance to Triclops, Palpatine's three-eyed son who had once been imprisoned on Kessel. As Supreme Slavelord, Trioculus had taken a special interest in tormenting Triclops, promising that in time he would usurp his role as Palpatine's son. The Grand Moffs had considered Triclops as an Imperial leader, but believing him to be insane decided that Trioculus would be more trustworthy and more willing to serve as a figurehead while the Central Committee held the real power. Though fully aware that the Central Committee was exercising their own power through his rule, Trioculus consented to this role. For their part, the Moffs showed him great loyalty in return, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the warlord.
Though rumors of Palpatine having a son with three eyes had circulated through the Empire, Trioculus was the first to seemingly confirm them. His claim was supported by Grand Moff Hissa, leader of the Central Committee of Grand Moffs who ostensibly served as Trioculus' second-in-command, but in fact was the true power of the Committee. At a secret meeting of Imperials on Kessel, Trioculus was proclaimed Emperor and named the "new chosen one," referring to himself as a "Dark Lord" whose third eye granted him secret powers known to "the ancients."
However, his right to rule did not go unquestioned. Many throughout the galaxy had laid claim to the throne, including Grand Admiral Josef Grunger, who had amassed a fleet of thirty Star Destroyers and one Executor-class Star Dreadnought at the planet Gargon. Additionally, Rajah Ubooki, an impostor of the Prophet of the Dark Side Kadann had made an equally false "prophecy" that the new Emperor would hold the glove of Darth Vader, worn on the hand that he had lost in his duel with Luke Skywalker, which was said to have survived the destruction of the Death Star II. Two present at the convocation, a Grand Admiral and a Royal Guard, raised this point with Trioculus; in response, he tortured them, seemingly with Force lightning. This display quickly earned him the loyalty of those present.
Though most of the fleet continued to serve Isard, Trioculus had the backing of the Grand Moffs, multiple Grand Admirals and many other military leaders and warlords. He briefly had the allegiance of Grand Admiral Miltin Takel, who had his own reasons for opposing Grunger, but Trioculus had Takel executed when the spice-high admiral expressed doubt at his ability to retain power.
The glove of Darth Vader
- "Find me the glove of Darth Vader!"
To get to a rank were he could get the glove, he posed as the Emperor's son. To quiet any remaining doubts about him, Trioculus determined to find Vader's glove before any other contender for the throne did, and in doing so win the support of the false Kadann. He ordered the Moffs to begin a galaxy-wide search for the glove. He didn't find anything for a long time. As faith in Trioculus began to diminish amongst his supporters, the warlord grew desperate. However, he had a stroke of luck when an Imperial agent, Captain Dunwell, discovered several pieces of the Death Star's debris in the Valley of the Giant Oysters on Mon Calamari, one of which had revealed the outline of a glove when scanned.
Trioculus and Hissa immediately set out for Mon Calamari, where they were greeted by Dunwell at his Whaladon Processing Center, a poaching operation for the native sentient Whaladon species. In his Whaladon-hunting submarine, Dunwell took Trioculus and Hissa to the site of the wreckage. Secretly followed by Luke Skywalker and Admiral Gial Ackbar in a Calamarian minisub, Trioculus retrieved the glove. When Skywalker and Ackbar's minisub was accidentally captured by one of Dunwell's Whaladon-capturing devices, Luke infiltrated the vessel and triggered its self-destruct. Trioculus and Hissa narrowly escaped, the warlord vowing to have his vengeance on Skywalker.
Despite Trioculus's announcement that he had retrieved the glove, the independent Imperial forces did not immediately fall in line behind him. Grunger and COMPNOR declared that they would only give their support with the official blessing of Kadann. Trioculus and Hissa traveled to Space Station Scardia, the headquarters of the false Prophets, to meet with the Supreme Prophet. Once Kadann forced Trioculus to reveal that he was not, in fact, Palpatine's son, he promptly named him Emperor and gave him his dark blessing.
The Jedi Prince
- "Find the Jedi Prince and destroy him—or he will destroy you!"
- ―Kadann's prophecy to Trioculus
Kadann had another prophecy for Trioculus; the Jedi Prince Ken, he said, would destroy Trioculus if Trioculus did not destroy him first. He counseled Trioculus to find Ken in the Lost City of the Jedi on Yavin 4, though he knew the warlord would never succeed.
