- "Need I remind you, gentlemen, that a mission as vital as ours can have but one leader? One decision-maker?"
- ―Mils Giel
Mils Giel was a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy. With relatives who had been serving Emperor Palpatine since 19 BBY, Giel became an admiral in the Navy, and personally oversaw the creation of the largest armada in Imperial history. He was called upon by Palpatine to transport a rare teezl—a giant life-form capable of transmitting electronic information at the speed of thought—to Imperial Center. While in transit, his flagship was attacked by Alliance pilots, and the teezl was destroyed.
For his failure, Giel was demoted to lieutenant by Supreme Commander Darth Vader, and was dispatched to investigate the abandoned Alliance base on Golrath. While there, he discovered that Golrath Station's curious crystal walls had somehow recorded the activities of the Rebels while at the base, but before he could demonstrate his findings to Vader, the station was destroyed by the Rebels themselves. Fleeing to Beheboth with his aide, Malka, Giel spent five years trying to transform the native Tirrith into a powerful bioweapon, with the aid of Malka and the Quarren scientist Kimp Minmirn. He succeeded, and created a considerable amount of carnage on Beheboth before departing the planet.
- "I built this fleet! Formed it from the beginning! And by Palpatine, I'll run it any way I bloody well choose!"
- ―Mils Giel
An admiral in the Imperial Navy, Mils Giel had friends in high places—his great-uncle had served the Empire since its formation. Giel was the catalyst for the creation of a new Imperial armada, which, when completed, was the largest in Imperial history. In order to keep its existence a secret, the armada was sent to a secret location at the edge of the galaxy. While there, Giel established his dominance over the other Imperial officers present. In 3 ABY, reports came through that the Alliance to Restore the Republic had attacked Spindrift Station, where they stole coded data that revealed the armada's location. One of the armada's colonels saw fit to suggest to the admiral that he was not showing enough concern over the Spindrift attack, which provoked Giel into launching a tirade against his subordinate. The admiral was unfazed by the possibility of an Alliance attack, and believed that even if they did move against him, they would be no match for his armada.
Loss of the teezl
- "Please, Malka, there's no need to get excited. Merely dispatch a squad of our own fighters, have them chase the Rebel down—and bring me his HEAD!!'"
- ―Mils Giel
Shortly afterward, Imperial troops discovered a teezl in the Outer Rim Territories. A large non-sentient creature, and the only known one of its kind, the teezl had the ability to transmit electronically supplied information at the speed of thought to any kind of receptor. It was hoped that, once installed on Imperial Center, the teezl would allow the Empire to communicate with any one of its agents in the galaxy instantaneously, giving them an advantage over the Alliance. So important was the teezl, that Emperor Palpatine ordered Giel to dedicate his whole armada to transporting the creature. The admiral's men were able to set up a transport cage for the teezl aboard his flagship—Giel was satisfied with the device, and he intended to make sure that nothing untoward happened to the creature, lest he earn Palpatine's wrath.
As the armada traveled towards Imperial Center, suddenly, Major Voss' ship began firing on TIE/LN starfighters, to Giel's confusion and anger. The admiral was not fooled for long, however, and he realized that the Alliance must have procured their own TIE fighters, and entered the armada's ranks. To hamstring the Rebel's efforts, Giel ordered his men to have the teezl transmit interference on all frequencies, save for the Imperial war band. That would force the Rebel pilots to begin using Imperial frequencies, which Giel's men could then listen in to, and use to their advantage. The plan was enacted, and initially, the Rebel pilots simply did not communicate. Two of the TIE fighters approached the teezl's transport cage, neither of them transmitting. The admiral, concerned that they would damage the teezl, ordered that they both be shot down, as a precaution.
Before Giel's gunners could do so, one of the TIE fighters was shot down by the other. Immediately afterward, the surviving ship expended all of its firepower with an ultra-power blast that struck the flagship. The teezl was killed, and its transport cage demolished, as well as a considerable portion of the ship itself. Colonel Malka excitedly pointed out the fighter as it flew away, and Giel, trying to contain his anger, ordered his pilots to chase down and destroy the ship. They failed, however, and the modified TIE, piloted by Luke Skywalker, was able to make the jump to hyperspace.
Traveling to the Star Dreadnought Executor, Giel met with Supreme Commander Lord Darth Vader, who was waiting in his meditation chamber. The Dark Lord was less than pleased with the loss of the teezl, but the admiral argued that the Rebel pilots had stolen TIE craft, and that no contingency plan could have foreseen or prevented that kind of subterfuge. Vader cared little, as the teezl's installation at Imperial Center could have boosted the Empire's communication capacity a thousandfold. Although Giel refused to be blamed for the loss of the teezl, since protecting it had been his mandate, he assumed full responsibility for the incident, and any subsequent punishment. Vader was impressed with Giel's frankness, and he spared the admiral's life. Instead, he chose to demote the man to lieutenant. Disappointed, Giel departed the Dark Lord's chambers.
