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This article is about the Emperor's Royal Guard. You may be looking for the Red Guard, from which the Royal Guard was formed, or the Hapan Royal Guard.
Emperor's Royal Guard
General information
Notable members
Headquarters

Imperial Royal Guard Academy, Yinchorr

Historical information
Formed from

Red Guard

Founding

19 BBY

Fragmentation

11 ABY

Dissolution

23 ABY

Other information
Era(s)
Affiliation
"A Royal Guardsman never seeks special privileges, ever. His entire goal in life is to serve the Emperor, and the New Order he created. This is his goal in life, and his desire in death."
Grodin Tierce

The Emperor's Royal Guard, also called Imperial Royal Guard, was a highly elite guard unit tasked with the protection of Emperor Palpatine. The Emperor was almost never seen without a detachment of Royal Guards at his side, so much that they usually accompanied him to his bed chambers and his office within the Death Star. The Emperor's Royal Guard was the successor to the Republic's Red Guard.

The exact number of Royal Guardsmen serving the Emperor was unknown, with speculations ranging from less than fifty to tens of thousands, although their numbers were estimated to be at least four hundred at any one point.

Like the Stormtroopers of the Stormtrooper Corps, the Royal Guards formed a military unit independent of the Imperial Military and directly answerable to the Emperor.

Contents

Palpatine's Royal Guard

A Red Guard, the predecessor to the Royal Guard of the Empire, protects Chancellor Palpatine's office in the senate.

The Royal Guards in the Imperial Period were selected from only the best men in the Academy who had proven themselves worthy for the position. There were several ranks in the Royal Guard system, the top being Sovereign Protector.

Royal Guards wore matching scarlet robes, battle armor (underneath a loose fitting tunic, as it was not visible under the robe), and helmets. Although ceremonial, the red armor did not hamper movement or fighting. The armor bore design influences from the uniforms of the Death Watch of the Mandalore system, the Sun Guards of the Thyrsus system, and the Senate Guards of the old Galactic Republic.[1] Their preferred weapon was the meter-long force pike, although they were trained in the use of many common and exotic weapons and martial arts, such as Echani art, or a vibrosword. They also utilized concealed Heavy blaster pistols when ranged fighting was required. They used a special "combat language" that only they understood, and part of the training included removal of fingerprints. They flew specialized red variants of the TIE/In starfighter.[2]

The primary duties of the Imperial Guard included the personal protection of Palpatine and those he designated, as well as guarding his secret facilities and clone laboratories on Byss and the Emperor's Citadel. This task was considered the most prestigious and was usually reserved for the Sovereign Protectors. Others operated the Guard training facility on Yinchorr or served at some of the Emperor's other safe-houses.

One particular division of the guard was the Emperor's Shadow Guard. This cadre was a special operations unit sent out by Palpatine for selective missions. Galen Marek battled a number of these men, and some of the Shadow Guard worked alongside standard Guardsmen in an attempt to defend Palpatine aboard the first Death Star. Any known members were all killed by Marek, however.

Another division was the Imperial Senate Sentinels. This group wore the standard guard outfit, but the armor and robes were gray instead of red. The helmet resembled those of late Clone Wars era Senate Guard. Their Force pikes were capable of resisting Lightsaber strikes, indicating the possibility of being constructed of cortosis or phrik. Since their assignment was to guard the Jedi Temple from any surviving Jedi, it came in handy. Galen Marek encountered numerous members of this cadre. Despite their fighting prowess, these men were ultimately killed by Marek.

The only records regarding their exact number remained with Palpatine, in his private archives on Imperial Center, or Byss. With their primary mission to protect the Emperor and any one he designated, the Royal Guard was never sent on combat missions as a corps. Instead, a few small elements of Royal Guardsmen were sent into combat on a rotating basis to keep them in fighting trim, appearing as and working alongside the usual stormtroopers. This was how Grodin Tierce explained his survival of his unit's destruction on the second Death Star.[3]

History

A Royal Guard

A number of Royal Guardsmen were used to protect Palpatine onboard the Death Star I when it was under construction. These guardsmen were all killed by Galen Marek during his mission. Later, as the battle station became closer to an operational stage, a number of Royal Guardsmen were stationed on the facility and were present during the time a Rebel Alliance team led by X2 infiltrated the base. These Royal Guardsmen battled the Clone trooper but were ultimately killed in the struggle thus allowing X2 to escape the Death Star I along with a number of captured Rebels. A number of Royal Guards served his clone brother X1 during his bid for power though they were killed during the Battle of Mustafar.

After the death of Palpatine, many of the Royal Guard—such as Kir Kanos—refused to choose sides among the various Imperial factions. Others remained undercover in their stormtrooper units, while others still pledged themselves to Sate Pestage and his successors. In 10 ABY, however, they all flocked to Byss when summoned by the reborn Palpatine. They fought by his side until his final death the next year. It was later revealed that his death had been hastened by the sabotage of his clones by renegade Protector Carnor Jax.

After Palpatine's final death, the remnants of the Royal Guard, much decimated by the disasters on Byss and Eclipse II[4], returned to Yinchorr, where they gathered to mourn Palpatine and form a plan to avenge him. However, Jax had laid a trap, and they were slaughtered by his stormtroopers. Ironically, the Royal Guards suffered the same fate as the old Jedi Order. The Royal Guards were annihilated by the stormtroopers, just as the the Jedi were by the clone troopers decades before. Only Kir Kanos escaped, and eventually killed Jax. Kanos is often said to be the last surviving member of the Royal Guard, but this may only be true "from a certain point of view", as at least one member of Palpatine's original Royal Guard, Vin Northal, defected to the Rebel Alliance, and others still may have served the Dark Lady Lumiya.[5] The clone of Grodin Tierce and members of the new Royal Guard recruited by Admiral Daala were the most high-profile "Guardsmen" encountered by the New Republic.

