The big bad Empire has always loomed over the Star Wars universe. But like any evil organization, it’s the people within it that allow it to function and perform its everyday nefarious acts.
Here are some of the most cruel and fearsome Imperials during the Empire’s twenty year reign:
9. Governor Pryce
It’s easy to overlook the many politicians that rule throughout the empire with an iron fist. But Governor Pryce certainly stands out amongst them.
It’s not just her appearance on Rebels that shows her cruelty. As depicted in one of Thrawn’s novels, Governor Pryce embodies the ambition and manipulative spirit that can allow someone to rise in the ranks of the Empire. She’s ruthless in her own search for power, and that’s what allows her to earn a spot on this list.
8. Moff Gideon
It must have been a scary time for Imperial officers after the fall of the second Death Star. Unlike at the height of their power, they were on the run and fighting to remain in control. But Moff Gideon wasn’t giving up.
He didn’t just attempt to survive, he had a plan to retake the galaxy and had the Dark Saber along with a squadron of dark Stormtroopers to accomplish it. Of course, he didn’t succeed. But the ambition is to be admired.
7. Scar Squadron
Within the Star Wars universe, the Stormtroopers have become kind of a joke. So it’s very cool to see a specialized unit that is touted for successes. Scar Squadron’s official designation is Task Force 99, named after the specialized Clone Unit 99, also known as the Bad Batch.
Task Force 99 thrived on their own specialties and prided themselves on never backing down from the fight. For those who believe Stormtroopers are nothing but cannon fodder, Scar Squadron is absolutely the exception.
6. Agent Kallus
The ISB is essentially the Empire’s secret police. Its members are feared throughout the galaxy, and one member in particular has a reputation for inflicting cruelty. Agent Kallus might not make this list because he eventually redeemed himself and switched sides in the war, but it’s hard to overlook his past and what he did to the Lasat.
In today’s world such an act would be considered a war crime, and when recalling the event, Kallus did so with glee.
5. Grand Moff Tarkin
Grand Moff Tarkin embodies the type of officer the Empire strives for. He was a high ranking member of the Republic, following the rules and spirit of the Senate along the way. But within him, he held a nature of dominance and authority.
It wasn’t until the Empire arose that Tarkin’s true self was revealed, which allowed him to rise to such a top spot within the organization because of his ruthlessness and efficiency.
4. The Grand Inquisitor
With such iconic villains as Vader and Maul, it’s hard to come up with other foes that can compete. Yet when Star Wars Rebels began, the Inquisitor emerged on the scene in grand style. He was trained in the force, yet wasn’t a Sith and handled a unique lightsaber that made him an incredible threat.
Furthermore, he was uninterested in the grander schemes of the Empire, focused solely on hunting and exterminating Jedi. The Grand Inquisitor might have only lasted for one season on the show, but he made quite an impression that has allowed him to live on with a legacy.
3. Grand Admiral Thrawn
Although he has yet to see a live-action appearance, Grand Admiral Thrawn might be one of the most dangerous members of the Empire. The Emperor and Darth Vader might thrive on the dark side, but Thrawn’s threat comes from something a lot more practical. He’s not malicious by nature. But he understands the strength of power and authority.
He’s a calculating, logical officer that plans out every move not through evil but through strategy. Which is probably what makes him such a threat to those who want to see the Empire fall.
2. Emperor Palpatine
And of course, none of this would have been possible without the Emperor himself. It’s not just that he’s a powerful Sith Lord. It’s that he’s created an organization and a culture of cruelty throughout the entire Republic.
He wouldn’t be able to rule the Empire alone. He would need people in place that would be able to inflict his kind of leadership. But it is Palpatine himself that allows this kind of behavior to take place. And that is what truly makes him so dangerous.
1. Darth Vader
It’s not the Emperor that stands out as the terrifying figure of the Empire. It’s Darth Vader, the Emperor’s fist. He’s the one that inflicts the Empire’s wrath upon its subjects.
When Darth Vader enters a conflict you know people are going to die. And it’s not just his looming physical presence. It’s his reputation that is a terrifying weapon. It’s hard to encapsulate all of Star Wars with a single character or image. But Darth Vader certainly comes the closest.