- "The entire Empire knows us."
- ―Commander Kimmund
The First Legion was an elite stormtrooper legion in the military forces of the Galactic Empire. It was the legion that served under the command of the Sith Lord Darth Vader and was known as such across the galaxy due to their affiliation with Emperor Palpatine's right hand. Its members were recruited from the ranks of the equally renowned 501st Legion, a former clone trooper division that served in the Grand Army of the Galactic Republic under Jedi General Anakin Skywalker throughout the Clone Wars. Those who failed to meet Vader's expectations were either transferred back to the 501st or summarily executed for failure. Kimmund, an officer of the First Legion, was the fourth commander in his particular unit, his predecessors having been either demoted or put to death by the Dark Lord of the Sith.
Prior to the Galactic Civil War, the First Legion deployed to the planet Batuu alongside the forces of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Their joint mission brought them into conflict with the Grysks, a warlike people native to the Unknown Regions. The First Legion fought the Grysks on several occasions during their time with Thrawn, the first of which was at Batuu where Kimmund's troopers infiltrated a Grysk long-range heavy freighter and captured several Grysk warriors. However, the prisoners that they brought aboard the Chimaera—an Imperial I-class Star Destroyer and Thrawn's flagship—attempted to steal the First Legion's transport, the Darkhawk, resulting in a battle that Kimmund survived with the help of Thrawn's personal bodyguard, the Noghri assassin Rukh.
Following the failed prisonbreak, the First Legion fought the Grysks in the Battle of Mokivj with Darth Vader leading the ground assault in person. During the battle, Kimmund's troops rescued most of the Force-sensitive Chiss girls that had been abducted by the Grysks. Thrawn and Vader sought to retrieve all of the captives; therefore, they tracked the Grysks that escaped from Mokivj via hyperspace, leading to a another confrontation in which the First Legion succeeded in rescuing the remaining Chiss children.
- "We're the First Legion, Lord Vader's personal stormtroopers."
- ―Commander Kimmund
The men and women of the First Legion were Darth Vader's personal stormtroopers during the reign of the Galactic Empire. Renowned for their affiliation with the right hand of Emperor Palpatine, the legion's troopers were proud of their status in the Stormtrooper Corps. When Rukh dismissed the First Legion as "unknowns," Commander Kimmund rebutted the Noghri assassin's statement, citing his legion's reputation as proof of their fame. As soldiers they were held in high esteem by Grand Admiral Thrawn, who considered their actions against the Grysks exemplary.
The First Legion recruited its members from the ranks of the 501st Legion, another renowned Imperial Military unit. Prior to the formation of the Empire, the 501st served in the Clone Wars as a clone trooper legion under Jedi General Anakin Skywalker of the Galactic Republic. First Legion officers also came from within the 501st, yet those who failed to meet Vader's expectations, such as Commander Kimmund's predecessors, were either demoted and transferred back to the 501st or executed by the Dark Lord of the Sith. Due to Vader's command style, Kimmund concluded that his only hope for survival was to keep the troops in line and compliant with orders.
- "We're hardly unknowns."
- ―Commander Kimmund
The First Legion was levied by the Sith Lord Darth Vader before the outbreak of the Galactic Civil War between the Empire and the Alliance to Restore the Republic. Following the Battle of Atollon, the Emperor sensed a disturbance in the Force originating on the planet Batuu in the galaxy's Outer Rim Territories. Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn were both sent to investigate; Commander Kimmund accompanied Vader along with a contingent of the First Legion. They traveled to Batuu via Thrawn's flagship, the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Chimaera. The Star Destroyer was complemented by the Sith's private Lambda-class T-4a shuttle as well as the First Legion's transport, the Darkhawk—a repurposed Clone Wars era Separatist starship.
Mission to BatuuEdit
- "By the time we got to the cockpit the entire computer system had been wiped clean, and every bit of electronics had been fried. In fact, there were places where it looked like they'd taken literal flame to the walls and equipment."
- ―Commander Kimmund
During the voyage to Batuu, there was a degree of tension between Vader's legion and the crew of the Chimaera, and particularly between Kimmund's unit and Thrawn's bodyguard Rukh. The Noghri warrior made a habit out of boarding the First Legion's vessel unbidden; therefore, trooper Sampa rigged the ship's hatches with intrusion alarms to keep Rukh out. Despite their precautions, Rukh still managed to infiltrate the Darkhawk, this time making it as far as the electronics shop. Using trooper Jid's helmet to trigger the alarm, he alerted the First Legion and was promptly escorted off of the ship by Sergeant Drav and trooper Morrtic. Annoyed by Rukh's actions, Kimmund feared that the next security breach would result in either the Noghri's death or his own at the hands of the Sith Lord.
Upon reaching Batuu, Vader and Thrawn traveled to the surface while their subordinates remained onboard the Chimaera. Their arrival was followed soon after by a group of Grysk freighters, the largest of which was attacked by Kimmund's forces after Thrawn refused to reveal the Chimaera's location to the enemy. The Grysks, a warlike sentient species that came from the Unknown Regions, threatened the interests of both the Chiss Ascendancy and the Galactic Empire according to Thrawn. While Vader and Thrawn dealt with the Grysks' Darshi mercenaries, the First Legion deployed to the freighter via the Darkhawk. After the Grysk vessel's hyperdrive was disabled by a squadron of TIE/D Defenders led by Vult Skerris, the First Legion boarded the freighter and attempted to secure it along with its holdings for the Empire. Kimmund personally oversaw their efforts to capture the cargo hold, in accordance with Vader's instructions to keep the cargo intact, but the Grysks used explosives to destroy their cargo along with themselves.
