Emperor Palpatine

Every Imperial Navy Title from ‘Star Wars’, Explained and Ranked

So... you think you have what it takes to join the Imperial Navy, do you?

So… you think you have what it takes to join the Imperial Navy, do you?

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Hmmm.. yes. I’ve seen your sort before. Fresh out of the academy. Young. Hungry. Ambitious. Willing to sacrifice everything. Your friends. Your family. Your loved ones. All for the only thing in the galaxy that matters: the Empire.

I find your faith in the cause to be … admirable. Yet you are still wet behind the ears. You know about as much about the Imperial Fleet as Ted Cruz. Nothing. I’m certain you’ve heard the terms “admiral” or “Grand Moff” thrown about by your educators and school chums, but you have no idea what sort of rigors these positions require in the field. You have no idea what it’s like to reach down and get your hands dirty.

And yet I see the steely look in your eyes. Very well then, I will instruct you. For reasons that are twofold: 1) for the continued glory of the Empire, as the youth are the Empire’s future. And 2) because you remind me of myself when I was your age.

Midshipman

These is the lowest ranked position of the Empire. It is one above regular Storm Trooper, but not by much. A Midshipman should think himself as being barely better than cannon fodder. You didn’t shoot yourself in the foot in basic training, and you have two brain cells in your head to rub together. So what? Would you like a medal? Or a chest to pin it on?

Ensign

You show promise. You have distinguished yourself from your peers. But one is hardly “distinguished” if one’s peers have only just begun to understand basic military concepts such as “logic” and “strategy”. Yet you may very well prove to be a leader of men one day. You may even command your own ship or platoon. If you survive that long.

Sublieutenant

You have talent, I will begrudge you that. As such, the higher-ups have seen fit to give you command training. But make no mistake, you are on your way to being in the big leagues now. You may decide that you would rather keep your head down and be a petty officer for the rest of your days. You would certainly be safer that way. Where you’re headed, failure will not be tolerated. Heed my words, you will either prove yourself to be an asset to the Empire, or you will wish you had never joined in the first place.

Lieutenant

Congratulations. You are now a commissioned officer. Now fetch me a latte. I only trust commissioned officers to get the ratio of milk to coffee right.

Captain

Well now, aren’t you causing quite a stir? You’re rising through the ranks faster than if you were tied to the back of a tie fighter. Should you fail your next mission, you may find yourself in the exact set of circumstances. You are in command now. Show no weakness. Show no fear. Or your subordinates will eat you alive.

Lieutenant Commander

Oh you’re doing very well. You’ve proven yourself to be a capable officer, and you’re well on your way to becoming a commander someday. Your current duties include leading other Lieutenant officers. Try not to get them killed. They are replaceable, but it is rather a costly affair.

Major

You are now in command of your own battalion. Congratulations. Fetch me another latte. This one has gone cold.

Lieutenant Colonel

Should the Colonel assigned to your fleet happen to be absent due to injury, sickness, or sudden disintegration, you will be in command. Let’s hope for your sake that doesn’t happen.

Commander

You are completely in command now. Before you go, I command you to fetch me a third latte. I’m still on my second, but soon I won’t be able to give you orders anymore. So be good and do it for old times’ sake.

Colonel

You are now at the head of your Navy outfit. Come join us in the elite officer’s quarters some time. Have a cigar. Your Lieutenant Colonel can cover you while you’re gone. Just make sure they don’t screw up, or the High Colonel will have your head.

High Colonel

Well, no one is going to have your head this time. You are in command of an even larger force of soldiers. Have a larger cigar.

Commodore

My, my. You’re in command of groups of forces now. Multiple ships at once. I hope you can multitask.

Rear Admiral

Even more ships, now. It’s like juggling. With loads of explosives.

Vice Admiral

You are below the Admiral now. What an admirable position you are in. Forgive me, a little joke. You’ll take over for the Admiral when he or she is indisposed. I’m sure you’re familiar with Vice Admiral Holdo from The Last Jedi? He is also in your enviable position.

Holdo Laura Dern
(Disney)

Admiral

You are now a flag officer responsible for high-level military command. I mean battle groups. Entire fleets. I’m told that the rebel scum have an admiral position as well. I’m sure you’ve heard of Admiral Ackbar. Don’t pay him any mind. The man is so easily fooled. One cannot help but chuckle at his catchphrase.

Fleet Admiral

A fleet admiral commands the admirals that rule over their own individual fleet. I’m sure you’ve heard of Sartan and Jok Donassius? They are two such types. The position tends to be removed from the battlefield, and can be considered a noncombat position. Exceptions can arise, however. Best we ready when they do.

High Admiral

The high admiral is subordinate only to the Moff and Grand Moff. The Moff and Grand Moff are the only two positions who can assign one to the rank of – what’s so funny? Is the word “Moff” amusing to you? You will not be laughing when the Moff decides to have you publicly flogged for insubordination, will you?

Moff

Alright, I admit it. “Moff” is a funny word. It sounds like the beginning of a slang term on a planet called Earth in a galaxy far, far away! Like one who copulates with one’s mother! Tee hee! But a Moff is no laughing matter. A Moff is a governor rank in the Empire that commands both the Navy AND the Army.

Grand Moff

A Grand Moff oversees regions wherein multiple Moffs have assumed command. The most notable Grand Moff was also the first: Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. He was promoted to the position by Emperor Palpatine himself during the first trilogy.

Grand Admiral

The Grand Admiral reports directly to the Emperor himself. They are each in total executive control of their sector, and there are no more than 12 ranking Grand Admirals at a time. The is no higher position in the Empire except for the Emperor. And that position cannot be granted. It must be taken. Ideally to the tune of thunderous applause.

(featured image: Lucasfilms/Disney)


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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.