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Saw Gerrera: You can stand to see the Imperial flag reign across the galaxy?
Jyn Erso: It's not a problem if you don't look up.

In many works of Space Opera, there is a single political entity that governs the majority of the setting, even if the setting spans an entire galaxy, in some cases, universe. It may be an Empire, a Republic, a Federation, some even work more like a Fictional United Nations, it doesn't really matter. If there are other polities they are small nations at the outskirts of the Empire or rebellions against them.

Among the reasons why a writer would employ this trope:

  • The writer doesn't want to go to the extra work of creating and developing lots and lots of tiny nations and creates a dominant Galactic Superpower to save time. And to be honest detailing more than one nation is not really necessary unless the story involves politics.
  • The writer is writing a story of the overthrow of a great galactic tyrant.
  • The superpower fell sometime ago, and the story may be about the attempt to restore it.

Compare Space-Filling Empire. May be led by a Galactic Conqueror. Contrast with Ungovernable Galaxy. Often overlaps with Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale, unless there's a specific reason given for why planets are so spread out (e.g. hyperspace lanes in Star Wars or jump-points in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) when logically there'd be no reason to, for example, go all the way to Perseus to colonize a world when there are millions of perfectly good ones you haven't touched in Orion.

As an aside, most galactic superpowers in fiction have several dozen to several thousand inhabited planets, and even high-scale ones like Warhammer 40,000, Star Wars Legends, or the Forerunner era of Halo, top out in the millions. The current scientific consensus is that there are 40 billion potentially habitable planets in our galaxy. Even if that's overestimated tenfold and there are actually four billion, that would still mean that the totality of populated systems in most of these universes would fit easily into less than a millionth of the galaxy's volume, assuming uniform distribution of inhabited worlds (~4,000 planets), or a thousandth for the biggest ones (~4,000,000 planets). That's what happens when you have a disk of eight trillion cubic light-years containing 400 billion stars!


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     Anime and Manga 
  • In Legend of the Galactic Heroes the Galactic Empire rules over the majority of the galaxy, with only two other factions even existing. The neutral Phezzan Dominion, and the Free Planets Alliance, which is in fact an offshot of the Galactic Empire and significantly smaller, although it can be said to be a Galactic Superpower in its own right. Reinhard von Lohengramm, as emperor of the Galactic Empire, has the unification of the entire galaxy as his ultimate goal. He more or less succeeds.
  • The Empire of Valdana in Tytania ruled space at the beginning of the series. But apparently the ruling Tytania clan wasn't as powerful as they thought.
  • The Macross franchise has the New United Nations, which grew into a federalised example of this over the course of the franchise, by virtue of accepting different cultures: Human, Zentraedi/Meltrandi, Varauta, Zolan, Ragnan, Windermerian, Marduk (if you consider that last one canon)... and these are just the known species. It's possible that many, many more alien cultures are also members of the New UN.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Ytirflirks managed to take over a large sector of space near their homeworld, but made a mistake when they tried to scope out earth using their mothership. It wasn't earth's heroes who were their undoing, but the most prevalent of the races they'd enslaved who took the opportunity to revolt.

     Fan Works 
  • In Fractured, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands crossover and its sequel Origins, the Trans-Galactic Republic spans ten galaxies, all outgrowths from the original. The trope definition implies any galaxy with a single major government counts, so the Citadel Council's (former) space also qualifies. Averted with Pandora's surrounding galaxy—there's not really a government to speak of.
  • In Earth's Alien History, the Terran Treaty Organization becomes the hegemon of the Alpha Quadrant after the Mekon War, due to the Citadel Council's members being severely weakened by the war, with the only other potential rivals being the Klingons and Romulans. And TeTO's power only grows over time, with the Council continuing to decline, the Klingons becoming friendly rivals, and the Romulans having to create their own bloc (the Pact of the Raptor) just to keep up. Following the Reaper War, there's also the formation of the Shield Alliance, which quickly rises in diplomatic prowess to become a significant rival to both TeTO and the Pact.