Defense of the DarkhawkEdit
- "Commander Kimmund cannot be blamed for his actions. On the contrary, his actions and those of his stormtroopers were exemplary."
- ―Grand Admiral Thrawn
Despite failing to secure the cargo hold, Kimmund's men were able to stun other Grysks before they could complete their suicide mission. The First Legion then transferred the prisoners to the Chimaera by order of Thrawn, who wanted to interrogate the Grysks. Thrawn had them confined to personal quarters typically reserved for TIE fighter pilots; in response, Kimmund and Sergeant Aksind decided to remain aboard the Darkhawk along with its pilot Tephan, having felt uncomfortable leaving their ship unguarded with the prisoners nearby. When the Grysk escaped from their makeshift prison, they attempted to escape from the Chimaera by stealing the First Legion's transport. A brief but intense skirmish ensued between the Grysks and Kimmund's companions, resulting in Aksind's death despite Rukh's timely assistance. Most of the aliens were killed in the fighting, although Kimmund and Rukh were able to recapture four of them.
Vader was far from pleased; he and Thrawn allowed the Grysks to escape from their prison so that they could steal one of the ships, all of which had been outfitted with homing beacons that would have led the Chimaera to the enemy's secret headquarters. Kimmund, who had not been informed of his superiors' intentions, inadvertently ruined the plan by preventing the aliens' escape. If the Grand Admiral had not spoken in the Commander's defense, Kimmund believed he might have become the second officer of his unit to be put to death for failure. As a result of the Grysks' decision to steal a Clone Wars era vessel like the Darkhawk, Thrawn concluded that their base was an old Separatist droid factory located on the planet Mokivj.
Battle of MokivjEdit
- "Commander Kimmund just reported in, sir. They have the prisoners and have cleared the enemy from the courtyard. They're bringing the Darkhawk in now for a pickup, and expect to be back at the Chimaera within the hour."
- ―Lieutenant Lomar, reporting the First Legion's success to Grand Admiral Thrawn
Upon the Chimaera's arrival at Mokivj, Thrawn requested use of Vader's stormtroopers, intending to lead the ground assault in person. However, the Dark Lord rejected Thrawn's plan and insisted that he remain with the command ship while Vader himself led the First Legion to the planet's surface. They successfully infiltrated the factory where Vader created a ruse to distract the Grysks while Kimmund, Sergeant Viq, and trooper Elebe searched for the prisoners they had been ordered to rescue. The Grysks who guarded the prisoners were killed by Kimmund's stormtroopers, although the captives themselves surprised the Commander for they were young Force-sensitive girls—three of whom were kept in hibernation chambers—of Thrawn's species, the Chiss. Taking the children into their custody, Kimmund and his troopers headed to the factory's courtyard and cleared it of enemy units in order to rendezvous with the Darkhawk. Aboard the Chimaera, Lieutenant Lamar informed the Grand Admiral that the First Legion succeeded in their task and would return to the flagship with the rescued prisoners within the hour.
When Kimmund's unit returned to the Chimaera, the Commander was informed by Vader that a small number of prisoners remained with the Grysks, who escaped into hyperspace before Thrawn's Defenders could intercept them. At Thrawn's request, Vader used the Force to track the Grysks through hyperspace, believing the Sith Lord's powers would lead them to the location of the Grysks' main forces, and by extension, the remaining prisoners.
- "Commander Kimmund and the First Legion are more than capable of handling a breach and rescue mission on their own."
- ―Darth Vader
Having tracked the enemy's lair to a star system, the First Legion planned to ambush the Grysk ship using the Darkhawk while the Chimaera attacked the main warships. Vader opted to support the First Legion by piloting one of the TIE Defenders, believing his presence was not required for Commander Kimmund and the stormtroopers to conduct a breach and rescue operation. The trap was a success; with the engines disabled by Vader, the First Legion boarded the Grysk vessel. Aided by Rukh's tracking abilities, Kimmund's unit began their search for the remaining Chiss captives while two troopers remained with the Darkhawk to guard it. A few troopers perished during the mission and Jid was left behind after sustaining a direct hit from a Grysk lightning gun, but ultimately the First Legion was successful in its task, rescuing more Chiss from the Grysks.
Behind the scenesEdit
In an interview, Zahn said that he originally wanted to include the 501st Legion as Vader's personal force of stormtroopers, as it was in Star Wars Legends. However, the Lucasfilm Story Group vetoed the idea, saying that Vader would not have wanted to be closely associated to a unit that had been commanded by Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars. However, due to the 501st's expert troops, Vader would still select his stormtroopers from within their ranks when recruiting for the First Legion.
The First Legion being Vader's personal legion during the time of the Galactic Empire contradicted the 2015 novel Battlefront: Twilight Company, where the 501st were referred to as Vader's personal legion by Everi Chalis. When asked about the matter, Story Group member Matt Martin mused that perhaps either Chalis was wrong or that the things could have changed by the time of Battlefront.