Favorite Member of the Empire
I’m an Imperial girl, I am. Not ashamed of it, either. The Empire was a fitting replacement for a diseased and outmoded galactic republic. A government in charge of billions of non-homogenous races cannot function taking into account the opinion of every one of a countless number of minorities. A weak and chiefly ceremonial chancellor clearly could not shoulder the responsibility of a million planets. Are you really going to fault the imperial system for the one single tiny insignificant little detail that its leader was evil? There was nothing wrong with the system. The Republic couldn’t even enforce its own antislavery laws. I’ve probably said it before but it’s a truth I’ll repeat forever: I guarantee you that the vast majority of galactic residents didn’t notice a change in their day-to-day lives with the Empire in control. And probably for every group of people who did feel oppressed or noticed a change for the worse (i.e. all those senators who started the rebellion in response to sudden unemployment), there was almost certainly a group of people who felt their lives changed for the better. And by that I mean people who were oppressed by the Trade Federation and Banking Clans and people who were slaves. Yes, some high-up imperials (such as Palpatine) and gangsters (such as Hutts) continued to own slaves, but it almost certainly ceased being as common a thing.
Anyway, all that to say that I didn’t want to start every post in this challenge by saying “last year when I talked about this” — but I wanted to be able to reiterate I love Maximilian Veers and also to emphasize that I have loads of favorite Imps because frankly I just love the Empire. I’m a devoted loyalist. I don’t deny that there were evil imperials, like Tarkin and Palpatine. There were less-than-honorable rebels, too, you know. All that to say I’m still trying to decide who to regale you with this week! We all know I have a special weakness for the military officers. I love an Imperial uniform. And the navy is my jam. So I see I’m presenting you with . . .
Yes, his first name is Firmus, and I would be lying if I could tell you I didn’t think he and Captain Needa were the same person the first 12 times I watched ESB. They just look very similar. In fact, I considered making Needa my favorite member of the Empire — because there is a man who demonstrates every admirable trait of the Empire, sacrificing himself in order to save his crew when the unthinkable occurs. I’ve often thought it was half suicide of him to insist on apologizing for something that wasn’t his fault, in person, to Vader, but it doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility that Vader would have had the Avenger destroyed if Needa had not presented himself as a target. Therefore, I admire him greatly. However, Piett has the larger role.
Apart from having a last name very similar to Piatt, as in the historical family homes that I worked in as a guide for a few years, Piett is awesome for other reasons. He was the longest-surviving admiral under Vader’s command, and pretty much the only imperial officer to appear in both ESB and ROTJ.
Piett was born on Axxila and began his naval career early, first in an anti-pirate militia in his home sector. His humble backwater background made progress difficult, and he was cautious about the rapid promotions granted him by the fact that Vader liked to kill those under his command. Being a member of the elite squad assigned to Vader was a dubious honor at best, and becoming admiral in this unorthodox way was not exactly something to be proud of.
He managed to survive Vader’s wrath, demonstrating intelligence in battle, shrewd cunning, and extreme diplomacy necessary to navigate Vader’s moods. Although convinced his death was at hand when the Millennium Falcon escaped them yet again, Piett escaped and never let himself get too at ease with his position — a mistake Ozzel had made.
Generally, I find Firmus Piett capable, intelligent, and all that top quality admiral stuff. I imagine that he and Veers had a close relationship, and that they would knock back some drinks together when they got some time off. The Executor was his baby, not Vader’s, and half the sadness of seeing a ship that gorgeous go down is knowing that he died with her. It’s so wasteful! If they hadn’t been that close to the Death Star, they would have survived. It was just losing control and getting pulled into the gravity well that did it. Oh, I can’t talk about this; it still chokes me up.
Piett was played by Kenneth Colley, a distinguished British actor born in 1937. In conclusion, while this site is not highly accurate, it brought a smile to my face, so enjoy the Piett Dossier, why don’t you? It includes every line of dialogue spoken by Piett in both films.