- "Look, sir! Droids!"
- ―Davin Felth
Davin Felth was a member of the Imperial Stormtrooper Corps during the early years of the Galactic Civil War. A graduate of the elite Imperial Army training program at the Academy of Carida, Felth exposed a potentially critical weakness in the All Terrain Armored Transport design. Rather than rewarding the cadet for his brilliance, Colonel Maximilian Veers buried Felth in the Imperial Army's infantry division to mask the design flaw. Under the designation 1023, Sergeant Felth was assigned to the desert planet Tatooine as part of the Desert Sands sandtrooper detachment, tasked with the recovery of the stolen plans to the first Death Star.
Felth discovered in the sands of the Dune Sea the escape pod used to effect the escape of the droids C-3PO and R2-D2 from Imperial forces, the latter of which was attempting to deliver the plans to the Alliance to Restore the Republic. Felth later killed his commanding officer, Captain Mod Terrik, after tracking the droids to the Mos Eisley spaceport as part of a reawakening process in which he came to believe the Empire he lived to serve was evil.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personality and traits
- 3 Behind the scenes
- 4 Appearances
- 5 Sources
- 6 Notes and references
- 7 External links
Early life and indoctrination
- "They told me the military would change my life, but this is crazy. I expected to get some time to look around."
- ―Davin Felth
Davin Felth was born sometime around the founding of the Galactic Empire. He was raised to believe in the integrity and honor of the New Order, so much so that he was inspired to enlist in the Imperial Army as an eighteen-year-old not long prior to the Battle of Yavin. On his homeworld, Felth believed joining the ranks of the Imperial Military was all fun and games. Becoming a part of the Emperor's elite forces invoked in him a sensation of adolescent pride.
Felth was shipped to the Imperial training world of Carida for basic training at the Academy of Carida, the toughest training facility in the galaxy, along with an induction class of 120 other wide-eyed eighteen-year-olds. As soon as he departed his transport shuttle, however, his romantic ideas of a career in the military were quickly dashed. The impression created by rumors of a seemingly wonderful life on Carida's multi-climate world was soon destroyed with the harsh introduction to what a life in the Imperial Military truly entailed. Felth and his fellow recruits were hammered with an incomprehensible barrage of shouting and orders from a welcoming committee of superiors meant to intimidate the youths. It was all Felth could do to simply scream back in response, adding to the confusion, a ploy that succeeded in diverting attention from himself. To Felth, his initial experience with military life was a rude awakening to what the next six months of his life would hold in store.
With only a blue duffel bag of belongings from home and an assortment of freshly administered personal supplies, Felth was assigned to a barracks room with two other cadets, Geoff f'Tuhns and Mychael Ologat. No sooner had Felth chosen his cot and introduced himself to his new roommates than an intimidatingly large drill instructor wearing the helmet of a stormtrooper entered their barracks. F'Tuhns had previously been casually munching on smuggled-in snacks, a violation of the program's carefully monitored caloric intake. When the instructor demanded to know to whom the bag belonged, Felth took it upon himself to vouch for his new friend, claiming it was in fact his food. Only his status as a first-day recruit saved Felth from further punishment other than a strict warning.
- "An AT-AT! Can you believe we've been picked for the chance to command one of them?"
"Yeah, and I'm going to make sure I'm not one of those nine recruits who washes out."
- ―Davin Felth assures a fellow cadet of his desire to become an AT-AT pilot
Felth's sixth-month training regimen was an endless grind of breakneck physical and mental conditioning preparing him for Imperial Military service. After a relentless day of physical training and environmental conditioning in Carida's many planetary climates, consisting of fitness runs, winter training in Carida's southern ice fields, a week-long expedition of survival training in the planet's Forgofshar Desert, and a three-day battle against nature in the equatorial rain forest, Felth would get no more than five hours of sleep before having to wake up and do it all over again. Awakening once to a stormtrooper sergeant's sonic whistle at reveille, Felth soon learned to get up a half-hour before wake-up call and dress himself before climbing back into bed. He and his roommates would not dare be caught out of bed before reveille after witnessing firsthand the punishments handed down to such violators. After a few months of this routine, Felth had lost fifteen pounds, but was considerably stronger.