Trioculus set out in his Strike-class cruiser for Yavin 4. Upon arriving at the moon, he dispatched an explosive-lined probe droid to a meeting of the Senate Planetary Intelligence Network, to whom he issued an ultimatum; if they did not provide the location of the Lost City, he would detonate the droid. Luke Skywalker, present at the meeting, quickly disabled the probe and its detonator, forcing Trioculus to resort to his backup plan: burning down the forests of Yavin 4 until he found the city's entrance.
Trioculus had had devices installed in the glove of Darth Vader to simulate the effects of the Force; they had been taking their toll on his health ever since then, and during the attack Trioculus found himself suddenly struck blind. A Ho'Din named Baji living on Yavin 4 seemed to be the only solution, and Trioculus had him apprehended. Baji informed him that the rare kibo plant, found only in the rapidly burning forests of the moon, could cure him. While obtaining it, Trioculus was burned and badly scarred. He eventually decided to remove the true glove and replace it with a replica.
In the meantime, the Rebels rallied, used the moon's weather control system to quench the fires, and destroyed all but one of Trioculus's ships. The warlord and his coterie retreated. Trioculus again swore vengeance, this time upon the entire New Republic—with the exception of Leia Organa. His plan foiled, Trioculus placed a large bounty on Ken.
Zorba the Hutt
- "We met as friends today. We congratulated each other. But from now until the end of time, you and I are sworn enemies! And once a Hutt makes an enemy, there is no retreat until death!"
- ―Zorba Desilijic Tiure to Trioculus
Meanwhile, intent on securing his Empire, Trioculus ramped up production of war matériel. One such operation was a massive factory barge located near the core of Bespin, mining the gas giant's Rethin Sea to use in the production of weaponry and ammunition. Though the amount of air pollution this facility produced drew complaints from Lando Calrissian, Baron Administrator of Cloud City, the warlord was not fazed, threatening an invasion if Calrissian did not capitulate.
While on Bespin visiting Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and his sister Leia Organa accidentally stumbled upon the factory barge. When they approached the huge craft to reconnoiter it, they were shot down, and Leia was taken captive. From the moment Trioculus saw Leia, he had been smitten with her and wanted her to join him in matrimony. Now that he had her as his prisoner, he set about attempting to win her over.
Zorba, meanwhile, had taken over Cloud City from Calrissian. Having learned of Leia Organa's complicity in the death of his son, Zorba got wind from an Imperial spy that she was being held by Trioculus. By coincidence, Trioculus's own target, Ken, had been arrested shortly before by Cloud City's police. Seeing an opportunity, Zorba arranged a meeting to negotiate with the warlord. When Trioculus interrogated Ken to assure himself that it was, in fact, the correct boy, he discovered that the danger Ken posed lay in what he had learned from the Jedi library in the Lost City; Ken was aware that Triclops, and not Trioculus, was the true son of Palpatine.
Trioculus demanded that Zorba give him the boy, and Zorba named his price: that Trioculus remove his factory barge from Bespin and hand over custody of Leia Organa so Zorba could take her life in revenge. The latter was unacceptable to Trioculus, and he ordered his stormtroopers to attack. Zorba, however, was prepared, and his greater force of Cloud Police overwhelmed Trioculus's troops and seized the Imperial leader. Trioculus was transported to the same carbon-freezing chamber that Han Solo had once been frozen in. Though he made a last-ditch attempt to bribe Zorba, offering him a share of power and the rank of grand admiral, it was to no avail, and the Hutt had Trioculus encased in a slab of carbonite. He placed the warlord's frozen body in the Figg & Associates Art Museum under heavy guard, keeping him as a hostage to prevent any Imperial retaliation.
- "Tormented and frozen alive
The three-eyed ruler commands no more.
Never again shall he receive
The dark blessing of the Supreme Prophet."
Trioculus having failed in his mission, the false Kadann now seized the opportunity. From Scardia Station he revoked his blessing of Trioculus, declaring himself the new Emperor. The Central Committee, in the meantime, were working to get Trioculus back. When Zorba left Cloud City for Tatooine, chief of police Muskov alerted the Imperial forces in orbit of Bespin. Bribing the museum guards, they retrieved Trioculus's body, but before they could thaw it, a vessel of the Prophets arrived, the false High Prophet Jedgar on board. Jedgar demanded that the moffs relinquish Trioculus; as leverage, he blackmailed Hissa with damaging information the Prophets' agents had collected. Trioculus was handed over and taken to Scardia Station.
