Emperor's Royal Guard

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Royal Guards are fictional characters in the Star Wars universe.[1] They appear in Return of the Jedi (1983) and in the third prequel film, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). Royal Guards have been merchandised into action figures and miniatures, and their backstory expanded upon in such works as Dark Horse Comics' Crimson Empire series.

Concept and development[edit]

Although Lucasfilm concept artist Nilo Rodis-Jamero created several designs for the Royal Guards, their crimson color remained consistent.[2] Rodis-Jamero's designs ranged from "centurion-like warriors to priest-like monks".[2]

Jay Shuster based the Senate Guards' appearance in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace on the Royal Guards.[3] Shuster humanized the Senate Guards by exposing their faces, and he gave them a plume for a classical appearance.[3] Although originally intended to be predecessors to the Royal Guards, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones shows the two types of guards to be contemporaneous.[3] No longer needing to suggest the Senate Guards' progression into Royal Guards, costume prop supervisor Ivo Coveney removed the Senate Guards' plume and added a visor to their helmet for Revenge of the Sith.[3]


When Palpatine becomes chancellor of the Galactic Republic, he phases out the Senate Guards in preference for his own Royal Guards (called Red guard in Republic years) and the Shock Troopers .[4] Once Palpatine creates the Galactic Empire with himself as Emperor, the Royal Guards accompany him at all times.[5] Guardsman Kir Kanos is the anti-hero in Dark Horse's Crimson Empire comics.[6]

Royal Guards are chosen from among the Empire's stormtroopers, and Guards regularly cycle back into the stormtrooper corps to maintain their battle readiness.[7] Candidates for Royal Guard training are evaluated for their size, strength, intelligence, and loyalty;[5] those chosen for training are assessed for their combat reflexes and stamina, and they receive training in a wide range of armed and unarmed combat.[7][8] Guards' crimson robes conceal armor more advanced than stormtrooper armor.[5][8]

In other Star Wars media[edit]

The Royal Guards are enemies and playable characters in the video games Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy and Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. They are also playable in Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars.


  1. ^ Fernando Bueno, "Imperial Royal Guard," Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Prima Official Game Guide (Roseville: Prima Games, 2008), 13.
  2. ^ a b "Emperor's Royal Guards (Behind the Scenes)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2008-04-27. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Senate Guard (Behind the Scenes)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  4. ^ "Senate Guard (The Movies)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2008-04-27. 
  5. ^ a b c "Emperor's Royal Guards (The Movies)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2008-04-27. 
  6. ^ "Kanos, Kir (Behind the Scenes)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2008-04-27. 
  7. ^ a b Gorden, Greg (1993). Star Wars Imperial Sourcebook (2nd ed.). West End Games. ISBN 0-87431-210-8. 
  8. ^ a b "Emperor's Royal Guards (Expanded Universe)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2008-04-27. 

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