Displaying a unique prowess and aptitude during his training and typically finishing at the top of his class, Felth was suddenly selected one day to report to the academy's All Terrain Armored Transport detachment. He and several other fellow cadets, whom Felth also recognized as top-tier achievers, learned from a personal holo-recording from Colonel Maximilian Veers, head of the Imperial Army's AT-AT forces, that they had been chosen as candidates for Imperial Army pilot duty in the cockpit of one of the assault walkers. Veers instructed them that they were about to embark on a six-week intensive training program of virtual reality simulations and, for those who succeeded, actual hands-on training with an AT-AT. Those who passed the training's initial qualifying stages would then be selected for a role in Veers's own elite AT-AT squadron. However, he left them with the warning that fewer than one in ten would successfully complete the arduous training.
- "I don't know how you did it, recruit, but I have a feeling you've been marked for a one-in-a-million career!"
- ―A training instructor congratulates Davin Felth for his natural AT-AT piloting abilities
Felth advanced far enough in the elite training program to be able to tour the cockpit of an AT-AT. After taking a moment to marvel at the majesty of the walker's inner mechanisms, he was surprised when a training instructor suddenly appeared behind him, asking if Felth wished to take the AT-AT on a test drive, to which he eagerly agreed. While Felth sat in the co-pilot's seat, his instructor operated the machine from the pilot's seat beside him, slowly allowing Felth to assume control as he settled in. The instructor soon told Felth that he wanted to check on the AT-AT's weapon cache in the body of the walker, leaving the recruit alone in the cockpit. As soon as his instructor had departed, Felth noted four fighter craft approaching the AT-AT on an attack vector. He called frantically to his superior for help but received no answer. Left as the sole operator of the massive war machine, the untrained recruit frantically found himself under fire by enemy targets.
At first, Felth sat in his command seat frozen with fear as the attacking craft make several strafing runs on the AT-AT. Throughout his career at the Caridan Academy, Felth had been instructed to follow procedure. Independent thought was not encouraged. Yet he found himself in a situation not covered in any textbook or training sequence. Felth surmised that it was none other than Rebel Alliance forces that had infiltrated Carida and were firing on him. Angrily, he took control of the AT-AT's offensive systems, vowing not to go down without a fight. Felth noted to himself, surprisingly, that none of the Rebel craft showed up on the cockpit sensor systems. In response, forced to track the fighter craft manually, Felth decided to put himself in the greatest strategic position possible by setting the AT-AT to "kneel" to the ground with the walker's command head hunkered flat with the body. With the AT-AT in this unique position, the fighters were unable to fly underneath the walker, and were forced to come to him from angles advantageous for defensive targeting. Felth was able to destroy each of the enemy craft using this maneuver.
Sitting in dazed silence in the cockpit, Felth struggled to comprehend what had just transpired. His instructor soon rematerialized from the rear of the walker and informed the cadet that a command party had landed and was waiting for him outside. Once outside, Felth was shocked that no wreckage from the battle was visible on the surrounding terrain. As his instructor noted, the skirmish Felth had just been through was nothing but a premeditated training exercise to test the recruit's abilities, and he had excelled beyond expectations. Adding to Felth's awe-filled morning was the presence of another vessel swooping in from the horizon. When the craft's boarding ramp extended, Maximilian Veers himself disembarked. He questioned Felth on the ingenious kneeling maneuver he had executed, eager to learn from the trainee what advantages he felt the move entailed—as well as the disadvantages of allowing enemy craft access to the walker's underbelly. Felth hesitantly speculated that an enemy could use cables to tie up and trip the AT-AT. Captivated by Felth's resourcefulness, Veers ordered the recruit to keep this information classified, promising Felth that his staff would find him an assignment in the Imperial Army worthy of his talents. The young Felth could only marvel at the career that awaited him under the elite command of Veers.
