- "He is as clumsy as he is stupid."
- ―Darth Vader, on Kendal Ozzel
Kendal Ozzel was a human male officer who served the Galactic Republic and the Galactic Empire in turn. Born on the planet Carida prior to the rise of the Empire, he served in the Republic Navy as a commissioned officer during the Clone Wars—a civil war fought in the galaxy during the last years of the Republic. After the war, his military career would continue under the new regime established by Emperor Sheev Palpatine. Ozzel gave up everything for the Empire, even giving up his chance at a simple life with his fiancée.
As an admiral, Ozzel was the commanding officer of the Executor—an Imperial Navy Executor-class Star Dreadnought and the flagship of the Sith Lord Darth Vader—at the time of the Galactic Civil War. In the year 3 ABY, he oversaw the initial attack on Hoth after the Empire discovered the location of the Rebel Alliance's secret base, but was summarily executed by way of the Force as a result of Vader's displeasure in the admiral's fundamentally incompetent tactics. As he was choked, Ozzel realized he had given his life over to authoritarians, though it was too late to change all he had done. Following Ozzel's death, his rank and command were awarded to his captain, Firmus Piett, by the Dark Lord.
- "Join the rebel forces."
- ―Kendal Ozzel's fiancée offers him a life against the Empire
A male human born into a wealthy family from Carida, Kendal Ozzel attended multiple Core World institutes in his youth. Eventually, he graduated and became a Captain of the Line. However, his superiors did not see him fit to serve as an effective field commander, and he was relegated to teaching positions for a while at the Academy of Carida.
Ozzel's military career was decades-long. He served for a time in the Republic Navy during the Clone Wars. When Ozzel was still in his younger years, he decided he would serve in the Republic's successor state, the Galactic Empire, but he also became engaged to be married to a woman. Thus, Ozzel could have had a simpler life and be married on his homeworld of Carida, with his friends and family in attendance. However, one night, his fiancée offered him a chance to join the rebellion against the Empire. Having already decided his loyalty was to the Empire, Ozzel and his would be wife cried and held each other for the night before parting ways forever the next morning. Ozzel thus served in the Imperial Navy. In 14 BBY, he held the rank of Rear Admiral, and was a member of the Joint Chiefs.
Following the destruction of the First Death Star, he had become an Admiral. He personally issued a communique to the Imperial Starfleet ordering the fleet to enter battle readiness. After this occurred the Hijacking of the Executor, in which the Sith Lord Darth Vader dispatched the scientist Cylo, who had attempted to steal the Executor-class Star Dreadnought Executor. The SSD was originally designed to be given to Grand General Cassio Tagge, however, Emperor Sheev Palpatine demoted him to General, and gave the Executor to Vader, due to Tagge's trust of Cylo. Vader force choked Tagge on his new command ship's bridge in front of Ozzel. Vader asked him when the Executor would be ready, and gave him two weeks, after Ozzel replied he needed a month. After Captain Magna Tolvan failed to capture Chelli Lona Aphra, who was investigating the Great Temple, Ozzel contacted the captain, and warned her that Vader would be less forgiving of failure than Cassio Tagge, her former commanding officer.
Weeds in a storm
- "At the least, we need more strength–Your Death Squadron must be brought to bear immediately. It's ludicrous for us to keep it–"
"Lord Vader. I... I... I meant no disrespect"
"What you meant is of no interest to me."
- ―Ozzel and Vader discussing the war against the Rebellion
Sometime later, Ozzel along with General Veers, met with Vader at his castle on Mustafar. As the Sith Lord looked out over the world's landscape, the admiral relayed how the Death Star's destruction had galvanized the rebellion. Resources for the Empire's construction projects were being delayed and what Rebel forces there were were too scattered and well hidden to make effective progress against. Ozzel went on to suggest that a fleet carrying out a world-by-world bombardment would serve as a suitable deterrent and told Vader that the Death Squadron had to be the force that applying the bombardment. Just as he was saying it was ludicrous to not use the fleet, Vader interrupted him by questioning the admiral's usage of the word ludicrous.
After apologizing, Ozzel went on to question how they could eliminate the Rebels, comparing them to vermin. Veers then spoke up and contradicted the Admiral, instead comparing them to weeds. Angered, Ozzel kept his gaze on Veers as the general explained how weeds survive storms and how the Rebellion would continue to survive Imperial attacks as they were flexible and not as sturdy as a tree. Turning his attention back to Vader, Ozzel addressed the Sith Lord after he showed interest in what Veers had said.
Searching for the Rebel base
- "We have thousands of probe droids searching the galaxy. I want proof, not leads!"
- ―Admiral Ozzel
He later became the commanding officer of the Death Squadron, an armada of Imperial vessels tasked with locating the Alliance's hidden main base in the aftermath of the Battle of Yavin, though the fleet was under the de facto control of Vader. In his capacity as admiral of the fleet, Ozzel led Death Squadron from Vader's flagship, the Executor. As he had been assigned to oversee the Empire's search for the Rebel headquarters, Ozzel felt that he was the perfect being to command the massive warship during the hunt. During his time as the senior officer aboard the Executor, Ozzel took time to personally congratulate Lieutenant Commander Ciena Ree, a young officer whose service had been outstanding for the past two years. After commending Ree for her dedication, the admiral implied that she might obtain a promotion to the rank of Commander soon enough.
