- "I'm a fighter pilot. It's what I do, and I'm good at it."
- ―Villian Dance
Villian Dance, nicknamed Vil, was an Imperial TIE Fighter pilot who defected to the Rebel Alliance after becoming disillusioned with the Empire. A native of Corellia, Dance attended Imperial City Naval Base on Coruscant early in his career, where he trained under Vindoo Barvel, a hero of the Clone Wars who was considered the best pilot in the galaxy. At some point before 1 BBY, Dance was promoted to lieutenant commander and given control of Alpha Squad.
In 1 BBY, Dance and his squadron were moved to the Death Star, a battlestation being constructed above Despayre. Dance fought for the Empire in the Attack on the first Death Star, where he became a double ace after amassing ten kills. However, the ease with which he killed the enemy pilots disturbed him, as Dance felt that the battle had been a virtual slaughter. After the Destruction of Alderaan a short time later, Dance lost all faith in the Empire, and planned to desert along with his girlfriend Teela Kaarz and a small group of like-minded individuals. During the Battle of Yavin, the group commandeered a shuttle, hoping to escape from the Death Star. When the battlestation exploded mere seconds after they had left the hangar, they were free from the Empire. After proposing marriage to Kaarz, Dance and the survivors of his group joined the Rebellion on Yavin 4.
Early Imperial service
Villian Dance was born on Corellia and entered the Imperial Navy before 1 BBY, with dreams of becoming a pilot. At some point prior to that, Dance was at Imperial City Naval Base on Coruscant, training under Colonel Vindoo Barvel, who was widely considered the best pilot in the galaxy. During a training exercise with powered-down fighters, Darth Vader showed up and requested a TIE Fighter to fly against Barvel and the trainees. Vader easily eliminated the trainees, and was left with just Barvel. Though Vader did not outclass Barvel at first, the others realized that he was only toying with the colonel. This realization was made fact when Vader swooped past Barvel and shot him down, despite the colonel's best efforts to escape. Vader's demonstration left a lasting impression on Dance, who was stunned at the ease with which Vader had defeated the so-called best combat pilot in the galaxy.
Around 1 BBY, Lieutenant Commander Dance, officially known as ST-1-1, was stationed on the Imperial Star Destroyer Steel Talon above the prison planet Despayre as the commander of Alpha Squad when a group of prisoners on the planet stole a Lambda-class T-4a shuttle. Dance, along with the rest of his squadron, hurried to their TIE Fighters, ready to destroy the enemy ship.
Dance, in the faster and more maneuverable TIE Fighter, was able to easily catch up to the shuttle. He ordered the escapees to surrender, but they refused, forcing him to destroy them. Dance easily blasted the shuttle apart, killing the escapees just before they could jump to hyperspace. After successfully completing his mission, Dance took a moment to think about how much he loved his life and especially his job. He was a commander of an Imperial squadron, and he hoped that if he kept moving up the ladder, he would be promoted and placed onboard the Empire's new battlestation—a superweapon named the Death Star.
However, destroying the virtually helpless shuttle would come back to haunt him. Dance had several nightmares about the destruction of the shuttle in the nights following its destruction, and he began, for the first time, to question the Empire and what he was doing.
A short time after destroying the shuttle, Dance's squad was one of ten sent to escort a transport carrying Darth Vader from the Star Destroyer Devastator to the Death Star. Hearing that Vader was aboard brought back memories of the time when Dance had witnessed the Dark Lord defeat Vindoo Barvel in an exercise. Though Dance was aware that Vader needed no escort, he did his job without complaint. As he flew alongside Vader's shuttle, Dance could not help but wonder why Vader was needed on the Death Star.
- "I'm Lieutenant Vil Dance, by the way."
- ―Villian Dance introduces himself to Teela Kaarz
Not long after escorting Vader, Dance and Alpha Squadron were transferred to the Death Star. However, during a training exercise in the Death Star's equatorial trench, disaster struck for Dance. Nond Kendo, who recently joined the squadron, refused Dance's orders to pull up during a training run on several target drones. Kendo, determined to show off, kept going. He was unable to turn before hitting the drones, destroying his fighter and killing himself.
