The first rule of good fiction is to make the audience identify with the villain. When it comes to Star Wars, George Lucas couldn't allow us identify with the morality or outlook of the Imperials -- they are, after all, genocidal space Nazis. So he cunningly got us to sympathize with the Imperials on another level: aesthetically.
Every girl crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man. At least this girl is. And I'm especially fond of the sailors... that is to say, the uniformed members of the Imperial Navy. Sure you have your glistening Stormtroopers, and we all owe Her Maj Darth Vader a debt of gratitude for marrying cybernetics with high-camp drag (that wide belt! that cape!). But I'd trade them all away in a heartbeat for the choke-collars, double-breasted woolens and saucy kepi caps of the Imperial Officer corps.
The strong sense of fashion filters down from the officers to the Imperial Navy's rank-and-file, who look just stunning in their flared helmets and high "fuck-me" boots. So let's commence a brief tour of Death Star chic, using some re-painted Wizard of the Coast plastics:
First up are some standard issue Imperial Navy Troopers. I've always thought that such troopers are sadly under-represented in Star Wars wargaming. The elite nature of the Stormtroopers is lost if they appear willy-nilly in every battle. Note the hesitant aiming, clenched fist and chin-straps. Doesn't it all just cry out, "I'm a big boy now!"
Next comes the Death Star Troopers. These are the elite that Grand Moff Tarkin hand-picked to man his planet-destroying battle station. I wonder if he was the one who chose the butch black uniform:
Lapdogs are strictly forbidden aboard the capital ships of the Imperial Navy, so the officer class occupy themselves by coddling the MSE-6 Mouse Droids:
Here is a RA-7 Protocol Droid, also known as the Death Star Droid. I said a few weeks ago that the twins Aleksin and Pavol are the first openly gay figures in the Star Wars canon. That may be true, but protocol droids have long been recognized as LGBTQ+ icons. Writing in Mel Magazine, Jospeh Longo described C-3PO as "science fiction's first great queer character" and "a wiry, aging twink droid in love with an old queen, R2-D2."
The Death Star droid certainly fits that pattern. With his dignified mince and belly-exposing crop-top, this darling is practically begging for a night at the Rail.
And finally, I present Grand Moff Tarkin, who is absolutely rocking the angry daddy vibe. Princess Leia probably said it best: "Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader's leash."
"...The Empire Strikes Back is heavily indebted to girls, to gays, to drag, to dance, to European traditions of camp and opera and being too much, with its excesses manifesting in spectacular effects, in the availability of male bodies for desire and consumption..."
Rebecca Harrison, "Queer Empire", LA Review of Books, May 21, 2020
Stay safe, my friends!