- "I have been promoted to admiral, effective immediately, assuming Admiral Ozzel's command."
- ―Firmus Piett
Firmus Piett, a human male native to Axxila, was an Imperial officer who served in the naval forces of the Galactic Empire during the Galactic Civil War. At the time of the Battle of Hoth, he served as first officer of the Star Dreadnought Executor—flagship of the Sith Lord Darth Vader—assisting Admiral Kendal Ozzel. After Ozzel committed a fatal mistake during the hunt for the Rebel Alliance, Piett was promoted to admiral and given command of Vader's flagship. Piett served in that capacity until the Battle of Endor, where he served as a Fleet Admiral, when the Imperial Navy confronted the Rebel Fleet around the second Death Star battle station in the year 4 ABY. The admiral perished aboard his starship when Arvel Crynyd's A-wing starfighter crashed into the Executor's bridge.
Early life and career
- "You see, Piett? We should never hesitate to use the lash, when necessary—but there are moments when the lure is even more effective."
- ―Grand Moff Tarkin, to Firmus Piett
Born a male human, Firmus Piett hailed from Axxila, a planet located in the Outer Rim Territories of the galaxy. At some point, Piett joined the starfleet of Palpatine's Galactic Empire, and rose through the ranks. As a junior officer under the command of Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, he attended the planet Jelucan's introduction ceremony into the Galactic Empire, following its conquest eight years after the Clone Wars.
Search for the Rebels
- "I think we've got something, sir. The report is only a fragment from a probe droid in the Hoth system, but it's the best lead we've had."
"We have thousands of probe droids searching the galaxy. I want proof, not leads!"
- ―Firmus Piett and Kendal Ozzel
By 3 ABY, Piett had been made a Flag Captain. He was stationed on the Executor, a Super Star Destroyer that acted as the flagship of Darth Vader, the right-hand man of Emperor Sheev Palpatine himself. The mission of Vader's personal fleet of Star Destroyers, the Death Squadron, was to search the galaxy for the Rebel Alliance's secret base.
On the Executor, Piett was subordinate to Admiral Kendal Ozzel, whom he saw as a pompous and incompetent officer. Piett was notably tasked with collecting and analyzing data sent by Imperial probe droids looking for traces of the Rebels. When information came in from a probe exploring the Hoth system, Piett called out to Admiral Ozzel while Vader was present on the bridge. Vader recognized the information as a solid lead on the location of the Rebel headquarters, and he ordered the Death Squadron to set course for the icy world of Hoth.
- Ozzel: "Lord Vader, the fleet has moved out of lightspeed, and we're preparing to—"
- Darth Vader: "You have failed me for the last time, Admiral. Captain Piett."
- Firmus Piett: "Yes, my Lord."
- Darth Vader: "Make ready to land our troops beyond their energy shield and deploy the fleet so that nothing gets off the system. You are in command now, Admiral Piett."
- Firmus Piett: "Thank you, Lord Vader."
- ―Firmus Piett's promotion[src]
However, Admiral Ozzel made a complete mess of the Death Squadron's approach to Hoth, taking the ships out of hyperspace too close to the system. As the Rebels were now aware of the Empire's presence, they were able to erect a defense shield over their base, preventing any orbital bombardment. Captain Piett stood at Ozzel's side when Darth Vader force choked the admiral. With Ozzel dead, the Emperor's right-hand man promoted Captain Piett to admiral at that moment. Piett's first action as an admiral of the Imperial Navy was to order the disposal of his predecessor's corpse.
Thanks to the intervention of General Veers' ground force, the Empire managed to get the upper hand on Hoth, forcing the Rebels to evacuate. Despite the orbital blockade imposed by the Death Squadron, many enemy ships managed to fall through the cracks under the cover fire from the Rebel's planetary ion cannon. Subsequently, Admiral Piett was ordered to track one of the fleeing ships, the Millennium Falcon. With that vessel and its crew of Han Solo, Leia Organa, C-3PO, and Chewbacca as bait, Vader was confident he could lure Luke Skywalker into a trap.
