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The received wisdom seems to be that imperial officers in the original Star Wars trilogy all have plummy British accents. And it's true that most of the top guys do: Tarkin, Ozzel, Piett, Veers, Jerjerrod, Tagge. But I can think of at least ten who don't:

  • "Holding her is dangerous!"

  • "An escape pod was jettisoned during the fighting, but no life forms were aboard."

  • "Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's words, Lord Vader." (Motti)

  • "Our scout ships have reached Dantooine. They found the remains of a Rebel base." (Cass)

  • "Captain Needa, the ship no longer appears on our scopes!"

  • "Command station, this is ST 321. Code Clearance Blue. We're starting our approach. Deactivate the security shield."

  • "Inform the commander that Lord Vader's shuttle has arrived."

(Interestingly, this is a British actor whose line is dubbed by an American.)

  • "Shuttle Tyderium, transmit the code for shield passage."

  • "Freeze!"

  • "You rebel scum!"

Does anybody know if the total number of clear-cut British-accented officers exceeds the American tally? In addition to the six mentioned earlier, Captain Needa clearly has a British accent, so that's seven to start with.

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    In fairness, most of us British types are a bit evil. – Peter Dec 28 '15 at 8:14
  • "Does anybody know if the total number of clear-cut British-accented officers exceeds the American tally?" That part of your question might be too broad to answer. – RedCaio Dec 28 '15 at 9:51
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    @RedCaio: too broad? There isn’t that much Star Wars. – Paul D. Waite Dec 28 '15 at 11:23
  • @PaulD.Waite there are hundreds of imperial officers in the SW films. Evaluating the accent of each and every imperial would be, IMHO, nearly impossible (and even slightly subjective). :) – RedCaio Dec 28 '15 at 11:31
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    RedCaio: “there are hundreds of imperial officers in the SW films” — not with speaking parts, surely. – Paul D. Waite Dec 28 '15 at 12:08
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Out-of-universe: Yes, it is true that most imperial officers have British accents. The filmmakers wanted most of the Imperials, especially high-ranking ones, to speak with British accents. Exactly how many imperials they managed to get to use a British accent is unknown. It is possible that it would've been impractical to attempt to have all imperials speak in British accents, thus resulting in most high-ranking officers having British accents while other imperials might not.

Director Irvin Kershner decided that for this movie, members of the Rebel Alliance would speak with American accents, while the Imperial Officers would speak with British accents, to make the story analogous to the American Revolution. However, most of the supporting actors that appeared as Rebel personnel on Hoth were in-fact British actors. Consequently, Kershner had to re-dub several of the scenes taking place at the Hoth rebel base with American voices in post production. - source

In-universe: Many imperials spoke in a Coruscanti accent, achieving an air of authority and/or political legitimacy during the days of the Empire. See: Why does Leia's accent change during A New Hope?

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    Meanwhile, several of the British actors playing imperial officers in ROTJ had their dialogue dubbed by Americans, suggesting that Empire may be alone in having the clear pro-British bias. – Kaitain Dec 28 '15 at 16:34

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