Minions of the Empire


What’s a good Galactic Empire without some dedicated employees?


Someone known as Sate Pestage appears in quite a few places other than the film. In the book Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays by Laurent Bouzereau, Sate Pestage is discussed briefly on page 174 and it appears he had a different name for a while:

In the second draft Vader talks on the video screen to Sate Molock, ‘Grand Vizier to his eminence the Emperor,’ in his holograph chamber. Molock tells Vader that the Emperor is in a bad mood. Vader reports that the base on Hoth has been destroyed and that he is tracking down the survivors. Later Vader has his talk with the Emperor. The Emperor tells Vader to turn Luke to the dark side, and before his image fades away, he passes his hand over Vader’s head.

In the revised second draft, Sate Molock is called Sate Pestage. This character was ultimately deleted.

Here’s how the script reads from both the Revised 2nd Draft and the 4th Draft of Episode V:

Darth Vader stands before a shimmering holographic image which slowly comes into focus. The image is that of Sate Pestage, Grand Vizier to His Eminence, Emperor.

Sate Pestage, I would see the Emperor.
He commands it.

I must warn you, Lord Vader,
The Emperor is in a foul mood.
He bids you wait.
Have you any progress to report?

The rebel base on Hoth has been destroyed.
I am tracking down the survivors.

The Emperor will be with you in time.

I wait at his convenience.

The big question is: was this scene ever filmed? Although I’m in no position to officially confirm it, I can tell you that there is a mention of it in the shooting schedule for Episode V, which I have seen. It appears that they filmed all of the “hologram” or video screen footage on the same day which, according to the shooting schedule, was June 18th, 1979. That’s only a few days before principal photography was completed.

The schedule clearly states: Int. Black Velvet Pestage and the scene number is 286. The other hologram shots that were filmed that day include the characters of Obi-Wan, Captain Needa, The Emperor, and the Imperial Captains.

In case you’re wondering what black velvet has to do with anything, when they shot the actors who were to be seen in hologram form, they usually shot them against a black velvet backdrop.

One could conclude that if the scene wasn’t filmed, it was at least scheduled to be filmed. Perhaps they only shot Pestage’s part and scrapped the idea before filming Vader’s parts. Perhaps they filmed the whole thing and scrapped it later. One thing is for sure: Sate Pestage made it all the way from the script to the schedule which means he most likely had been cast. I wonder who was to play him?

Over at in one of their Q&A sessions with that uppity librarian Jocasta Nu, this question was asked:

In Return of the Jedi, who are the gentlemen that exit the shuttle with Emperor Palpatine?

Her answer was this:

Accompanying Emperor Palpatine in several scenes is a cadre of Imperial advisors. They are alternately known as Imperial dignitaries, or more sinisterly, the Emperor’s Inner Circle. They wear burgundy and purple robes and have pale skin and sunken features. Many of them are key officials in the managing of the Imperial bureaucracy.

Among the members of Palpatine’s Inner Circle are: Sate Pestage, Janus Greejatus, Sim Aloo, Ars Dangor, and Kren Blista-Vanee.

That’s confirmation that he finally appears in Episode VI.

Sate Pestage also appears to have made it onto some merchandise. Trevor sent in this story:

Recently at there was a weekly Q&A with Adam Pawlus. One STAR WARS fan asked:

sdtoy1“I recently bought Kenner’s vintage Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer Playset from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, at a toy convention. I felt like Indiana Jones when I stumbled across an unopened, like new box with the toy I always wanted inside. As I looked it over when I got home, I noticed an interesting feature description on the side of the box. The box specifically states: “Darth talks to the Grand Vizier with the pretend viewing screen.” Who is the Grand Vizier? I assume he is the Emperor, but who came up with that name? Grand Vizier sounds much more interesting than “The Emperor,” why was it dropped? Was the Grand Vizier in any of Lucas’ scripts? I have never heard this term, and I am surprised it made it to final print on the box. Please shed some light on this if you can.”

sdtoy2Using Google, I came across your website, specifically about Sate Pestage. I found no mention about Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer.  At Toysrgus, the toy is shown. One of the images shows on the top right the actual quote, “Darth talks to the Grand Vizier with the pretend viewing screen.” It even looks like the Grand Vizier may have a registered trademark symbol next to his name, but I cannot tell.

As you may know, Kenner (now Hasbro) is notorious for using parts of the movies in their toys that then never make it into the movie. The first Fode & Beed was based on the original humans cast instead of the CGI character. The EPISODE I version of R2-D2 had booster rockets which were never shown until EPISODE II.

In any case, the Grand Vizier reference with Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer toy shows that the character had reached such a stage Kenner thought it was going to make the movie.

As you can see from the above script excerpts, the Grand Vizier is in fact Sate Pestage.



Bounty Hunters probably got the least amount of screen time and yet they’re some of the most popular characters in the saga.

Many of the pictures included are obviously promotional stills/alternate angles and not really cut scenes.  Nonetheless, they’re here for your enjoyment as none of these particular stills/angles are in the film.

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5 thoughts to “Minions of the Empire”

  1. That’s very cool information on the enigmatic character of Sate Pestage.

    Can we safely assume that he is the one made into the ROTJ Kenner Action figure “Imperial Dignitary”?

  2. Really curious to know if Sate Pestage was cast and who played him. Can’t seem to see any additional information to the stuff mentioned above in the Making Of The Empire Strikes Back book unfortunately.

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