Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Servants of the Empire

Go To
"All I ever wanted was to be a servant of the Empire — to make the galaxy a better place. But then I saw the Empire for what it really was. The Empire made me learn lies at school. It ruined my adopted homeworld because that was cheaper and easier than doing the right thing. And the Empire kidnapped my sister — kidnapped her and lied about it to my parents."
— Zare Leonis

Star Wars Rebels: Servants of the Empire is a four-book series of junior novels in the Star Wars Expanded Universe about Zare Leonis by Jason Fry. Leonis appeared in two installments of the first season of the animated seasons Star Wars Rebels. Whereas his screentime on the program is relatively brief, the Servants of the Empire novels feature the character in a very major role, as well as the adventures of his girlfriend, Merei Spanjaf, who has not appeared on Rebels, but is nevertheless a major character in these books. The Ghost crew, also known as "the Spectres" are also occasionally seen, in particular, a portion of the second novel is adapted from the TV story "Breaking Ranks."

The first novel, Edge of the Galaxy, was released on October 21, 2014. The second novel, Rebel in the Ranks, was released on March 3, 2015. The third novel, Imperial Justice, was released in July 7, 2015. The final title, The Secret Academy, was released on October 6, 2015.

Tropes in this series:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The entire series takes place from the perspectives of Zare and Merei, we not only get more details on scenes from the show, but also world-building aspects of Lothal, like the life of an ordinary kid under the Empire's rule and how things start to fall apart when actions in the show inadvertently make things better or worse for events in the books.
  • All There in the Manual: The Star Wars databank confirmed that the General Hux seen in The Force Awakens is the son of the Commandant Brendol Hux seen in The Secret Academy. Many fans suspected something like this upon seeing the name of the character in the book, combined with the announcement of there being a character named in Hux in the First Order in the film. This would eventually be explored much more deeply in material such as the Star Wars: Phasma novel.
  • Ambiguous Situation: As Governor Pryce's personality was not finalized at the time the books were released, it was deliberately kept ambiguous as to whether or not Pryce was perfectly complicit with the Empire's rule or was a puppet ruler. As it later turned out in Rebels Season 4, we find out she's the former.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: In The Secret Academy, Leonis is warned by his fellow cadets of the Arkanis Academy that Zarang can't stay off of academic watch and isn't someone he should be around if he wants to advance. Leonis does want to advance because it's the only way to get into the Commandant's Cadets, which he thinks will help him with his goal of finding his sister. Nevertheless, he accepts Zarang's invitation for the two of them to spend time in Scarparus Port, the only place in the area to go for fun, because Zarang is one of the few people at the academy who had been kind to him.
  • Brainwashed: Project Unity brainwashes dissidents against the Empire by subjecting them to both psychological manipulation and pharmaceutical conditioning to convince them that the Empire's methods are right and they shouldn't rebel. Zare finds the flaw in the Empire's methods by breaking through his friend Beck Ollet's conditioning using the smell of a jogan fruit to remind Beck of his family's jogan fruit orchards, the ones that the Empire destroyed. After this, he joins Zare's struggle to free his sister and ends up sacrificing his life.
  • Broken Pedestal: Zare, and his friends and family, begin the series idolizing The Empire as a force of order and progress. This changes over the course of the first book.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Brendol Hux's Commandant's Cadets are a precursor to what would become the First Order Stormtroopers. His son, General Armitage Hux, would follow his ideals.
  • The Cameo:
    • Minister Maketh Tua's only appearance is a throwaway line at the beginning of "Edge of the Galaxy", where she speaks with Dhara at the party. She also gets mentioned a couple of times later whenever Zare and Ezra have to use her office.
    • Agent Kallus' only appearances are in the novelization section of "Breaking Ranks" in "Rebel in the Ranks". He also receives a mention in "Imperial Justice" as having given orders to take the young children of wanted fugitives into Imperial custody to lure them out, as well as having those children be put into foster programs afterwards.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • One of Zare and Merei's classmates at AppSci is named Firmus Rennet—sharing his first name with Admiral Firmus Piett, who served at the Battle of Endor. We can be led to assume that Firmus is somewhat of a common name in the Galaxy Far Far Away.
  • Dead Hat Shot: The last we see of Beck is his corpse holding a jogan blossom.
  • Deadly Euphemism: To quote, "Commandant Aresko and Taskmaster Grint have been...relieved of duty."
  • Down to the Last Play: The SaberCats and Carvers are tied until Merei kicks a goal in the last two seconds.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Governor Arihnda Pryce makes an appearance in the prologue of the first book as an attendee at the Leonis's party and directly speaks to the family.
  • Fantastic Racism: Janus Fhurek is xenophobic, which is why he tries to kick non-humans off of his grav-ball team.
  • Fictional Sport: Grav-ball, which for all intents and purposes is college football in a Galaxy far, far away.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In "Rebel in the Ranks", Pandak mentions that one of the Academies his parents want him to go to after Lothal is Arkanis. Merei reveals to Zare later on that he needs to qualify for the Arkanis Imperial Academy to find Dhara.
  • Hackette: Merei, especially in the sequel when her parents are tracking her down.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Beck so that Zare and co. can escape.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: The Commandant's Cadets test prospective members by ordering them to murder an underperforming classmate via a "training mishap".
  • List of Transgressions:
    • After things go From Bad to Worse in "The Secret Academy", Merei has a long speech about everything she's done against the Empire in the series to her parents, who are staring with their mouths practically agape.
    • In the same book, Zare Leonis is sent to a tribunal and is expected to presented with a lengthy review of all of the bad things he's done against the Empire. Instead, his judge, Colonel Julyan, simply reads off the list of the things he's charged with, which are fraudulent enlistment, making false official statements, perjuring his oath as a cadet, refusal to obey lawful orders, conduct unbecoming of a cadet, dereliction of duty, destruction of Imperial property, conspiracy, providing aid and comfort to enemies of the Galactic Empire, espionage, assault on Imperial personnel, attempted murder of Imperial personnel, sedition and treason. He then asks him for his plea.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The Commandant's Cadets kill Xan this way during live fire training.
  • The Mole: The Spanjafs don't learn that Merei, their own daughter, was the agent that breached the Transportation Ministry's data and was causing them all this trouble for the last few months until The Secret Academy, where she reveals it right before they're forced to flee Lothal to avoid persecution for the exact reason described.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In Applied Sciences, Beck had to work with nerfs.
    • In Rebel In The Ranks, Ezra and Zare roll a chance-cube, and Ezra cheats with the Force.
    • Xan Lanier's death in The Secret Academy is blamed on a "slight weapons malfunction."
  • P.O.V. Sequel: The final third of Rebel In The Ranks is essentially the Rebels episode "Breaking Ranks" told from Zare's perspective, featuring new scenes and details.
  • Prisoner's Last Meal: In The Secret Academy, Zare Leonis is sentenced to death by the Empire and offered a last meal by an officer who had been his mentor as a cadet. He chooses two jogan fruits, brought to him by a friend whose family owned a jogan fruit orchard that was destroyed by the Empire and who had been brainwashed by them. He uses the smell of the jogan fruits to break the Empire's brainwashing, then they both hatch an escape plan.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Apparently, Sabine, Zeb, Ezra, and Chopper took the Ghost without Kanan and Hera's permission so they could go help Zare and company. What Could Have Been also seems to imply Ezra had to convince Sabine, Zeb, and Chopper into doing it since they owe Zare, similar to the Season 1 finale of Rebels.
  • Sensor Character: It's mentioned several times that Dhara can always tell where Zare is, and Zare finds it a bit uncanny. It isn't until the second book that he finds out she's Force-sensitive.
  • Sequel Hook: Zare, Merei, their families, and Holshef adopt new identities to live a quiet life on Garel, but Zare and Merei still want to continue their mark against the Empire. What exactly is going on with Dhara and the results of Project Harvester are unknown, and Word of God confirms that Dhara tapped in to the dark side when she killed Chiron...
  • Shameful Strip: When Zare is expelled from the Arkanis Academy, the other cadets tear off his uniform.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Operation Guiding Light's directive being that nostalgia should be suppressed as "a product of dissatisfaction and anger" is a reference to a line in White Noise ("Nostalgia is a product of dissatisfaction and rage.").
  • Simultaneous Arcs: The series takes place at least a year before Season 1 and after "Fire Across the Galaxy". As a result, mentions of the Ghost crew's exploits are thrown around every once and a while. We also get some Adaptation Expansion as well.
    • "Breaking Ranks" gets novelized in "Rebel in the Ranks".
    • While on the way to cutting off her debt to the Gray Syndicate during "Imperial Justice", Zeb comms Merei to get information from Zare on the Trayvis situation in "Vision of Hope". Due to being preoccupied, she rejects it and tells them to send Chopper. Chopper passes Zare a note from 'Dev', and the meeting scene from the same episode occurs later.
    • The seizure of the communications tower from "Call to Action" is mentioned. This becomes a problem for Merei, since she conducted an identity switch on the Imperial network and cannot change it back with the network down, also not helped that the Imperials have tightened up security and are tracking down everyone that's been involved in the data breach.
    • Dhara was being personally tortured by the Grand Inquisitor. By the time of "The Secret Academy", he is dead, as per the events of "Fire Across the Galaxy", alleviating her fears of him.
  • Some of My Best Friends Are X: The athletics director claims this while trying to kick the aliens off the team.
  • Super Breeding Program: Commandant Hux's program involves breeding children and training them from birth over generations to create a race of Stormtroopers without the clones' genetic vulnerabilities.
  • Talk About the Weather: In The Secret Academy, Zare tries to have a secretive comm discussion with his mother, Tepha, but as soon as his father Leo shows up, they switch to talking about the weather on Arkanis because Leo is still a fully loyal Imperial and doesn't know about his son's activities.
  • Throwing the Fight: Played with. Zare won't outright lose the Grav-ball championship for his teammates' sake, but he ensures they win by a small enough margin that their bigoted athletics director loses a substantial amount of money.
  • What Are You: Zare's reaction when he sees Ezra levitate the decoder. Ezra then explains the Force to him.
  • Worldbuilding: As Zare and Merei are ordinary citizens that their own taste of the consequences of the Galactic Civil War's foundations, we get to see the events of Rebels and its background regarding the effects of the Empire on everyday life from their perspective as everything falls apart.
  • Written by the Winners: Zare corrects Tralls on events that he was there to witness, namely that the Trade Federation deliberately engineered a famine by suppressing crop harvests in order to render the local population dependent on their medical services—on which they had a monopoly, until the Empire saved the day by nationalizing agriculture and reintroducing the modified crops, only to be contradicted and silenced.