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The Dark Empire, also referred to as the Empire Reborn, was a faction of the Galactic Empire led by the reborn Emperor Palpatine. Although the Empire itself was formed when Palpatine revived himself in a clone body in 4 ABY, it officially revealed itself in 10 ABY, when he became strong enough to resume conquest of his Empire. It collapsed less than a year later in 11 ABY, upon Palpatine's final death on Onderon, as well as the destruction of Byss, the capital of the Dark Empire.
Similar to the Galactic Empire prior to 4 ABY, the Dark Empire's official title was the Galactic Emperor, and utilized several portions of the Imperial military to enforce the Emperor's will via a Diet of Imperial Planetary Governors. Unlike the Empire prior to 4 ABY, however, it was openly a Force-user (in this case, Dark Jedi/Sith)-run group. The primary method of governance was a Dark-Side Magocracy, where the most powerful Force-user (in this case, Palpatine) would rule, with several Dark Side adepts enforcing his will. He also intended to use the dark side of the Force alone to attack his enemies, to the extent that he eventually wouldn't even need to rely on superweapons to enforce his will.
Although the Dark Empire intended to fully replace all superweapons and vessels and solely use dark side-related methods of enforcing its rule, it for the present relied on them until the time came. Force-related weapons included the Shadow Droids, which were biomechanical weapons created with Sith Alchemy, and Chrysalides, which were Rancors mutated by Sith Alchemy. Imperial Sentinels, Force-sensitive guards created from Luke Skywalker's genetic template, were also frequently deployed.
Non-Force related weapons and vessels included various Capital ships, including Imperial-class Star Destroyers, Victory-class Star Destroyers, at least 4 Sovereign-class Star Destroyers, at least one Bellator-class dreadnought, at least five Allegiance-class battlecruisers (including the Allegiance itself), the Eclipse and Eclipse II of the Eclipse-class dreadnoughts, at least one Secutor-class Star Destroyer, at least three Procursator-class Star Destroyers, at least two Vengeance-class dreadnoughts, Lambda-class T-4a shuttles, at least three Executor-class Star Dreadnoughts, and several Modular Taskforce Cruisers (all varieties). Starfighters also included several TIE/LN starfighters (including the elite Dark Squadron) and GAT-12 Skipray Blastboats. Security drones likewise included Hunter-Killer probots. It also possessed superweapons, including the World Devastators and the Galaxy Gun, as well as the Eclipse-class dreadnoughts' equipped superlasers. The standard infantry for the Dark Empire was the Stormtroopers, the ground vehicles were AT-ATs, AT-STs, and A-Q5 Waveskimmers, and its ground weaponry included the X-1 Viper "Automadon".
The direct commander-in-chief for the forces within the Dark Empire was known as the Military Executor.
After Palpatine's death at 4 ABY, his spirit travelled to Byss by possessing Jeng Droga, one of his Emperor's Hands, a process that cost the latter his sanity until he managed to gain a clone body as well as contact Sate Pestage. Palpatine, needing to recover his strength before resuming his conquest and revealing his revival, observed the crumbling state of his Empire from behind the scenes. Likewise, the New Republic, although fully aware of Byss's existence, did not know of its connection to Palpatine, and likewise thought it was simply a civilian population, and thus did not investigate it.
In 10 ABY, having recovered more than enough of his strength, he eventually decided to reveal himself via summoning a Force-created wormhole that resulted in damage to Coruscant — which had already seen enough damage from feuding warlords after it was reconquered by the Galactic Empire — although he deliberately didn't stop the mutiny sooner out of revenge, wanting them to "cull the weak." His Force Storm also resulted in Luke Skywalker being captured and delivered to Byss. He then seemingly converted Luke into his Sith apprentice, and proceeded to launch an attack on Mon Calamari with his World Devastators. In actuality, Luke Skywalker feigned allegiance to Palpatine in order to defeat the Dark Side from within, and proceeded to leak the override codes for the World Devastators, although this did not last long. Palpatine eventually traveled to the New Republic's headquarters, Pinnacle Moon, in his flagship, the Eclipse, and created a Force storm to destroy the Pinnacle Moon, although his plan backfired when Luke and Leia cut him off from the Dark Side and had him consumed by his own creation.
However, he designed a reboot method in case this were to happen and proceeded to take over another clone body, although the rest of his clone bodies were destroyed by Sa-Di and Nefta, and orchestrated Operation Shadow Hand. However, the Dark Empire's leader suffered a loss of sanity as a result of this brush with death, and utilized the Galaxy Gun to destroy various targets, eventually cowing several former Imperial worlds into surrendering and having the New Republic scattered. However, several Imperials were disturbed at their clone Emperor's behavior, and arranged for Carnor Jax, a Sith apprentice and Royal Guard, to bribe his physician to tamper with Palpatine's DNA samples to increase the clones' deterioration rate from his dark side presence. Palpatine was eventually killed on Onderon, failing to possess Anakin Solo, and Byss was destroyed shortly beforehand, thus not only putting an end to the Dark Empire, but also severely crippling the Galactic Empire beyond any chance of recovery. Its remaining assets were later reorganized into the Crimson Empire led by Carnor Jax, although it was short-lived thanks to a joint effort by the New Republic and Kir Kanos, the latter intending to avenge Palpatine's death.
Behind the scenesEdit
The empire that the reborn Palpatine ran was not actually given a name when the comic series was released. It wasn't until The Essential Atlas where it was given a name, which was also the same name as the series it originated in. A similar action happened with its successor, the Crimson Empire.
- Dark Empire (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith
- Dark Empire II
- Empire's End
- Crimson Empire (Mentioned only)
- Dark Empire endnotes
- Dark Empire Sourcebook
- Handbook 3: Dark Empire
- The Emperor's Pawns
- The Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Essential Atlas (First identified as Dark Empire)
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded