Firmus Piett was a human male who was the last admiral of the Imperial Navy's Death Squadron, Darth Vader's personal fleet of Star Destroyers. Coming from humble begginings on the backwater Outer Rim world of Axxila, Piett began his career with the Axxila antipirate fleet. Though this posting was not notable, Piett's creativity and dedication made his sector the safest in the Outer Rim. His ascension through the ranks, however, was not so much a tribute to his dedication, but his ability to shift blame onto others when mistakes were made. With a extraordinary number of arrests and suppresions to his name, as well as what appeared to be a perfectly clean record, Piett earned the attention of high-ranking officers on Imperial Center.
Transferred to the Imperial Navy, Piett was picked out to serve in Vader's Death Squadron, which prowled the galaxy searching for Rebel Alliance headquarters. Given the captaincy of the Accuser, Piett served diligently until the command of the fleet's flagship, the Executor, was vacant. As captain of the Executor, Piett relentlessly searched for the hidden Alliance base while secretly undermining his superior, Admiral Kendal Ozzel. At the Battle of Hoth, Ozzel was executed for his incompetence, allowing Piett to swiftly step into the admiral's role.
Though he was criticized for his swift ascent to the top of the comand chain, Piett set himself about his task with enthusiasm, though he feared that he would meet the same destiny as Ozzel. He made several potentially fatal blunders soon after his promotion but was able to shift blame as he had done in the past. Following the failed capture of Luke Skywalker at Bespin, the Executor was taken back to Imperial Center, leaving Piett to command the Accuser once more. In 4 ABY though, Piett was again on the bridge of the Imperial Star Dreadnought, commanding the Imperial fleet in the Battle of Endor. Piett perished in the battle when an A-Wing piloted by Arvel Crynyd rammed into the Executor's bridge.
Firmus Piett was born on the Outer Rim territories ecumonopolis of Axxila during the late Republic Classic era. Shortly following the ensuing Imperialization of the galaxy, Piett began his naval career, serving with theAxxila antipirate fleet. Due to the fact he had no connection to the Core Worlds, Piett was mired by his background and forced to work in his native sector, the Ciutric Hegemony. Despite this, Piett soon rose in the ranks and was given command of the antipirate fleet, making the Ciutric Hegemony one of the safest sectors in the Outer Rim. Piett's record with the fleet was flawless, and he made a tremendous amount of arrests and suppresions. Soon enough, Piett's reputation reached the Core Worlds, as he received various commendations, reaching the rank of lieutenant by 1 BBY.
Instead of feeling a sense of pride for his promotion, howver Lieutenant Piett remained only cautiously optimistic as many of his superiors were choked to death by Darth Vader. During this time, Lieutenant Piett noticed how Vader grew increasingly obsessed with hunting down the newly-formed Rebel Alliance. He was also aware of Vader's secret project on Kamino and how it diverted vast resources from the Imperial fleet. In an intercepted personal correspondence belonging to Piett, he mentioned how Vader executed several officers because of their failure to prevent the escame of his most prized test subject. Piett feared that his rise through the ranks would inevitably lead to a command under the Sith Lord. Due to the high mortality rate of the officers who served directly under Vader, Piett requested a transfer to the Coruscant Defense Fleet before more promotions brought him within closer proximity to Vader and his utter lack of tolerance for failure.
Captaincy of the Accuser
Piett was singled out by the Supreme Commander of the Imperial fleet, Lord Darth Vader, who selected the Axxilan to serve with Death Squadron, his personal fleet of Star Destroyers. As captain of the Imperial Star Destroyer Accuser, Piett served under the fleet leadership of Admiral Amise Griff, who commanded from Vader's flagship, the Executor-class Star Dreadnought. Several months after the Battle of Yavin, Piett came across the planet of Kabal, which was claiming neutrality in the Galactic Civil War. Since the Empire considered neutrality insolent, the captain had the Accuser attack Kabal. Among the craft fleeing from the planet was the Millenium Falcon a ship with known Alliance connections. Piett's fighters pursued the rebel craft, until it entered the vicinity of a collapsed dwarf star. Not willing to risk his ships near such an unstable entity, Piett had the fighters return to the Accuser.
On approach to the Rebel base at Yavin 4, Piett was on board the Executor when it fell under attack from Rebel pilot Vrad Dodonna. Seeking to curry favor with the Dark Lord; Piett personally congratulated Vader when Dodonna's attack failed. During the Evacuation of Yavin, in which the forces of the Empire drove the Alliance out of their hidden fortress, Admiral Griff perished in an accidental collision. With the position of Death Squadron's filled by Captain Kendal Ozzel, Piett was given command of the Executor.
An early assignment saw the crews of the Executor and the Imperial Star Destroyer Avenger sweeping the sensor-baffling Black Widow Nebula for the Star Destroyer Eradicator and a courier corvette unde rthe command of Captain Sondara. During the search, the freighter Millenium Falcon entered the area, and the Executor ordered it to heave to. Piett and a customs team of spacetroopers were ferried to the ship in a spacetrooper shuttle. As the troopers swept through the ship on their inspection, Piett cuestioned the freighter's captain Han Solo, on whether he had encountered the corvette or the Eradicator. Solo had not, and mentioned that his fligh had originated on Ord Mantell. When the customs sweep revealed that the ship was all but empty, Piett's curiosity was piqued, wondering how the pilot of an empty ship would have the monet to fritter away on Ord Mantell. Solo began to suggest bribing Piett which infuriated the Imperial to a degree that he had the freighter pilot and his first mate, the Wookie Chewbacca, thrown in the Executor's brig. The pair would later escape custody.
Captaincy of the Executor
For several years, Piett and his crew searched for the new Alliance base following the rout at Yavin. The bulk of the rebels were able to escape capture or death during that battle, and had established a new base of operations somewhere in the galaxy. As captain, Piett personally oversaw the ship's staffing, handpicking officers such as future-Commander Gherant. Piett began to learn the workings of Death Squadron's chain of command adn had heard about Vader's execution of unsatisfactory officers. The captain swore to himself that he would not fall prey to the Dark Lord's wrath by making a simple blunder. It was generally perceived that Admiral Ozzel had as much power over the fleet as Vader did, but Piett knew better and took to studying his superior officer, so as to capitalize on the admiral's blunders. In doing so, he earned Ozzel's ire, but found a way he could ascend in rank.
Vader, in the years following the Battle of Yavin, learned that the man who had destroyed the first Death Star was in fact Luke Skywalker, his son. In the hopes of converting Skywalker to the dark side of the force, Vader became obsessed with tracking down the young Rebel, devoting much of Death Squadron's time and resources to the hunt. In 2 ABY, Vader received a transmission from Gobernor Bin Essada of Gyndine, who claimed that Captain-Supervisor Grammel, who oversaw Imperial operations on Circarpous V, had captured Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker. Gramel had also came across intelligence of a powerful stone, the Kaiburr crystal, that could enchance one usage of the Force. The idea of posessing the crystal and the rebels was attractive to Vader, and so he ordered Piett to take the Executor to Circarpous V. The ship was operating at peak efficiency, but vader warned the captain he would not tolerate no delays. Upon reaching Circarpous V, the Dark Lord was unable to acquire either the Kaiburr crystal nor the two rebels.
Vader would not be deterred however prompting him to set up a trap on Verdanth. A Viper probe droid, connected to the Executor via a cybernetic link, transmitted a distress signal adn waited for Rebels to came across it, hoping to attempt a "rescue". Sure enough, the probe did detect a Rebel presence, but it was only a couple of droids. Piett, disappointed at the news, informed Vader, but the Dark Lord was confident that more entities would be lured to the scene. Eventually, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo reached the planet, prompting Vader to activate the cybernetic link. Using the Force, Vader attempted to extract the location of the Rebel base but failed.
In 3 ABY, Death Squadron resumed is search for the Rebel base. Finally, a Viper probe droid reported that it found a possible candidate in the Hoth System. Knowing that Admiral Ozzel would dismiss the finding, Piett waited until Lord Vader was on the bridge of the Executor before alerting his superior. Ozzel predictably passed the discovery off as a hidden smuggler base or something similar, but Vader was convinced that it was the Alliance base and the location of Skywalker. Acting on the captain's advice, Vader ordered the Executor to the Hoth system. The admiral had been made to look a fool , souring him in Vader's eyes just as Piett had planned. At the same time, the Axxilan had made himself look sharp and calculating, gaining him a small degree of favor.
Ozzel brought the fleet out of hyperspace close to the Hoth system in hopes of surprising the Rebels before they could organize their defenses. However, it allerted the Alliance to Death Squadron's presence. The commanders of Echo Base raised their energy shield, preventing the planet bombardment of the base by the Imperial fleet. Vader was outraged by Ozzel's tactical blunder that forced him to take the base via a potentially costly ground operation. He promptly contacted Ozzel and Piett and choked Ozzel to death with the Force. As Piett watched, Vader ordered him to prepare a ground assault and use the fleet to blockade Hoth. To Piett's surprise, Vader also gave him a field promotion to Admiral before even Ozzel's body had touched the floor. Piett's first act as an admiral was to have his predecessor's body disposed of.