Dance was both angered and upset by this. Although he knew that it was not his fault, he still felt guilty, and Dance wished that he could do more to help Kendo's family than just sending them a consolatory message via the HoloNet. He felt that Kendo's death had been pointless and began to have more doubts about the Empire. In the time after this incident, Dance spent almost all his spare time training, by flying in simulators, and even attending a Teräs Käsi class taught by Sergeant Nova Stihl. Dance's piloting skill improved during this period, as he worked relentlessly to get better in an effort to erase the memory of Kendo's death from his mind.
When his duty was over, and he had spent what he felt was enough time practicing, Dance sometimes passed time in the Death Star's Hard Heart Cantina, located on Deck 69 and run by the Twi'lek Memah Roothes. There, a short time after Kendo's accident, Dance met the architect Teela Kaarz. Seeing her harassed by a drunken patron, he intervened, holding off the man long enough for the bouncer Rodo to come over and throw the disruptor out. Dance was attracted to Kaarz, and he introduced himself. Kaarz found herself intrigued by the pilot, and the two began talking. They soon became friends, and began interacting frequently, going out to dinner often. It was not long before they developed a romantic relationship, with Kaarz inviting Dance to her apartment for dinner at one point.
After he had been on the Death Star for several months, Dance and Alpha Squad were interrupted during a training mission with the report that an enemy ship had entered the system. The ship was the Fortressa, a Lucrehulk-class battleship belonging to the Rebel Alliance. Alpha Squad, along with nine other TIE squadrons, was dispatched to engage the battleship and the fighters it carried. Excited about the possibility of doing battle with the hated Rebels, Dance flew into combat eagerly. The battleship released 500 X-wing starfighters, but they proved to be no match for the Imperials. The Death Star fired its superlaser, destroying the Fortressa, and thus preventing it from issuing reinforcements or recalling the fighters. The X-wings were dead-set on reaching the Death Star, in the hope that they could find a way to destroy it. Because of this, they virtually ignored the TIEs around them, allowing the Imperial pilots to rout the Rebels.
When the battle was over, the Rebels had been massacred, and Dance was a double ace, having killed ten enemy fighters. However, he took no pride in it, because he believed it had been too easy, more of a slaughter than a battle. Dance expressed these feelings to Kaarz, and also told her that he wanted a challenge, something the architect understood.
Though Dance had already been having doubts about the integrity of the Empire, the battle caused him to lose a great deal of faith, as he wondered what government would allow its soldiers to slaughter people, even if those people were its enemies. The trust he still had in the Empire was lost after the Death Star destroyed the planet Despayre simply in a test of the battlestation's firepower, which saw the obliteration of millions in the process. Dance was stunned by the Empire's cruelty, and he began to seriously consider if he was on the wrong side. After the Empire destroyed the pacifist planet Alderaan a short time later, Dance was completely devastated. Though the Empire claimed that Alderaan had been harboring dangerous Rebels, rumors persisted that the planet had been destroyed just to make a point. Distraught, Dance spent most of his time after Alderaan's destruction in the Hard Heart.
- "What the Empire did to Despayre and Alderaan? That's not right."
- ―Villian Dance
In the cantina he spoke with Kaarz, the bouncer Rodo, Roothes, her boyfriend Celot Ratua Dil, archivist Atour Riten, Stihl, and Doctor Kornell Divini. The group, sickened by the Empire's actions, began to formulate a plan for escape. A short time later, they held another meeting in secret, where they spoke of their plan to leave that very day. They planned to steal an E-2T medical shuttle, while Riten would use codes he obtained through slicing to get it clearance to leave.
At the same time, the Death Star was in the Yavin system, heading toward a Rebel base near the planet Yavin Prime. The Rebels launched a flight of X-wings, hoping to be able to destroy the space station before it entered within firing range. In the chaos of the ensuing battle, Dance stole off to the hangar holding the planned escape shuttle. He met the rest of the group, save for Riten, who needed to stay behind to allow the shuttle a better chance to leave.
The group, dressed as medics, approached the hangar, claiming that they were part of an emergency rescue team sent to pick up injured Imperial pilots. However, a group of guards refused to buy their story, and Rodo and Stihl decided that they too would stay behind. Both were masters of Teräs Käsi, and they planned to fight the guards to grant the others an opportunity to reach the shuttle and take off. Although Rodo and Stihl were gunned down and killed, their sacrifice enabled the others to leave. But the remaining group was not yet in the clear.
Darth Vader, flying against the Rebel starfighters in his TIE Advanced x1, sensed that the escaping shuttle, piloted by Dance and carrying his group, contained deserters, and he flew over to force them back to the Death Star. However, Dance was able to evade the Dark Lord by momentarily killing the shuttle's engines, bringing the craft to a sudden stop so that Vader flew right by him. Though Vader quickly turned around to aim his guns at the shuttle, he suddenly broke off pursuit to confront a Rebel pilot who posed a threat to the Death Star. While it appeared Dance and his group were free, the shuttle was once again stopped from escape, this time snared in one of the Death Star's tractor beams. Desperate to escape, Kaarz suggested that Dance continue trying to escape the tractor beam, even though it meant the engines would likely explode. The group agreed to let Dance keep fighting the tractor beam, as they were desperate to escape, and resolved not to go down without a fight. Nonetheless, the beam continued to pull the shuttle in toward the Death Star, when suddenly the space station exploded, the result of the same Rebel pilot who stole Vader away from their shuttle firing a proton torpedo down an unshielded thermal exhaust port.
The shuttle was free, and the group was free from the Empire. They discussed their plans, and Dance announced that he intended to join the Rebellion and fight against the government he had once defended. Before he did this, he proposed marriage to Kaarz, who told him that she would think about it, but she planned to join the Rebellion along with Dance regardless. Ratua and Roothes decided to go see Ratua's family on Coruscant, while Divini also decided to join the Rebellion. Not long after the battle, Dance and Kaarz did indeed join the victorious Rebel forces on Yavin 4.
Personality and traits
- "It wasn't as much fun as I always thought it would be."
"I wouldn't think killing people would be."
"You can't think of them as people, just as the enemy. It's not that. It was…too easy."
- ―Villian Dance and Teela Kaarz speak about the Attack on the first Death Star
Dance was a fair-skinned Human male with black hair. Early during his service to the Empire, Dance felt proud of the job he was doing. He considered flying in the name of the Empire to be the greatest job in the galaxy, and he hoped to keep improving so he would be promoted to the Death Star, which he considered to be a magnificent structure. Dance also felt a great deal of pride at helping enforce Imperial sovereignty and the Tarkin Doctrine.However, Dance's opinion of the Empire began to change after the Attack on the first Death Star. He felt that he had slaughtered the Rebel pilots, and he was shaken by that fact. Dance's remaining faith in the Empire was later destroyed along with Alderaan. The fact that a so-called civilized government had destroyed a peaceful planet for no reason other than to make a point was unforgivable in his eyes.
Dance was smitten with Teela Kaarz upon meeting her. After helping her fend off a drunken patron, he offered to buy her a drink. Though Kaarz intended to avoid a relationship with an Imperial pilot, believing they were all jerks, she could not help but be attracted to Dance, especially due to his persistence in trying to get her to speak with him. The two began talking, and quickly found that they both were very interested in the other. It was not long before they began seeing each other regularly, often meeting in the Hard Heart or even in Kaarz's apartment. After the destruction of Alderaan, the two relied on each other for comfort, and were able to find some relief in their feelings for each other. Following the Battle of Yavin, Dance asked Kaarz for her hand in marriage, and to come join the Rebellion with him.
Dance was one of the best fighter pilots on the Death Star, ranking in the top 0.001% of pilots aboard the station by a simulator. He received command of his first squadron before the age of 25, and his men considered him to be a good leader. Dance was also a talented gunner. He enjoyed a challenge when flying, preferring unshielded TIEs because he felt flying with deflector shields was too easy.He aspired to become better at flying, and he spent as much of his spare time as possible practicing in simulators so that he would improve. He tried to always be prepared for duty, and he slept in his uniform so he would be ready quicker if awoken in the middle of the night for a mission. Dance also frequently attended Nova Stihl's Teräs Käsi class, hoping the teachings would give him an edge by making his reactions quicker while flying. Despite the fact that Imperial pilots were told not to develop an attachment to any particular fighter, Dance believed that certain TIE fighters were a hair quicker, and always tried to use his favorites when possible.
Behind the scenes
Villian Dance was created for the 2007 novel Death Star by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry, in which he is one of the main protagonists. He was later given an entry in the 2008 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia.
- Death Star (First appearance)