When First Order launched the Starkiller, it was General Hux's order, Ren was in his warship. I wonder which of those two has higher rank in the First Order?

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    Why does it have to be either of them?
    – Möoz
    Jan 13, 2016 at 4:39

1 Answer 1


According to canon, neither.

Together with Captain Phasma (despite her simple "captain" designation), Visual Dictionary says they are about the same in pecking order. V.D. calls them "triumvirate", a term borrowed from co-leaders in Ancient Rome.

This seems fully stolen mirroring Episode IV, where Vader and Tarkin are similarly situated (Top Leader's right-hand "Dark Jedi" acolyte/enforcer on a special mission vs. top commander - although Tarkin was a Moff and not a General, because Empire was structured differently from First Order which seems to not have any civilian structure mentioned in canon at all).

Please note that Disney clearly liked that "equal" idea between Vader and Tarkin, because they explicitly made James Luceno strongly reinforce it in the expanded dynamics between them in the new Disney canon novel "Tarkin", with Palpatine himself explicitly encouraging it.

This parallel explicitly noted in The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary:

Kylo Ren exists outside the formal command structure of the First Order, and has a direct link to the shadowy Supreme Leader who is ultimately in charge of these forces of darkness. It is with palpable tension that the upper command of the First Order contends with Kylo, as his agenda always trumps military objectives. In this way, Kylo's placement within the hierarchy resembles that of Darth Vader in the old Galactic Empire. This is entirely by design. (Page 25)

This dynamics is confirmed in the Foster TFA novelization, where we see the usual "trying to one-up each other in front of Supreme Leader" dynamic between the two, when they talk to the Wizard of Frank Oz Snoke's giant hologram (and even earlier when they bicker about the map's existence aboard the Star Destroyer).

CLARIFICATION: While Phasma is a part of triumvirate, she is still line-of-command subordinate to either Hux, or sometimes Ren (on Jakku, in the novelization, we have “Your orders, sir?” she murmured line).

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    and yes, "this is so because it's the same in the film they rebooted" is pretty much a correct answer to ~10-40% of Star Wars: the Disney Reboot questions. Dec 28, 2015 at 20:45
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    So I guess 'Captain' is just Phasma's first name? Kind of like the Marauder Shields of Star Wars? Or maybe 'captain' is her people's word for 'hope'? Dec 28, 2015 at 22:31
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    In A New Hope, Vader is clearly subservient to Tarkin, who is not merely "Moff" but "Grand Moff," as well as Governer of the Imperial Outland Regions, and Death Star Commander, while Vader is unranked and only commands Star Destroyer Admirals, Marine Generals and Storm Troopers. Tarkin rebuffs Vader a few times in the film, and Vader obeys him. Its similar to Nazi Germany, with Tarkin as commander of regular forces and weapons, while Vader is tasked with special missions as SS or secret police. They are not equal. Vader is more a chief-of-staff while Tarkin is like the Secretary of State.
    – chillin
    Jan 10, 2016 at 10:06
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    @DVK - At every interaction of which we are aware, Tarkin is dominant. Vader reports to Tarkin. Tarkin informs Vader (and everyone) of the Emperor's wishes. Tarkin is unsatisfied with Vader's interrogation, and effectively fires him, taking over the interrogation himself. Even Leia recognizes their chain of command, "Governor Tarkin! I should have expected to find you holding Vader's leash."
    – chillin
    Jan 11, 2016 at 17:43
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    @chillin - Neither of them are officers. The fact that they command military doesn't make them officers - one is a "Lord", one is a "Elevated Moff". Those are both political positions, and orthogonal to each other - the direct boss of both is the Emperor but they do different things. Note that they are both superior to admirals and generals who are actual top level military officers - because they excercise political control over them. Empire is NOT a military dictatorship, like Spain or Chile. It's more akin to USSR, with civilian political organization in charge of the military. Jan 11, 2016 at 23:47

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