Under Piett's command, the Executor then engaged in the pursuit of the Millennium Falcon. One of the bridge crew that served under his command during the pursuit was Lieutenant Commander Ciena Ree. When it transpired that the Rebel craft was hiding in the Hoth system's asteroid field, the admiral was concerned that debris would cause significant damage to Death Squadron's vessels. Vader, however, ignored Piett's advice, ordering the fleet to enter the asteroid field. True to his words, the asteroid field brutally punished the Imperial fleet with repeated meteor impacts, destroying at least one Star Destroyer and causing significant damage. In a holographic conference with Vader and the commanders of the other Destroyers, one of whom was killed during the meeting when his Destroyer was obliterated, Captain Lorth Needa voiced his belief that the rebel ship must logically have been destroyed considering the damage they had taken, but Vader insisted that they were still alive and ordered him to keep searching. Shortly thereafter, Piett joined the conference after receiving word that Emperor Palpatine himself demanded to speak with his right hand man, informing Vader. On Vader's orders, he moved the Executor out of the asteroid field, in hopes of sending a clear transmission.
To Admiral Piett's discreet distaste, Vader later assembled a motley crew of bounty hunters on the Executor's bridge, enlisting them in his track for the Millennium Falcon. However, after the Dark Lord spoke with the hunters, among them the legendary Boba Fett, Piett reported that the Falcon had been found, as they had received a priority signal from the Avenger. However, the Star Destroyer ultimately lost the craft, and Vader executed its captain, Lorth Needa, to account for the failure. Immediately afterwards, Piett reported that their scan was complete and there was no sign of the Falcon. Vader ordered for every possible hyperspace destination to be calculated, and threatened that Piett could not fail him again, but the Falcon truly had hidden on the conning tower of the Avenger. While the crew believed they could simply escape, disguised with the garbage dumped before the warship jumped away, they were followed by Fett. The Empire soon learned they had left to Bespin, and Vader launched a trap for Skywalker. To prevent a possible Rebel escape, Piett's forces deactivated the Millennium Falcon's hyperdrive on Vader's orders.
While Captain Solo was imprisoned in carbonite and given to Fett, Skywalker, C-3PO, R2-D2, Organa, Chewbacca, and their new ally Lando Calrissian managed to escape Cloud City. However, Piett assured Vader that the Falcon's hyperdrive was disabled. Vader ordered for a boarding party to be prepared, with their blasters set to stun. Once he believed it was right, Piett ordered for the tractor beam, but R2-D2 had learned the hyperdrive was disabled and reactivated it. The Rebel freighter escaped to lightspeed, causing clear surprise and fear in Piett. However, Vader, after taking a glance back to where the ship had been, simply walked away from the viewport and past Piett. Ultimately, Piett managed to escape the wrath of his superior, as he survived.
Directly afterwards, Piett was contacted by Grand Vizier Mas Amedda on behalf of the Emperor by hologram. After Piett confirmed that the Millennium Falcon had escaped, Amedda informed the admiral that the Emperor wanted Vader to immediately contact him. Piett took out his comlink to contact Vader to rely the Vizier's message only to have another officer turn his attention to the bridge viewport where he witnessed Vader's shuttle departing the Executor. Piett tried to hail the shuttle only to witness it jump into hyperspace. Amedda addressed the admiral, who cautiously stated that Vader was currently unavailable. In his throne room in the Imperial Palace on Coruscant, the Emperor started to laugh after hearing Piett's response while the hologram of the admiral looked on.
Dogfight in the Hudalla system
- "Those aren't mynocks in the planetary ring. They're almost certainly rebel spies."
"We'll take care of it, sir."
"One of the rebels must escape. You're to see to it that at least one of the pilots manages to make it to hyperspace. Beyond that, it's irrelevant whether the rest live or die."
"Consider it handled, Admiral Piett."
- ―Firmus Piett and Ciena Ree
Later, Admiral Piett assembled a group of Imperial officers including the now-Commander Ciena Ree and her friend Nash Windrider for a patrol in the outer edge of the planet Hudalla's ring. In private, Piett told Commander Ree that there were rebel spies in the planetary ring. He tasked her with ensuring that at least one of the pilots escaped into hyperspace. During the dogfight, Ciena and Nash encountered their former fellow cadet Thane Kyrell, who had joined the Rebel Alliance's Corona Squadron. Since she still loved Thane, Ciena ensured that he and most of Corona Squadron escaped into hyperspace. Following the mission, the TIE fighter pilots were reprimanded for their failure to destroy all the rebel ships. However, Piett discreetly nodded at Ciena to thank her for following his orders. Ciena later learned that the dogfight was part of an Imperial plan to lure the rebels into a trap at Endor.
Death at Endor
- Bridge officer: "Sir, we've lost our bridge deflector shield."
