Emperor's Royal Guard

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"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[src]

The Emperor's Royal Guard, known under the Republic as the Red Guard and under the Empire as the Imperial Royal Guard or Imperial Guard, were the personal bodyguards and assassins of Sheev Palpatine. Armed with force pikes and fully clad in their anonymous helmets and crimson robes, the Royal Guard were silent, imposing, and deadly. Those who proved themselves to be the most promising of the Imperial military were selected for duty as a Royal Guard and had to fulfill stringent requirements based on size, strength, intelligence, and loyalty to the Emperor.



Two Red Guards stand by Chancellor Palpatine during the trial of Ahsoka Tano

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.[1] 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.[3] However, Palpatine did not always have them present and more often than not still depended on the protection of the elite Senate Commandos.[4] It would also be well into the war before Palpatine stepped out in public with the Red Guards who remained silent and imposing.[5]

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.[6] The Senate Guards themselves were phased out completely by the Royal Guard and the Imperial Stormtroopers.[1] During the Galactic Civil War, the Royal Guards were often used in battle as assassins,[7] armed with force pikes, vibroblades, and many other concealed weapons.[2] 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 Darth 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 ventilation shaft.[8]

After the death of the Emperor, General Jylia Shale had two guards as her escort for the secret summit on Akiva.[9]

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.[10] During the reign of the Empire, the Royal Guard consisted of conscripted soldiers and at least one former clone trooper, Erstin Deez.[2] The height requirement for the Guards was 1.83 meters,[1]. just like the regular Imperial stormtroopers.[11]

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.[2]

In spite of the Royal Guards' high skills, the Emperor did not really feel the need to be guarded, and he only kept his red-clad protectors around him to impress visitors.[12]


Royal Guards were completely covered in flowing blood-red robes and featureless scarlet masks concealed their faces.[8] They wielded force pikes, a type of melee weapon[13] with a vibro-edged head.[14] Additionally, each of their robes also hid a heavy blaster pistol, a vibroblade, and various other weaponry.[2]

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.[15]



Notes and referencesEdit

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