- "War is always monstrous, but that doesn't make us monsters."
- ―Soran Keize
Soran Keize was a human male who held the rank of colonel, serving as an ace pilot in the Galactic Empire's 204th Imperial Fighter Wing. He acted as a mentor for many of his fellow pilots, and led the fighter wing with respect for the responsibility he had. Following the Imperial defeat against the Rebel Alliance at the Battle of Endor and the subsequent Operation: Cinder campaign, Keize went into hiding under the alias Devon Lhent, living on worlds including Mrinzebon and Vernid. After being tracked down by officers of New Republic Intelligence, who he was forced to kill, Keize, who felt that there was no place in the galaxy for former Imperials such as himself, vowed to return to the Empire, leading the 204th once again.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personality and traits
- 3 Skills and abilities
- 4 Equipment
- 5 Behind the scenes
- 6 Appearances
- 7 Sources
- 8 Notes and references
Serving the Empire
Commander of the 204th
- "Our Empire is as corrupt as it is glorious. We've done so much wrong and so much right. But you're a soldier, Lieutenant, and that means you're faced with the burden of every soldier since the galaxy was formed. Soldiers can't choose their battles. A soldier fights for an imperfect nation, not a perfect ideal."
"We fight for the Emperor."
"We fight for them, Lieutenant. We fight for our brothers and sisters beside us. Always remember that."
- ―Soran Keize and Yrica Quell
During the time of the Galactic Empire, Soran Keize served its navy as a TIE fighter pilot. Keize transferred to the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing, also known as Shadow Wing, which had been assigned to anti-piracy operations in the Mid Rim Territories. An ace pilot, he eventually gained the rank of major, becoming a squadron commander and mentoring the new pilots and officers. Both Major Keize and the fighter wing's commander, Colonel Shakara Nuress, gained the 204th some esteem, and the unit was assigned to the Star Destroyer Pursuer, focusing on operations against the Rebel Alliance following the destruction of the Death Star at the end of 0 BBY and the resulting Galactic Civil War.
One of the 204th's missions took them to the planet Mek'tradi, the location of a rebel cell. The pilots of the 204th were assigned to bombard the planet, preventing rebel ships from escaping. One pilot, Yrica Quell, was horrified at her part in the bombardment, and Keize approached her after their debriefing. Quell attempted to hide her reluctance to attack the rebels, aware of the Empire's inefficiencies. While Keize was similarly aware, he convinced Quell to fight for her fellow pilots and crew.
Six months before the Battle of Endor, the 204th's Squadron Five took severe losses during an incident in the Lyjdaa system. Some time afterwards, Keize approached Teso Broosh, commander in one of Shadow Wing's other squadrons. Keize informed Broosh that he was to be moved to Squadron Five, and that he had recommended Broosh be appointed the squadron's new leader. When Broosh declined the offer, Keize wished to know why, learning that Broosh did not feel that he was fit to lead. However, Keize reacted positively to Broosh's hesitation, glad to hear that he did not wish to acquire power for his own gain. Keize insisted that he had judged Broosh as suitable for the posting, and Broosh accepted the offer, promising to protect the squadron's pilots.
- "The Empire's not going to pull together and there's not going to be another Emperor. That was clear a day after Endor, and since then we've all just been in mourning. But it's time we accepted it. Time you moved on, because—If you would do this, then there's nothing that will drive you out. You'll stay with the 204th out of honor and duty. You'll stay until the sickness leaves you empty and either it kills you or the rebels do. But there's no point to it anymore. There's no need for the unit, no use dying for brothers and sisters who don't have to die at all."
- ―Major Soran Keize, to Yrica Quell
After the death of Emperor Palpatine at the hands of the Rebel Alliance during the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY, many members of the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing were left in shock and disarray. After two weeks, the Empire initiated Operation: Cinder, a campaign that involved the devastation of many worlds that both supported and opposed the regime. The 204th was assigned to assist with an attack on the planet Nacronis, and Keize briefed the pilots on their task, providing information on their target.
The squadrons of the 204th, including one commanded by Keize, descended on Nacronis. The pilots were ordered to protect the TIE bombers that were increasing the severity of Nacronis' siltstorms with vortex detonators. After the planet had been devastated, the pilots returned, but Yrica Quell, shocked by what she had done, landed on the ground. Keize followed her, but rather than punish her, he told Quell that she should leave Imperial service before it killed her, convincing her to defect to the fledgling New Republic. Keize left Quell on Nacronis, destroying her TIE fighter to make her defection story plausible. Though Keize intended to similarly leave the Empire, he felt that he needed to stay and convince others to do the same. However, many of his comrades continued to serve the Empire, and Keize was forced to leave them behind.
Making a new life
Caught in gang conflict
- "The man had a second chance. I wasn't going to give him a third."
"Is anyone else coming out?"
- ―Soran Keize and Gannory
After leaving the Empire, Keize took the alias "Devon Lhent," and attempted to find somewhere to settle down and make a new life. He traveled to Tinker-Town on the colony world Mrinzebon, visiting Gannory's Cantina. Attempting to sell salvage, Keize spoke to the Cerean proprietor, Gannory, who directed him to the junk dealer Narlowe. However, some time after leaving the cantina, Keize was assaulted by two criminals, who had been informed of his presence by Gannory, and his belongings were stolen. Keize returned to Gannory, who apologized, explaining that the criminal gang that controlled the town forced him to provide information. He offered to train the town's residents to fight back against the criminals, and Gannory found a number of students to recruit.
Working out of the garden behind Gannory's Cantina, Keize taught a number of lessons to the residents of Tinker-Town. He lived on Mrinzebon for several weeks, in which his number of students increased greatly. During one night, Keize's home was entered by the criminals, who took him to the gang's leader, Vryant, a former member of the Imperial Army garrison on Mrinzebon. Vryant gave Keize an offer: either leave Mrinzebon, or stay and work for him, returning order to the world. Keize chose to do neither, and instead killed Vryant, setting the communications tower where his gang operated alight. When Keize returned to Gannory, the Cerean informed him of a freighter that would take him away from Mrinzebon. Keize left the world, and searched elsewhere to find his place in the galaxy.
The Whitedrift Exchange
- "There's no shame in defection. No shame in making a new life."
"I swore an oath to the Empire."
"The Empire's gone. Every soldier has to find his own way."
- ―Soran Keize and Rikton
After leaving Mrinzebon, Keize visited a number of other worlds. While on Mon Gazza, he became caught up in a war between rival spice traders, and left once it has escalated. Keize was forced to leave the Ring of Kafrene after antagonizing a weapons smuggler, and was present when the Bazaar of Esoteric Obscenities burned down. He eventually arrived on the Whitedrift Exchange, a mobile space station serving as a trading post and residency for a number of passengers. While he had not intended to stay on the station for long, Keize found work in the crew of "the Harch," who ran a shop for supplies and salvage.
While on the Whitedrift Exchange, Keize met Rikton, a fellow member of the Harch's crew who had also formerly served the Empire. After noticing that Rikton often indirectly stole items from the Harch's store, Keize began to inquire about him, learning that he intended to construct a bomb with the stolen components, and use it to attack Traitor's Remorse, a shantytown where defectors from the Empire were held by the New Republic. Keize spoke with Rikton, and eventually convinced him to change his mind, instead leaving for Corulag. After Rikton's departure, Keize reported to the Harch that he also intended to leave the Whitedrift Exchange. Before Keize left, the Harch suggested that he visit the Outer Rim planet Vernid, where an associate of the Harch would welcome him.
Confronting the past
- "Someone always catches up with me. One side or the other, it's always someone, and they're not going to stop."
- ―Soran Keize
Keize took the Harch's advice and traveled to Vernid, where he joined a dig-rig crew. He worked with the crew for several weeks, becoming close to his fellow workers. After one work shift, while visiting a cantina with his crew, Keize saw the report of a New Republic attack on Pandem Nai, a planet where the remnants of the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing were held out. Keize was angered by the destruction that the New Republic had caused in the attack, which antagonized his crew, especially the hauler Klevin, who felt that the Empire deserved it. Keize chose to leave the cantina before the conflict escalated, but later checked reports of the attack on Pandem Nai, learning that Colonel Nuress had died and the 204th had fled.