Assignment to Tatooine
- "I'm an AT-AT operator, not a…a foot soldier!"
- ―Davin Felth
The hush-hush orders handed down from Veers had done nothing but confuse Felth. Rather than receiving a career promotion to the crux of the Imperial Army, Veers instead assigned Felth to the Stormtrooper Corps, burying the recruit and his incredible discovery of the AT-AT's glaring weakness into anonymity. With this move, Felth's discovery effectively died with Veers, who kept the AT-AT design flaw a secret rather than allowing it to threaten his career.
Felth had in fact received assignment to the Desert Sands sandtrooper detachment aboard an Imperial troop transport under the command of one Captain Mod Terrik. Terrik's unit had been ordered to relieve the 37th Detachment in the spaceport city of Mos Eisley on the Outer Rim Territories planet Tatooine. Felth's new position on the remote desert world would be about as far as he could have possibly imagined himself being while back on Carida. Although Felth argued with Terrik that he belonged in a more prestigious position, his captain only replied that he had followed Veers's orders precisely as directed and threateningly remarked that he would have a month before they arrived on Tatooine to personally mold Felth into a proper "foot soldier."
Felth's training under Terrik put him in the best shape of his life. A three-month regimen had been compacted into a never-ending hell of disciplining, schooling, and physical fitness. The other twenty stormtroopers in the detachment had each made sure to properly welcome Felth into their ranks as well. They were not about to admit an AT-AT operator and graduate of the Academy of Carida as one of their own without a period of ritualistic hazing.
As part of his indoctrination into Terrik's detachment, Felth, by then a Sergeant, was assigned identification number 1023, finalizing his absorption into the beast that was the Imperial Army. With his individualism all but stricken from him, Felth became just another nameless servant of the Emperor's will.
Desert droid search
- "We're deploying to the surface, bypassing Mos Eisley to participate in a search-and-destroy mission."
"What are we searching for, sir?"
"An escape pod. It jettisoned from a Corellian Corvette evading Lord Vader's Star Destroyer and landed somewhere on Tatooine."
- ―Captain Mod Terrik, explaining Zeta Squadron's duty
By the time Felth's troop transport reached Tatooine, his detachment's orders had been changed. Rather than assuming guard duty over Mos Eisley as they had originally been assigned, Felth, as part of scout unit Zeta Squadron, would instead be combing the endless deserts of Tatooine in search of a rogue escape pod that had jettisoned from a fugitive starship captured by the Lord Darth Vader. Unknown to Felth, the escape pod had launched from the CR90 corvette Tantive IV—Princess Leia Organa's consular vessel—carrying the droids C-3PO and R2-D2, the latter of which had escaped from Vader's forces carrying the stolen plans to the first Death Star. When Felth spoke up and inquired why the escape pod was so important, Terrik snapped that he should perform his duties without questioning orders.
Felth's unit searched the desolate sands of the Dune Sea for hours without success. At one point, Felth reported to Terrik that he believed he had found the pod but was disappointed to unearth a rock. Later, however, a glint of sunlight reflecting off something in the sand caught Felth's eye. Rushing over to the source, he saw that he had indeed discovered the escape pod buried in the sand, recognizable by familiar Imperial markings. Leading away from the pod, Terrik also discovered, was a set of tracks, which Felth soon attributed to an R2-series astromech droid after fishing a mechanism out of the sand that could only belong to an R2 unit.
Terrik and Zeta Squadron followed the tracks in the sand until they came upon a group of Jawa traders. The stormtroopers were able to discern from them that the scavengers had picked up an R2 unit and a protocol droid near the escape pod crash site. Terrik ordered a comprehensive sweep of the Jawas' giant sandcrawler in search of the droids—with Felth searching through the droid repair bay—without success. After questioning one particular Jawa, Terrik learned that its group had sold the two droids to a moisture farmer only the day before. As Zeta Squadron began to depart for the moisture farm, Terrik ordered the sandcrawler destroyed and the Jawas slaughtered, and instructed it to be done in a manner as to appear as if the deed had been committed by a group of Tusken Raiders, notoriously known for their savagery, much to the dismay of Felth. While his fellow stormtroopers cheered the annihilation of the Jawas, Felth could only turn away in silence.
Tracking the droids to the Lars homestead, Zeta Squadron again discovered that they had once more just missed the droids. While the stormtroopers ransacked the interior of the homestead, Felth, still shaken by the Jawa slaughter, lingered behind his group rather than joining in the raid, careful not to draw attention to himself. Terrik discovered from the moisture farmer Owen Lars that his nephew had taken the droids away from the farm, to which Terrik surmised could have meant only one location—Mos Eisley, where the boy could smuggle the droids off-planet. Preparing to depart the farm, Terrik once again ordered its destruction and the death of Lars and his wife, Beru Lars, as a reminder of what happens to those who give quarter to Rebels. Once again, Felth could only avert his gaze from what he perceived as further senseless murder.
Subversion at Mos Eisley
- "Where's Captain Terrik?"
"Leave him. He's dead. Killed in the crossfire."
- ―Zeta Squadron stormtroopers fail to realize Davin Felth's act of rebellion
Hot on the tracks of the two rogue droids, Felth and his unit arrived at the port city of Mos Eisley, where they immediately began digging through records, interrogating charter pilots, and rummaging through repair shops. At one point, after questioning a passing Talz named Muftak if he had seen the droids, Felth reported his progress to a Lieutenant Alima, informing him that all had been quiet in the city. Alima instructed Felth to interrogate everyone he saw and to make sure he kept a wary eye on those around him, for they would not hesitate to kill him.
After their search uncovered nothing a day later, Terrik resorted to sending Zeta Squadron on a methodical door-to-door sweep, simultaneously setting up roadblocks at every entrance point to the city. When Felth heard a sudden scream emanate from a blockhouse not far from his position, he took the opportunity to break away from the sweep to investigate the source of the disturbance. A citizen named Garouf Lafoe informed Felth and his partner, 1047, of a skirmish inside a nearby cantina. Despite the protests of his fellow stormtrooper, Felth continued his search into the dimly lit building. After running a quick scan through the bar, noting the array of aliens and other unsavory characters, Felth determined there was nothing to be found. Little did he know that he had actually caught a brief glimpse of the very beings who were trying to sneak the droids off-planet, an old man and a young farmboy—Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker—talking to an athletic-looking Human—Han Solo.
As he and his partner exited the cantina to rejoin the search, Zeta Squadron came marching determinedly around a corner toward Felth. At the same time, a maddened Jawa jumped out from behind the cover of a long-wrecked starship, the Dowager Queen. The robed creature—Het Nkik, a Jawa seeking vengeance for the death of his slain brother, Jek Nkik, killed during Zeta Squadron's sandcrawler slaughter—aimed a DL-44 heavy blaster pistol at the stormtrooper squad and pulled the trigger several times, though nothing happened. The Jawa was unaware that his weapon had been stripped of its power cell and was otherwise useless. Felth's partner casually flipped off a shot at the creature with his own blaster rifle, killing the Jawa and sending him crashing back against the wreckage. Once more, Felth was left aghast. He had almost grown to forget the killing of the Jawas and the moisture farmers in the desert, but this latest round of indiscriminate murder led him to one fundamental reality—the belief that the Empire he had worked so hard to serve was basically evil.
Just as Felth joined Zeta Squadron's march, the group was alerted of a disturbance at Docking Bay 94. The droids had been found, and a group of Rebels were trying to whisk them away from Imperial clutches. Felth and his companions converged on the docking bay, where a man—the same athletic-looking Human Felth had noted back in the cantina—was defending a modified YT-1300 light freighter, holding off the entire contingent of stormtroopers at twenty-to-one odds. Feeling a strange twinge of solidarity, an empathetical respect for this single man who braved to defy the Empire, Felth refrained from joining in the firefight. At that point, Felth noticed Terrik just ahead of him, crouched down on one knee and taking careful aim at the Rebel. Without hesitation, Felth took the opportunity to shoot Terrik in the back, his first kill in the Imperial service.