  • Star Wars:
    • The franchise first had the Old Republic after the defeat of the Sith Empire, then the Galactic Empire after defeating the Confederacy of Independent Systems (AKA the Separatists), then the New Republic when the Empire is reformed by the Rebel Alliance.
      • If you go the Legends route, the New Republic is followed up by the Galactic Alliance while the Imperial Remnant becomes the Fel Empire, co-existing for a century before the Sith took over the Empire again and conquered most of the Alliance, then the Alliance military teams up with the Fel loyalists to defeat the Sith, at which point they seem to set up the Alliance again, now apparently governed by a triumvirate consisting of the Alliance leader, the Jedi Order Grand Master, and the Empire's new Empress (Fel's daughter).
      • Legends placed the Galactic Empire as encompassing a total of 70.5 million worlds spanning most of the galaxy, though 69 million of those were colonies or vassal states rather than sovereign Imperial territories.
      • For the current Expanded Universe, one of the Imperial Remnants becomes the First Order, which causes the Resistance to be formed out of the New Republic.
    • Predating the Old Republic in Legends was the Rakatan Infinite Empire, a race of Abusive Precursors that enslaved most of the galaxy, then were done in when the Force rejected them. The Hutts were apparently the first major power to develop after the Rakata fell.
    • There's also the Eternal Empire, who had originated from the Unknown Regions and Wild Space. There's also the Chiss Ascendancy from the Unknown Regions, and the Corporate Sector Authority.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: the Nova and Kree Empires that show up in the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, and later Avengers films are the largest known polities in the cosmic setting. They appear to be roughly equal in strength, as by the time the franchise begins, they've just concluded a millenium-long war with a stalemate and peace treaty. Each appears to encompass many species. Asgard receives a lot more focus than them via the Thor films, but in the grand scheme is a mere Hidden Elf Village with a few primitive protectorates that are mostly similarly tiny. Thanos has an army and fleet referred to as the strongest in the setting a few times, but he doesn't have an actual empire behind him and his forces operate more like a Horde of Alien Locusts. A lot of independent worlds exist, the most notable of which is probably Earth, which is implied to possess notable military power despite being obscure as Thanos's lieutenant warns him not to attack it. As of Phase 4, Asgard is destroyed, the Nova capital planet of Xandar is implied to have been exterminated, Thanos's forces have been eradicated, and The Snap wiped out half of the galactic population and doubtlessly caused massive societal disruptions, so it's unclear who's the top dog now.

