Hello guys! Today, here's my forty-seventh PE proposal, and it's about Gallius Rax, a minor yet significant villain of the Star Wars franchise who namely appears as the main antagonist in Chuck Wendig's 2015-2017 The Afermath Trilogy books, which tells what happened following the events of Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens.
WHO IS HE / WHAT HAS HE DONE?
Gallius Rax was an oprhan boy named Galli who lived in the deserts of Jakku back during the Galactic Republic era. Growing up abused by the Anchorite monk Kolob, Galli longed for a better life far away from Jakku. One day, Galli met Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine and stowed away into his yacht the Imperialis. Sensing Galli's furthr usefulness, Palpatine accepted Galli as his protégé and assigned him to guard the Plaitive Hand plateau excavation, leading Galli to convince some of his fellow orphans into rebelling against Kolob and aiding him with the excavation towards Jakku's core and building an Observatory on top of the boring hole, as part of Palpatine's plans for his future Sith empire: if Palpatine died for whatever reason, he would have his navy and armies go to Jakku and destroy his empire for failing to protect him. Galli then murdered his fellow orphans to preserve Palpatine's secret plans. Mission accomplished, Galli was taken by Palpatine and send to Coruscant to be educated and trained to become the Emperor's second-in-command, adopting the name of Gallius Rax.
In the years following the Galactic Republic's fall and the Galactic Empire's rise, Gallius Rax became a decorated Imperial Fleet Admiral. When Emperor Palpatine was first killed during the Battle of Endor at the hands of his Sith apprentice Darth Vader, Rax emerges from the shadows and started the Contingency plans the Emperor had assigned him to carry on in the event of his death. To do so, Rax creates the Shadow Council to stabilize the fragmented Empire but concurrently leaks information to the newly established New Republic as "The Operator" to undermine the Empire, but he actually does so to get back at those Imperials who don't want to join him. In reality, despite Palpatine's explicit orders of destroying his Empire for outliving him, Rax secretly plans to save some of the Empire to recreate it more stronger and efficient on the Unknown Regions, so Rax can become the new Emperor. Considering Admiral Rae Sloane as someone to trust, Gallius sends her to a trap in the planet Akiva, which results in the deaths and captures of some Imperial officers, yet he "praises" Sloane for surviving by telling her that it was all a test and that he was the one who gave away the location to the New Republic, promoting Sloane to Grand Admiral while posing like her adviser.
Rax then has Adea Rite, Sloane's personal assistant, rescued from a Republic prison to serve as his lover and to spy on Sloane, who poses like the Empire's head. Interested on Commandant Brendol Hux's plans to start a breeding program of children trained from birth to serve his new Empire as Stormtroopers, Rax sends the bounty hunter Mercurial Swift to rescue Brendol and his son Armitage, but Sloane goes to Coruscant in secret and discovers that Rax didn't tell her about a Super Star Destroyer he has nor his past history with Imperial officers like Grand Moff Tarkin. Rax becomes aware of Sloane's discoveries thanks to Rite and announces to the Shadow Council members that he has several other fleets at his disposal and many weapons factories on Imperial-controlled planets. Nevertheless, Sloane grows more suspicious when Commander Valent, an Imperial who didn't like Rax, gets killed while trying to meet with Grand General Kenner Loring and his faction, who disliked Rax as well, and all because the New Republic was informed by Rax about Valent's threat. Rae decides to kill Rax at his private garden on a Star Destroyer, but Rax convinces her to not kill him because of his plans to attack the New Republic's capital Chandrila and promising her to make her Empress of his new Empire with him as an adviser.
To do so, Gallius allows Norra Wexley and Han Solo to rescue some rebel prisoners, including Norra's husband Brentin Lore, and take them to Chandrila to celebrate Liberation Day at Hanna City because he had fitted them with inorganic bio-chips that will turn them into brainwashed killers upon broadcasting his order to shoot at the rebels so they can kill Chancellor Mon Mothma and other Republic officials, soldiers and politicians. Rax then sends Rae Sloane and Adea Rite to Chandrila to discuss a peace treaty with Mothma, Leia Organa and Admiral Ackbar, but he then gives the order to the brainwashed inmates and they attack many guests, succeeding in wounding Mothma, freeing the Imperial adviser Yupe Tashu from Republic custody and causing other planets to doubt on joining the New Republic or not. However, Sloane gets fed up with Rax's tactics by comparing them with those of the rebels and tries to execute him, but Adea tries to kill her boss, leading Sloane to shoot her former assistant dead and escape into hyperspace, meeting up with Brentin Lore Wexley and teaming up with him to defeat Rax. Meanwhile, Rax makes it look that Sloane was captured at Chandrila and temporarily proclaims himself Counselor to the Empire by saying that he doesn't "consider" himself worthy to be Emperor or Admiral and requesting all his forces to meet up at Jakku to defeat the New Republic in a definitive showdown, secretly planning to get rid most of them to continue with his plans for a new Empire.
To prepare for the Batte of Jakku, Gallius assigns his forces to Jakku and lets them suffer due the barrenand harsh condition of the desertic planet, not knowing that Brentin Lore Wexley and Rae Sloane are on the planet too to stop his plans. He also makes a deal with Niima the Hutt to guard the Observatory and kidnap all the children from Jakku's villages and orphanages so Brendol Hux can train them into Stormtroopers as part of his breeding training program. After sending some of his child soldiers to kill the Imperial propagandist Ferric Obdur for asking him about the messaging of Imperial presence at Jakku to the New Republic, Rax meets up with Kolob again and kills him both for his unhappy upbringing and as a sacrifice to the dark side of the Force. He then meets up with a Sentinel droid of Emperor Palpatine who displays holographic footage of Niima's convoy travelling with Sloane to the Observatory, leading Rax to order his turbolasers cannon bombard the Hutt's convoy and has Grand Vizier Mas Amedda placed under house arrest at the Imperial Palace on Coruscant. However, Amedda manages to escape with the help of the Anklebiter Brigade child resistance movement so he can talk up with Mon Mothma about a peace treaty to end the war formally and Sloane, Wexley, Niima and her men survived Rax's attempt on their lives, so he sends Hux's child army after them.
Hux does so and Sloane and Brentin and taken to him the next day. Dismissing Sloane's threats of retaking the Empire and having Niima incapacitated, Gallius has Sloane arrested and prepares to execute Wexley before changing his mind as Wexley can still be useful for him due having been previously one of his brainwashed slaves. He then shows them his child soldiers, who kill the Stormtroopers present because Rax considers them to be part of the "Old Empire" which will die that day. The Battle of Jakku begins shortly afterwards between the Imperial and Republic forces, leading Rax to go to the Observatory accompanied by Brendol, Armitage, Tashu and his child soldiers so Rax can detonate Jakku from its core to destroy both the Empire and the Republic while they leave Jakku for the Unknown Regions, where the rest of Rax's loyal fleet still awaits them to rebuild the Empire. Though Rax intends to leave Sloane and Wexley to die in the planet's destruction, they break free and go to stop him with the help of Brentin's wife Norra and Mister Bones. After assigning the young Armitage as the leader of his child army, Rax sends Armitage, his father and the child soldiers to a replica of the Imperialis to wait for him. Aided by Yupe, Rax performs a dark ritual to start Jakku's destruction before throwing Tashu to his death so he can ignite an explosive chain reaction. However, Sloane and the Wexleys arrive to stop him, leading to a fight in which Rax shoots Brentin dead and Norra and Sloane end up fatally wounding Rax. As Nora leaves to meet with her son Temmin, Sloane shuts down the self-destruct mechanism of Jakku, leading the dying Gallius to request her to meet up with the Huxes and his child army at the Imperialis replica and go to the Unknown Regions to rebuild a new Empire there, passing from his wounds shortly afterwards. Sloane does so, and even in death, Rax ends up planting the seeds of what ultimately becomes the ruthless and brutal sucessor of the Galactic Empire: the First Order.
WHAT'S THE WORK?
The Aftermath Trilogy is a Star Wars three part book series written by Chuck Wendig and published by Del Rey in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The series consists with Aftermath, Aftermath: Life Debt and Aftermath: Empire's End. The trilogy is set immediately after Return of the Jedi, the conclusion of the original trilogy, but before the events of the sequel trilogy, which start with The Force Awakens, and it's about how the Alliance to Restore the Republic rebuilds the Galactic Republic as the New Republic while the Galactic Empire crumbles and tries to find a way to restablish their dominance to the galaxy. The series was primarily released as a prequel to the events of the sequels, explaining some of its mysteries, namely the formation of the First Order, the sequel trilogy's central antagonistic faction.
MORAL EVENT HORIZON
Although not seen in the films or television shows like many PEs of the franchise like Wat Tambor or Dr. Nuvo Vindi, Gallius Rax is just as evil as many of the main antagonists from the films, possibly being just as evil like Grand Moff Tarkin, the first PE villain per excellence of the franchise. Desiring power due his harsh upbringing, Gallius Rax doesn't care who he must join to achieve it, seeing others as useful tools to achieve his goals even if they are loyal to him. Every PE villain must have crossed the Moral Event Horizon to be PE, and Gallius Rax definitely crosses it when he remorselessly burns alive many of his fellow orphans, who were just as unhappy like him, to preserve the secret behind Palpatine's Observatory just so Palpatine can give him his way out of Jakku and achieve power through working for him.
HEINOUS STANDARDS/MITIGATING FACTORS?
Taking into account that most Imperial officers have never been the nicest beings, Gallius Rax is no exception, as can be seen just as evil like Grand Moff Tarkin, one of the most evil Imperial officers who ever worked for the Galactic Empire. As Emperor Palpatine's protégé, Rax was one of Palpatine's most trusted minions, along with Tarkin. However, unlike Tarkin, who at least obeyed every command of Emperor Palpatine because he knew the authority he would have for doing so, Gallius just saw his mentor as a means to get what he wanted. Even though Palpatine took him far away from Jakku and provided him with a good education and exceptional military training as well as giving him a good rank within the Imperial Navy, Rax was never truly thankful and secretly despised Palpatine while making it look that he respected him, in a similar way to the Star Wars Legends villain Cronal, whom I proposed last year. Although Palpatine gave him the order to carry on the Contingency and destroy the Galactic Empire in the event of outliving him, which eventually happens during the Battle of Endor, Rax opted to alter the plan and rescue some remnants of the Empire to rebuild it in the Unknown Regions and create a new one which he could use to conquer the galaxy by force, essentially proving that just like Palpatine, Gallius Rax was also a manipulator who tricked people into doing what he wanted so he could get power for himself whatever its cost, essentially proving himself to be an "Emperor Palpatine 2.0".
Upon taking over the Empire after Palpatine's death, Gallius Rax starts leaking information the New Republic to weaken the same Empire he is supposedly leading to win the war, thus betraying thousands of loyal Imperials who believe on him and follow his commands. That said, he also does the same to the Imperials who don't like him so they can't be part of his new Empire, deeming them unworthy of joining him. Rax's catasthrophic actions eventually lead the Empire to lose in the Battle of Jakku, claiming countless lives who fought under his orders. Of course, Rax doesn't care for them, thus showcasing his selfishness. He has no qualms to lie to achieve his goals, like when he manipulates Rae Sloane into serving as the Empire's leader while he poses like an adviser. Sloane eventually sees through Rax's lies and tries to execute him, but Rax considers her no longer useful and tries to kill her aboard his Star Destroyer and later during the Battle of Jakku. Just like Palpatine, Rax knows how exactly make himself look humble to gain the confidence of his fellow Imperials, like when he takes the title as Counselor to the Empire but says that he doesn't feel "worthy" of the positions of Emperor and Admiral, just like he does to make it look in propaganda that the Empire is a victim and the Rebel Alliance is the true menace. This apparently affable facade evidently drops when Rax threatens his fellow Imperials to do what he wants even if they are loyal to him, like when he has Mas Amedda placed under house arrest at the Imperial Palace under the threat of a severe punishment and likewise threatens Brendol Hux to banish him to the desers of Jakku if he doesn't prepare his army. He also has the Imperial propagandist Ferric Obdur killed for asking him about the messaging of Imperial presence to the New Republic, passing his death as an illness to cover it up so the other Imperials would still be loyal to him. When Hux's child soldiers demonstrate his loyalty to him, Rax sadistically has them shoot dead his Stormtroopers even though they had mere moments ago proved to be loyal to him and not Sloane when she tried to arrest him for treason, under the cruel pretext that the child soldiers he had were the future of his new Empire and his Stormtroopers had been part of the "Old Empire".
But what makes Gallius Rax just as despicable like Emperor Palpatine and Grand Moff Tarkin is his willingness to perform such horrific acts to achieve his goals. In an attempt to make the New Republic look bad, Rax allows Norra Wexley and Han Solo to rescue some rebel prisoners, including Norra's husband Brentin Lore, but because he had implanted bio-chips on their bodies so he could brainwash them to kill many other New Republic government officials, politicians and even civilians. Said and done, during the Liberation Day at Chandrila, Rax unleashes his brainwashed army and many people die during the celebration. Such action leads Brentin to wound Chancellor Mon Mothma, strike his wife and even nearly kill his son, much to his horror. And if this wasn't enough, Rax sends Rae Sloane to the celebration under the pretext of signing a peace treaty with the Republic so that could distract Mothma and the others, a tactic which even Sloane herself finds repulsive and leads her to quit her alliance with Rax despite his false promises of making her Empress of his new Empire. One of his most heinous actions is when he approves Brendol Hux's breeding program of taking children away from their families to train them into loyal soldiers willing to die for them, something that Sloane likewise found unnerving and helped to fuel her hatred towards Rax. During the Battle of Jakku, Rax's disregard for the rest of the Empire is finally proven when he demonstrates his willingness to blow up Jakku from its core just to wipe out both the Galactic Empire and the New Republic while he leaves with his child army and the Hux family for the Unknown Regions to form his own Empire, not even caring at all for the innumerable inhabitants who live in Jakku. He ultimately orders Sloane to escape with the Huxes and their child army to rebuild the Empire on the Unknown Regions not because he trusts Sloane, but because of his patriotism to his own cause, and Sloane only agreed because she felt that she could restore order through a new Empire. Thus, even though Rax doesn't live to see his new Empire, his actions are what eventually leads to the creation of the First Order, the dreaded autocratic successor of the Galactic Empire.
Some may say that Gallius doesn't qualify given his unhappy upbringing, thus giving him a tragic past. However, while it's true that Kolob treated him and his fellows like servants and told them that life was based on suffering and service, he was the only one of his fellow orphans who rebelled against Kolob, who as far we know, at least didn't physically abused them. Also, even though his fellow orphans would have wished to leave Jakku, Rax simply manipulated them into aiding him to excavate the Plaitive Hand plateau only to then burn them alive to preserve the Observatory's secrecy without remorse, proving his extreme selfishness as he didn't really care for them as long he could have a means to leave Jakku for good. Even his apparent affection towards his lover Adea Rite becomes moot when he doesn't express any kind of remorse when she died defending him from Rae Sloane and his supposed friendship with Armitage Hux and his act of making him leader of his child army is just an attempt to manipulate Hux into being loyal to him, which eventually contribute to Hux's descent into villainy. Likewise, he spares Brentin Lore Wexley at one point but only because he felt that he was still useful for him, though hours later he leaves him to die on Jakku and then kills him while trying to shoot his wife. Hypocratically, despite hating his upbringing for being harsh, Rax does exactly the same when he recruits orphans to train them into loyal soldiers to kill under his orders, which finally reinforce the fact thay Gallius Rax was nothing more than a hypocritical, sadistic and manipulative individual with no true loyalties who learned from the best and tried to take over the galaxy as long he can have power for himself.
Taking all of this into account, I would say yes about considering Gallius Rax to be approved as PE.