Felth's killing of his superior officer allowed the man the time needed to board his ship and escape from Tatooine with the droids in tow. Although the rest of his squad was disheartened and angry at the loss of their leader, Felth felt renewed and shared a sense of kinship with the fugitive Rebels. Secretly yearning to join their cause against the tyrannical Empire, Felth knew he could not just abandon his Imperial duties. Instead, he reasoned, he could aid the Rebellion by staying in the Imperial ranks and acting as a spy, perhaps even passing on his knowledge of the AT-AT's vulnerability.
At some point during his service in Mos Eisley, Felth helped to save a male Rodian from the physical advances of five full-grown, excited male rontos, who mistook the Rodian's scent for one given off by a female ronto in heat. Seeing the Rodian surrounded by the five creatures, who were butting and rubbing up against him as a sign of biological attraction, Felth was able to frighten the rontos away by firing several shots at their feet. Felth and his comrades had to wake the unconscious Rodian using smelling salts.
Personality and traits
When Davin Felth entered the Academy of Carida at age eighteen, he possessed a romantic view of Imperial Military life, left completely unprepared for the harsh rigors that awaited him. He looked forward to the new experiences of government service, gaining usable skills, and hopefully working toward a command position, unaware of the Empire's oppressive nature. Basic training destroyed his youthful enthusiasm, however, and he soon came to regret his decision to enlist. He learned to adapt to his discomforts by doing whatever was necessary to survive and appease his superiors, all in the name of becoming a stormtrooper.
While at the academy, Felth was an exceptional student, consistently performing at a level above his fellow cadets, earning him the opportunity to compete for a position in Maximilian Veers's elite AT-AT squadron. He took to this rare chance with determination, promising himself that he would not be denied such a prestigious position. Felth's first dry run in an AT-AT cockpit proved to be a groundbreaking achievement for the young trainee. During the exercise, he ingeniously utilized an impromptu tactic that destroyed each enemy target, something his drill instructor had never before seen, and concurrently succeeded in exposing a vital weakness of the AT-AT design.
After graduating from the academy, Felth was left in peak physical shape and was trained in survival on any livable planetary surface. Upon assignment to Tatooine among Captain Mod Terrik's Desert Sands stormtrooper detachment, Felth was assigned the designation 1023, signifying the elimination of his individualism and the complete assimilation into the unquestioning service of the Emperor. While his fellow troopers eagerly reveled in the mystery that surrounded the indistinguishable nature of the Stormtrooper Corps, Felth was unwilling to make such a commitment. He was left feeling miserable and alone, often turning to thoughts of his family.
When Terrik ordered Zeta Squadron to destroy the Jawa sandcrawler, Felth did not erupt into celebratory cheers as his comrades did. His thoughts, instead, rested on the hapless Jawas, sympathizing with the creatures who were indiscriminately murdered. After the subsequent massacre of Owen and Beru Lars, Felth began to truly question what was happening before his eyes. The butchering of innocents over two droids did not make sense to him. He had not joined the Imperial ranks to kill innocent beings, and he could only wonder what he would do if he was personally ordered to kill someone. Only during his search through Mos Eisley, when his partner killed another Jawa who posed no immediate threat, did Felth finally come to the shattering belief that the Empire he had lived to serve was basically an evil institution.
During the firefight in Docking Bay 94, the sight of one man deftly holding off an entire stormtrooper squad resonated with Felth. He felt empathy toward the Rebels whom his captain had decried as being the enemy. Feelings of solidarity washed through Felth, who had fallen into the mindless monotony of stormtrooper service, emotions he had not felt since his days back on Carida. After killing Terrik and landing on the idea of serving the Rebellion as a spy, Felth felt rejuvenated, once again finding something in which he could believe and for which he could live.