  • In Sergey Volnov's Army of the Sun trilogy, the Earthstella Empire ruled most of the known galaxy, subjugating and incorporating all discovered alien races, with humans (called "Earthers" by aliens) treating most aliens as second-class citizens at best. The only races that got it better were Human Aliens who may or may not be Transplanted Humans. After the empire-wide revolt, the "Earthers" were overthrown, establishing a loose coalition between the former slave races. Earth was destroyed during the final stage of the rebellion (it wasn't), but many human-dominated colonies are still around, although humans are the ones being treated as second-class citizens now. It's usually unsafe for a human to be traveling on an alien-dominated world. Crimes against humans are rarely investigated, even humans pretending to be Human Aliens.
  • In Mikhail Akhmanov's Arrivals from the Dark series, the latter books have the Earth Federation emerge as the most powerful interstellar power after centuries of fighting some of the other powers. However, on a galactic scope, the Federation only has a few dozen systems in the Orion Arm having never ventured beyond. In contrast, the series starts with the Faata attempting to invade Earth far from their homeworld in the Pegasus Arm. The so-called Void Wars take place between the still-young Earth Federation and the Faata but mostly involve the Federation's Space Navy defending against the technologically-superior Faata. In fact, the only reason why humans are considered the victors is because the Faata determination to defeat and enslave humans results in the collapse of their society. It's implied that they may once again become a serious threat in the future, but they're too busy rebuilding at the moment.
  • The CoDominium universe went through three. The first was the eponymous alliance between the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R., the second was the Empire of Man founded by the former colony world of Sparta after the founders nuked each other into oblivion. The third was a second Spartan Empire that succeeded the first.
  • The generally unnamed Empire in Dune that formed after the Butlerian Jihad and lasted up until Leto II manipulated its breaking up (almost 14,000 years).
    • According to the prequel novels, another galactic Empire existed prior to Omnius turning on humans. In fact, House Corrino is descended from the Imperial family of the old Empire via Faykan Corrino's wife.
  • Eldraeverse: The Empire of the Star is the largest polity in the Accord by roughly a factor of two and sits at the forefront of technology in the known universe. While the Voniensa Republic has eight thousand star systems, in contrast to the mere hundreds of the largest Accord polities - the Accord as a whole is ten thousand systems - but their technology is stifled by their anti-transhumanist laws.
  • The Starways Congress in the sequels to Ender's Game is one of the few examples without Faster-Than-Light Travel, though they do have a Subspace Ansible.
  • Isaac Asimov:
  • Averted in Andrei Livadny's The History of the Galaxy, where the Confederacy of Suns that rules over pretty much all of human space only encompasses a few hundred stars in a small corner of the galaxy, which is the extent of explored space. The ancient alien races discovered over the course of the series have explored even less, mostly confined to a spherical star cluster, thanks to the fact that they haven't been able to develop a portable hyperdrive (using a Portal Network instead), something that humans have developed a few decades after discovering hypersphere. The so-called Galactic Wars were extremely limited in scope when viewed on a truly galactic scale (only a few dozen systems) and were mainly an attempt by the Earth Alliance to impose its rule over a number of Lost Colonies, who banded together and eventually formed the Confederacy. In later books, humans finally figure out how to travel to any star in the galaxy in a short time (using the center of hypersphere as a hub of sorts), but the Confederate government clamps down on the discovery, fearing an alien power using this method to invade the very heart of human space without warning.
    • A later novel discusses the fact that the Confederate fleet can no longer effectively protect the expanding human space both from internal (e.g. piracy, inter-world squabbles, Mega Corps) and hypothetical external threats. The fleet is reorganized. The Standard Sci-Fi Fleet is relegated to the Core worlds, while a new carrier-based rapid-reaction fleet is built to patrol the Periphery. Naturally, just in time for a serious external threat to appear.
  • In Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson's Hoka stories, the League. To be sure, with some difficulties in scale.
  • Honor Harrington is unique in that it initially took place in the "fringe" rather than anywhere near the superpower. The Solarian League is so vast that most maps don't show the entire thing, but their sheer numbers have meant that no one dared to fight them for centuries. As such, the "barbarians" like Manticore tore their fleets to pieces when the League was manipulated into trying to extend their reach that far. After book 19 of the main series, the League is severely weakened, and the Grand Alliance (Manticore, Haven, Grayson) is firmly establishing itself as the new superpower, with Queen Elizabeth III and President Eloise Pritchard taking steps to making the Alliance more permanent.
  • In Andre Norton's Ice Crown, the Back Story includes the wide control of the Psychocrats over many star systems.
  • Averted in the human era of Larry Niven's Known Space universe but two billion years ago the Thrintun (or Slavers) conquered most of the galaxy using their telepathic abilities to enslave other species. Until one of their slave races, the Tnuctipun, rebelled en masse and instead of admitting defeat the Slavers commanded every chordate in the galaxy to commit suicide.
  • The Lensman series has two galactic superpowers: Civilization and Boskone, with the series being about the conflict between the two.
  • In the Star Carrier series the human government, the Terran Confederation of States, is one of the small fringe factions. The series deals with their efforts to avoid being subsumed or destroyed by the Sh'daar Masters, an empire that controls most of the galaxy through a variety of vassal species. At the end of the second book, Rear Admiral Koenig gets his hands on a galactic map showing the various Sh'daar vassal races and gets a real feeling of the sheer scale of Sh'daar control. There are thousands (maybe even millions) of space-faring races that the Sh'daar could call on to crush the tiny Confederation should humans prove to be too much of a nuisance. However, it's later revealed that one of the reasons they don't do it is because their control over their subject races is not as strong as humans initially think. Additionally, any serious attempt to wipe out humanity would require the combined efforts of several of their subject races. Therein lies the problem. Due to the fact that the galaxy is filled with Starfish Aliens, none like the other, their mindsets are so different from one another that any significant cooperation (especially of the military kind) would be next to impossible.
  • Star Trek Expanded Universe:
    • Maps in various licensed supplements (e.g. Star Trek Star Charts) indicate that the Federation covers an enormous amount of territory compared to the other major powers in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants (though not the entire galaxy by a long shot). This includes almost completely encircling the Romulan Star Empire. Of course, this also means that Starfleet has to protect a much larger territory, explaining why the Enterprise is always the only ship available. As well, Star Charts shows that the Federation and surrounding governments cover only a tiny part of the galaxy 1,500 light-years across.
      • Note that both examples (from technically non-canon reference books) are a case of Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale. Real-world stars come up all the time in Trek, and mostly consist of ones just a few hundred light-years from Earth at the absolute most. Those stars are still treated as uncharted territory, which makes sense given that Trek FTL averages around 1,000c in the 23rd and 24th centuries. In fact, it's a major plot point in Enterprise that the Klingon home world is less than 90 light-years from Earth. The Vulcan home world meanwhile orbits a real-world star about 17 light-years from Earth. This all suggests that the Federation's actual controlled space wouldn't even show up as a pixel on all but the largest galaxy maps. In First Contact, Picard claims that the Federation is 8,000 light-years in size, but he doesn't specify whether that's its length or volume (the latter is suggested by the low number of planets he gives - just over 150). The Federation constantly running across new undiscovered civilizations in its own little section of the Alpha Quadrant forms the premise of the first two shows in the franchise.
    • In the Distant Finale of Star Trek: Federation set many centuries in the future the UFP has unified the entire galaxy, and ships are now fast enough (using something called a "sidewarp" drive) that crossing it is trivial.
  • In Andre Norton's The Zero Stone, Jern contemplates at one point that the Zacathans found evidence of several galaxy-wide civilizations that predated them — and the Zacathans themselves have millions of years of history recorded.
  • In Michael Cobley's Humanity's Fire series, the most powerful polity in the galaxy in the Sendruka Hegemony. As the name implies, it's a Hegemonic Empire, but one that leans more towards "Empire" than "Hegemonic" — the Sendrukans themselves are a race of Manipulative Bastard Villains With Good Publicity, who use various forms of political manipulation (the False Flag Operation being a favorite) to convince other species to cuddle up to their rule, which they enforce rather brutally when they need to. And their status is further aided by the various (nominally independent) client states that follow their lead. The only power that can fairly stand up to them is the Ismili Mergence, a confederacy of lesser powers, and that appears to be more luck and cunning than anything else.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's The Stars Are Cold Toys duology, despite interstellar travel, humanity is still confined to one world. All of known space is controlled by the Galactic Conclave, divided into nine Strong races and dozens (if not hundreds) of Weak ones (guess which ones we are). The Strong races run the Conclave and "oversee" the Weak races. In reality, they pigeonhole each Weak race into Crippling Overspecialization, limiting their development in order to maintain dominance. For example, humans, with their instantaneous Faster-Than-Light Travel (that no one else can survive) act as space cabbies, delivering urgent cargo (everything else is sent by "slower" hyperspace-capable ships). Disobedience is severely punished, sometimes by extinction. Later on, though, it's revealed that the Conclave only controls a small part of the galaxy. There are other powers in the galaxy, but none can truly be called a superpower. For as far as Earth is concerned, the Conclave definitely fits.
  • In Christopher G Nuttall's When The Empire Falls, the empire only covers about a third of the galaxy, but it's also the only power in the galaxy. Fully true in the past, when the Imperials had a full galaxy-spanning empire.

     Live-Action TV 
  • The Systems Commonwealth in Andromeda covered three galaxies before its fall.
    • The Commonwealth was not all-powerful, though. The Pyrian Empire is about on par with them, and the first Magog attacks are so devastating that the Commonwealth is forced to sign a treaty that gives them a good number of worlds (most of which were populated by Nietzscheans). That latter fact is what kick-starts the Nietzschean rebellion.
  • The Interstellar Alliance in Babylon 5 established in 2261 after the Liberation of Earth from President Clark may fit this trope as it unites the absolute majority of species and polities shown in the series under a loose affinitation. Specially considering it reunites four of the considered major Galactic powers; the Minbari Federation, the Centauri Republic/Empire (for a while and then back again), the Earth Alliance and the Narn Regime.
    • Arguably the Vorlon Empire and the Shadows were Galactic Powers by their mere antiquity and consequent technological superiority. Other First Ones had left the Galaxy or remanined uninterested on other races' affairs. However their influence was less direct and more hidden up until the very end of the conflict between the two. Once they left and other First One remaining the ISA certainly became the only true superpower.
  • The Federation in Blake's 7 initially controlled all of the settled galaxy, except for some outlying settlements, the anomalous Aurons, and a few insular and well-hidden aliens.
  • Humanity in Doctor Who goes through a succession of progressively bigger empires in the future, many covering multiple galaxies before eventually encompassing most of the universe.
  • The Anglo-Sino Alliance has jurisdiction over almost the entirety of the star system in which the Firefly franchise takes place (a half dozen stars with attendant planets and moons), though this is only very recent. Prior to the Unification War six years ago only the inner planets were members; the outer ones were independent. How much control they actually have varies from planet to planet; the outermost planets are more aware of them rather than governed by them.
  • In Lexx the League of 20,000 Planets, ruled by His Divine Shadow from the planet Cluster, controls the entire Light Universe (barring a resistance movement), but not the parallel universe Dark Zone as His Divine Shadow cannot pass through the portals.
  • Stargate-verse: For a good twenty millennia prior to Earth's stargate program, the Goa'uld Empire ruled most of the Milky Way with only a few small pockets resisting them. The fact that the Tau'ri were able to do in a decade what the Asgard, Furlingsnote  and Tok'ra couldn't do in thousands of years is quite impressive.
  • Star Trek is an unusual example. The Dominion is the big dog in the Gamma Quadrant; in the Delta Quadrant, it used to be the Vaadwaur hundreds of years ago, and nowadays it's the Borg. In the "home space" of the franchise, however, the biggest power is the United Federation of Planets, a superpower which isn't interested in military conquest. As a consequence, the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire (both of which predate the Federation by centuries) have a similar level of power, and there are a number of significant fringe states such as the Ferengi Alliance, Breen Confederacy, and the Cardassian Union/Empire.
  • Toei Tokusatsu: The Space Squad Shared Universe home to Super Sentai and Metal Heroes has the Galactic Federationnote , which employs the Space Sheriffs. Both franchises have introduced empires with ambitions of universal domination, most notably the Space Empire Zangyack; opposed by the Galactic Federation Police, they were said to have conquered almost the entire universe before fracturing after a failed invasion of Earth which ended in the death of their Emperor.
    • Uchu Sentai Kyuranger, which is set in a Parallel Universe to the prime Super Sentai reality, has the Space Federationnote , an alliance of the 88 constellations founded by human space explorer Tsurugi Ohtori, who became its first President. Then comes the Space Shogunate Jark Matter, led by Don Armage, which conquers pretty much the entire universe (including Earth). Ultimately, after some 300 years, Jark Matter falls once its leader is defeated by the Kyurangers. The Space Federation is restored, led once again by Tsurugi Ohtori, who had been in suspended animation.

