- "By bringing the entire galaxy under one law, one language, and the enlightened guidance of one individual, the corruption that plagued the Republic in its later years will never take root."
Powers and functions
- "As the Emperor wills it, so shall it be."
- ―Darth Vader
The Galactic Emperor's power and authority were mainly derived from those of the Supreme Chancellor and the additional rights, responsibilities, and powers bestowed upon that office by the Senate during the Separatist crisis and Clone Wars. It also derived from the Senate itself. The Emperor was the ultimate head of the Imperial Inner Circle, and was, at least nominally or symbolically, advised by the Imperial Senate.
The Emperor was the head of state, the head of government, and the commander-in-chief of the Empire, and had absolute authority over the Imperial Military, the bureaucracy, and the entire Empire and sectors itself. The Emperor had sole power to appoint, dismiss, approve, and supervise the regional governors. The Emperor organized and declared the budget, economy, taxes, and trade, ordered the Imperial Senate into session, dismissed it from meeting at will, declared its agenda, and proposed, rejected, and initiated all Senatorial bills. The Emperor also controlled, supervised, and disbanded the Courts and had the final judicial say. The Emperor could execute, imprison, exile, banish, or confiscate anyone or anything. The Emperor could also issue executive orders, and proclamations with the legal force of law in the Empire, even more powerful than those issued by the Senate. The Emperor supervised, directed, appointed, and dismissed all officials in the government, and created, disbanded, supervised, and directed all governmental administrations, agencies, commissions, and boards.
Palpatine was the first and only official Emperor of the first Galactic Empire—most of the Imperial leaders who followed were not recognized by all Imperials or never made use of the title of Emperor. One, Sate Pestage, seems to have legitimately held the title in the interim between Palpatine's death at Endor and his expected return; however, Pestage was killed before Palpatine did return, leaving the throne apparently unoccupied.
Emperor Palpatine's official heir would normally be Darth Vader, as he was Palpatine's third Sith apprentice; however, there were indications that he never intended this to happen—he wanted Vader's son, Luke Skywalker, to take his father's place at Palpatine's side by killing Vader. However, Palpatine had prepared clone bodies of himself to take his place after his deaths, so there was never an official method for choosing a new Emperor.
In the Declaration of a New Order, Palpatine's speech had indicated that the Imperial Senate would elect the Galactic Emperor, but no one in the Imperial High Command had any desire to restore a body that would probably dissolve the Empire, so many Imperial commanders became rogue warlords after the Battle of Endor.
It was unclear what led to the appointment of Jagged Fel as Emperor, but the title clearly became hereditary; i.e., not dependent upon election or appointment. The Council of Moffs opposed this concept when Princess Marasiah Fel was to be future Empress of the Empire. Some, like Admiral Veed, silently schemed to usurp the throne.
When the One Sith took over, Darth Krayt abolished this system in his faction, thus becoming the absolute ruler of the Empire. Roan Fel, on the other hand, retained this system in his faction, making Princess Marasiah Fel his heir apparent and future ruler over what was left of their territory which she eventually became upon the deaths of both Darth Krayt and her father in 138 ABY.
Behind the scenes
There is some confusion as to whether Ysanne Isard actually claimed the title Empress or not. While Evil Never Dies: The Sith Dynasties referred to her as Empress, other works such as Wedge's Gamble contradict this (indeed, she claims it would be premature to name an Emperor while the New Republic still exists), and it is possible that this reference was figurative.
In the novelization of Star Wars, Obi-Wan mentions that there have been multiple emperors, with only the later ones becoming corrupt and with the original Emperor having been assassinated earlier. This was inspired by the first draft of the film, where there had never been a Republic, only an originally-benign Empire which fell to evil.
- LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
- Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game — Ultimate Sith Edition (Appears in hologram)