Behind the scenes
The character of Davin Felth was created by author Doug Beason for the short story When the Desert Wind Turns: The Stormtrooper's Tale, as part of the 1995 anthology book Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina. The story provides an identity for the stormtrooper who discovers that droids had in fact been inside the escape pod that landed on Tatooine in the film Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. Additionally, Beason identifies the stormtrooper who makes a sweep through the Mos Eisley cantina and pauses to glare at Han Solo in the film as Felth, as well as establishing that one of the fallen stormtroopers seen during the Docking Bay 94 firefight is Captain Mod Terrik.
According to the 2010 reference book The Sounds of Star Wars, all stormtroopers appearing in A New Hope were voiced by disc jockeys Terence McGovern, Jerry Walters, Scott Beach, and Morgan Upton while speaking over a walkie-talkie. The voices were then recorded by Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt. McGovern maintains a personal Web site that seemingly lists all of his spoken dialogue from the film, which does not include the Davin Felth line, therefore apparently ruling him out as the Felth voice actor. Colin Michael Kitchens claims to have overdubbed Felth's "Look sir, droids" line, although he is not listed as a voice actor by Terence McGovern.
The exact nature by which Felth determines that droids were in the escape pod differs between sources. The A New Hope film and novelization depict Felth as retrieving the piece of droid plating directly from the sand some distance from the downed pod. The A New Hope radio drama and script, published in Star Wars: The National Public Radio Dramatization, describe the droid piece as being discovered next to the pod, while Felth fishes the mechanism directly out of the pod itself in The Stormtrooper's Tale. Additionally, each source provides slightly different dialogue for Felth as he reports his discovery to his superior, save for The Stormtrooper's Tale, which precisely mirrors the spoken dialogue from the film.
Rather than finding droid plating belonging to an R2 unit, Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary indicates the part discovered by Felth is a metallic ring from one of the knee joints of C-3PO.
The stormtrooper who is identified as Felth in The Stormtrooper's Tale while searching for the droids near the escape pod in the Dune Sea wears a white shoulder pauldron in A New Hope, indicative of the rank of sergeant. However, the stormtrooper who enters the Mos Eisley cantina in the film, also identified as Felth, wears an orange shoulder pauldron, indicating a squad leader. In the 2007 "Look Sir, Droids" action figure set made by Sideshow Collectibles, Davin Felth is identified as a sandtrooper sergeant.
The AT-AT kneeling tactic employed by Felth is strikingly similar to a maneuver executed by a cadet named Nyrox while at the Raithal Academy, as described in the second edition of the West End Games sourcebook Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back. Whereas Maximilian Veers assigns Felth to the Stormtrooper Corps to mask an exposed weakness that would threaten his career, Nyrox is promoted for his stratagem and receives a position in Veers's Thundering Herd AT-AT squadron.
- A Hunter's Fate: Greedo's Tale
- When the Desert Wind Turns: The Stormtrooper's Tale (First identified as Davin Felth)
- Hammertong: The Tale of the "Tonnika Sisters"
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope radio drama
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novelization (First appearance)
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope junior novelization
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope PhotoComic
- Star Wars (1977) 1
- Star Wars (1977) 2
- Star Wars: Force Commander
- "Spare Parts"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 11
- Play It Again, Figrin D'an: The Tale of Muftak and Kabe
- The Sand Tender: The Hammerhead's Tale (Indirect mention only)
- Be Still My Heart: The Bartender's Tale
- Nightlily: The Lovers' Tale (Indirect mention only)
- At the Crossroads: The Spacer's Tale
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (Video clip only)
- Swap Meet: The Jawa's Tale
Notes and references
- When the Desert Wind Turns: The Stormtrooper's Tale
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- Play It Again, Figrin D'an: The Tale of Muftak and Kabe
- Star Wars Customizable Card Game – A New Hope Limited (Card: Garouf Lafoe) (backup link)
- Swap Meet: The Jawa's Tale
- Trade Wins: The Ranat's Tale
- The Essential Guide to Alien Species
- The Sounds of Star Wars
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novelization
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope radio dramatization
- Star Wars: The National Public Radio Dramatization
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, pg. 213
- Star Wars Customizable Card Game – Premiere Limited (Card: Look Sir, Droids) (backup link)
- Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, Second Edition