Failure on Golrath
Vader tasked Lieutenant Giel with searching a former Alliance base on Golrath, which had been reported by a secret Imperial agent some time beforehand. Traveling there with now-Sergeant Malka and a detachment of troops, Giel was determined to find anything valuable that the Rebels had left behind in the way of plans or data, as he hoped to regain his lost admiralty. When one of the troopers reported that nothing had been found, Giel was not satisfied, and had them sweep the facility again.
Hearing gunshots suddenly ring out, Giel dashed to the location of the commotion to investigate. Two troopers, believing they were under attack from a Rebel force, had blasted a cavern's crystal walls. Examining the fragments of the walls, Giel discovered that the crystal had somehow recorded footage of the Rebels while they were at the base, and was spontaneously playing it back. Realizing the significance of the discovery, Giel hurriedly had Malka contact Vader, while ordering TIE fighters to the skies. The lieutenant believed that if the Alliance knew that Golrath Station's walls had been somehow "recording" their actions, they would try and destroy the base.
Sure enough, Rebel starfighters entered the system and engaged Giel's TIEs. One of them, breaking formation, dropped off prominent Rebel Leia Organa, who, using a parabelt, was able to breach Golrath Station's perimeter. Noticing Organa's presence on a holocam, Giel ordered that two guards be placed in the reactor room, which was Organa's likely target. The rest of the personnel were to be transferred back to the command ship, while Giel remained behind with the two guards, to deal with Organa personally.
While Giel waited in the reactor room, Organa swiftly dispatched the two guards. As she ran towards the switch for the overload damper, Giel fired at her, forcing her to take cover. The pair exchanged verbal barbs, and Giel revealed that he didn't intend to stop Organa from destroying Golrath Station—in fact, he wanted to help her, as he believed that the death of her would be far more demoralizing to the Rebellion and advantageous to the Empire than his continued existence. Giel was also content with the idea of dying as a hero to his cause. He pulled the overload damper switch, and closed the room's blast doors. Organa appeared to surrender herself, but as she moved out from behind her cover, she activated her parabelt, which was attached to her leg by a string. The parabelt in turn was affixed to a dolly, which rocketed towards Giel, bowling him over.
Organa opened the blast doors and escaped, leaving Giel defeated once more. As he made his way out of the station, he spotted a T-65 X-wing starfighter flying away. At first convincing himself that the shot was impossible, and that acts of spite were pointless, he could not resist firing on the craft. He scored a glancing blow, though nothing severe, but he did feel better for having done so. Boarding his Imperial troop transport, he was informed by his pilot that Vader had sent his congratulations in the wake of discovering the properties of the crystal walls. Resignedly, Giel had his pilot set a course for the Executor, so Giel could report his failure in person. After they had departed, the reactors exploded, and Golrath Station was destroyed. As the transport fled the blast, however, it suffered severe damage, with its hyperdrive rendered useless. The ship was forced to crash on the nearby world of Beheboth—although the ship itself and most of those aboard were destroyed, Giel and Malka survived by ejecting their escape pod in time.
Experiments on Beheboth
- "He killed his partner, almost killed me, and killed some of his killer Tirrith. Like I told you, I went to check in at the outpost. They'd always been good neighbors."
- ―Darial Anglethorn
Giel realized that if he were to return to Vader, he would surely die. Several weeks after landing on Beheboth, he and Malka were able to capture a whole nest of the native Tirrith—a gas-based life form that could affect the planet's atmosphere at an atomic level. Since 3 ABY, they had been supplying the inhabitants of Beheboth with constant rain, but when Giel and Malka apprehended the hive, the rest of the Tirrith brought a halt to the rain, plunging the planet into drought. Giel made contact with his wealthy cousins—nobles on Ralltiir—who, in turn, gave him the name of Kimp Minmirn, a Quarren scientist specializing in genetic modification. His great-uncle provided Giel and Malka with credits, allowing the pair to keep a low profile while they stayed in the town of Prosperity, below the notice of Darth Vader. The lieutenant used the money to purchase a moisture farm in the wastelands outside Prosperity, and he then made sure that the location was well secured.
The public conception of the pair was that they were overly paranoid, peculiar, but not inherently strange. They did most of their trade with far away towns on the other side of the planet's wastelands, but the fact that they constantly purchased vaporator parts assuaged any suspicion. The purchases were merely a ruse—none of them were employed at the farm, since the farm was actually a disguise for the laboratory the pair of them ran. When Minmirn arrived, Giel made sure that Malka knew nothing of the Quarren's origins, or how he had been contacted.