Several days after the incident, Keize was intercepted on his way home by two New Republic Intelligence agents, who had learned who he truly was. Keize attempted to convince the agents to let him live his new life in peace, but the agents drew their weapons, forcing Keize to fight back. Keize killed the two agents, assisted by Klevin, who promised to back him with any trouble he received. However, Keize, tired of his past catching up to him, chose to abandon his attempted new life, and vowed to return to the Empire and serve the 204th once more.
Personality and traits
- "There are too many who see leadership as a stepping stone to bigger things. Or as a symbol of one's own importance. We've all seen officers like that over the course of our careers. They're the ones who get their people killed. There is nothing bigger or more important than protecting our fellow pilots out there. Our brothers and sisters."
- ―Soran Keize
Soran Keize was aware of the problems and corruption within the Empire, but felt that a soldier could not choose the battles that they fought. Rather than fighting for the Emperor, Keize fought for the regular crew of the Empire. Keize also knew that many in the Empire wished to only gain power for their benefit, using leadership as a path to higher positions, and believed that Imperial officers who did so put others at risk. Because of this, Keize was glad when others were scared of leadership, knowing that they understood the responsibility. As a commanding officer of the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing, Keize was determined to protect his peers. Yrica Quell remembered Keize as having a way of dealing with fellow pilots, relating to their doubts and failures.
Though he followed the Empire's orders when carrying out Operation: Cinder, Keize knew that it was a pointless atrocity, and that the Empire had already lost the war. Keize felt that Imperials like Quell who assisted with Operation: Cinder would continue to fight with no purpose until their deaths, and wished to convince them to leave the Empire. He ordered Quell to defect and join the New Republic, but refused to join them himself.
While in hiding after leaving the Empire, Keize did not impart any details of his past, distancing himself from the students he trained on Mrinzebon, though he did confess about his secrets to Rikton, in an attempt to convince him not to be ashamed in defecting from the Empire. Whenever he found trouble in his attempts to make a new life, Keize would silently move on.
Despite allowing Quell to defect, Keize's life after his own desertion turned him away from the New Republic, witnessing how the new government treated the remaining Imperial personnel. After having his old life catch up to him whenever encountering someone on either side of the Galactic Civil War, Keize felt that there was no place in the galaxy for former Imperials, and considered himself to be foolish in thinking that he could escape, deciding to return to his former comrades.
Skills and abilities
- "He flew like no one else. He taught like no one else. He made us all better."
- ―Yrica Quell
Soran Keize was an ace pilot, gaining prestige in the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing for his skills. When not flying, Keize was also an efficient mentor to many of the fighter wing's personnel. After being confronted by New Republic spies on Vernid, Keize managed to overwhelm and defeat one of the spies, using a blaster to kill the other.
Keize flew a TIE fighter in his service to the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing, despite the wing's preference for the TIE/IN interceptor. When not in his fighter, Keize wore the uniform of the Imperial Military. While on Mrinzebon after defecting from the Empire, Keize carried a hold-out blaster pistol.
Behind the scenes
Soran Keize first appeared in the 2019 novel Alphabet Squadron, written by Alexander Freed. The character was revealed in an excerpt from the novel included in the comic TIE Fighter 1, published on April 17, 2019. Keize was first pictured in TIE Fighter 3, a comic written by Jody Houser and published on June 19, 2019, in which he appeared in a flashback sequence illustrated by Geraldo Borges.
- TIE Fighter 3 (First pictured) (In flashback(s))
- Alphabet Squadron (First appearance, simultaneous with Alphabet Squadron audiobook)
- Alphabet Squadron audiobook
- Shadow Fall
- Shadow Fall audiobook
- Victory's Price
Notes and references
- Victory's Price establishes that Soran Keize's death on Coruscant takes place concurrently to the Battle of Jakku, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 5 ABY.
- Alphabet Squadron
- TIE Fighter 3
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- TIE Fighter 3 places the flashback featuring Soran Keize to six months before the main events of the series. TIE Fighter 5, which takes place not long after TIE Fighter 3, is set concurrently to the Battle of Endor, meaning that the flashback sequence in TIE Fighter 3 is set six months prior to the battle.
- TIE Fighter 1