In the Star Wars universe, the Empire under Palpatine is a despotic dictatorship that rules through military might.

Grand Moff Tarkin indicates as much when he explains that the Emperor has disbanded the Senate and is in full control:

Governor Tarkin: The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I have just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away forever.

General Tagge: But that's impossible! How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?

Governor Tarkin: The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station.

However, a couple very evil characters talk about order and peace when making pitches to get people to join the empire's cause:

Erso: I won't do it, Krennic.

Krennic: We were on the verge of greatness. We were [gestures with pinched fingers] this close to providing peace and security for the galaxy.

Erso: You're confusing peace...with terror.

Krennic: Well, you have to start somewhere.

Though Krennic doesn't deny the despotic tactics of the Empire, he at least claims that they are in service of the ultimate goals of peace and security.

Likewise, Vader makes a similar case to Luke:

Vader: There is no escape! Don't make me destroy you. Luke, you do not yet realize your importance. You've only begun to discover your power! Join me, and I will complete your training! With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict, and bring order to the galaxy.

Vader claims that the ultimate goal of the empire is to end conflict and ensure peace in the galaxy, not mindlessly destroy planets.

My question is, in the canon media we have of Star Wars, are there any planets, system, or regional governors who thought Palpatine was doing a good job of following through on the promises of peace and security? Some, perhaps, that had experience intense conflict, and were relieved when the Empire finally calmed things down? Or maybe even that the Empire was a force for good in the galaxy, overall?


4 Answers 4


Grand Moff Tarkin provided an answer/justification for the empire's military domination in his memoirs.

By partitioning the galaxy into regions, we actually achieve a unity previously absent; where once our loyalties and allegiances were divided, they now serve one being, with one goal: a cohesive galaxy in which everyone prospers. For the first time in one thousand generations our sector governors will not be working solely to enrich Coruscant and the Core Worlds, but to advance the quality of life in the star systems that make up each sector — keeping the spaceways safe, maintaining open and accessible communications, assuring that tax revenues are properly levied and allocated to improving the infrastructure. The Senate will likewise be made up of beings devoted not to their own enrichment, but to the enrichment of the worlds they represent.

This comes from the canon novel, Tarkin.

From this we can surmise that regional governors who disliked the Core Worlds taking precedence over the Outer Rim Worlds might believe the new empire would benefit everyone. There would be fewer divisions, less internal strife that plagued the Old Republic, and a more cohesive empire.

With a strong central military, there would be less warfare, and hence a peace dividend. All the resources that once supported endless conflict would now go to improving the quality of life for every sector.

One could say that Palpatine's gamble to unite the galaxy under his rule is identical to Queen Cersei's gamble in season 7 of Game of Thrones. As her twin brother, Jaime Lannister, told Olenna Tyrell, you might not approve of her methods, but once there is peace and prosperity for everyone, the people will forget the way she built that peace.

  • Though Palpatine himself had no intentions of actually making the Empire peaceful. He was only concerned with personal power.
    – JAB
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 19:07
  • We would expect the high echelons of the Empire military to at least make the case for the benefits of Empire, if not believe in it, but are there any of those who the Empire ruled (planets, systems, or regional governors) who thought that the Empire was a force for good, overall?
    – user151841
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 20:35
  • 2
    @JAB Palpatine only cared about him having absolute power, but I'd bet many under him thought he was doing it for the greater good. Which is the point of the question. :-)
    – RichS
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 21:42
  • That statement makes no sense. The whole political organization was a republic and the senate is designed to keep balance between the members of the republic. Due to this, in real life, its rich states which fight for cession and that ultimately seize power. It comes to me that the guy who wrote that doesn't know history enough.
    – Jalex23
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 19:49
  • @Jalex23 - You mean that fascism doesn't make sense? Shocking!
    – Adamant
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 19:57

  We could take two points in time and extrapolate

First point - creation of Empire (Empire Day). Obviously, Palpatine had huge support in Senate, which accepted declaration of Empire with acclamation. Any opposition was muted, and there were no attempts to challenge this. Although large number of Senators were corrupt, this was too big to be explained with corruption only. After all, Republic was there for ages, so it is pretty certain that it would not be toppled so easily without popular support on substantial number of systems.

Second point - destruction of Alderaan. After destruction of Alderaan all pretenses were lost. Empire would rule by fear, Senate was gone, many Imperials would defect to Rebels or simply go AWOL . Of course, Alderaan was just a culmination, there were rumors of massacres and recklessness before that. Support for Empire was steadily dropping.