The Quarren was put to work breeding and condensing the captive Tirrith, and he eventually succeeded in making them capable of killing with mere exposure. Meanwhile, Giel killed farmer Berl Matoone with the mutant Tirrith, and from him extracted information on how Gideon Longspar had been able to control them during the Beheboth civil war. Matoone's corpse was placed on the property of the local peacekeeper, Darial Anglethorn. Giel then designed restraining cages for the mutant Tirrith, miniature versions of Longspar's design. Giel believed that, if they could be perfected, the mutant Tirrith would secure him his admiralty, and would allow him to crush the Alliance definitively. The mutant Tirrith were then placed in the restraint cages, which worked perfectly.
In 8 ABY, four years after the Empire's disastrous defeat at the Battle of Endor, Giel decided to bring his experiments to an end. He killed Minmirn, since the Quarren's usefulness had expired, and intended to use his late colleague's ship to take his new bioweapons to the Empire. Before he and Malka could do so, though, they planned to use the Tirrith to eradicate a New Republic outpost on the outskirts of Prosperity, as a demonstration. To prepare for the attack, they procured a map of the outpost. The full destructive power of the mutant Tirrith was tested against the local New Republic installation, Outpost B-2. The base was only supplied with infrequent troop transport visits, and so it had no vehicles that Giel and Malka would be able to use to leave the planet and return to the Empire; thus, they decided to take Minmirn's ship.
Making their way into Prosperity in Matoone's cargo hauler, which was carrying the mutant Tirrith in their cages, the pair were cut off by Anglethorn, who was on a bike. As the peacemaker approached the hauler's cabin, Giel and Malka quickly exited the vehicle, and went around to its cargo hold to retrieve the cages. By the time they had completely unloaded them, Anglethorn had reached the hold, blaster drawn. Thinking quickly, Giel shoved Malka towards the peacemaker, who instinctively fired, hitting Giel's longtime aide. In reaction to the shot, all of Prosperity's denizens left the streets and fled indoors. Giel moved away from the hauler with most of the cages, save one, which he left next to the hauler. He then activated the kill switch for the cages, causing the Tirrith to explode, as well as rendering Anglethorn unconscious, and critically wounded. Malka was also definitively killed. Reaching Prosperity's spaceport, Giel took Minmirn's ship, and fled the planet, although he did not realize that, since the ship had been overdue on docking fees, it had been fitted with an impoundment transmitter, allowing others to track him.
Personality and traits
- "I assure you, sir that it is not my policy to worry over gnats! It is my policy to squash them!"
- ―Mils Giel
A loud man, Mils Giel was quick to assert his dominance over those he outranked. To drive home his point, he wore his medals and awards on his uniform. Although he disliked disciplining his crew, he would not hesitate to do so. When he saw a deck officer wearing a non-regulation cap, he ordered the offender to complete ten laps around the ship. Although Giel realized that the officer would likely stop when he was out of sight, he was satisfied with the knowledge that the offender would likely wear regulation uniform from then on. Giel also requested that his crew not use nicknames for things such as the teezl, but rather, use the official designations. In addition to his other skills, Giel could speak four languages—Galactic Basic Standard, Huttese, Quarren, and Sullustan.
A frank man, Giel was not, unlike many of his colleagues, afraid of Darth Vader, and felt free to speak honestly with the Dark Lord. In return, Vader regarded Giel as a man of "courage and integrity," but nevertheless chose to punish him for the loss of the teezl. This did not deter Giel, and he was determined, once demoted to lieutenant, to regain his former rank of admiral. During this time, he pressed his troops for results, and earned the nickname of "Ol' leadhead."
Giel was fanatically dedicated to Palpatine's New Order, so much so that he was willing to sacrifice himself as a martyr for the Empire. On Golrath, Giel prepared himself for death, hoping that he would be able to claim Rebel leader Leia Organa's life in the process. When the gambit failed, Giel tried to contain his anger, as he had done on several occasions, but could not resist the temptation of firing a futile shot at a passing Alliance ship. Giel also had a cruel streak, as demonstrated when he turned the Tirrith of Beheboth into mutants, making them lethal. He also seemed not to value his aide, Malka, and was all too willing to sacrifice him during the brouhaha at Prosperity.
Behind the scenes
Mils Giel made his first appearance, briefly, in 1982's Star Wars 60, which was written by David Michelinie and Walter Simonson. He was later the principal antagonist in Star Wars 61, and would also appear in Star Wars 63, and Star Wars 65, all in the same year. In 2004, Cory J. Herndon picked up on Giel's story from where it had left off with Golrath Never Forgets, detailing his exploits on Beheboth in Beheboth: Blood and Water.
- "Simonson Says..."—Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 11 (Picture only)
- "Comic Marvels"—Star Wars Insider 91
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Guide to Warfare