- "My invention was meant to stop suffering, not to create it!"
- ―Renn Volz
Renn Volz was a Human male professor and inventor who, in 0 ABY, developed the Ionic Ring Ship, which could control a planet's weather. Although Volz wanted only to use his creation to ease the suffering of people living on unstable worlds, his Ionic Ring was swiftly commandeered by the Galactic Empire, who wanted to use it to devastate Rebel-held planets. Using Volz's daughter Mira as a hostage, the Imperial Captain Bzorn forced Volz to devastate Rion, before attempting to do the same with his homeworld of Little Kessel. However, an escaped Mira and a crew of Rebels helped foil Bzorn's plot, and Volz destroyed his own Ionic Ring to keep it out of Imperial hands.
- "Your daughter is now my hostage, Professor Volz! An Imperial guarantee... that you will use your ship to turn Rebel planets into burnt-out wastelands!"
"Madness! I refuse!"
"You will destroy the Rebel planets... or you will never see your daughter again... alive!"
- ―Bzorn and Renn Volz
Originally a native of the Seswenna system, Renn Volz proved to be a promising enough academic prospect to secure a scholarship to the prestigious University of Byblos, eventually becoming a Professor and inventor himself. By the Imperial Period, he had settled on Little Kessel, where he raised his daughter Mira, and worked on various cutting edge projects. Although secretly opposed to the policies of the Galactic Empire, he walked the political line in order to receive funding from the Imperials and other corporate sources. Among Volz's creations were an experimental sub-space image transmitter and an experimental starship known as the Ionic Ring Ship which could control a planet's weather from above. Volz worked out of a hidden laboratory on Little Kessel, hidden deep within the Great Fungi Forest. By 0 ABY, Volz's Ionic Ring had reached the point where it was ready to test, which he and his daughter did successfully by calming the chaotic weather of the planet Zerm.
Volz had hardly finished his work on Zerm, however, when his ship was suddenly boarded by an Imperial Navy party led by Captain Bzorn. Bzorn, who had been personally sent by Darth Vader to hunt down and destroy Rebel-held worlds. Bzorn forcibly commandeered the Ionic Ring, kidnapping Mira to ensure his compliance. Bzorn's first target was the planet Rion—after the inhabitants of the world refused to give up the Rebel base, Bzorn forced Volz to use the Ionic Ring to turn it into a frozen wasteland. Little Kessel was the next planet on Bzorn's list, and despite his distress, Volz afflicted his homeworld with earthquakes and cyclones of devastating intensity. However, Volz soon reached his breaking point, and refused to continue the assault on his homeworld, accepting whatever consequences might come. What Volz didn't know was that Bzorn had been bluffing all along: Mira had slipped away from Imperial custody before Rion, joining a crew of Rebels and making their way to Little Kessel, There, she used Volz's sub-space image transmitter to beam a message into the Ionic Ring and inform her father that she was safe. Overjoyed, Volz then watched as Mira's Rebel friends—Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca—stormed the Ionic Ring's control room, starting a firefight that killed Bzorn. Fearing that the Empire could still use the Ionic Ring for ill, Volz set the ship to self-destruct, before narrowly fleeing his creation and happily reuniting with his daughter on Little Kessel.
Personality and traits
- "No! No... my daughter means everything to me! I'll... do your bidding!"
- ―Renn Volz, to Bzorn
An innovative scientist, Volz believed that all beings should benefit from scientific advancement, leading him to hate what he saw as the divisive policies of the Empire. However, Volz was able to keep those feelings personal, and publicly express enough support for the Empire to receive funding for his projects. Volz wanted only to use his creations to help the people of the galaxy, and was aghast at the idea that they would be used for violent ends. However, Volz felt that his daughter Mira was the most important thing in his life, and his desire to protect her was stronger than his desire to protect innocent lives. Even that went only so far, however, as he was willing to submit to whatever Captain Bzorn had in store for him and his daughter in order to stop the attack on Little Kessel.
Behind the scenes
Renn Volz first appeared in The Second Kessel Run, a comic strip story arc written by Russ Helm and released in 1980. In the comic, Volz was illustrated by Russ Manning. Volz was later featured in the 2001 Star Wars Roleplaying Game supplement Rebellion Era Sourcebook, which provides an account for his life that directly contrasts with The Second Kessel Run. The Rebellion Era Sourcebook portrays Volz as having been conscripted by Grand Moff Tarkin and pressed into Imperial service at the Maw Installation, where he would create the Ionic Ring. According to the sourcebook, Volz, sequestered at the Maw, had no idea that the Empire was actually using his inventions for violent purposes.
- The Second Kessel Run (First appearance)
- Rebellion Era Sourcebook
- "ComicScan: Coming Full Circle" – Star Wars Galaxy Collector 3
- Star Wars: The Comics Companion