With Captain Venka now in commando of the Executor, junior officers formed betting pools on Piett's life expectancy, since Vader's admirals tended no to held very long their title. Nevertheless, Piett dedicated himself to his task. General Maximilian Verrs and Blizzard Force were able to overcome the rebel defenders during the Battle of Hoth, but many enemy craft made it through the blockade. After landing on the planet, Piett briefly toured the remains of Echo Base before informing Vader that seventeen rebel ships were destroyed while trying to flee. Vader cared little, since his primary target was the Millenium Falcon and his crew to use as a bait to lure Skywalker into a trap.
The Executor set off after the Millenium Falcon, pursuing it away from Hoth, but the Alliance craft sought refuge in the system's asteroid field. Piett waws concerned that the field debris would cause significant damage to Death Squadron's cruisers, but Vader was undeterred. Making his report, Piett became one of the few people to ever saw the Dark Lord unmasked. TIE/sa bombers were dispatched to try and force Captain Solo out, while the rest of the fleet swept the system, but their efforts were to no avail. The new admiral was given little time to relax however, as he received a transmission from Emperor Palpatine himself. The Emperor demanded to speak to Vader, and as Piett informed Vader, he was ordered to move the Executor out of the asteroid field, in the hopes of sending a clear transmission.
To Piett's distaste, Vader summoned a group of bounty hunters to the executor in order to make use of their services to track down the Millenium Falcon. The admiral was particularly disturbed by the presence of the infamous and ruthless Boba Fett. Piett was confident that the Death Squadron could and would find the craft, and his faith seemed to be well invested when a report from the Avenger claimed that they were in pursuit of the rebel frigate. Pleased, he alerted Darth Vader, only to learn that the ship had disappeared on what it appears to be a suicidal attack on the Avenger. Terminating the Avenger's Captain Lorth Needa, Vader ordered Piett to disperse the fleet along several trajectories on the search of the Millenium Falcon. The Dark Lord was not pleased, and made no hesitation on conveying his mood to the fearful Piett, who was sharply reminded of his predecessor's fate.
Following the dispersal of the Death Squadron, Vader received a transmission from Fett, who had located Solo and the Millenium's crew on the Cloud City of Bespin. Vader subsequently ordered Piett to take the Executor there with all due haste. Upon reaching the floating city, Piett sent down a team to sabotage the Millenium Falcon hyperdrive unit, preventing the rebel's escape if they were to find their way out of Vader's trap. Eventually, the Millenium Falcon made his way away from Cloud City, with the Executor trailing behind. At Vader's behest he ordered Lieutenat Cesius to ready the boarding party, before ordering the activation of the Star Destroyer's tractor beam. To Piett's surprise and fear, the Millenium Falcon made its way to hyperspace. The admiral's error would have been fatal at any other time, but Vader was too conflicted since Skywalker, his son, refused to join him. Following the Bespin's debacle, Piett filled a reported on Vader's actions, which was eventually read by the Emperor himself.
The Battle of Mygeeto
Piett became a legend between the navy for his survival after Bespin. Though he became as an admiral so valuable than even Vader would not execute him, Piett sensed that he was saved by something working within Vader's mind rather than his own accomplishments. He was notably transferred out of Vader's flagship many times, though he always found his way back to the Executor.
Sometime afeter the development of the TIE/D Defender, a rebel base was discovered on Mygeeto. Vader took the Executor there, leaving Piett on charge of starfighter command. The admiral first sent a squadron of fighters to determine the rebel presence in the area, before learning that the Alliance was sending their own scout ships to investigate the Executor's position. Piett personally briefed one pilot in particular, updating him on the status of the campaign, before sending him and his wingmates after the rebel scout ships, which were located in Zuborte Ma, Mygeeto's system asteroid field.
Though the scout ships were destroyed, the rebels sent a fleet to attack the Executor, hoping to preempitively stave off a possible attack on the Mygeeto base. Piett scrambled fighters to defend, with his craft decimating the rebel force. The individual pilot he had been briefing distinguished himself, leading the admiral to recommend him to Lord Vader. The Dark Lord eventually led the attack on the base, routing the Alliance and claiming the planet in the name of the Empire.