Training

Members of the Royal Guard were hand-picked from the ranks of the most elite stormtroopers. Each recruit was scrutinized to fit select size, strength, intelligence and loyalty requirements, as well as latent Force sensitivity.[1] Recruits strong but not too strong in the Force were noted and pulled aside to test into a special class of Royal Guards known as Sovereign Protectors. If they passed these even more rigorous tests, they were trained by Dark Jedi to wield the Force.[1] The names of the Royal Guardsmen were never uttered by anyone outside the Guard, including Palpatine.

Equipment and training were lavished upon them at the Imperial Royal Guard Academy on Yinchorr. Students would train fencing and fighting in an arena called the Squall.[6] Classes consisted of approximately forty students each, and trainees were partnered up into doubles. During a yearlong training program, recruits sparred against each other continuously to perfect their combat skills.[6] A step away from the squad-based stormtrooper training received on Carida, by working both alone and in pairs, recruits learned how to rely on themselves or on a teammate to achieve victory. Training mainly centered on Echani hand-to-hand combat, and failure often resulted in death. Casualty rates were very high; out of Kir Kanos's class of forty-two, only two reached full Guardsman status—all others were killed in training. During their final test, trainees fought each other to the death before Palpatine himself.[7] Only a handful would survive this final test in a display of their loyalty and skill. Kir Kanos regretted killing his sparing partner and upon looking up from his fallen comrade, he saw Vader swinging his lightsaber extremely close to Kir Kanos's face, leaving a scar. Vader told the young man that he is never allowed to question or regret an order given to him by the Emperor.

During training, the Guards were inculcated with the belief that Palpatine, and his every order, were beyond fault or question.

Royal Guards serving other Imperial commanders

During Palpatine's time, he would occasionally "loan" detachments of the Royal Guard out to several Grand Moffs and Grand Admirals. However, such deputations occurred only at the Emperor's request.

Royal Guardsmen assigned to Lumiya by Ysanne Isard.

After the Battle of Endor, Royal Guards appeared as personal protectors of some of those who claimed Imperial power. Some of the Guardsmen seen after Endor were merely ordinary soldiers, organized into new units wearing Royal Guard uniform; however, others were genuine members of Palpatine's pre-Endor corps d'élite. The examples of Grodin Tierce and Carnor Jax show that the loyalty of the Royal Guard to Palpatine was not as absolute and unquestioning as their mystique suggests—at least one Guardsman, Vin Northal, even defected to the Rebellion.[8]

In the immediate aftermath of Endor, power on Coruscant passed initially to the leader of the Imperial Council, Grand Vizier Sate Pestage, and although at first no Royal Guards were observed among his protectors, he began to use a visible escort of the red-robed warriors as his power began to wane. Subsequently, when Ysanne Isard took stewardship of the Empire, a unit of Royal Guards appeared in turn as her personal bodyguard, and she would retain them later as Premier of Thyferra. Some of these were certainly genuine Royal Guards, but others may have been recruited from the elite cadre of black-clad enforcers which Isard had controlled since her days as a relatively junior field operative—hulking paramilitaries who she used as bodyguards, special operations troops, and casual lovers—all of whom had disappeared from everyday view when she took power.

Isard also lent a force of Royal Guards to her former Imperial Intelligence subordinate Shira Brie, now the Dark Lady Lumiya. Unlike most Royal Guards, who wore either their scarlet ceremonial uniforms or white stormtrooper armor, these two squads wore distinctive crimson stormtrooper armor in the field, serving their mistress as crack shock-troops.[5] One of them, Carnor Jax, showed Force potential, and was trained by Lumiya as her Sith apprentice.

At least one Royal Guard was known to have sided with the Central Committee of Grand Moffs and Trioculus.[9]

As noted above, at least one warrior from the genuine Royal Guard, Grodin Tierce, attached himself to Grand Admiral Thrawn, and Tierce became the template for at least one Mount Tantiss clone. Thrawn did not, however, surround himself with a visible Royal Guard detail; instead, the original Grodin Tierce, followed by his clone in turn, served as officers with the stormtrooper force aboard Chimaera, supplementing the Grand Admiral's Noghri bodyguard.[10]

Later, when Admiral Daala seized command of remaining Imperial assets in the Deep Core, she recruited stormtroopers into a new Royal Guard unit. After her defeat, four of them became leaders of the Second Imperium.

Known members of the Royal Guard

A Royal Guard.
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Sovereign Protectors

Royal Guardsmen

Apprentice Guardsmen

Others

Behind the scenes

According to Randy Stradley, when writing Crimson Empire, they worked under the idea that all Royal Guards were clones, with the shot of the unmasked Jax supposed to show that he and Kanos were from the same prime clone.[12] However, the establishment of Jax's father, and the fact that other Royal Guardsmen have been developed, seem to have vanquished that concept (unless they are all oblivious GeNode clones). Also, Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary states that guards were chosen from non-clone military units.

Nilo Rodis-Jamero originally designed the appearance of the Emperor's royal guards through his early concept art of the Sentinels. These drawings of the guards varied from centurion-like warriors to monk-like priests, but ultimately all of the concept art the royal guards were given a crimson hue.[1] One of the concept drawings by Rodis-Jamero later evolved to become two characters of the Expanded Universe, the Imperial Sentinel from Dark Empire and Atha Prime by Kenner.

Appearances

Non-canon appearances

  • A Death Star Is Born
  • Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope
  • Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi
  • LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
  • The Return of Tag & Bink: Special Edition
  • Collapsing New Empires (Ambiguously canonical source) (Armor only)

Sources

External links

See also

Notes and references


This article uses material from the "Emperor's Royal Guard" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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