The Empire dispatched thousands of probe droids throughout the galaxy to participate in the search for the Rebel base, one of which discovered signs of an occupied settlement on the ice planet Hoth. Before being destroyed by Rebel Captain Han Solo, the droid relayed its data to the Executor, where it was reviewed by Admiral Ozzel, his subordinate, Captain Firmus Piett, and General Veers of the Imperial Army. Piett cited the data as their best lead in the search, but Ozzel dismissed the information as lacking definitive proof of any Rebel presence. Nevertheless, Vader overruled him and ordered the fleet to make haste to the Hoth system to deal with the Rebels headquartered there.
As Vader withdrew to his private quarters, Ozzel assumed command of the fleet's maneuvering and pre-battle strategy. Believing he could surprise and overwhelm the Rebels, Ozzel opted to have the Star Destroyers of Death Squadron emerge from hyperspace directly above Hoth. The Alliance detected their arrival immediately, but the tactic did not shock them as Ozzel had planned, for the presence of the probe droid had made them suspect that the Empire had discovered their base. Before Death Squadron could initiate an orbital bombardment, the Rebels activated the base's shield, which was powerful enough to deflect any laser barrage unleashed by the Imperial warships; even the full firepower of the Executor wouldn't be able to breach it.
General Veers reported this development to Vader, who voiced his disapproval at the admiral's tactical blunder as they would now be forced to deploy troops and equipment into a costly ground battle rather than simply annihilate the Rebels with a simple orbital bombardment from the fleet. The Sith Lord opened a channel to Ozzel on the Executor's bridge and, before an oblivious Ozzel could report on the situation, began telekinetically strangling the admiral in full view of Captain Piett and others. Citing the tactical decision as Ozzel's final failure, Vader executed the pompous and inept officer while simultaneously ordering a blockade around Hoth and promoting Piett to take his place as admiral, bestowing the title at the exact moment Ozzel's still-twitching corpse hit the floor.
As he died, Ozzel thought back on his life, coming to the realization that he had willingly given over his entire life to authoritarians. He regretted his choices and wished he had been a rebel spy and shared a life with his fiancée. His last thoughts were remembering a memory from his childhood, one of him running up a mountain to come home for dinner.
- "And if we made a complaint about Admiral Ozzel's death, sir?"
"I think we both know what would happen, Commander."
- ―Tian Karmiya and Canonhaus
The Empire went on to win the Battle of Hoth despite Ozzel's actions. While the battle was considered to be the Alliance's worst defeat, it wasn't a crushing one. Ozzel had inadvertently given time to the rebels to evacuate when he brought the fleet out of hyperspace too close to Hoth. Historians of the Galactic Civil War concluded that if it hadn't been for their defeat on Hoth, the Rebel Alliance may not have risked everything the following year in the decisive Battle of Endor.
Personality and traits
- "Lord Vader, the fleet has moved out of lightspeed, and we're preparing to…"
"You have failed me for the last time, Admiral."
- ―Ozzel reports to Vader, mere moments before his execution
Standing 1.75 meters tall, Admiral Kendal Ozzel was a smug and arrogant man who fancied himself the obvious choice to command the Executor. In his position as the ranking officer of Darth Vader's Death Squadron, he often tested the Sith Lord's patience by challenging his orders and making foolish tactical decisions, as his personal opinions always differed from those of Vader. Ozzel's subordinate, the ambitious Captain Piett, had nothing but contempt for the admiral, whom he considered incompetent. Ultimately, Ozzel's personality, combined with his blunder in the opening stages of the Battle of Hoth, persuaded Vader to immediately—and permanently—remove him from command.
A man of science and warfare, Ozzel did not think much of Darth Vader's use of the Force, which the admiral regarded as vulgar hocus-pocus. Despite that, Ozzel was still terrified of Vader, like most other officers. Even so, he respected Vader, viewing the Force chokes the Sith Lord used as a way to make him and other subordinates learn lessons. Ambitious young captains like Firmus Piett annoyed him; in particular, Ozzel thought Piett was entirely too enthusiastic, as if everything he said might have proved sufficient for a promotion.
Behind the scenes
Admiral Ozzel appeared in the 1980 film Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, the second installment of the Star Wars original trilogy. He was portrayed by the Scottish actor Michael Sheard.
According to Sheard himself, he didn't audition for the role of Ozzel. Instead, he was sent the Empire script by the casting director. By the time he finished his work on the 1979 film Escape to Athena, his name was up on the casting's board for the role of Ozzel.
Notes and references
- Ultimate Star Wars
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the events of Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, in which Kendal Ozzel was killed, to 3 ABY.
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Character Encyclopedia, Updated and Expanded Edition
- Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
- "Kendal"—From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back
- "Imperial Officers and Agents" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- The events of Tarkin take place five years after the rise of the Galactic Empire, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 19 BBY. Therefore, Tarkin must be set in 14 BBY.
- Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure
- Darth Vader (2015) 25
- Doctor Aphra (2016) 4
- "Shu-Torun Lives"—Star Wars 50
- Lost Stars
- "The Final Order"—From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Complete Locations
- Star Wars: Force Collection (Card: Kendal Ozzel (★★★))
- The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi?