What Are the Praetorian Guards? Elite Guards Explained

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The Mandalorian allows us to see more connections between it and the events of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. In that regard, in episode 7 of season 3, we could see the Praetorian Guard in action for the first time as far as chronological events are concerned. Of course, we met them in the events of the sequel trilogy. But who exactly are the Praetorian Guards?

Praetorian Guards are an elite group of human guards that were specially trained in melee combat to serve as the personal guard of the Supreme Leader of the First Order. However, during the events of The Mandalorian, the Praetorian Guard served as the personal soldiers of members of the Shadow Council.

The introduction of the Praetorian Guard during the events of episode 7 of The Mandalorian allowed us to see that this elite group has been around for a while already, as they were in action more than two decades before the events of the sequel trilogy. Of course, the members Praetorian Guard in the events of the sequel trilogy may no longer be the same as the ones we saw in the Mandalorian. Nevertheless, let’s look at what we know about them.

Praetorian Guards Background Explained

We learned in episode 7 of The Mandalorian season 3 that the Shadow Council exists and is composed of remnant Imperial officers that have been in hiding ever since the fall of the Empire. All of these officers work independently of one another. However, they are still communicating in secret with all of the members of the Shadow Council to update each other regarding the status of the jobs and projects they were assigned to handle. And it was during the Shadow Council meeting the Praetorian Guard was first mentioned in terms of the chronological events of Star Wars.

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At the start of episode 7, Elia Kane secretly communicates with Moff Gideon to tell him that the Mandalorians are planning to take back Mandalore and will threaten him. That was when Gideon met with the other members of the Shadow Council to discuss matters related to the group’s leadership. But more importantly, he had an important matter that he needed to discuss with them as he was looking to ask the members to share resources because he needed their help.

That was when Gideon told them that he needed them to send him members of the Praetorian Guard and a few other reinforcements because he wanted to deal with the threat involving the Mandalorians and the possibility of them becoming enemies to the Empire and its remnants. And because the other Imperial officers were well aware of how dangerous the Mandalorians could be if they were allowed to reclaim their home planet and muster up enough forces, they gave Gideon the needed resources.

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The Mandalorians were able to get to the Great Forge of Mandalore in their attempt to take their home back. That was when they were ambushed by the special jetpack-wearing Stormtroopers of Moff Gideon, who gave the Mandalorians some trouble but weren’t strong enough to take them on. The troopers retreated deeper into the tunnels of Mandalore, only for the Mandalorians to realize that their home had been turned into an Imperial base by Gideon.

Moff Gideon separated the Mandalorians from Din Djarin, who he captured. When he asked Bo-Katan and the other Mandalorians to surrender, they declined to do so, and that was when they tried to escape the base. Meanwhile, Paz Vizsla stayed behind to keep the Imperial forces at bay.

Vizsla defeated the Stormtroopers but faced three Praetorian Guard members in their first chronological appearance in the Star Wars universe. The Praetorian Guard overwhelmed Vizsla, who we know is a well-trained fighter that can match Din Djarin and Axe Woves in combat. He didn’t stand a chance against three Praetorian Guards, who had weapons and combat skills that were too much for the Mandalorian powerhouse to handle.

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The Praetorian Guard is a group of eight highly trained guards that served as the elite personal guard of Supreme Leader Snoke during the events of the sequel trilogy. They appeared in Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi as the warriors that protected Snoke, who was still formidable with the Force but was too old and frail to defend himself in melee combat.

However, this elite group of guards was established during the time of the Mandalorian. The Imperial remnants might have created the Praetorian Guard in preparation for their leader, who Commandant Hux said would be ushered in by Project Necromancer. In that regard, it was clear that the Empire was already preparing quite early for the rise of a new Imperial era as the different Imperial officers handpicked people that could serve as elite fighters for them.

The members of the Praetorian Guard are trained in melee combat. They are highly skilled in martial arts, such as Teräs Käsi, Bakuuni Hand, Echani unarmed forms, Nar Kanji “Blind Alley” techniques, and carried various high-tech melee weapons. As such, they are experts in any kind of weapon that they use, as they can even match the Mandalorians in close-combat situations and give well-trained Jedi problems. And they have likely been trained since childhood, as Commandant Hux was known to idolize the Jedi in terms of how early they train their Jedi Knights.

Are The Praetorian Guards Sith?

As mentioned, the Praetorian Guard was established to serve as the bodyguards of the Empire/First Order leader. In that regard, they served as the personal guard of a Force-sensitive individual in the form of Supreme Leader Snoke, who was not a Sith but was strong in the dark side of the Force because he was meant to be the proxy of Emperor Palpatine. So, does that mean that the Praetorian Guards are Sith?

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The members of the Praetorian Guard are not Sith and aren’t even sensitive to the Force. Instead, they are simply elite human warriors trained to match the combat prowess of highly-trained warriors, such as the Jedi and the Mandalorians. But it is easy to mistake them as Sith warriors because they wear red robes and are so good in unarmed and armed combat that they seem similar to match the combat prowess of Force-sensitive individuals.

What Happened To The Praetorian Guards?

During the events of Star Wars Episode VII: The Last Jedi, Snoke orders Kylo Ren to bring Rey to him. After that, he used the Force to see into the future, where he envisioned Kylo Ren igniting Rey’s lightsaber to kill his “enemy.” But Snoke didn’t know that Kylo Ren’s enemy was him. So, when Kylo Ren ignited Rey’s lightsaber to kill his enemy, he killed Snoke without even taking the Supreme Leader on in combat.

Snoke’s death forced the Praetorian Guard into action, as the group’s sole purpose was to protect the Supreme Leader. Because Kylo Ren betrayed the Supreme Leader, he was now the enemy of the Praetorian Guard. They engaged both Kylo Ren and Rey in combat, as the members of the Praetorian Guard were well-trained enough to nearly overwhelm the two Force users.

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However, the Dyad of Kylo Ren and Rey was too powerful and in sync with one another for the Praetorian Guard. The two Force users successfully defeated all of the members of the Praetorian Guard. As such, when Kylo Ren assumed the Supreme Leader of the First Order post, he didn’t have his own Praetorian Guard to protect him.

The defeat of Snoke’s Praetorian Guard spelled the end for this elite group of guards that served the First Order. During his time as the Supreme Leader of the First Order, Kylo Ren didn’t need the protection of personal guards because he was already a formidable fighter all on his own.

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