- "The Empire is all I have left. I need to be of use. I want to serve."
- ―Nash Windrider to Ciena Ree, after destruction of his homeworld
Nash Windrider was a human male from Alderaan who served as a commander and lieutenant in the naval forces of the Galactic Empire. He attended the Royal Imperial Academy on Coruscant, and was roommates with the Jelucani cadet Thane Kyrell and Coruscanti Ved Foslo. He also had feelings for Ciena Ree, who was in love with Kyrell. After graduation, he was assigned to the Devastator. While aboard the Death Star, he witnessed the destruction of his homeworld, which wiped out his entire family and profoundly affected Windrider. However, he ultimately chose to remain in the Empire, justifying Alderaan's destruction by claiming it was necessary in order for the Empire to bring order to the galaxy.
As a member of the Imperial Navy, Windrider fought against the Alliance to Restore the Republic on several occasions including the Battle of Hoth. He later fought against his former friend Kyrell in a dogfight; he was shocked to find Kyrell alive, having believed Ree's fabrication that Kyrell had committed suicide. Ree thwarted Windrider's attempt to kill Kyrell, and Windrider comforted her after the battle, enraged by his belief that Kyrell had faked his death and tormented them all those years.
Windrider survived the cataclysmic Imperial defeat at the Battle of Endor and participated in the Battle of Jakku, where he was devastated when Ree ordered him to abandon the Inflictor. Following the events at Jakku, Windrider was made the commander of an attack cruiser and was privy to a planned Imperial offensive against the New Republic, the government that had been established by the Rebel Alliance. Believing that Ree had perished during the Battle of Jakku, he nominated her for the Distinguished Medal of Imperial Honor posthumously.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personality and traits
- 3 Skills and abilities
- 4 Behind the scenes
- 5 Appearances
- 6 Sources
- 7 Notes and references
Nash Windrider was an Alderaanian human male who lived during the Age of the Empire. Nash grew up on the Core World of Alderaan where education was free and people were encouraged to learn and grow. His father made carpets for a living.
In his youth, Windrider was an Imperial cadet at the Royal Imperial Academy on Coruscant, which prepared cadets for a career as officers in the Imperial Navy. During his first day at the Royal Academy, Nash met his two room mates: the Jelucani youth Thane Kyrell and the Coruscanti Ved Foslo. While Nash quickly befriended Thane, he found Foslo arrogant and aloof. After introducing himself to Thane, Nash remarked that they should introduced inhalers and tranquilizers for the benefit of newcomers visiting Coruscant.
For the next three years, Nash and his fellow cadets endured the Royal Academy's punishing education regimen, which involved hours of studying science, mathematics, piloting, and physical training. Cadets were frequently subjected to a battery of tests that pushed them to their limits. While Windrider's friend Thane found the Academy a liberating experience from his domineering parents, Nash found the Royal Academy's curriculum a grueling experience; coming from Alderaan which had a more enlightened and holistic approach towards education. Despite these challenges, Nash persevered in his training due to his belief that the Galactic Empire was a positive force that wanted to bring the best of every world and culture to the galaxy. When Thane expressed his cynicism, Nash invited him to visit his homeworld.
In spite of their different outlooks and Nash's untidiness, he and Thane became good friends at the Royal Academy. On one occasion, Nash and his fellow cadets took part in a training exercise that involved them riding on speeder bikes through a series Reitgen Hoops. Prior to the exercise, he asked the Flight Commander whether there would be a prize. The commander calmly replied that he should first learn the task before he could "presume to perform it." Ultimately, Thane and his fellow Jelucani friend Ciena Ree jointly won the race after their bikes became entangled. As he became more acquainted with Thane, Nash learned about his friend's abuse at the hands of his father Oris Kyrell after seeing the scars on his back.
Six months later, Nash and his fellow cadets were working on a laser cannon assignment. After finishing his work, Nash tried to convince Thane to explore the Coruscant nightlife. However, Thane was too preoccupied with his assignment and insisted on putting in the extra effort to maintain his class rankings. Unable to convince Thane, Windrider then teased him about his "feelings" for Ved Foslo before turning his attention to Thane's relationship with Ciena. Windrider's interest in Thane's close friendship with Ciena annoyed the latter who refused to discuss the topic. Despite their quarrel, Nash remained supportive of Thane during the "laser cannon" incident. When Nash suggested that Ciena had a role in sabotaging Thane's laser cannon, Thane insisted that Ciena was innocent.