- Firmus Piett: "Intensify the forward batteries. I don't want anything to get through… Intensify forward firepower!"
- Gherant: "Too late!"
- ―Admiral Firmus Piett's final moments[src]
Piett eventually rose to the rank of Fleet Admiral and served in Imperial Navy High Command. Some time later, he commanded the Imperial fleet in the Battle of Endor, where he received orders from the Emperor himself to retain the Executor and the Imperial fleet from directly engaging the rebel forces; Piett wryly cited to a fellow officer that he was told the Emperor had something special planned and that the ships only needed to prevent another Rebel retreat. The special plan was revealed to be the fully operational superlaser, which annihilated two Rebel cruisers in quick succession. However, Piett's orders backfired when the rebels, in a desperate gambit, moved their remaining fleet into direct combat with his own armada in the hopes that the Death Star would cease fire rather than risk friendly casualties.
When General Han Solo and his force, who had managed to sneak under Piett's nose in a stolen Imperial shuttle, destroyed the shield generator protecting the second Death Star, the battle began to turn against the Empire. Rebel starfighters began to strafe the superstructure of the Executor, which had been personally targeted by Rebel admiral Gial Ackbar, a former personal slave to Firmus' deceased mentor, Governor Tarkin, and dealt a potentially mortal blow to the mighty ship when two A-wings destroyed the portside bridge-mounted deflector shield generator, disabling the Executor's bridge shields. In response to the increasing threat, Piett ordered that all guns on the flagship "intensify forward firepower." This was to be his final command, however, as moments later an RZ-1 A-wing interceptor piloted by Arvel Crynyd was struck by turbolaser fire and spun on a collision course with the bridge. Piett's subordinate, seeing it coming, screamed that it was too late. Piett whipped round, saw the fighter barreling straight for him and reflexively, but futilely, dived for cover as it crashed into the Executor's bridge and exploded, killing Piett and the entire bridge crew and, moments later, causing the vessel to lose control and crash into the second Death Star.
Personality and traits
- "Well done today, Lieutenant Commander."
"But—I lost all four pilots, sir."
"They had no chance, really. You kept them alive longer than they could have made it on their own."
- ―Piett and Ciena Ree
An ambitious officer, Firmus Piett was known for his quick thinking in his ability to shift blame for his blunders. After the Executor was lost at Endor under Piett's captaincy, Admiral Garrick Versio judged him foolish.
Behind the scenes
- "You can't just play a uniform or a single attitude, you have to somehow try to dig up within the parameters of the part something human, because that's what the audiences respond to, the humanity. The response I got was because of the humanity, not because of the uniform, if you see what I mean."
- ―Kenneth Colley
Admiral Piett was played by Kenneth Colley in both 1980's Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and 1983's Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. Piett is the only Imperial officer to survive more than one film and be portrayed by the same actor. As a result, Piett became a favorite character among fans due his unusual longevity over time. Though not originally intended to return in Return of the Jedi, fan mail supporting the return of the character convinced George Lucas to rehire Colley once more and write several new lines of dialogue for him.
Colley recalled that when he auditioned for the role, The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner said to him, "'I'm looking for someone that would frighten Adolf Hitler!' And he sized me up and down and continued, 'Yes, I think you're it.'" In playing the role, Colley chose not to play a single attitude and instead attempted to evoke the humanity of Piett's character, as the actor believed that this made audiences react so strongly.
In Lawrence Kasdan's rough draft for Return of the Jedi, instead of being stationed over Endor, Piett was stationed at Had Abbadon, where two new Death Stars were being constructed. Piett accompanies Darth Vader to his communications chamber, where Grand Moff Tiaan Jerjerrod is present, disabling all surveillance devices. Later, when the Rebels are able to blow up a communications dish on Had Abbadon, Piett informs Vader that all communications have been disabled. He also tells Vader that a large Rebel force was incoming. Vader then directs Piett to take the fleet and defend the Death Stars under construction over the Green Moon. Vader also instructs Piett to send more troops down to the moon to reinforce the beleaguered General Veers, while Vader plans to take Luke Skywalker to see Emperor Palpatine. Despite this, Piett's death remained largely the same as in the final cut.
Notes and references
- Ultimate Star Wars
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: The Rebel Files
- Lost Stars
- The Odyssey of Star Wars: An Epic Poem
- Darth Vader (2020) 1
- Star Wars Battlefront II
- "Imperial Officers Field Guide"—Star Wars Insider 96
- Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays