Admiral Piett

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Admiral Piett
Star Wars character
Admiral Piett as seen in The Empire Strikes Back
First appearance The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Last appearance Return of the Jedi (1983)
Created by George Lucas
Lawrence Kasdan
Portrayed by Kenneth Colley
Voiced by Rupert Degas (Empire at War), Trevor Devall (Lego Star Wars), Kenneth Colley (Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out)
Gender Male
Occupation Executor Commander, Admiral (Galactic Empire)
Affiliation Galactic Empire
Galactic Republic (formerly)
Homeworld Axxila

Admiral Firmus Piett is a fictional character from the Star Wars franchise, first introduced and portrayed by Kenneth Colley in the 1980 film The Empire Strikes Back. As a supporting villain in command of Darth Vader's flagship, Executor, Piett is generally considered to be the most prominent Imperial officer in the film.[1] He subsequently appeared in the sequel Return of the Jedi, making him the only officer in the original trilogy to appear in more than one film and be portrayed by the same actor. Piett also appears in the canon Star Wars novel Lost Stars, and is featured in several more novels, comic books, and video games within the Star Wars Legends line.



Piett was a creation of Lawrence Kasdan, the screenwriter who wrote both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Kasdan was aware that there was fun to be had in giving more depth and variability to his background characters, not only to help viewers identify them, but to remind his audience that much of the Empire consisted of people just doing their jobs,[1] although Admiral Piett's true first appearance in the Star Wars universe was one month prior to the release of the Empire Strikes Back in the film's novelization, he was brought to life to audiences around the world by British actor Kenneth Colley, who was cast in the role. Colley recalls that Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner stated that for Piett, he was "looking for someone that would frighten Adolf Hitler", and told Colley after meeting him, "Yes, I think you’re it";[2] in playing the role, Colley chose not to portray a singular attitude for the character; but instead attempted to bring forth a more true to life humanity in Piett's character, something that he believes ultimately sat quite well with audiences.[3]



The Empire Strikes Back[edit]

Introduced in the second star wars film of the original trilogy, set three years after the Battle of Yavin; Piett serves in the Galactic Empire as first officer and captain of the Super Star Destroyer, Executor, the flagship of Darth Vader. While in search of the Rebel base, under the command of Admiral Ozzel, Piett first appears on screen when he and his command staff receive a suspicious transmission from an Imperial probe droid located in the Hoth system. Although dismissed and ignored by Admiral Ozzel, Piett supersedes his superior and informs Lord Vader of the transmission; which in fact does turn out to be the hidden Rebel Alliance headquarters, Echo Base. Vader then dispatches the Imperial fleet to Hoth; however their exit point from hyperspace was close enough to the planet to be detected by the Rebels, giving them time to raise an energy shield to stop any orbital bombardment. Vader blames this error on Ozzel, whom he swiftly Force chokes and kills for his incompetence. Vader then instantly promotes Piett to Admiral, giving him full command of Vader's flagship in place of Ozzel.[4]

After the Battle of Hoth, Piett is tasked with the pursuit of the Millennium Falcon, which has escaped into a nearby asteroid field. Piett informs Lord Vader of this, whilst Vader is in his meditation chamber abord the Executor; in doing so, Piett becomes the first on screen character to see Vader without his helmet. Piett's concern over venturing into the field is at first ignored by Vader; until Vader later commands Piett to move the ship away from the asteroids, in order to gain a clear signal for his communication with the Emperor. Vader subsequently hires bounty hunters to assist in the capture of the Millennium Falcon, a decision in which Piett appears to disdain, with the Falcon continuing to evade capture, Vader executes Star Destroyer Avenger captain, Lorth Needa; conveying his displeasure as an ominous warning to Piett.[4]

With bounty hunter Boba Fett tracking the Falcon to Cloud City on Bespin, Vader sets a trap for the Rebels; while Piett's engineers deactivate the hyperdrive on the ship. Later attempting to escape, the Millennium Falcon, and those within it, are nearly captured when Piett orders the activation of the Executor's tractor beam. However, the Rebels unexpectedly jump to light-speed, as R2-D2 is able to reactivate the hyperdrive and the Falcon again evades Imperial capture, although terrified, despite his failure, Piett finds his life uncharacteristically spared by Vader at the end of the film.[4]

Return of The Jedi[edit]

In the following film, Admiral Piett is in command of the Imperial fleet at the Battle of Endor, still aboard the Executor, he first appears in the film when a covert team of Rebels, led by Han Solo aboard the stolen Imperial shuttle, Tydirium, attempt to transmit an older valid security code, to allow them shield access and entry to the forest moon of Endor. Piett is then interrupted by Vader, who informs Piett that he will deal with the shuttle personally.[5]

During the Rebel attack on the second Death Star, Piett has been given orders by Emperor Palpatine himself, to hold position and keep the Rebels from escaping from the Death Star's fully operational superlaser, the plan is disrupted when the Rebels are ordered by Admiral Ackbar, to attack the Star Destroyers at point-blank range, concentrating their fire on the Executor. After the Rebel fleet knocks out the shields protecting the bridge; Piett gives his final orders, commanding the ships lasers to increase firepower, to keep anything from getting through. A disabled A-wing fighter, piloted by Arvel Crynyd, then makes a kamikaze maneuver into the Executor's bridge, with Piett and Commander Gherant diving into the lower command deck in an attempt to save their lives. The incapacitated Super Star Destroyer then plunges into the uncompleted Death Star, exploding in a plume of flame, as Piett meets his demise.[5]


As stated in the 2015 Ultimate Star Wars reference book, Piett was born on the Outer Rim world of Axxila, and is confirmed with the first name Firmus within the new canon.[6] Piett later joins the Imperial Starfleet, and appears in the novel Lost Stars, eight years after the Clone Wars, under the command of Grand Moff Tarkin at an Imperial celebration on the planet Jelucan.[7]

Star Wars Legends[edit]

The character of Piett has appeared in many novels, comics and video games, now considered to be non-canon, and part of Star Wars Legends. Given a much deeper backstory in various media; Piett, as a young lieutenant, catches the eye of Darth Vader quite early on, and is soon promoted to captain of the Star Destroyer, Accuser, and joins Vader's Death Squadron. Winning widespread respect for his survival after the events of the Empire Strikes Back, Piett would also participate in the Battle of Mygeeto, before the events leading to his death in Return of the Jedi.[8]


Over time, the character has become a favorite amongst fans, due to his unusual longevity.[9] According to Colley, the character of Piett was not originally slated to appear in Return of the Jedi, but George Lucas added him because "a lot of fan mail" had been received by Lucasfilm about the character.[3]


  1. ^ a b Sims, David (December 15, 2015). "The Ballad of Admiral Piett". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 7, 2017. 
  2. ^ "FROM WORLD WAR TO STAR WARS: IMPERIAL OFFICERS". Retrieved June 7, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "Kenneth Colley Interview". Retrieved June 7, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c Irvin Kershner (Director) (May 17, 1980). The Empire Strikes Back (Movie). Lucasfilm Ltd. 
  5. ^ a b Richard Marquand (Director) (May 25, 1983). Return of the Jedi (Movie). Lucasfilm Ltd. 
  6. ^ Ultimate Star Wars. Dorling Kindersley. April 28, 2015. ISBN 9781465436016. 
  7. ^ Gray, Claudia (September 4, 2015). Star Wars: Lost Stars. Disney–Lucasfilm Press. ISBN 1484724984. 
  8. ^ Fishlabs Entertainment (2006). Star Wars: Imperial Ace. Cellphone game. THQ Wireless. 
  9. ^ "Imperial Offices Field Guide". Star Wars Insider. Vol. 1 no. 96. Titan Magazines. September 4, 2007. 

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