When Trioculus's slab arrived at Scardia Station, Kadann and the Prophets had it taken to the station's neutron furnace and exposed it to the furnace's deadly rays. Their heat was such that the block was entirely vaporized, leaving no trace of it or Trioculus. To the Prophets and Moffs, it appeared as though Trioculus were dead.
As it turned out, both parties had been deceived. The block Zorba had displayed in the Cloud City Museum had been a replica. The real body of Trioculus was kept in a hidden compartment on Zorba's ship, the Zorba Express. It was not until the Grand Moffs' Moffship intercepted the Express over Tatooine, intending on avenging themselves upon Zorba for capturing Trioculus, that they found it. Having obtained it, they quickly set about reviving their Emperor. Once free from the carbonite, Trioculus learned that the Prophets had betrayed him, cursed them, then prepared to have his revenge on Zorba. Zorba stalled Trioculus, however, when he informed him that he had Leia imprisoned. Trioculus promised to free him if he gave her location.
When Trioculus found Leia, her feelings towards him had not changed. However, after Trioculus threatened to return her to Zorba, she decided that the warlord was preferable. Taking this as a sign, Trioculus told Hissa to make preparations for a wedding. Then, breaking his vow with Zorba, he had the Hutt thrown into the Great Pit of Carkoon. Trioculus had Leia watch, believing this would make her grateful to him and make her accept her own darkness when she saw how much pleasure she took in Zorba's death. This did not seem to be the case, but he nonetheless assigned a detail of stormtroopers to Leia and left to prepare for the wedding.
For some time, the New Republic had had a project in the works at the Defense Research and Planetary Assistance Center on Dagobah: Project Decoy. Its goal, per its name, was to create a decoy for Leia, and the product was a Human replica droid in her image. In addition to being able to distract enemies from the true Leia, the droid was also armed with lasers in its eyes.
A New Republic party, including Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and the Leia droid, made their way onto the ship while the rest of the crew was distracted by Zorba's execution. They ambushed Leia's stormtrooper escort and took their armor, then, replacing the real Leia with the droid Leia, escaped from the Moffship. When Trioculus summoned Leia for his wedding, it was in fact her droid double.
- "Ahhhhhhh! Demon of darknesssss…"
- ―Trioculus, upon being shot by the Leia Organa droid
Though Trioculus noted that Leia's escort was gone, he was simply pleased that she had apparently acquiesced. Trioculus and Leia approached the altar, Grand Moff Hissa behind it. As Hissa began to read from the Dark Book of Imperial Justice, the Leia droid suddenly opened fire from its eyes, shooting Trioculus in the chest. Hissa pulled a blaster and destroyed the droid, and MD-5 and several medical droids quickly tended to the fallen Trioculus.
His wounds were too great, however. The door into the room was locked, and rumors immediately began to spread throughout the vessel of Trioculus's fate. In his last minutes, the dying Trioculus warned Hissa of Kadann's ambition, and made him vow to destroy Luke Skywalker. Hissa promised, and in that moment the Emperor died. Trioculus was cremated and his ashes launched into space in four containers, each sent out in a different direction.
Personality and traits
- "You're a liar, a killer, and a destructive monster!"
"You flatter me."
- ―Ken and Trioculus
Trioculus considered himself an expert at deception. Though he admitted to a certain amount of inhumanity, Trioculus believed the use of evil was necessary, and did not think this side of him diminished his positive aspects.
Trioculus's third eye had a large effect on his perception of himself. Teased as a child for it, even as an adult he was displeased when others found it repulsive. He personally considered having three eyes to be a mark of perfection, and in his speech on Kessel declared that a three-eyed being had a hidden strength, believing it granted him above-ordinary insight. In his mind, his eye elevated him above Palpatine.
Powers and abilities
- "My father, the Emperor, had many powers of the Dark Side. But without three eyes he could never achieve perfection."
Trioculus's third eye possessed hypnotic powers, allowing him to force the truth out of other beings. Triclops shared this ability, and as his third eye was also able to emit powerful magnetic forces, it is possible that Trioculus had that ability as well.
