- "Due to the nature of the find, ISB wasted no time in bringing the matter to the attention of the Ruling Council, as well as to our counterparts in Military Intelligence."
- ―Harus Ison
The Imperial Ruling Council, also known as simply the Ruling Council or Imperial Council was a collective body of bureaucrats that constituted the uppermost tier of the Galactic Empire. It was made up of Emperor Sheev Palpatine's closest advisors, including his Grand Vizier Mas Amedda, Sate Pestage, Janus Greejatus, Ars Dangor, Kren Blista-Vanee, and Verge. They were headquartered on the planet of Coruscant, the seat of the Imperial government. Members of the Ruling Council were noted for wearing loose-fitting robes of riotous colors and flamboyant hats.
Those who should have known better often saw the councilors as mere yes men to the Emperor. But in fact, it was the Imperial Ruling Council that managed the daily affairs of the Empire, and its members wielded considerable powers. They actually reached the Emperor's ear directly, and all Moffs, generals and admirals responded to them. In spite of that, the councilors were not always privy to the details known to the Imperial Intelligence, as information was closely guarded on Coruscant.
Following the Battle of Endor, ambitious members of the Imperial Council attempted to carve up their own personal territories within the Empire. Due to their inability to successfully run the Empire after Palpatine's defeat, Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax proposed the creation of a more covert and militaristic body known as the "Shadow Council" to replace them, comprised of various advisors and Admirals, with Grand Admiral Rae Sloane as the group's de facto leader.
- Tarkin (First identified as Imperial Ruling Council)
- Lost Stars (Mentioned only)
- (Appears in hologram)
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story novel (Mentioned only)
- Lando, Part I
- Battlefront: Twilight Company
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi (First appearance)
- Aftermath: Life Debt