Destruction of Alderaan
Nash Windrider graduated from the Royal Imperial Academy shortly before the battle of Yavin. He was assigned to the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Devastator which took part in the capture of the Alderaanian Princess Leia Organa. While he still wore his hair long, he had it tightly braided in the back per Imperial regulations. One of his fellow colleagues was Ciena Ree, who had been assigned to command track and promoted to the rank of lieutenant. After a stormtrooper party had been dispatched to recover the stolen Death Star plans, Nash met with Ciena aboard the Devastator.
When Ciena mentioned Leia's capture, Nash suggested that the Princess had been misled by her court and that an investigation would clear her name. Ciena was concerned that Nash's loyalty would be questioned due to his Alderaanian roots. Later, Nash and his former classmates Ciena and Thane attended a ceremony aboard the Death Star where they witnessed the battle station unleashing a superlaser which destroyed his homeworld of Alderaan. The Imperial commander justified the planet's destruction on the grounds that the Alderaanian government had been secretly aiding the Rebel Alliance. Nash was visibly affected by the destruction of his homeworld and the death of his family. Struggling to regain his composure, he allowed Ciena to lead him to a lift that would take him back to the Devastator's docking bay.
Loyal to the Empire
- "The Empire is all I have left. I need to be of use. I want to serve."
- ―Nash Windrider
Following the destruction of the Death Star, Nash decided to put Alderaan firmly behind him and to dedicate himself fully to the Empire. As a symbolic gesture, he cut off his long braids. Upon meeting Ciena, he reassured her that he was all right and stressed that he wanted to serve the Empire. After finishing his duty shift, Nash and Ciena talked about their friend Thane, who had been stationed on the Death Star but had been part of a scouting mission sent to Dantooine, where the Rebellion had once maintained a base. Thane's transport had received orders to return to the Death Star, leading the two to fear that Thane had perished with the Death Star. In fact, Thane had survived and was subsequently reassigned to the spice mining world of Kerev Doi.
To prove his loyalty to the Empire, Nash worked extra shifts aboard the Devastator. Nash's new workaholic behavior attracted the concern of his former classmate Lieutenant Commander Ciena Ree and her colleague Berisse Sai. Berisse initially mistook Ree's concern for romantic feelings until the latter forcefully denied it. Ree suggested inviting Windrider to join them at the gym and to play grav-ball. The following day, Nash informed Ciena that their friend Thane had deserted his post at Kerev Doi. When Ciena suggested that Thane could have crashed his ship, Nash was sympathetic but assured her that his superiors were telling the truth. He also confided that an Imperial Security Bureau officer had questioned him about Thane's political beliefs. While Nash had told them that his friend was no rebel, the officer was not satisfied.
Ciena later traveled to Jelucan to find Thane. There, she discovered that he had indeed deserted the Empire due to his disillusionment with the Empire's destruction of Alderaan and the maltreatment of Bodach'i slaves on Kerev Doi. Ciena was unable to reason with Thane, who refused to return to Imperial service. While she loved Thane, Ciena was unable to break her oath to the Empire due to her upbringing. Instead, she told Thane to go into hiding and informed her superiors that Thane had committed suicide on Jelucan. This report was accepted by Nash and other Imperial officers.
Serving Darth Vader
Three years after the Battle of Yavin, Lieutenant Windrider along with his friend Ciena and Berisse were transferred from the Devastator to Darth Vader's flagship Executor, a Super Star Destroyer. Shortly after his new posting, Nash served aboard the Executor's quadrant section during the battle of Hoth. Prior to the Imperial assault, he confidently informed Ciena that an Imperial probe droid had found the rebel base on the frozen planet of Hoth and that the Executor was traveling with five smaller Star Destroyers to attack the rebels. Despite their best efforts, elements of the rebel forces managed to escape into hyperspace.
Nash and Ciena later took part in an Imperial operation to trap several rebel fugitives including Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker on Cloud City in the gas giant of Bespin. Under the orders of Darth Vader, the two Imperial officers sabotaged the Millennium Falcon's hyperdrive in an attempt to prevent the rebels from escaping into hyperspace. Despite their best efforts, the astromech droid R2-D2 was able to repair the hyperdrive, and the Falcon was able to escape. Nash and his fellow officers were shocked that their efforts had failed and feared that Lord Vader would execute them on the spot. However, the Sith Lord instead left the command bridge.
That evening, Windrider met with Ciena and Berisse in the Executor's quadrant. He listened as Ciena and Berisse talked about why some people joined the Rebellion. Sensing that Ciena was upset, Nash asked her why, and she told them that she had been thinking about Thane lately. Unknown to Nash and Berisse, Ciena had discovered that Thane had joined the Rebellion after analyzing footage from Hoth. Nash expressed his disbelief that his friend Thane would commit suicide, knowing that Kyrell had so much to live for including his top ranking as an elite TIE fighter pilot. Berisse then reassured her colleagues that nobody had been themselves after the destruction of the Death Star.
When Berisse asked whether Thane had lost any other close friends or a lover aboard the Death Star, Nash responded that his friend did not have any romantic interests while at the Royal Academy and when he was living on Jelucan. Unknown to Windrider, Ciena and Thane had a romantic relationship and had made love during their last meeting on Jelucan after the battle of Yavin. Nash then discussed his suspicion that Thane had an abusive relationship with his father, Oris Kyrell, recalling that he had seen the scars on Thane's back while they were roommates. Windrider speculated that years of abuse had driven Thane to suicide.
After Berisse left, Nash confided his romantic feelings for Ciena. When Ciena politely declined, Windrider apologized for bringing up the topic at the wrong time since they had been talking about Thane's purported death an hour ago. Nash admitted that he missed his friend Thane and reiterated that he did not mean to make light of Ciena's feelings for him. While Nash had feelings for Ciena, she did not reciprocate due to her love for Thane.
Dogfight in the Hudalla system
- "I can't believe you're still with the Empire. They destroyed your planet, Nash! They killed your entire family! How can you—"
"Never speak of Alderaan to me! Never!'"
- ―Thane Kyrell reminds Nash Windrider about the destruction of Alderaan
Later, Nash Windrider was part of a ten-member TIE fighter patrol that engaged in a dogfight with the Rebel Alliance's Corona Squadron in the remote Hudalla system. Prior to the dogfight, Nash was delighted that his friend Ciena, who was now a Commander in the Imperial Navy, would be joining him and his fellow pilots. Admiral Piett informed Nash and the other pilots that they had picked up some strange readings on the edge of the Hudalla system. While he suspected it was little more than metal ores and mynocks, he told them to be vigilant for enemy spies. Knowing that it was a rebel patrol out there, Piett also gave Ciena secret orders to let at least one of the rebels escape.
Unknown to Nash and Ciena, one of the rebel pilots flying out there was their former friend Thane Kyrell, who had since become a rebel pilot. Nash's TIE patrol quickly detected Corona Squadron's five T-65 X-wing starfighters on their sensors. After sighting the rebel fighters, Nash's recognized Thane's voice across the intercom. During a heated exchange, an enraged Nash remarked that he wished that his former friend was dead. Giving into his rage, Nash violated Imperial Navy protocol by initiating battle without waiting for Commander Ree's orders.
During the dogfight, Nash pursued Thane's X-wing with his TIE/IN interceptor, intent on killing his former friend whom he now deemed a traitor. When Nash denounced Thane as a rebel scum who had stooped so low, Thane retorted that the Empire had murdered Nash's family and destroyed his homeworld. In response, Nash angrily told Thane not to mention Alderaan again. Taking advantage of Admiral Piett's secret order, Ciena used her TIE fighter to shield Thane from the furious Nash. Due to her efforts, four of the rebel starfighters including Thane's X-wing managed to flee into hyperspace.
After returning to their hangar aboard the Executor, Nash expressed anger that Thane had faked his death and put his friend Ciena through much grief and suffering, not knowing that she had fabricated his suicide. Ciena then hugged Nash and the two Imperial officers comforted each other. Nash apologized for shouting at her over the intercom and confided that he had been heartbroken over Thane's "betrayal." He mistook Ciena's efforts to save Thane for an attempt to finish off the traitorous pilot by herself. He apologized for not letting her have the honor of killing Thane. Nash then concluded that they had never really known Thane. He later reported Thane's treason to his superiors before enduring a dressing-down by his superiors, who reprimanded the TIE pilots for failing to destroy most of the rebel fighters.
Battle of Endor
Shortly later, the Executor arrived at the second Death Star. Nash Windrider along with Ciena Ree and Berisse attended a reception ceremony which greeted Emperor Palpatine. When Ciena expressed skepticism that building a second Death Star would bring an end to the Rebellion, Nash and Berisse disagreed and expressed their confidence in the Emperor's strategy. After Ciena mentioned the destruction of Alderaan and remarked that the Death Star was not being used to protect the Empire's citizens from war, Nash responded that Alderaan had to be destroyed in order to demonstrate the Emperor's true strength and to end the bickering in the Imperial Senate.
