In Star Wars there’s long been tension between the military-minded Imperial commanders and the Sith’s mystical ambitions. This was neatly summarized in A New Hope, when a skeptical Admiral Motti dismisses Vader by saying “Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerer’s ways Lord Vader” and refers to his “sad devotion to that ancient religion”. It doesn’t end well for him.
The Force is something many in the Imperial command would likely prefer to do without, so it’s not surprising that a recent Star Wars comic revealed that there were those who plotted to overthrow the Emperor and Vader to get rid of the Sith altogether.
Recent comics have shown how one of the Emperor’s closest confidants, Sly Moore (maybe don’t trust people literally called “Sly”) secretly planned to assassinate Vader, going so far as to obtain the command codes to Vader’s armor and give them to IG-88. Her scheme failed, but when the furious Sith Lord tracked down Moore she pushed him to confront the hero of the Rebellion Luke Skywalker, believing that this was a fight Vader would lose.
It’s notable that Moore doesn’t appear to know that Vader is Anakin Skywalker and Luke is his son, but it seems to be common knowledge he’s is obsessed with tracking down Luke. And, in a roundabout way, the Imperial backstabber was eventually proved right when Vader turned on the Emperor to save Luke and subsequently died from his injuries.
But it’s interesting to think how it might have played out if the Empire really had ditched Palpatine and Vader. With their focus on pure military subjugation and without supernatural distractions they might have maintained their grip on the galaxy.
Then again, perhaps a wrinkly, cackling space wizard and his depressed cyborg buddy are the only pair who could hold the whole thing together.