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a galactic empire that Zaphod Beeblebrox used to be president of. And which seems to have nothing better to do than demolish planets to build hyperspace express lanes or chase after the ex-president. There was also a hugely prosperous empire that collapsed five million years ago, due in large part to everyone's money going to Magrathea's luxury planet industry.
  • The Space Gypsy Adventures has the Federal Alliance (known as the Galactic Federation in the 1986 series). However, Zenophon, where many of the episodes take place, is outside its jurisdiction. This makes it a favorite place for Gemma, Damien, Fluff, etc. to flee to when escaping the clutches of Spiker & Bones. It's also a sort of second home for Gemma, her first home obviously being her freighter, the Rapscallion.


     Tabletop Games 
  • The Star League in the backstory of BattleTech ruled over most of known space but ever since it broke up the five successor states and the Clans have been pretty much in a stalemate.
  • The three Imperiums in Traveller were largely this in their times, though the Third Imperium encountered similarly sized alien Empires on its borders.
  • The Imperium of Man in Warhammer 40,000 spans the Milky Way galaxy and is consistently cited in countless sources as ruling a million worlds (on paper anyway), but there are many worlds within that expanse that are controlled by other factions which the Imperium is constantly at war with. And the Eastern Reach where the Tau reside is still being explored. While they are potentially big threats to the Imperium collectively, every Eldar Craftworld (and Exodite World), Dark Eldar Kabal, Ork tribe, Chaos warband, and Necron fiefdom is effectively an independent faction (albeit one that often cooperates with others of its race), so calling them "powers" isn't really accurate. In fact the largest known empire in the galaxy besides the Imperium is the T'au Empire, which is at most about one percent the size. The sourcebooks mention various small empires (both human and alien) scattered about, but they're bit players even by the standards of the T'au, much less the Imperium.
    • The history of 40K also includes two previous galactic superpowers before the Age of the Imperium. 60 million years or so ago, the Old Ones were by far the dominant race in the galaxy. Their civilisation was eventually destroyed by firstly the war against the C'tan and Necrons, and secondly the rise of Chaos due to the Old One's creation of psychically powered younger races (including the Eldar, Orks, and possibly humans) to fight in the war. The Necrons rebelled against the C'tan then went into hibernation to wait until any threat to them was gone, while having wiped out much of the sentient life in the galaxy Chaos lost much of its influence in the physical world leaving the Eldar to form the second galactic superpower, which lasted until the 30th millenium, shortly before humanity rose to power.
    • The Necrons, the other previous galactic superpower, are in the process of reawakening. The extent of their ancient empire is shown by how resurgent Necron territories span the entire galaxy, and this map doesn't count the most minor dynasties and those still in hibernation. Either the Old Ones held very little ground during their ascendancy, or political maps back then were hopelessly tangled.
    • The nature of the Tyranids, a massive hive organism possibly on a similar scale to the galaxy itself, suggests that they must also have been galactic superpowers in many other galaxies before arriving in the Milky Way.
    • By virtue of numbers, the orks are (again, on paper) the single most numerous and powerful species. Fortunately they love infighting as much as they do fighting other species, and very rarely are they unified under a single leader.
      Which did happen, once. The resulting War Of The Beast required multiple Space Marine chapters, uncountable millions of humans, a Primarch, and even a truce between Loyalists and Traitor Marines to beat back.

     Video Games 
  • The Mantis in Conquest: Frontier Wars are the most powerful race in the known galaxy, story-wise. However, Gameplay and Story Segregation means that all three sides are equal in-game.
  • In the backstory to Endless Space, the Endless Empire Precursors controlled the bulk of the galaxy, building vast Big Dumb Objects, uplifting creatures, and so on. Then they had to go and have a civil war and ended wiping themselves out, leaving the galaxy ripe for the taking for a dozen new upstarts - including humanity - a few millenia later.
  • Kill Zone: the Earth-based United Colonial Nations has authority over all known inhabited planets in the setting (which is just a few star systems), with its military arm being the Interstellar Strategic Alliance (ISA).
  • Half-Life: the Combine is the only known interplanetary (and interdimensional) power in the setting, and is implied to have conquered countless species. That is a very, very bad thing for humanity.
  • Escape Velocity:
    • In EV Override roughly half the map is controlled by the Crescent species (real name lost to history — their territory forms a crescent, thus the name), kept in check by an Omniscient Council of Vagueness that plays their three polities off against each other. In the sequel that was being made but appears to not be anymore, the Crescent would have unified under said Council into a single enormous empire — though in response most of the other species would have united into a roughly-equal Alliance.
    • In EV Nova the closest thing to this is the Auroran Empire, which isn't a single polity so much as a loose confederation of warrior clans that fight among themselves as often as they fight the Federation or the Polaris. Collectively they control a huge swathe of territory along the bottom half of the map bigger than the other two superpowers put together.
    • In the Starfleet Adventures mod for Nova (a total conversion for 23rd-century Star Trek) the Federation controls a patchwork of systems that amount to roughly half the map (which covers both the Alpha and Beta Quadrants), with other polities (Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Gorn, etc.) interspersed among them.
  • In Evolve, all known space is controlled by one of three human superpowers that exist in an uneasy stalemate.
    • Hub, the Earth centered superpower. It has advanced technology and maintains its grip on its holdings through spies, preemptive strikes, and various top secret projects.
    • The Far Arm, located towards the edge of the galaxy. It's the largest of the superpowers but isn't a single nation, consisting of many independent planets and systems. It's run through corporate feudalism and holds the most resources.
    • The Hegemony, located between Earth and the core of the galaxy. Little is know about it, besides that it is more technologically advanced than Hub.
  • The Domain in Freedom Force, thanks to their secret weapon, Energy X, that grants super powers to anyone exposed to it. The only reason Lord Dominion doesn't crush Earth is because he's bored of easy conquests and would rather watch Earth destroy itself by giving Energy X to humanity's worst. Mentor has other ideas.
  • By Galactic Civilizations II, the Drengin have become this.
  • Halo:
    • The Covenant, a religious empire stretching across a good chunk of the Orion Arm founded by the San'Shyuum (Prophets) and Sangheili (Elites) and based around worship of the Forerunners, themselves an ancient version of this trope who effectively controlled the entire Milky Way (controlling some 3 million habitable planets, they believed they'd achieved "maximum growth" and considered further expansion unnecessary). The Covenant are on a remarkably tiny scale compared to the objects of their worship, "only" controlling a few hundred populated planets with claims on a lot of other unpopulated ones, which still makes them a juggernaut and by far the single most powerful known faction in the galaxy during the games' timeline. They were never unchallenged, with civil war being rampant, other races existing outside of their direct rule (sometimes as clients), factions of the Covenant races creating their own independent empires that would then wage war on the "main" Covenant (like Atriox's Banished), and of course, the UNSC (with about 800 planets, moons, and asteroids and 39 billion people) fighting them for thirty years, but their position as superpower of the Orion Arm was never really in question while they existed. After the Covenant splinters into a multitude of warring factions post-Halo 3, this trope becomes averted as the galaxy is beset by a huge variety of warring great powers and minor powers. The four great powers in the aftermath seem to the human-led UNSC, the Elite-led Swords of Sanghelios, the Brute-led Banished, and Jul'Mdama's Elite-led faction (members simply call it "the Covenant", as they believe themselves to be the empire's unbroken continuation). Warfleet kind of subverts this though by noting that nothing beyond the Orion Arm has been explored by either the UNSC or the Covenant, so no one really knows what's out there. Most of the Orion Arm isn't explored either - Warfleet says that only a few thousand star systems have been explored, which comes out to maybe a millionth of the stars in this arm alone.
    • In the prehistoric era, the Forerunner Ecumene's main rivals for the title of Galactic Superpower are revealed to have been Advanced Ancient Humans, which themselves were allied with the Advanced Ancient San'Shyuum. The Forerunners crushed both of them in a galactic war to earn their undisputed title as the galactic superpower.
  • Homeworld: The Taiidan Empire. In ancient history the Hiigarans were the dominant power before the Taiidan overthrew them. The sequel reveals that the Hiigarans controlled a relatively small territory and were roughly equal in strength to the Taiidani. The Second Core is what allowed them to bypass the Taiidani border defenses and bomb the Taiidan homeworld into oblivion. After the loss of the Core and the destruction of most of the Hiigaran fleet, the surviving Taiidani rallied together and struck back at their now-defenseless enemies, taking Hiigara for themselves as compensation for the loss of Taiidan, while surviving Hiigarans were allowed to go into exile to the fringes of the galaxy. With the Bentusi voluntarily demilitarizing themselves, few other powers could check the rise of the Taiidan Empire.
  • Mass Effect. Most of the known Milky Way is controlled by the Citadel Council (basically encompassing the "first world" equivalent of the MEU), but because of the limitations of mass effect drive and laws against opening mass relays willy-nilly barely 1% of the galaxy is actually explored. 50,000 years ago the Prothean Empire dominated, and in previous cycles other empires ruled. The Citadel Council is implied to be an unusual method, as it's a federation of powers rather than an empire. Still, they're on the scale you'd expect such a superpower to be on. It's repeatedly stated throughout the games that Citadel Space encompasses trillions of people and thousands of garden worlds, with many barely-populated industrial/resource extraction worlds and moons for every garden world. The asari, turians, and salarians are the strongest races in roughly that order, with humanity being a distant fourth about on par with minor members like the elcor in terms of economy and demography. Also, while Citadel Space controls most of the known galaxy, there exist many independent worlds (populated by the same species as Citadel Space) and whole species outside of their sphere of influence - most of them in the Terminus systems, which is to Citadel Space as the third world is to the first world.
    • This is an Enforced Trope on the part of the Reapers who set up the Citadel and mass relay system to encourage a single dominant civilization, or at least a dominant culture (typically the one that finds the Citadel) to make it easier to sweep up the most advanced species when they return to the galaxy.
    • The kett empire is the only known Andromeda superpower in Mass Effect: Andromeda. They control at least a thousand species, per the Archon, and countless client races besides, but are a bit Insufficiently Advanced Alien compared to Citadel Space, which has a technological advantage on them in every area except one (biotech). It's difficult to say if they're the only superpower since the kett are still mysterious to the Andromeda Initiative and the native angara (and are so full of themselves it may not be the best idea to take them at their word, especially since they're Scary Dogmatic Aliens of the uber-religious type that quite literally think they're the Ultimate Lifeform as a race), but what little information we get indicates that they do rule a large empire regardless. Interestingly, lacking both the Mass Relays and various "easy" FTL methods of other fictional sci-fi races (their FTL drives are "merely" several thousand times faster than light - for comparison the Milky Way is 100,000 light years side to side), conquests far from their home cluster relies on long, autonomous military expeditions (which, going by the Archon's forces, include a bare minimum of sixteen kett cruisers, a flagship, and appropriate numbers of fighters and ground forces) that only periodically report back to the Senate running the empire every X number of years - much like the colonial empires in the Age of Exploration. The creators of the Remnant may also qualify if only by judging by the sheer scale of their engineering (terraforming an entire star cluster, building a moon-sized space station, and creating the angaran race), but they're even more mysterious than the kett and that's not even getting into whoever created the Scourge...
  • Averted in StarCraft, where despite there being only three races (five if you count the Purifiers and Primal Zerg as distinct), all of them are divided into many different factions, and none of these factions are powerful enough to subvert all of the other ones. Additionally, the games are set in a rather small portion of space, the single Koprulu sector of maybe a hundred planets, rather than a whole galaxy. That said, there are a few great powers worth noting:
    • Among the Terrans, the Terran Confederacy was the most powerful of their states, only distantly rivaled by the Kel-Morian Combine and Umojan Protectorate, and opposed by the powerful rebel group the Sons of Korhal. After its fall the succeeding Terran Dominion temporarily united all Terran colonies, though the Kel-Morian Combine and the Umojan Protectorate later broke free again. The scale of the United Earth Directorate is not known.
    • The Protoss Empire was a version of this; according to the first game's manual, they "ruled" hundreds of planets, but what that really meant was that they declared themselves the protectors of hundreds of pre-spaceflight planets inhabited by hundreds of different species. Due to their Alien Non-Interference Clause, the protoss didn't colonize those planets themselves, and only lived on a handful of worlds. The bulk of the Protoss Empire's protoss population appeared to live on their homeworld of Aiur. While the Protoss Empire is the strongest, there are other protoss factions in the form of the Nerazim, Purifiers, and Tal'darim. By the time the first game begins the Protoss Empire is the strongest faction in the Koprulu sector, though they could be weaker than the far-off UED. After the fall of Aiur they're replaced by a coalition government of former empire citizens, Nerazim, and Purifiers known as the Daelaam, who are still the most powerful faction in the sector, though the gap between them and the terran/zerg polities isn't as big as it was between those polities and the Protoss Empire.
    • The zerg have the main Zerg Swarm under first the Overmind and then Kerrigan as their strongest faction. Besides them there are just the feral zerg (who operate in packs on an animal-like intelligence), those corrupted by Amon, and the secluded Primal Zerg, who eventually get brought into the fold anyway. After Kerrigan ascends and Zagara takes over, the Zerg Swarm splinters, though Zagara's brood remains the largest and thus de facto the "real" Swarm. In the absence of Kerrigan, the Overmind, or Amon, the zerg broods really aren't much of a power at all.
  • The Pangalactic Federation in the Star Ocean series.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: The Samaar Federation, which governs multiple major galaxies in the Local Group. The only representatives of theirs that we see are the Big Bad, the Ganglion, who are noted to be a criminal organization. Several aliens from civilizations outside Samaar's jurisdiction speak of them as a not-entirely-benevolent government, though the details are left vague.
  • Crying Suns: The unnamed Empire was the dominant power in the galaxy for seven hundred years. By the time the game takes place, however, it has become a Vestigial Empire due to the infrastructure which enabled Faster-Than-Light Travel and communication shutting down.
  • Metroid: The Galactic Federation is the galaxy's dominant ruling body consisting of hundreds of inhabited worlds and Samus Aran's most frequent employer. The Space Pirates are the most serious threat to galactic peace and order, as they are a loosely affiliated coalition of species and clans who wreak havoc on interstellar travel and raid remote colony worlds. The Metroid Prime series also shows other civilizations which are unaffiliated with the Federation: some are friendly such as the Luminoth, while others are hostile such as the Kriken Empire, which values conquest of new planets and is implied to be encroaching on both Federation and Pirate territory.

