- "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 referred to as the Imperial Advisory Council or the Imperial Council, was a collective body of bureaucrats that constituted the uppermost tier of the Galactic Empire. It was composed of Emperor Sheev Palpatine's closest advisors, including Grand Vizier Mas Amedda, Sate Pestage, Janus Greejatus, Ars Dangor, Kren Blista-Vanee, and Verge. They were headquartered on Coruscant, the capital world of the Empire. Members of the Ruling Council were noted for wearing loose-fitting robes of riotous colors and flamboyant hats.
Some observers 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 had direct access to the Emperor, and all Moffs, generals and admirals reported 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 their own territories out of the Empire. Due to their inability to successfully run the Empire after Palpatine's death, 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 novelization (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars 33: Rebels in the Wild (Indirect mention only)
- Lando, Part I
- Battlefront: Twilight Company
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi (First appearance)
- Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side! (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Return of the Jedi junior novelization
- Aftermath: Life Debt