Nash added that the war against the Rebellion was only the aftermath of the conflicts that had wrecked the Galaxy. He believed that the rebels had only been able to destroy the first Death Star through sheer luck and that building a second Death Star was necessary to restore order to the Galaxy. Nash attributed Ciena's melancholy to her difficulty in coming to terms with Thane's betrayal. He counselled Ciena to trust in her oath to the Empire and her integrity. Shortly later, Emperor Palpatine arrived in his Lambda-class shuttle.
The Emperor had devised a plan to lure the Rebel Alliance into a trap above Endor. However, the plan fell apart when a rebel strike team under Han Solo managed to destroy the shield generator protecting the second Death Star. In addition, the rebel Luke Skywalker succeeded in turning his father Darth Vader from the dark side, and Vader then killed the Emperor. The Imperial fleet also suffered heavy casualties when the rebel fleet attacked the Imperial fleet above Endor in order to avoid the second Death Star's superlaser. Berisse perished during the the destruction of the Executor. Meanwhile, Ciena survived but was badly wounded when shrapnel pierced her liver.
A shattered Empire
Following the Imperial retreat from Endor, Nash comforted the gravely wounded Ciena. When she called for her father Paron Ree, Nash told her that he would not let her die. After Ciena's wounds had been treated, Nash attended to her at her bedside. He informed her that the medical staff had hooked her to a life-support belt so that she could regrow her liver. He also told her that she had been given several months' leave due to her illness. When Ree asked what had happened to the fleet, Nash informed her about the destruction of the second Death Star, the deaths of the Emperor, Darth Vader, Moff Jerjerrod, and Berisse. The Empire had also descended into a state of chaos and the Rebellion had established a new government called the New Republic.
Despite the heavy losses, Nash was confident that the Imperial Starfleet would regroup to plan the next assault and name a new Emperor. When Ciena began to cry, he told her to rest. Shortly later, Windrider was shipped out for a new posting on an Imperial warship called the Subjugator. A year after the battle of Endor, Nash was promoted to the rank of flight commander and assigned to the Imperial Star Destroyer Inflictor. To his delight, the Inflictor was commanded by his friend Ciena Ree, who had also been promoted to the rank of Captain in the Imperial Navy. After the promotion ceremony, Nash informed Ciena that the Empire was marshaling its remaining forces for a final standoff against the New Republic on the desert world of Jakku.
Battle of Jakku
Nash served as the Inflictor's flight commander during the battle of Jakku. During the space battle, the Inflictor was boarded by several New Republic boarding parties, who were intent on seizing the Star Destroyer and adding it to the nascent New Republic Defense Fleet. One of the rebel boarders was his former friend Thane Kyrell, who succeeded in disabling the Inflictor's self-destruct mechanism. Captain Ciena Ree then realized that she had no other choice but to stay behind and manually crash the Star Destroyer into Jakku's surface.
Commander Windrider protested but he complied with Captain Ree's orders to evacuate the Inflictor. While Windrider was heart-broken that he would lose Ciena, he nevertheless understood that she wanted to prevent the Star Destroyer from falling into rebel hands. After some argument, Windrider joined the rest of the crew in fleeing the Inflictor in escape pods. Before Ciena could crash the Star Destroyer into Jakku's surface, she was stopped by Thane. Following a struggle, Thane managed to rescue her and evacuated her in an escape pod before the Inflictor crashed into Jakku. Ultimately, the battle of Jakku was a major defeat for the Galactic Empire which attempted no further large-scale offensives the following month. The remnants of the Empire were also reduced to certain regions within the Core Worlds and the Inner Rim.
Following the Battle of Jakku, Commander Windrider was posted to the attack cruiser Garrote, which was part of an Imperial fleet that had retreated to the Queluhan Nebula. As flight commander, Nash restored "proper discipline" among his crew to the extent that none of them turned away from their work when he left the command bridge. Windrider was also assisted by Thane's estranged older brother Dalven Kyrell, a third-class desk officer who held the rank of Lieutenant. Nash despised Dalven as a weak, toadying man but nevertheless refused to judge him solely based on his blood ties to Thane.
While stationed aboard the Garrote, Nash nominated Captain Ciena for the Distinguished Medal of Imperial Honor in recognition for her selfless service to the Empire and her purported sacrifice during the battle of Jakku. When Dalven questioned his motives for nominating Ree, Nash sprung to Ciena's defense and expressed his wish to die in the service of the Empire. After listening to a New Republic "propaganda broadcast," Windrider believed that the rebels had grown complacent and were underestimating the Empire. He watched as an Imperial fleet prepared for a strike against the Republic and vowed to avenge Ciena's purported death.
Personality and traits
Nash Windrider was a thin-faced human man with long brown hair, which he tied into a series of long braids. He was notably tall, being one of the two tallest cadets in his class at the Academy. Growing up on Alderaan, Windrider valued his homeworld's enlightened approach to education. He admitted to growing up with a crush on Princess Leia Organa since he was nine years old. In his youth, he aspired toward the Galactic Empire where education was free and people taught and learned for fun. He also accepted Imperial propaganda that the Empire wanted to take the best of each world and culture and spread it through the galaxy. While loyal to the Empire, Windrider was tolerant and understanding of cynics like his friend Thane Kyrell. Instead of disparaging or mocking Thane, Nash decided to win him over by inviting him to visit his homeworld. According to Ciena Ree, he had an impish sense of humor that made them laugh.
Nash was an untidy person and was known to leave his possessions strewn across his dorm room. While he and Thane argued over Nash's dirty socks landing on somebody's toothbrush, the two remained good friends. Nash's easygoing and fun-loving nature contrasted with the more studious Thane, who was focused on doing well in his Academy classwork and maintaining his high class rankings. As a teenager, Nash wanted to visit Coruscant's nightclubs and cantinas so that he could flirt with girls, since cadets were forbidden to date their classmates. While he had a more relaxed approach to study, Nash still excelled well enough in his studies to become a starfighter pilot and later a flight commander in the Imperial Navy.
Nash Windrider was greatly troubled and grief-stricken by the destruction of his homeworld, Alderaan. Following the destruction of Alderaan, Nash decided to dedicate his life solely to serving the Empire. As a symbolic gesture, he cut his braids to signify his commitment to the Empire. Over the next few years, he gradually recovered some of his old wit and dash. He rationalized the destruction of his homeworld by accepting the argument that it was the only way for the Emperor's true power to be revealed. He saw the two Death Stars as necessary evils needed to crush the Rebellion once and for all and to prove that the Empire was the only galactic authority. As an Imperial loyalist, he despised the Rebel Alliance as a source of chaos and disorder. He regarded the New Republic as an illegitimate regime. Following the Battle of Jakku, he believed that the Republic had grown complacent and that it would crumble in the face of a well-planned Imperial assault.
Nash regarded Thane as one of his closest friends and was heartbroken by Kyrell's purported suicide, mourning for Thane for several years. Knowing Thane's abusive relationship with his father, Oris Kyrell, Nash believed that Oris had driven him to suicide. However, Nash's feelings towards Thane turned to hatred after discovering that he had joined the Rebel Alliance. Nash's fanatical loyalty to the Empire drove him into a homicidal rage when he learned of Thane's "treachery." Unable to come to terms with Thane's defection, Nash came to regard him as a "master deceiver" whose words could not be trusted.
Over time, Nash came to develop feelings for Ciena and once attempted to propose to her. However, she politely declined his romantic offer since she had a relationship with Thane. Nash was heartbroken when she stayed aboard the Star Destroyer Inflictor during the Battle of Jakku in an effort to deny the ship to the New Republic. To honor her memory, Nash nominated her for the Distinguished Medal of Imperial Honor in recognition of her selfless service and sacrifice. Nash's willingness to justify genocide as a military tactic discomforted Ciena Ree but she remained quiet out of respect for her friend.
Windrider also despised Thane's older brother, Dalven, as a weak, toadying man who had bullied Ciena and Thane when they were children. He even toyed with the idea of sending Dalven on an appropriate "suicide mission." However, he refused to judge Dalven based on his brother's Rebel linkages and preferred to treat him as an individual.
Skills and abilities
During his time at the Royal Imperial Academy, Nash Windrider learned how to ride speeder bikes, repair laser cannons, and fly TIE fighters. By the time of the Battle of Endor, he could fly a TIE/IN interceptor and took part in space dogfights. Later, he served as a flight commander aboard the Star Destroyer Inflictor.
Behind the scenes
Nash Windrider was created by Claudia Gray for the 2015 young-adult novel Lost Stars, which was part of a twenty-book promotional series called Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While most of the novel is told from the points of view of Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree, Windrider receives a short point-of-view section in the novel's epilogue.
- Lost Stars (First appearance)
- Lost Stars audiobook
- Lost Stars webcomic (First pictured)
- Star Wars: Starfighter Missions
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (First mentioned) (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back junior novelization (Indirect mention only)
- "Faith in an Old Friend"—From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back (Appears on screen)