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Star Wars: the Galactic Empire explained

The whole focus of the Star Wars saga has always been about stopping the Galactic Empire, but where did this evil organisation come from and who is involved?

Star Wars: the Empire explained: Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine

What is the Galactic Empire in Star Wars? The iconic science fiction movie saga is all about the fight between good and evil, which on the surface mainly sees the Jedi taking on the Sith. There’s larger forces at work though, and pretty much everything bad that happens in the galaxy is down to the Empire getting the better of the Rebellion.

Across all the Star Wars movies, Star Wars series, and various books associated with the franchise, we have heard many things about the Empire and their tyrannical regime to rule the galaxy.

But we need more detail, so let’s dive into the Galactic Empire explained and find out what exactly it is, how it began, and who the main players are in the regime.

What is the Galactic Empire?

The Galactic Empire is a fascist dictatorship that assumed control of the galaxy after the Clone Wars. Led from the core worlds planet Coruscant, the regime promised to bring order to the galaxy, but instead ruled with violence and fear, conquering and colonising many planets and people along the way.

The Empire explained: Darth Sidious in Star Wars

How was the Galactic Empire created?

The rise of the Galactic Empire was made possible by Emperor Palpatine spreading anti-Jedi propaganda across the galaxy and instilling fear and doubt in the people of the Republic. With people afraid and looking for a solution, Palpatine was given too much power and began the aggressive expansion of the Empire.

The Empire was borne out of the Sith’s desire to rule with unlimited power and their great desire to bring about the extinction of their arch-nemeses. It was Palpatine, or to use his true identity, Darth Sidious, who fuelled this mission to regain control of the galaxy and destroy the Jedi.

Among the chaos of the Clone Wars, as depicted in the 2000s movies Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith and the animated series The Clone Wars, Palpatine appointed himself as Emperor. He gained the support of the Imperial Senate thanks to his false promises about offering security and peace for the Republic before bringing it all crashing down around him.

The Empire explained: Darth Vader in Star Wars

Who is involved in the Galactic Empire?

As we said before, the main player at the heart of the Empire was Emperor Palpatine, otherwise known as Darth Sidious. The Star Wars villain was the orchestrator of the Empire’s rise to power and oversaw the regime’s tyrannical rule of the galaxy, ruling with fear and violence.

By his side, Sidious had many powerful allies who did the dirty work for him. The most famous of all, of course, was Darth Vader, the Sith Lord formerly known as Anakin Skywalker before his fall to the Dark Side. Vader was a formidable and incredibly powerful enforcer for Palpatine and was the main man when it came to taking down enemies of the Empire. Vader was also in command of the Galactic Empire’s most fearsome soldiers, including the Stormtroopers and the Death troopers.

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Before him, there was Count Dooku, another Jedi who fell to the Dark Side of the Force (the Jedi really should be more careful with their guys changing sides). Dooku had the help of General Grievous, a cybernetic warrior who liked to collect the lightsabers of the Jedi he killed in battle.

It wasn’t all about powerful fighters, though. The Empire was actually more reliant on cruel people in positions of power within the Imperial regime, such as Dedra Meero, Admiral Thrawn, Admiral Tarkin, and Admiral Yularen. These are the ones who made the Empire tick, recruiting and coordinating thousands upon thousands of lower-level officers and soldiers and overseeing the creation of the Death Star to maintain the Empire’s grip on the galaxy in the face of the Rebellion, led by the likes of Mon Mothma and Luthen Rael.

That’s all on the Empire for now, but there’s sure to be more by the time Andor season 2 arrives. If you want more from the galaxy far, far away, check out our list of the best Star Wars cameos and best Star Wars scenes, or dive into our guide to The Mandalorian season 3.