- "Those were Imperial Guards, Lando. The Emperor's personal protectors—handpicked from the very best of his forces. Out of millions of soldiers, they are unsurpassed."
- ―Korin Pers, to Lando Calrissian
The Emperor's Royal Guard, also referred to as the Imperial Royal Guard or Imperial Guard, was an elite order of protectors assigned to Emperor Sheev Palpatine of the Galactic Empire. Armed with force pikes and fully clad in their anonymous helmets and crimson robes, the Royal Guards were a silent, imposing, and deadly force in the Emperor's service. In addition to strict requirements of height, strength, intelligence, and loyalty, only the most capable soldiers in the Imperial Military qualified for duty in the ranks of the Royal Guard.
Prior to the Imperial Era, the Senate Guard was responsible for the security of the Supreme Chancellor and the Galactic Senate of the Republic. Their service to the government's executive branch diminished under the chancellery of Palpatine, who gradually supplemented the Senate Guards with clone shock troopers of the Coruscant Guard along with a new force of bodyguards known as the Red Guard.
Recruited from the ranks of the Senate Guard, the Red Guards steadily supplanted their counterparts as the protectors of Chancellor Palpatine over the course of the Clone Wars. With the end of the war and the Proclamation of the New Order in 19 BBY, the newly-anointed Emperor Palpatine retained the red-robed guards—now a force of royal bodyguards—whereas the Senate Guard was disbanded and replaced by Imperial stormtroopers and the Royal Guard. On occasion if needed or ordered by Palpatine, they could take orders from his apprentice, Darth Vader.
Known simply as the "Red Guard", they were formed by Sheev Palpatine after he was elected Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Senate. Recruited from the ranks of the Senate Guard, the Red Guards were slowly brought in by Palpatine to replace their blue-clad counterparts. Their red robes melted in with the red decor of the Chancellor's office and they were stationed at the entrance even prior to the start of the Clone Wars. However, Palpatine did not always have them present and more often than not still depended on the protection of the elite Senate Commandos. It would also be well into the war before Palpatine stepped out in public with the Red Guards who remained silent and imposing.
At the end of the war Palpatine declared himself Emperor and reorganized the Republic into the Galactic Empire. The Emperor's Royal Guard formally took their position at Palpatine's side and were only occasionally relieved by the Coruscant Guard to accompany the Emperor off Coruscant. The Senate Guards themselves were phased out completely by the Royal Guard and the Imperial stormtroopers.
In 19 BBY, when Palpatine unveiled the Inquisitorius to Darth Vader, Royal Guards provided security to their center of operations located in The Works, as well as internal security when the Inquisitors were training.
In 14 BBY, several Royal Guards accompanied Palpatine and Darth Vader during a mission to Ryloth designed to lure the Free Ryloth movement out of hiding. Several Royal Guards were killed when Palpatine and Vader's shuttle crash-landed in the planet Ryloth's equatorial forest. Two Royal Guards, a captain and Sergeant Erstin Deez, survived the crash-landing and escorted their Sith masters. The captain was later killed by lyleks but Deez survived long enough for Imperial reinforcements under Moff Delian Mors to rescue them. During the Galactic Civil War, the Royal Guards were often used in battle as assassins, armed with force pikes, vibroblades, and many other concealed weapons.
During the liberation of Lothal, three Royal Guards were sent along Thrawn aboard the latter's flagship the Chimaera. After the Jedi padawan Ezra Bridger declined Palpatine's offer to help him control the world between worlds, the Dark Lord ordered the Imperial troops to execute the boy. The three Royal Guards entered the room and used some modified force pikes with magnetic clamps to subdue him. Bridger however managed to hurl a few boulders and rocks at the incoming stormtroopers and crushed the guards.
Despite their primary function being to safeguard the Emperor, Palpatine did not make exclusive use of them, as two Royal Guards were seen at one point on Mustafar in Vader's castle in 0 BBY protecting the vulnerable Sith Lord when Vaneé informed Vader of Director Orson Krennic's arrival to discuss the Death Star.
Following the Battle of Yavin, two Royal Guards were stationed aboard the Emperor's luxury yacht Imperialis while it was undergoing a refit at Sienar Fleet Systems' Orbital Shipyard CC-24 above the planet Castell. These guards were guarding the ship's central chamber which stored several Sith artifacts including a Sith helmet sculpted by Lord Momin. After Lando Calrissian and his companions stole the Imperialis, one of the guards stabbed Lobot with his vibroblade. The guards were then killed by the alien clone warriors Aleksin and Pavol. Korin Pers discovered that the guards had been corrupted by the dark side of the Force.
The Battle of Endor would prove to be the ultimate failure of the Royal Guards, though not of their own choice. Dismissed by their Emperor, the Guards exited the throne room, leaving Palpatine with Vader and his son, Luke Skywalker. During the encounter, Vader was redeemed, once again becoming Anakin Skywalker and, taking hold of the Emperor, he killed him by throwing him down a shaft into the station's reactor.
New Republic eraEdit
After the death of Palpatine, General Jylia Shale had two guards as her escort for the secret summit on Akiva. In 5 ABY, two Royal Guards escorted Grand Admiral Rae Sloane for peace talks with the New Republic on the planet Chandrila. During the attack on Chandrila, these two guards attacked and eliminated five New Republic Senate Guards that had been guarding the Imperial entourage.
Shortly after, the Imperial Security Bureau agent Arliz Hadrassian's brother served as a Royal Guard during the Battle of Jakku, in which he died. In 28 ABY, Hadrassian, who had become the leader of a First Order proxy militia called the Amaxine warriors, sold her brother's helmet to the Centrist senator Ransolm Casterfo after deeming him to be pro-Imperial. In secret, Casterfo was assisting Senator Leia Organa's investigation into the Amaxine warriors and Rinnrivin Di's cartel.
Recruitment and trainingEdit
The men and women who served in Palpatine's Royal Guard were the best of the Imperial forces, selected out of millions of soldiers. During the reign of the Empire, the Royal Guard consisted of conscripted soldiers and at least one former clone trooper. The height requirement for the Guards was 1.83 meters, just like the regular Imperial stormtroopers.
In addition to receiving advanced training in many forms of combat, the Royal Guards were trained to be unquestionably loyal to the Emperor. Each of Palpatine's orders was considered law and they would follow them through with no question or hesitation, including killing one of their own. The Royal Guards were also some of the few in the galaxy who could be trusted with the knowledge of the Emperor's true power as a Sith Lord as they would speak of it to no one, not even among themselves.
Despite the extraordinary combat capabilities of the Royal Guards, the Emperor's own skills and power were such that he did not actually believe that he needed a bodyguard unit. However, he had found over the years that they served quite well to impress visitors, so he never felt inclined to dispense with them as a unit.
Royal Guards were completely covered in flowing blood-red robes and featureless scarlet masks concealed their faces. They wielded force pikes, a type of melee weapon with a vibro-edged head. Additionally, each of their robes also hid a heavy blaster pistol, a vibroblade, and various other weaponry. When on the battlefield, Royal Guards would abandon their traditional weaponry in favor of combat effective arms, including the T-21 light repeating blaster, Smart Rocket, and the Homing shot.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Emperor's Guards first appeared in the 1983 movie Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. Their design came from sketches by Nilo Rodis-Jamero. The conceptual drawings varied from centurion-like warriors to priest-like monks, but a common thread tying those designs together was the deep red hue.
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Notes and referencesEdit
- Emperor's Royal Guard on Wikipedia