Why did it happen ? Palpatine didn't care much for Empire. It was just a means to an end for him. He surrounded himself with sociopaths like Tarkin and Krennic. They were "kindred spirits" in a sort. Second tier Imperials were either slothful degenerates like Delian Mors or ambitious unscrupulous individuals like Belkor Dray (Lords of the Sith novel ). It was inevitable that such destructive personalities could not keep Empire together for a long time. After all, it is a nature of Dark Side to destroy, not to create and preserve .


Did any planet, system, or regional governor think the Empire was good for them?

In the real world it does not mater how many centuries of evidence we have, that Dictatorships screw over your country, everyone that does not support them 130% and will fall eventually (dragging the 130% guys with them) - there are always some that think they can come out ahead, by being early adopters. Until they made themself replaceable or got stuck so deep, their only options are rebellion or being dragged down with them.

I would like to point to another francise for a example: Cardassia joining the Dominion in Star Trek DS9.

They had just undergone a democratic transition on their own. When the Klingons attacked. And supported the Marquis. The Klingons and Marquis drove Cardassians "right into the arms of the Dominion". Cardassia gave up sovereignty in exchange for military protection. Pretty much the same deal as any planet supporting Palpatine.

The unique part is that if Gul Dukat had stayed the one in charge, Cardassia might actually have pulled ahead. He had the skill and force of will to actually be a equal to Weyoun or the Founders. Someone that could have made sure Cardassia gained equal to what it lost. But Damar - simply was not that kind of person. Which is why he ended up starting a Rebellion. And the guy that replaced him, was so powerless I forgot his name.

  • 2
    This doesn't actually answer the question of whether anyone in the Star Wars universe thought that being in the Empire was a good thing.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 11:36
  • @F1Krazy Unless you are saying that Star Wars humans do not follow the behavior patterns we observe in the real world - it very much does. Human or Human-like alien - in Star Wars, Star Trek, or Babylon 5 - they all follow the same basic behavorial patterns. Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 11:40
  • 2
    The question is asking for actual canonical examples, though, and you haven't provided one.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 11:44
  • Your answers works if the analogy you're making was supported by something from legends or canon.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 14:29
  • @AncientSwordRage How about "X-Wing: The Bacta War (January 1, 1997)"? Is it similar enough? Commented Aug 12, 2021 at 16:35

In general this is something that all Star Wars media has failed (ignored) to explain.

In order for any central authoritarian government to succeed you need a base of power holding class that supports it. In the real world, usually its the oligarchy (with money and owners of means of production) which backs up such governments. In the Star Wars universe there is not a single planet, system or even senator that is getting benefits, unless its by corruption like Orn Free Taa.

So we are yet to see the planets and systems that are pro-empire and that make Palpatine's ascension to power possible. Which would make sense is that rich planets are the ones backing up Palpatine and thus, helping him form this new Empire, imposing set of rules that would benefit them the most.

  • 2
    I would say it has been explained rather clearly. During the first fifteen years or so after the establishment of the New Order, the pro-Empire planets were largely the same as the pro-Republic planets ("This is how democracy dies—with thunderous applause.") The transition from a strong Chancellor with emergency powers to an Emperor was easy enough. After that, Palpatine starting showing his true colors more obviously: not too coincidentally, this coincided with the Rebellion gaining support as former collaborators like Mon Mothma, as well as outright opponents, went over to their side.
    – Adamant
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 20:01
  • 1
    Also, one must also take into account that Palpatine ruled in part by literal mind control ("Hundreds of Senators are now under the sway of a Sith Lord called Darth Sidious"), and literally knowing what his opponents were doing ("Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen"), which compensates for a great deal of flaws in one's theory of governance.
    – Adamant
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 20:06
  • @Adamant I don't think that quote was meant to mean 'literal mind control', rather pointing out how much of the Senate was already loyal to him. Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 1:05
  • @Adamant by explanation I mean more than just words, we need actual story that shows this. What were those planets? Why? What they got in return? Why were they unhappy with a republic that prompted them to switch to an Empire? That is explaining.
    – Jalex23
    Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 20:34
  • @Jalex23 - The loose grip of the Republic had seemingly allowed many of the outer systems to break away (the Separatists). Palpatine's ever-increasing power had made him an emperor in all but name by the time of the Declaration of a New Order, and most people approved of this because they believed it was necessary to suppress the rebellion, not to mention that he was immensely popular. So it was not really a change for him to become Emperor. Then the "Jedi attempt on his life" seemingly proved that without stronger leadership, there would be instability even in the heart of the Republic.
    – Adamant
    Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 20:40

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