Royal Guards are soldiers who protect Emperor Palpatine in the fictional Star Wars universe. They appear in Star Wars Episode VI: 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.
Although Lucasfilm concept artist Nilo Rodis-Jamero created several designs for the Royal Guards, their crimson color remained consistent. Rodis-Jamero's designs ranged from "centurion-like warriors to priest-like monks".
Jay Shuster based the Senate Guards' appearance in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace on the Royal Guards. Shuster humanized the Senate Guards by exposing their faces, and he gave them a plume for a classical appearance. 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. 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.
When Palpatine becomes chancellor of the Galactic Republic, he phases out the Senate Guards in preference for his own Royal Guards. Royal Guards accompany Emperor Palpatine at all times. Guardsman Kir Kanos is the anti-hero in Dark Horse's Crimson Empire comics.
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