Blond, later gray
|Chronological and political information|
Kendal Ozzel was a Human male who originally served in the Republic Navy during the Clone Wars. In the midst of the conflict, he was granted a commission as a major in the Grand Army of the Republic by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine; in this position, Ozzel commanded the 44th Special Operations Division during the Battle of Khorm before being demoted to captain. Following the Republic's transformation into the Galactic Empire, Ozzel continued to serve in the armed forces, eventually reaching the rank of admiral in the Imperial Navy during the Galactic Civil War. A man of outdated tactical thinking, Ozzel was considered by many Imperial personnel to be inept, clumsy, and stupid.
Ozzel came from a wealthy landowning family on Carida, and his last name would aid him in his quest to gain power. After his graduating from the Coruscant Naval Academy, he served as an instructor there before becoming captain of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Reprisal, the largest ship in the Shelsha sector, from which he oversaw the Teardrop massacre, a slaughter of innocent civilians accused of being Rebel sympathizers. The incident, followed by the murder of Imperial Security Bureau Major Drelfin by stormtrooper Daric LaRone, prompted a group of troops under LaRone to desert from the Imperial Military and flee the Star Destroyer. At the same time, Emperor's Hand Mara Jade arrived aboard the Reprisal as part of an investigation on the BloodScars pirate group. Ozzel believed that Jade was investigating the desertion of LaRone and his stormtroopers, and he conspired with Colonel Vak Somoril to kill her in order to prevent the incident from hurting his chances at becoming an admiral.
Ozzel took the Reprisal to the Gepparin system and ordered a bombardment of Gepparin, the home of the BloodScars' base, in which Jade was located. Although the attack failed to kill Jade, Ozzel did achieve his goal of rising through the ranks. Ironically, he did not become an admiral due to his loyalty or skills, but his apparent disloyalty. Jade did not trust Ozzel, so she advised Darth Vader to keep him under close supervision. Vader took Jade's advice, and Ozzel was promoted to admiral, succeeding Amise Griff as the commander of Vader's flagship, the Star Dreadnought Executor, at the forefront of Death Squadron. Ozzel would serve under Vader for approximately three years. He saw command of the Executor as a path to attaining more power, and he believed that he would be able to control the universe with the Super Star Destroyer.
Ozzel's searches for the Rebels' hidden headquarters were unproductive and only served to agitate Vader. His overconfidence in his abilities ultimately led to his death before the Battle of Hoth. In preparation for the battle, he had Death Squadron emerge from hyperspace too close to the planet Hoth, alerting the Rebels to the Imperials' presence. He had at last succeeded in finding the Rebels' headquarters, but he had made a fatal error that allowed the Rebellion the time needed to raise their planetary shield and evacuate Echo Base. Vader, having had enough of the admiral's failures, telekinetically executed Ozzel for the blunder shortly thereafter, promoting Captain Firmus Piett to fill the vacancy.
Kendal Ozzel was born on the planet Carida, and he was a descendant of trading mastermind Mann Ozzel, who had made the Ozzel family wealthy a long time previously. His surname was synonymous with proud naval heritage, and like most families with such a heritage, the Ozzels had an estate in Sirpar Hills on Anaxes. As the second-born son, Ozzel could not inherit his family's business or land, so he used his family's name to rise through the social, political, and military ranks of the Galactic Empire. He attended what was considered the finest naval academy on Coruscant. After graduating from the academy, Ozzel became a Captain of the Line, which would entitle him to the command of a line of battle or a Star Destroyer. His superiors, however, did not see him fit to serve as a field commander. For a while, he taught at the Academy of Carida. Ozzel served in the Republic Navy during the time of the Old Republic, and he was a supporter of then-Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's rise to power.
When the Clone Wars broke out between the Republic and the breakaway Confederacy of Independent Systems, Ozzel's friendship with the Chancellor earned him a commission as a major in the Grand Army of the Republic, commanding the clone troopers of the 44th Special Operations Division, a unit often assigned to destroy enemy targets. Ozzel was willing to sacrifice the clones under his command, whom he saw as expendable and easily replaceable.
In 22 BBY, the Galactic Senate dispatched Admiral Wieler's group of Venator-class Star Destroyers—under the command of Jedi Masters Plo Koon, Kit Fisto, and Tauht—to the icy planet Khorm to secure the rare ore agrocite, used to exceptionally increase power to starfighters. Ozzel and the "Devil Dogs" of the 44th Division accompanied the group, their AT-TEs and AT-RTs walkers comprising the ground attack force. As the Republic troops neared the agrocite processing plant, Separatist proton cannons opened fire on the Republic forces. Ozzel ordered the clone troops to disembark, a move that made them more susceptible to being hit by enemy fire and forced the three Jedi to cover their advance. As the Jedi moved into the battle droid-filled trenches in front of the processing plant, Ozzel ordered the AT-TEs to fire into the trenches, endangering the Jedi but wiping out the enemy defenders. The Khormai Separatist warlord, Unger Gout, managed to flee the plant before the Republic was able to secure it. Ozzel and the Jedi moved into their new command post within the plant. While he complained about the temperature, Ozzel was quick to note his part in liberating the plant for the Republic.
But the battle was far from over; the Republic still had to capture the agrocite mines, which was heavily fortified with enemy droids. Master Fisto advised finding an alternative to attacking the mines, but Ozzel stressed that a direct assault was their only option. He knew that clones would die, but he made an offhand remark to Commander Wolffe that more could always be produced. When the Kel Dor Master Koon began to criticize the major for his overly-aggressive tactics and his disregard for the clones, Ozzel stated that he was merely acting in the interest of the Republic and mentioned how the Chancellor had awarded him a commission as major. Koon scolded him nonetheless, putting Ozzel in his place.
While Masters Koon and Fisto took a unit of clone commandos to attack the mines, the Separatists launched their own assault on the processing plant. Led by Dark Acolyte Asajj Ventress, Separatist AATs opened fire on the plant. The Human Master Tauht ordered Ozzel and his troops to reinforce the Republic lines while he went to contact General Koon. Before Tauht could reach his fellow Master, he was killed by Ventress after a brief lightsaber duel, leaving Ozzel in command. The major ordered the Republic forces to attack as he entered an AT-TE. While the strategy initially worked, a large amount of DSD1 dwarf spider droids emerged from the sides of a canyon, halting the Republic attack and forcing Ozzel to surrender. Brought before Ventress and the warlord Gout, the major initially refused to cooperate—invoking the Convention of Civilized Systems—until Ventress coldly beheaded one of the captured clones. Frightened at the thought of death, Ozzel gradually betrayed the remaining Jedi's mission to destroy a climate-control station on a nearby mountain which was preventing any Republic reinforcements from landing. Ventress was prepared to kill the major until warlord Gout suggested they be kept alive for use as slaves or food for slaves, in accordance with Khormai beliefs regarding their prisoners.
Ozzel and the surviving clone captives were held with the agrocite processing facility, and while the clones busied themselves about resetting the lock to their makeshift cell, Ozzel attempted to justify his revealing of the Jedi's plans. When the clones were successful in their task, the group hijacked an AAT and proceeded to escape the facility. As the tank cut down B1 battle droids and BX-series droid commandos, Ozzel spied an opening and ordered the clones to pilot the tank through the breach.
The group reunited with the remnants of the attack force, and Ozzel once again assumed command. Believing the Jedi to be dead, the major ordered that the transports rendezvous with Admiral Wieler's fleet for resupplying in preparation for a Republic counterattack. The ships, however, were frozen in place—and the Confederacy was already on the attack. Trapped and without any heavy support, Commander Wolffe protected Ozzel and gave the order to fall back to the ships. Ozzel was fully prepared to surrender as the clones continued to provide defensive fire.
Before Ventress and the Confederate forces could exterminate Ozzel and the clones, Masters Fisto and Koon and their clone commandos managed to destroy the weather-control station that was preventing Republic reinforcements from landing. With this impediment removed, Wieler ordered that reinforcements be sent to Khorm's surface. As Ventress and the droids closed in on the Republic troops, newly-arrived LAAT/i gunships and V-19 Torrent starfighters forced Ventress to call a retreat. The major took credit for the victory.
As the Jedi performed a reconnaissance of the agrocite mine, Ozzel prepared the clone forces for an air attack on the Separatist-held mine. While Ozzel commanded from a LAAT/i gunship, two Acclamator-class assault ships and a mixed assortment of gunships, V-19 Torrents, and BTL-B Y-wing starfighters began their assault. Though the Separatist defenses were quickly wiped out, the warlord Gout had three cannons loaded with agrocite open fire on the assault ships. Both transports were quickly destroyed; Ozzel was knocked unconscious in the subsequent retreat.
The survivors of the failed move regrouped and launched a land assault, with Wolffe in command. As a column of AT-TEs advanced up the mountain, Ozzel awoke inside one of the walkers. The attack succeeded without him; Fisto managed to destroy the three cannons—killing Gout—while Koon successfully drove off Ventress. At the Republic command post, Ozzel was congratulated by Palpatine via hologram as the surviving clones looked on. The Supreme Chancellor applauded Ozzel's courageous leadership during the battle and promoted him to the rank of captain.
In 5 BBY, Ozzel was the presiding officer at the future Rebel Han Solo's court-martial for saving the Wookiee Chewbacca from Imperial slavery, and the young Corellian took a fairly low view of Ozzel's intelligence. For a short time, he served as an instructor at the Coruscant Naval Academy, where he taught naval history and languages, until the destruction of the Empire's first Death Star battle station during the Battle of Yavin.
In 0 ABY, Ozzel was serving as captain of the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Reprisal, the largest capital ship in Shelsha sector. At the planet Teardrop, the site of a covert Rebel Alliance listening post, he initiated a blockade to prevent any Rebels from fleeing the world. However, when Imperial cadet-turned-Rebel smuggler Han Solo attempted to flee the world with Rebel passengers, his freighter Millennium Falcon, under the name "Argos," came under a pirate attack. Solo requested aid from the Star Destroyer, and Ozzel had his gunners fire upon and destroy the attackers. Solo had claimed that the "Argos" carried a medical relief team from the planet Briston, responding to a groundquake on Teardrop's Por'ste Island. Ozzel, believing Solo's cover story, ordered the ship back to Briston, but the freighter left the system with its cargo of Rebels. Ozzel later oversaw the massacre of "Rebel sympathizers" on the planet, where Imperial troops killed all the civilians in a town, aliens first. This massacre, ordered by Imperial Security Bureau Major Drelfin, was blamed on Rebel agitators present in the town, who had in fact already fled the world aboard the Millennium Falcon. Six days later, the Reprisal was assigned a full tactical unit of the Imperial Security Bureau under the command of Colonel Vak Somoril, to further prosecute the suppression of resistance in the sector.
Stormtrooper Daric LaRone later confronted Drelfin about the killing of civilians on Teardrop, and a brief struggle followed. Drelfin pulled out a small hold-out blaster with the intent on killing LaRone, but the stormtrooper killed the ISB officer in self-defense. LaRone fled the Reprisal with a group of fellow stormtroopers who had witnessed the killing. Emperor's Hand Mara Jade had been investigating a group of pirates known as the BloodScars in Shelsha sector in connection to six stolen paintings found in Moff Glovstoak's possession, and when she arrived aboard the Reprisal, Ozzel and Colonel Somoril mistakenly believed that her arrival was part of a high-level investigation into the incident regarding the rogue stormtroopers. They conspired in an unsanctioned scheme to kill her after discovering that she had accessed the ship's personnel files, bridge log, and flight log. Ozzel was certain that an Emperor's Hand wouldn't be sent on a trivial mission to eliminate pirates, and he believed that her main mission was to investigate the stormtroopers who deserted. Ozzel realized the repercussions of killing such an Imperial agent would be great, but Somoril managed to convince the captain to head for the Gepparin system to attack the pirate base where Jade was located. The colonel's reasoning was that Imperial agents, even an Emperor's Hand, could easily end up somewhere during a military strike and be killed. Ozzel only agreed because he didn't want the desertion of the stormtroopers to get in the way of his ultimate goal of achieving the rank of admiral. The plan failed, however, when Ozzel chose to follow the Millennium Falcon, piloted by Chewbacca, rather than complete the attack on the pirate base. The rest of the Falcon's crew was aboard the stolen ISB TL-1800 freighter Gillia with the stormtroopers who had deserted from the Reprisal, as the two groups had joined forces to investigate the pirates' base. Ozzel had the Reprisal jump to the Alderaan system in an effort to pursue the freighter, but was unsuccessful in intercepting them. Jade was ultimately unable to prove his complicity, but suggested to Darth Vader that he should keep a close eye on Ozzel, a suggestion that evidently appealed to the newly appointed Supreme Commander's dark sense of humor.
Promoted to Fleet Admiral because of Mara Jade's suggestion, Ozzel had unexpectedly achieved his goal. He was assigned to the Executor-class Star Dreadnought Executor, the flagship of Darth Vader, as its commanding officer. Strong ties to Imperial High Command allowed him to take command of Vader's Death Squadron. Many believed that this was a political move. Captain Firmus Piett was assigned as his senior subordinate. Perhaps simultaneously, Ozzel was also promoted to overall commander of Death Squadron after Admiral Amise Griff's death, a promotion assisted in part by the loss of the cadre of able officers whom Wilhuff Tarkin had assembled aboard the Death Star. When Ozzel was first made admiral, many officers saw him as Vader's equal. Speculation abounded as to the exact nature by which Ozzel achieved his prestigious command position. Many believed older ties between Imperial military command and Ozzel's bloodline were chiefly responsible for his sudden and inexplicable rise. Another theory explained his achievement as Ozzel acting as a figurehead of command in Vader's fleet, aside from Vader himself, to appease the high-ranking members of the general staff.
Early into Ozzel's command of the Executor, he was assigned to patrol the Black Widow Nebula in search for a corvette commanded by the renegade Imperial Captain Sodarra. While there, the Millennium Falcon was captured by the Executor, and Ozzel interrogated its captain, Han Solo, on the bridge of the Super Star Destroyer about his presence in the nebula. At one point, Solo alluded to the corvette; Ozzel decided to let the Falcon escape, hoping that Solo would lead the Empire to Sodarra and his fellow deserters.
Ozzel was placed in command of hunting down the headquarters of the Alliance High Command using whatever devices he deemed necessary. To this end, he took a very personal approach to his mission, preferring to follow up on substantial leads himself. This often meant diverting the fleet on less-than-productive forays, which soon earned the ire of Vader, who grew tired of these indulgences. As a result, Ozzel was relegated to the true position of figurehead that he occupied, serving merely as a go-between for issuing Vader's orders to the Executor's rank and file. One of these raids proved to be successful, as Ozzel led Death Squadron alongside Vader from the Executor into a battle against the Rebel fleet in .75 ABY. During the fleet engagement, Rebel mathematician-turned-brainwashed Imperial agent Jorin Sol attempted to assassinate the Rebel commanders aboard their flagship Rebel One, and Imperial Lieutenant Janek Sunber tried to capture Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa to deliver them to Vader. Additionally, Imperial forces were waiting at the next pre-arranged Rebel rendezvous point, the Rebels' escape algorithm having been discovered. Unaware of Jorin Sol's revelation of this fact to the Rebels, Ozzel believed that the battle would bring about the end of the Rebellion. The engagement decimated the Rebel fleet and severely damaged Rebel One, but the Rebels managed to scatter and eventually recover. Their escape was not Ozzel's fault, however. He later reported that their sensors had picked up an escape pod from Rebel One, presumably carrying Lieutenant Sunber.
Ozzel was present at the commissioning ceremony for the Executor in 2 ABY at the Imperial Transfer Post near Kuat, alongside Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, Grand Admiral Rufaan Tigellinus, and Admirals Thrawn, Tandres, and Tavares. It was at this time that the Super Star Destroyer, which had been in service for some time and just completed its shakedown cruise, officially joined with Death Squadron. Ozzel transferred his flag to the Executor as well, even though he had commanded the warship since 0.5 ABY.
Captain Lorth Needa was given command of the Avenger by Ozzel, and as a result, Vader regarded Needa and Ozzel's close advisors with suspicion. Ozzel gave Needa and the Avenger independent assignments to check on leads. When the Avenger was with the rest of Death Squadron, Ozzel had the ship in the point position, which was considered a prestigious assignment. Ozzel was known to have publicly criticized Vader during his time as admiral.
To aid in the search for the Rebel headquarters, Ozzel had Viper probe droids dispersed throughout the galaxy. He was confident that, having searched through a large area of space by 3 ABY, Death Squadron would soon locate the Rebels. He did, however, request for more ships to be assigned to the fleet. Due to the rising amount of support for the Alliance, there were no available units. Captain Piett and his staff received a transmission from a probe droid launched from the Star Destroyer Stalker. The transmission displayed a Rebel power generator, suggesting there was life in the supposedly uninhabitable system of Hoth. Over time, Piett had become aware that Ozzel tended to blame subordinates for his own mistakes, and the captain had begun scheming to replace Ozzel as admiral. Knowing that Ozzel would likely ignore the signal, Piett initially went to Darth Vader with the news in an effort to discredit Ozzel and have him removed from his position. When informed, and despite his tendency to indulge in unsubstantial leads, Ozzel dismissed the lead by stating that the generator most likely belonged to smugglers. He demanded proof and not simple leads from Piett. Vader, however, was certain that they had found the Rebel base. Ozzel still did not believe that the Rebels were on Hoth, and he asked Piett of what the intelligence evaluation computers said. The computers saw the data index as low, but the Force informed Vader that the Rebels—including Luke Skywalker—were indeed there. The Dark Lord of the Sith ordered his fleet of six Star Destroyers to the Hoth system, and Ozzel had no choice but to follow Vader's orders.
Believing that he could best defeat the Rebels by surprising them, Ozzel brought the fleet out of hyperspace very close to the sixth planet of the Hoth system. When General Maximilian Veers informed Vader of Ozzel's action, the Dark Lord immediately saw the admiral's foolishness: Ozzel had inadvertently alerted the Rebels to their presence, which allowed them to activate an energy field. The activation of the shield rendered an orbital bombardment useless. Another result of Ozzel's action, Vader realized, was that the destruction of the Rebel base would be a costly ground battle. The end result would be a waste of available resources instead of a simple bombardment. Via a viewscreen, Ozzel began to report that the fleet had entered the Hoth system. Before he could finish, however, Vader Force choked Ozzel to death and simultaneously made his subordinate officer, Piett, commander of the Executor. In the end, Ozzel's mistake had cost Vader the capture of young Skywalker and his allies, though the battle had resulted in a victory for the Empire.
Following the battle, Ozzel's remains were sent to his homeworld of Carida, where he was honored at a ceremony. According to Imperial propaganda compiled by Imperial adviser Alec Pradeux regarding the Battle of Hoth, Ozzel was killed when the Rebels bombarded the Executor with a planetary energy emplacement.
A by-the-books officer, Kendal Ozzel was considered inept, disloyal, easily manipulated, stupid, and predictable by many Imperials and others. These traits made many wonder how he achieved his rank of admiral. Darth Vader shared this opinion of him throughout Ozzel's time as admiral, especially when he brought Death Squadron out of hyperspace too close to Hoth, a move with which the admiral had hoped would surprise the Alliance. Because of his actions, the Alliance was able to detect the fleet of approaching Star Destroyers, activate Echo Base's shield, and evacuate the majority of the base.
Ozzel was also noted as being argumentative, bullish, and lacking common sense—additional traits which often caused further problems. He was considered the ideal naval politician, and as far as he was concerned, he always won his arguments. He never knew when to be quiet, and he always insisted on having a say in major decisions. He was a disciplinarian, and every detail had to be perfect. His tactical thinking was outdated, and his presence aboard the Executor was in part to satisfy the Navy's senior commanders and show a small amount of respect with regards to the chain-of-command. Ozzel let off-duty stormtroopers roam around without their armor on while serving aboard the Reprisal, which went against regulations. He did not like their presence on the ship, so he reached this unofficial agreement with the stormtrooper commanders, rather than having the troops confined to the barracks. He was also biased against women and non-Humans and intimidated lesser bureaucrats to increase his standing in the Navy.
Despite these flaws, Ozzel was an ambitious man. He viewed the elimination of Rebels as the fastest path to success within the Imperial Navy, and he hoped that his attempt to destroy the Rebels would eventually grant him the rank of admiral. Whenever he failed he would cast the blame onto his subordinates, which sparked an enmity between him and his subordinate and eventual replacement, Firmus Piett. Ozzel was willing to go to extreme measures to cover his mistakes, such as when he reluctantly agreed to kill Emperor's Hand Mara Jade, to silence potential information on the desertion of stormtroopers from the Reprisal. He was confident, however, and he felt relaxed while in the presence of Vader.
Kendal Ozzel was played by Michael Sheard in The Empire Strikes Back, who also portrayed Adolf Hitler in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the third installment of George Lucas' other successful trilogy. Sheard also played Hitler in a few other films. In the audio drama version of The Empire Strikes Back, Ozzel was voiced by Peter Michael Goetz.
The name "Kendal" first appeared in The Official Star Wars Fact File 4 in the UK. The name was used with Sheard's blessing. The name later made its way to the official Star Wars website's Databank.
There are inconsistencies between the various sources describing Ozzel's path to becoming Vader's senior subordinate in Death Squadron. Most notably, he appears as an admiral aboard the Executor under Vader's command in Scoundrel's Luck, which apparently takes place while Vader is still in a healing trance in his TIE Advanced x1 after the Battle of Yavin. In a NewsNet article in Star Wars Adventure Journal 12, it is mentioned that Ozzel was in command of Death Squadron before the Executor was commissioned and planned to transfer his flag to the new warship when it entered active service with Death Squadron; as a result, it is not clear whether or not Ozzel was indeed present at the commissioning ceremony as the Adventure Journal claims. These are contradicted by Allegiance, which shows Ozzel as commander of the Star Destroyer Reprisal (and not Death Squadron) while the Executor is active and under the command of Bentro. Another issue is that in The Hutt Gambit, Ozzel is said to be an admiral when he presided over Han Solo's trial, yet he does not become one until after Allegiance.
The end of Star Wars The Clone Wars 9: In Service of the Republic, Part 3 has Palpatine promoting Ozzel to the rank of admiral for his part in the Battle of Khorm. However, Randy Stradley has stated that though this is true to the original script, Leland Chee left him a note informing him that the rank should be changed from admiral to captain, to coincide with Ozzel's rank of captain in Allegiance. Though the error was not fixed in time for the comic's release, Mr. Stradley has said that it will be rectified when the issue is collected in the future.
In Star Wars 40: The Empire Strikes Back: Battleground Hoth, artist Al Williamson incorrectly switches Ozzel's and Piett's roles. Additionally, Williamson and Carlos Garzon used reference photography of Lorth Needa's death for Ozzel's own death, so the two panels in which the scene is displayed greatly differ from the movie.
In Star Wars Adventure Journal 14, it is said that Ozzel's remains were returned to his homeworld, where he was honored at the Corulag Academy. However, Ozzel's Databank entry has established his homeworld as being Carida, not Corulag where the aforementioned academy is located.