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Galactic Empire
Emblem of the Galactic Empire
Emblem of the Galactic Empire
Form of Government Absolute monarchy de facto
Constitutional monarchy de jure
Capital Coruscant (Imperial Center), Thyferra, Byss, Ord Cantrell, Bastion
Head of State Galactic Emperor
Supreme Commander Galactic Emperor, Military Executor (17 BBY – 4 ABY) (10–11 ABY), Supreme Commander (17 BBY – 4 ABY, 8 ABY –)
Head of Government Grand Vizier (17 BBY – 4 ABY) (10–11 ABY), Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet (12 ABY –)
Executive Branch Imperial Ruling Council (17 BBY – 4 ABY), Central Committee of Grand Moffs (5 ABY), Imperial Ruling Council (11 ABY), Council of Moffs (12 ABY –)
Legislative Branch Imperial Senate, Council of Moffs
Establishment 17 BBY
Fragmentation 4 ABY
Final dissolution 11 ABY
Reorganized into Imperial Remnant 19 ABY

The Galactic Empire is one of the main factions in the fictional universe of Star Wars. It is a galaxy-spanning regime established by the series' lead villain, Palpatine, to replace the Galactic Republic in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The Galactic Empire is introduced in A New Hope. The Empire also appears in The Empire Strikes Back, and in Return of the Jedi.

The Empire's origins are explained in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, where it replaces the Galactic Republic in the midst of a crisis orchestrated by Palpatine, then the Republic's Supreme Chancellor. In a scene towards the end of the film, Palpatine appoints himself Emperor in the presence of the Galactic Senate, afterwards the Imperial Senate. By the time of A New Hope, the Empire has transformed into a merciless totalitarian regime, still struggling with the Rebel Alliance.





The Galactic Empire is born out of the failing, collapsing Old Republic. However, the seeds of change are planted during the Clone Wars, the epic war between the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems depicted in Attack of the Clones.

When the extent of the Separatist threat becomes clear in Episode III, the Old Republic Senate, the legislature of the Republic, grants Palpatine extended parliamentary powers to deal with the crisis. This conflict allows Palpatine to remain in office long after his term as Chancellor officially expires. Palpatine promises to return his powers to the Senate once peace and order is restored to the galaxy. He takes advantage of the conflict to greatly increase the office's power until by Episode III, he is effectively a dictator.

The Jedi begin to distrust the Chancellor's motives, fearing he has come under the influence of a Sith Lord named Darth Sidious. Their concerns are shared by several Loyalist Senators, who suspect Palpatine may not return his emergency powers to the Senate as promised. Among them are two who had long supported Palpatine, Padmé Amidala and Bail Organa. The film eventually reveals that Palpatine and Sidious are one and the same, and that he has been manipulating the Republic and the Separatists against each other.

When the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker discovers Palpatine is actually the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, he returns to the Jedi Temple to inform Jedi Master Mace Windu what he has learned. Windu then leaves with three other Masters to arrest Palpatine, instructing Anakin to remain at the temple. However, because Anakin is afraid that his wife, Padmé Amidala, will die in childbirth, and since he has been deceived into thinking that Palpatine has the knowledge to save her, he ignores Mace Windu's directive and returns to the Chancellor's office to prevent the Jedi from killing him. The Jedi try and fail to arrest him, being cut down at the hands of Sidious' lightsaber. Only Mace Windu remains in the fight by the time Anakin arrives. When Anakin enters the room Windu is standing over Palpatine, the Chancellor having lost his lightsaber out of the broken window. The Sith Lord then tries to dispatch Jedi Master Mace Windu by blasting him with Force lightning. However, Windu turns it back onto its source with his lightsaber, horribly scarring Palpatine's face. As Windu is about to kill Palpatine, Anakin intervenes on Palpatine's behalf by cutting off Windu's hand, allowing Palpatine to send Windu plunging to his death with a renewed blast of lightning. Anakin, then gives in to the dark side of the Force, becoming his Sith apprentice, Darth Vader.

Palpatine declares the Jedi to be traitors and enemies of the Republic. Secure in his power and position, Palpatine reorganizes the Republic into the Galactic Empire, with himself as supreme Galactic Emperor for life. Shortly prior to this declaration, Palpatine issues Order 66, a secret order he implanted in the clones to overthrow their Jedi commanders. In a matter of hours, nearly all Jedi are wiped out across the galaxy.

The Senate enthusiastically supports Palpatine's "safe and secure society", although a few, like Padmé and Bail, realize that the "freedom" enshrined by the Republic is in serious jeopardy. A deleted scene in the film establishes that the two are among the main founders of the Rebel Alliance, which later arises in A New Hope.

Two remaining Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, attempt to attack and destroy the Sith once and for all. Yoda confronts Palpatine in an epic duel, and Obi-Wan duels his former apprentice, now Darth Vader. Even though Obi-Wan succeeds at defeating (but not killing) Vader, Yoda is unable to defeat the new Galactic Emperor.

Led by Darth Vader, the Emperor's Army of stormtroopers all but exterminate the Jedi Order.

Organization of power

Emperor Palpatine rules the Empire with absolute power, with third-in-command Sate Pestage as Grand Vizier to run the Empire day to day. Vader is the Emperor's second-in-command as well as the Military Executor and Supreme Commander of the Imperial Forces.

Palpatine dissolves the Senate in A New Hope because the Empire discovers several seats in the Senate are actually taken by members of the Rebellion. However, the Senate had been a powerless advisory body for some time; real power is in the hands of sector governors ("moffs") and priority sector Grand Moffs such as Grand Moff Tarkin. Eventually, the regional governors are granted direct control over their territories after Palpatine disbands the Imperial Senate.

In A New Hope, Tarkin explains the Empire's philosophy as "rule through fear of force rather than force itself."[citation needed] The instrument of this power is the military, which includes the Imperial Stormtroopers, Scout Troopers, Sandtroopers, SCUBA troopers, Snowtroopers, and a large fleet of intimidating war vehicles such as the Imperial Navy's Star Destroyers and the Imperial Army's All Terrain Armoured Transports (AT-ATs or imperial walkers) which are intended in part to spread fear as well as destroy the enemy. This policy reaches its zenith with the construction of the Death Star, a moon-sized superweapon. Plans for the Death Star first appear in Attack of the Clones; construction begins at the end of Revenge of the Sith and would last approximately twenty years. The plot of A New Hope was for the Rebellion to destroy the Death Star.

Imperial Army

The Imperial Army is the main ground force of the Galactic Empire in the fictional Star Wars universe.

The Imperial Army is a part of the Empire's armed forces. It operates massive ground combat vehicles and maintains garrisons across the galaxy. It also cooperates with other branches of the Empire in a variety of operations. The Imperial Army consists of a considerable number of legions, enough to project power through out the galaxy. Some of the legions are stationed on the capital planet Coruscant, while others are scattered in the Imperial Navy and planetary garrisons across the galaxy. Imperial Army officers and crew typically wear gray uniforms.

Imperial Navy

In the fictional Star Wars galaxy, the Imperial Navy, also referred to as the Imperial Starfleet, was the military arm of the Galactic Empire in charge of maintaining security, peace and order in the galaxy. The Imperial Navy had absorbed the military forces of the Galactic Republic after Palpatine's declaration of the New Order.

At its peak, the Imperial Navy fielded at least tens of thousands of warships and fulfilled the Emperor's will throughout the galaxy. After its defeat at the Battle of Endor, the Galactic Empire splits up into warring factions and the Imperial Starfleet splinters along with it. While much of the remnants of the Imperial Navy were later reunited under impressive Imperial commanders, the military organization covered in this article ceased to exist shortly after the death of the Emperor.

Specific responsibilities of the Imperial Navy included defending Imperial citizens from space-based threats such as pirates, smugglers and rebel contingents, enforcing Imperial Will, and overseeing commerce through customs and blockade operations. The Imperial Navy also performs orbital bombardments, transports major ground force deployments and supports them with space and aerial support.

Resistance to Imperial rule

In The Force Unleashed, influential senators—Bail Organa of Alderaan, Garm Bel Iblis of Corellia, and Mon Mothma of Chandrila—meet in secret to sign the Corellian Treaty, forming the Alliance to Restore the Republic, more commonly referred to as the Rebel Alliance. During the nineteen years that take place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, the Rebellion's early groups are all but crushed by the Empire, and its leaders are constantly forced into hiding or killed.

The Death Star, a moon-sized space station (whose construction begins at the end of Episode III) with sufficient firepower to destroy an entire planet, is designed to be the supreme weapon of the Empire's power. Grand Moff Willhuff Tarkin, the station's commander, demonstrates that power in A New Hope, when he destroys Alderaan merely as a show of force of the Galactic Empire. In the film's climactic scene, however, the station is assaulted by a small force of Rebel starfighters; the battle ends with the Death Star's destruction at the hands of Luke Skywalker. The victory is the Rebel Alliance's first major success against the Empire.

The Empire is permanently defeated in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. In the film's climactic battle, the Rebellion destroys the second Death Star and a great portion of the Imperial Navy's highest ranking officers. During this battle, Vader is redeemed by throwing Palpatine to his death, but is mortally wounded by Force lightning intended to kill his son, Luke.

Expanded Universe

In the Expanded Universe, the Rebels, renamed the New Republic, fight to claim the galaxy from remaining Imperials styling themselves as independent controllers of portions of the galaxy.

In the Jedi Prince novel series, a group of impostors calling themselves the Prophets of the Dark Side, install a three-eyed mutant named Trioculus as Emperor by claiming that he is Palpatine's son. By the end of the series, Palpatine's true son, Triclops, helps the Rebels defeat this new enemy.

In the Thrawn trilogy book series, the new republic is almost brought to its knees by Grand Admiral Thrawn, the new leader of the remnants of the Empire and a miltary genuis. By the time of the third book in the series, Thrawn has nearly defeated the New Republic, but is defeated by a last-ditch effort of the New Republic, and Thrawn is killed by his own bodyguard, thus defeating the Empire, shattering its unity.

In the Dark Empire comic book series, Palpatine is reborn in a clone body and unites most of the scattered remnants of the Empire, hoping to retake control of the galaxy. By the sequel, Empire's End, he is defeated and destroyed once and for all.

In the Jedi Academy Trilogy, an Imperial admiral named Daala commandeers the remainder of the Imperial Navy and mounts a ferocious assault on the New Republic. She nearly succeeds in taking over the galaxy, but is foiled by New Republic pilots Wedge Antilles and Lando Calrissian in the final entry, Champions of the Force.

In the novel Darksaber, Admiral Daala, frustrated with the Imperial warlords in the Core fighting and bickering amongst themselves, orchestrates the warlords' deaths and unites and becomes the leader of the remaining Imperial forces. After being defeated in battle once again by the New Republic, she resigns and selects Gilad Pellaeon (originally in the Thrawn Trilogy) as the new leader, where he becomes Grand Admiral Pellaeon.

By the time of the New Jedi Order series, the remaining Imperial military factions sign a truce with the New Republic, becoming the Imperial Remnant.

The Star Wars: Legacy comic book series, set 140 years after Return of the Jedi, explains that, during a civil war, the New Galactic Empire declares war on the Galactic Alliance. This conflict begins the Sith-Imperial War, which after three years leads to the eventual defeat of the Galactic Alliance and the Galactic Empire asserting its domination over the galaxy once again. Another split occurs as Darth Krayt usurps the throne and forces Emperor Roan Fel to take refuge in the fortress planet of Bastion.

See also


  1. "Vision of the Future", 1st paperback printing 1999, Timothy Zahn, ISBN 0-553-57879-0

External links

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