|Chronological and political information|
Rolf Emerson was a soldier and statesman, famous for his leadership roles during Malcontent Uprisings and the Second Robotech War, and was first seen in Robotech: The Masters, voiced by Michael McConnohie. He was a charismatic commanding officer who originally served under Task Force Southern Cross, and was often in disagreement with then-Commander Eli Anatole Leonard.
Following the departure of the bulk of the deep space forces, Emerson was reassigned and promoted to Major General of the Army of the Southern Cross (ASC) His defiance has led him to perform some inexcusable actions. He was tasked by Vince Grant and Jean Grant to take care of their son, Bowie Grant. He was killed while saving his godson's life during the Second Robotech War. He was also named Rolf Emerson in Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, the series which was adapted into the second "saga" of Robotech.
General Rolf Emerson was a charismatic leader of the Army of the Southern Cross (ASC). Unlike his commanding officers, He preferred to think through all options before taking action. He only resorted to force as a last option, and left nothing to chance. This had placed him at odds with the more aggressively, decisive style of Supreme Commander Anatole Leonard. However, once committed he can be a capable strategist and able leader.
Emerson took custody of young Bowie Grant when his parents Vince and Jean Grant left on a daring expedition to the search for homeworld of the Robotech Masters. Bowie initially looked up to his godfather and entered the United Earth Forces Military Academy, but differences of opinion eventually placed the two at odds. Although Emerson did his best to intervene on behalf of his godson, there was little more he can do when the Second Robotech War broke out.
|“||“We will take care of him as if he were one of our own.”||”|
—Rolf Emerson to Jean Grant
Emerson, and his wife Laura, were made godparents to Bowie Grant and Dana Sterling who were left under his care while their parents joined the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF) in 2022. Bowie in particular cried inconsolably as his parents left and Emerson faced the difficult challenge of raising him. Emerson and his wife, who had no children of their own, took care of Dana and Bowie, who were both only children when their parents left with the REF. Both hoped that their parents return quickly but events would keep the Expeditionary forces away from Earth throughout their entire childhood. Emerson's decision to enroll both of them in the military had resulted in a divorce from Laura. Laura never understood his reasons; childless herself, Dana and Bowie had become her children, and she could never understand why her husband would choose to wish war on their adopted children.
|“||“We must prevent war! No matter the cost.”||”|
Leonard, who grew tired of Emerson disagreeing with him over his refusal to negotiate with the Robotech Masters, eventually assigned Emerson to Moon Base ALICE, where he felt that Emerson would be most useful (and would be less of a thorn in his side). This was the first line of defense against the Robotech Masters. Because of this, several officers under Emerson were convinced that the assignment was essentially a death sentence because Emerson had continually opposed Leonard's policies. Emerson, against all expectations, survived a major battle with the Masters by carrying out a space warp maneuver.
|“||“It's up to you youngsters now.”||”|
—Rolf Emerson to Bowie Grant
Emerson eventually meets the Robotech Masters themselves after he and his crew are captured in space. Failing to persuade the Robotech Masters to consider peace, he dies protecting Bowie from a rifle blast fired by a Bioroid Terminator. Emerson dies in Bowie's arms, his last words a plea for peace between the two beleaguered races. Emerson's death was a blow for Dana and Bowie, who had regarded him as their father and friend.
Emerson's wish for peace went largely unfulfilled. The bulk of the Masters' forces had either been destroyed or were unwilling to surrender, and the forces of the United Earth Forces (UEF) were decimated by the war. The subsequent balance shift, and the waning power of the United Earth Government's led to the fragmentation of the once united world, leading to the further distrust between city states. One year later, the Invid invade, the remainder of the UEF and the Southern Cross were destroyed.
- Rolf Emerson is one of a handful of Robotech characters to retain the original name of the character in the Japanese counterpart.
- In Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, Rolf and Bowie were father and son.