     Web Original 
  • In Orion's Arm the First Federation attempted this in the 10th century a.t., more or less succeeding in unifying the Solar System and the few interstellar colonies that existed at the time. But as expansion continued the Federation became more or less a "rubber stamp" body and after about 1800 a.t. it was essentially irrelevant. The Second Federation of 3800 to 4450 a.t. was not so much a polity as a universal protocol of interactions between polities (think the U.N.), which pretty much ended with the Version War. In the 106th century a.t. Terragen space is divided between several Sephirotic Empires that are starting to fragment.

     Western Animation 
  • The Earth-led Democratic Order of Planets in Futurama is explicitly compared to the UFP from Star Trek, and is seemingly the largest polity that in the galaxy. It's rather easy to defeat, though, partly because its supreme commander is Zapp Brannigan. Known species in DOOP include humans, Amazonians, Decapodians, robots,note  Neutrals, Yarn People, Trisolians, Slurm Worms, and Amphibiosans.
  • The Hater Empire in Wander over Yonder, under the rule of Galactic Conqueror Lord Hater. While they seem to own a good chunk of the show's native galaxy in Season 1, they've suffered a serious reduction by Season 2 thanks to Wander's antics and Lord Hater's singleminded obsession with destroying him, causing dozens of other villains to come out of the woodwork to compete for power.
  • The Galactic Horde in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, is a totalitarian empire that has dominated the known universe under their ruthless emperor, Horde Prime. Every galaxy fell before him without resistance, except for the First Ones, against whom the Galactic Horde fought a long war with and won. His ancient enemy, She-Ra, had vanished from the universe, leaving Horde Prime to rule the universe uncontested for a thousand years.