Though Trioculus had no Force-sensitivity, he had cybernetic implants in his fingertips that allowed him to simulate Force lightning. In this way he furthered the ruse that he was the son of Palpatine. This ability came with a price, however, as using it would inflict some level of electric damage on his own body.
Trioculus believed that wearing the glove of Darth Vader would grant him the Dark Lord's telekinetic powers. When this proved not to be the case, his droid MD-5 installed a set of sonic devices in the glove that could emit a high-pitched sound capable of killing a target. These too would enhance the illusion that he could master the Force. Like the lightning devices, they also afflicted his body, eventually forcing him to discard the glove.
Trioculus had few friends in his life, though of those he had, most of them were highly positioned in the Imperial hierarchy. His desire to control others extended even to them. In addition, he had a handful of close confidants, and one known romantic interest: Leia Organa.
Bertroff Hissa was Trioculus's mentor, and was responsible for the man's rise to power. Even as Trioculus took the throne of the Empire, Hissa remained the true power behind him. Trioculus trusted Hissa more than any other moff, and for his part Hissa returned the trust; even as Kadann took power, Hissa remained loyal to Trioculus to his death, an act for which the warlord commended him on his deathbed.
Trioculus's droid MD-5, or Emdee, was a constant companion of the warlord, and a loyal and trusted servant. Emdee was known to arrange meals for Trioculus, attend to his medical needs, and build the special devices Trioculus used in his pretense at being the son of Palpatine. He was present even at Trioculus's most confidential conversations. The two shared much the same relationship as Luke Skywalker did with C-3PO and R2-D2.
During his campaign against the New Republic, Trioculus became infatuated with Leia Organa. Though the feeling was not mutual, Trioculus believed he could convince her to betray the New Republic and turn to the dark side of the Force. His attempts to do so included telling her to accept her own darker aspects, and explaining that evil acts and murder were sometimes necessary, and did not diminish his own capacity to love.
Trioculus's obsession with Leia would ultimately lead to his downfall: first when he tried to kill Zorba the Hutt for wanting her dead, which led to his capture and the rise of Kadann, and finally when he married Project Decoy's Human replica droid, believing it to be Leia, which killed him.
Behind the scenes
Trioculus's name, broken down into its Latin roots, literally means "three eyes". Interestingly, though, Triclops, the true son of Palpatine, is named after the Greek word for "Three Eyes". According to Mission from Mount Yoda, it holds this meaning in-universe as well.
The Star Wars Insider article 20 Most Memorable Moments of the Expanded Universe labeled "The Villainy of Emperor Trioculus and Grand Moff Hissa" as the fourth "goofiest moment" of the Expanded Universe.
The Jedi Prince series, in which Trioculus first appears, implies that he was the sole leader of the Empire during this time period. The Essential Chronology introduced the retcon that Trioculus and Ysanne Isard were rivals for the Empire's leadership.
- The Glove of Darth Vader (First appearance)
- The Lost City of the Jedi
- Zorba the Hutt's Revenge
- Mission from Mount Yoda
- Queen of the Empire
- Prophets of the Dark Side
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Behind the Magic
- The Essential Chronology
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Third Edition, Revised and Expanded
- The Emperor's Pawns"—Star Wars Gamer 5 "
- "Who's Who: Imperial Grand Admirals" – Star Wars Insider 66
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- The New Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Guide to Droids
- ""Statue" quo à Sluis Van"—Casus Belli 89
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- (Indirect mention only)
Notes and references
- Darth Plagueis
- The Glove of Darth Vader
- Underworld Appendix: Swoops, Spice, and Wretched Rogues
- Queen of the Empire
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Lost City of the Jedi
- Mission from Mount Yoda
- "Who's Who: Imperial Grand Admirals" – Star Wars Insider 66
- The Dark Side Sourcebook
- As explained by Abel G. Peña on the Jedi Council Forums, he intended Miltin Takel to be this Grand Admiral in the article Who's Who: Imperial Grand Admirals. However, due to miscommunication with illustrator Joe Corroney, Corroney drew Takel with the appearance of another Imperial seen in a later meeting with Trioculus. As it is, which Grand Admiral was in this scene remains ambiguous. It may be Takel, with some artistic license assumed in the illustration, or it may be an entirely different one; Peña has proposed Rufaan Tigellinus as a possibility at .
- Prophets of the Dark Side
- Zorba the Hutt's Revenge
- 20 Most Memorable Moments of the Expanded Universe