Cardinal, also known as CD-0922 or Archex, was a human male stormtrooper who held the military rank of Captain in the First Order. His skills were spoken of with high regard even by Supreme Leader Snoke. At some point before the attack on Tuanul, Cardinal interrogated the Resistance spy Vi Moradi aboard the Resurgent-class Star Destroyer Absolution for information about the past of his rival, Captain Phasma.
Archex was born and spent his early life on Jakku. At some point in his childhood, his mother died, leaving him to survive on his own with other orphans of the desolate planet. Near the end of the Battle of Jakku, Archex and several other orphans were invited by Imperial General Brendol Hux to come with the Imperials into the Unknown Regions. Archex agreed, wanting to leave behind the cruelty of Jakku. He was inducted into the stormtrooper cadet program and given the codename CD-0922. CD-0922 was one of the first of the new stormtroopers of what would later become the First Order, having been taught by Hux that the New Republic was disorderly and corrupt, and that only the First Order could bring peace and order to the galaxy.
Captain of the First OrderEdit
- "I was his personal guard. He handpicked me on Jakku, trained me himself. I was infinitely loyal. From the time I first put on this armor, he trusted me to keep him safe. He designed it himself because he said red was a color of power . Every moment he spent in my company, he knew he was safe."
- ―Cardinal to Vi Moradi regarding Brendol Hux
A loyal adherent of the tenets of the First Order, CD-0922 eventually became a captain and was put in charge of stormtrooper physical training. Stationed on the Finalizer, he served with distinction as both the lead stormtrooper trainer as well as Hux's personal guard. CD-0922 was presented with a personalized set of red stormtrooper armor and given the name Cardinal by Hux.
Rivalry with PhasmaEdit
Roughly a year after Cardinal was presented with his personalized armor, Hux conducted a scouting mission to the planet Parnassos. While surveying the planet, Hux's ship was shot down by an automated weapons system and crashed on the planet. With the help of members of the local Scyre tribe, including Phasma, Hux was able to find his ship and make contact with the First Order. Hux returned to the Finalizer with Phasma in tow, along with a young girl from Parnassos named Frey. Phasma wore a set of dirty, ill-fitting stormtrooper armor.
Cardinal was instructed to familiarize Phasma with the Finalizer, First Order technology, and her duties as a stormtrooper. His role as head trainer was to be split with Phasma, who would focus on training the teenage and adult stormtroopers, and he would be transferred to the Absolution. Hux would also get a new personal guard, allowing Cardinal to focus on the expanding stormtrooper training program. These changes upset Cardinal, who was suspicious of Phasma and jealous of her close relationship to Hux, his father figure. This jealousy increased a year later, when Phasma received her own personalized armor. Soon after, Hux died of a mysterious illness, and his son, Armitage, took his place as head of the First Order infantry.
Interrogating Vi MoradiEdit
Sometime before the attack on the village of Tuanul, a starhopper piloted by Resistance spy Vi Moradi was captured by the Absolution. Moradi had been assigned by General Leia Organa with researching Phasma. Cardinal suspected that Moradi had information about Phasma after her ship's logs were checked, and it was discovered she had recently traveled to Parnassos. He took Moradi to an interrogation room hidden deep within the battlecruiser to ask her what she knew about Phasma. Cardinal was not trained in interrogation; however, a meeting was planned on the Absolution for the next day between Cardinal, Phasma, Armitage, and Kylo Ren, and he was desperate for information he could take to Hux to prove Phasma was dangerous. Cardinal tortured Moradi in an electrified apparatus in an attempt to get information.
Moradi shared with Cardinal the stories she had heard from a woman from Parnassos named Siv, the former healer and religious leader of the Scyre. Moradi told Cardinal about how Brendol had crashed on Parnassos and was captured by the Claw, a rival tribe to Phasma's Scyre. Phasma and a few of her loyal soldiers, including Siv, freed Hux and his stormtroopers from the Claw and promised to help him find his crashed ship. Moradi revealed how Phasma betrayed her clan in order to save herself by partnering with Brendol in a deal that would have her come with him off-planet and join the First Order. The story of Phasma's rise to power and betrayal were not enough for Cardinal to report to Armitage Hux. Moradi then revealed that the Resistance had learned through slicing the First Order's computer systems that Brendol's death was caused by a venomous beetle found on Parnassos. She asserted that Phasma brought the beetle aboard and killed the elder Hux. The only other person who would recognize the symptoms of the beetle, Frey, died in a weapons accident six months prior. Shocked and appalled by this revelation, Cardinal went to the younger Hux's quarters on the Absolution to reveal Phasma's betrayal.