When Vader returned to Imperial Center with the Executor, Admiral Ledre Okins was given temporary command on the recomendation of Palpatine. Piett was briefly transferred back to the Accuser, from which he carried out the work of Vader's Death Squadron. At some stage, Piett culled himself a personald advicer from the ace Chiraneau. Months after the Bespin incident, Piett was ordered to take an unpredictable route from system to system, in hope of finding the Alliance fleet. Since the chance of success of that tactic was very low, the admiral suspected that Palpatine had something else in mind.
Death at the Battle of Endor
Several months later, once again on the Executor, Piett was given commando of the substancial imperial fleet amassed at Endor to trap the Alliance and defend the Death Star II, after ferrying Vader to the incomplete battlestation to oversee the final phases of its construction. Piett's nephew, former Rebel Sarkli, was also present to serve alongside the garrison on the forest moon. Operations and preparations at Endor, overseen in part by the Executor, went smoothly until the shuttle Tydirium attempted to land on the forest moon. The ship was transmitting an older, though still legitimate, Imperial code, sowing seeds of suspicion on Piett's mind. Vader soon took notice of the issue and ordered Piett to allow the shuttle to land, assuring his admiral he would personally deal with the occupants. The shuttle was eventually revealed to be carrying an Alliance strike team, who had the intent of destroying Death Star's shield generator on the moon surface. The shield generator was the battlestation primary line of defense, and its eradication would leave the Death Star vulnerable to attack.
Palpatine, acting through Vader, sent the fleet to the far side of Endor, in order to hide it from the enemy fleet when they arrived. Shortly afterwards, the Alliance fleet entered the Endor system, prompting Piett's armada to come out of hiding. Pitted against the renowned Mon Calamari Admiral Ackbar, Piett's forces blocked the Alliance's escape vector, while his fighters were dispatched to engage their Alliance counterparts. Piett was given direct orders from Palpatine to not directly attack and engage the Alliance fleet, and so his fleet began to suffer from enemy General Lando Calrissian tactic of having the Alliance capital ships engage the Star Destroyers at point-blank range. Due to this, Piett's performance as a commander was greatly hindered, and the Death Star could not longer use its superlaser against enemy craft, since now they were nestled up against Imperial cruisers.
When the Death Star's shield fell, many of the Alliance starfighters swept into the battlestation's superstructure with a warm of Imperial craft in pursuit. Ackbar ordered a concentrated assault on the Executor, and as a result, the Star Dreadnoguht lost his bridge deflector shield. Concerned, Piett ordered his crewmen to amplify the defensive fire, but it was too late. As Piett relayed his order, an RZ-1 A-wing interceptor piloted by Arvel Crynyd was struck by turbolaser fire and spun out of control. Crynyd managed to regain what little control he had and head straight to the bridge. Gherant saw it coming and screamed that it was too late. Piett whipped around, saw the incoming fighter and dive for cover as the A-Wing rammed into the Executor's bridge, destroying it and killing Piett and the entire bridge crew. The foundering vessel, trapped in the Death Star's gravity well, plumetted into the battle station in a gargantuan fireball.
Personality and traits
Firmus Piett, in his admiralty, garnered himself a set of detractors who claimed that he only achieved the rank because Darth Vader had such a low tolerance for failure. This was not exactly true: Vader chose to crew his ships with the Empire's finest officers, regardless of their politics and background. Apart from Thrawn, Vader chose not to utilize Palpatine's Grand Admirals, since Piett displayed talent that rivaled them anyway He was, however, hindered in moments of great restraint, as displayed at the Battle of Endor. Unable to attack due to the Emperor's orders, Piett's fleet was eventually decimated by the Alliance craft.
Despite what looked like a flawless service record, Piett actually made a multitude of mistakes and blunders throughout his career. What set him apart from his colleagues and allowed him to climb the chain of command was his ability to divert blame onto others. Piett was also a far more creative individual than some of his more by-the-book colleagues, and was adept at both political maneuvering and appeasing his superiors. In addition to his political and military skills, Piett could understand Huttese and speak Basic.
When Piett reached the rank of admiral, he realized that it was not quite the best of positions after all, as his mistakes would have more severe consequences. However, his knack for avoiding Vader's anger enabled him to keep the post longer than he otherwise might have. He allowed himself a degree of confidence, and had faith in the Navy's ability to complete its task. To that end, he was derisive of third parties such as bounty hunters andmercenaries, believing that the Navy could do any job just as well.
Behind the scenes
In Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Admiral Piett is portrayed by Kenneth Coley, who attempted to evoke Piett's humanity, something that the actor believed made audiences react so strongly.
He aslo made apperances in several other media, such as videogames.