Confronting Armitage Hux and PhasmaEdit
- "You're only out for yourself. Your loyalty means nothing. Brendol should've left you where he found you!"
- ―Cardinal, to Phasma
Cardinal reported to Hux that Phasma had killed his father. Hux asked if Cardinal had any physical evidence proving this to be true. When Cardinal admitted he did not, the younger Hux revealed that he knew Phasma had killed his father, and had, in fact, arranged for the murder. Hux then asked Cardinal if he was still loyal, both to himself and the First Order. Cardinal responded in the affirmative and was dismissed. Cardinal then returned to his quarters and got drunk, upset by what the First Order had become. Early the next morning, he told Moradi that Hux was involved in his father's death, and asked for anything else he could use to stop Phasma. Moradi then revealed that, a few years before Brendol's trip to Parnassos, Phasma betrayed her own family to the Scyre in order to survive, killing her parents and permanently crippling her brother, Keldo. She presented Cardinal with the dagger Phasma had used in the deed, along with a specimen of the beetle used to kill Brendol. By this point, Cardinal had grown to respect Moradi, and as he left to confront Phasma, he left the door to the interrogation room unlocked, giving her the means for her escape. Cardinal took the evidence with him to a meeting with Ren, Hux, and Phasma, only to be turned away by Hux. Cardinal returned to his duties, going through the motions for the rest of the day, and spent the evening getting drunk.
At breakfast the next morning, Cardinal took an extra packet of rations specifically for his hangover. He cleaned himself up, shaved his head, and polished his armor, in preparation for a final confrontation with Phasma. Cardinal found Phasma in his training room, and they argued over his training methods. Cardinal attacked Phasma. As they fought, Cardinal attempted to stab Phasma with her knife, but was unable to penetrate her armor. She took the knife in return and stabbed him twice in the chest, then left him to die on the training room floor. Moradi, during her escape attempt, found Cardinal. She then transported him via hovergurney to a hangar in the Absolution. She then stole a ship, planning to return to Parnassos because she had promised to go back for Siv and her child, Torbi.
Personality and traitsEdit
- "Look, I didn't know what it felt like to have a full stomach until Brendol Hux found me. I'd never slept off the sand, never gone a night without waking to rats or sand fleas or something worse nibbling at me. The other kids were cruel, the adults were worse. That's what your New Republic does. Ignores poor backwater planets and funnels money to the rich planets that can afford to have a voice in the Senate. Who spoke for Jakku? No one. Who spoke for the boy I was? No one."
- ―Cardinal, to Vi Moradi
Cardinal was a male human who was born and raised on the desert planet of Jakku. Cardinal learned to survive as an orphan, living off of sand rats, birds, and crickets, before being offered to be taken off-world by Brendol Hux during the last moments of the Battle of Jakku. Cardinal was grateful to the Imperial remnant, and loyal to Hux in particular. In the First Order, Cardinal found his inner strength to survive and thrive, and felt as if he finally had a purpose. As a physical trainer for the First Order stormtroopers, Cardinal wanted to share that feeling with other orphans found throughout the Unknown Regions of the galaxy where the First Order operated. Cardinal believed that the New Republic sowed chaos through its disorder and corruption, and that chaos led to suffering. In Cardinal's opinion, the First Order would bring order to the galaxy, lifting all beings up to live in peace and prosperity.
It was Cardinal's undying loyalty to Brendol and the First Order that eventually lead to Cardinal's jealously of Phasma.
Cardinal was a devoted disciple of the First Order and strong teacher. Having been a soldier since he was a young child, Cardinal understood how to train the young cadets. While Hux and his officers handling the psychological programming of the cadets, Cardinal focused on physical instruction, including hand-to-hand and melee combat, marksmanship, and battle simulations. However, Cardinal did not care for confrontation, and hoped the First Order spread its will over the galaxy through diplomacy more than war.
Cardinal wore a set of red stormtrooper armor, designed personally by Brendol. The armor was colored red because Hux believed it was the color of power. The armor was presented to Cardinal during a ceremony in front of thousands of other stormtroopers, and Cardinal, formerly CD-0922, was officially named Cardinal in reference to the bird of the same name. As a captain of the First Order, Cardinal also wore a traditional captain's cape.
Behind the scenesEdit
- "Cardinal is our lens into why a good person would dedicate their life to the First Order—and why they'd seek to excise someone like Phasma by any means necessary once they caught a glimpse of who is behind that mask."
- ―Delilah S. Dawson
Cardinal was created for Delilah S. Dawson's 2017 canon novel Phasma. Dawson pictured Cardinal as being portrayed by Kalani Robb, known for the 2008 comedy film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, one of Dawson's favorite "Sick Day" movies.