All spoilers regarding the Prequel Trilogy, the Original Trilogy, and The Clone Wars are unmarked. Examples relating to Disney's EU and the new movies can be spoiler-tagged if deemed necessary.
Tropes specifically applying to the characters based on their appearances in Star Wars Legends can be found here.
The personal fleet of Darth Vader, including the Star Destroyers Avenger, Accuser, Devastator, and Tyrant, and led by his flagship, the Super Star Destroyer Executor. It is tasked with hunting down the Rebellion, and Luke Skywalker in particular, following their abandonment of Yavin Base. The Death Squadron is triumphant in the Battle of Hoth and later serves as the core of the Imperial Fleet at the Battle of Endor.
Crew of the Executor
Fleet Admiral Kendal Ozzel
Ozzel was the commander of Darth Vader's flagship, the Super Star Destroyer Executor, as well as a member of the Imperial military's Joint Chiefs. He led the initial attack on the Rebels' Hoth base, but his poor choice of tactics infuriated Vader to the point of a sudden demotion.
- Asshole Victim: Given his blundering, his arrogance towards even Vader, and him being a bit of a dick, no one on the Executor was mourning him when he's on the receiving end of the trope-naming You Have Failed Me Force-choke after he messes up the invasion of Hoth.
- The Cameo: He appears in a non-speaking role at a meeting of the Empire's Joint Chiefs during Tarkin.
- Death Glare: Gives one◊ to Captain Piett after Darth Vader orders them to Hoth. However, Piett is completely unfazed by it.
- General Failure: Darth Vader considers him to be "as clumsy as he is stupid", and for good reason: he dismisses Captain Piett's ultimately correct lead on where the Rebels could be hiding, and botches an intended surprise bombardment on the Hoth base by mounting a more direct attack, giving the Rebels a chance to put up a defense and escape.
- It's Probably Nothing: Dismisses the clues that were sent by the probe droid that spotted the Rebel base on Hoth, even when it shows a freaking planetary shield generator. Vader then steps in and immediately sends the fleet to the Hoth system.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: After the Rebels enact their shield (which proves crucial to them escaping Hoth) and Veers reports that to Vader (who then bad-mouths Ozzel to him before ordering him to set up the AT-ATs for a ground strike), Ozzel reports to Vader, and while speaking, he gets Force-choked by Vader.Ozzel: Lord Vader, the fleet has moved out of lightspeed and we're preparing to—Augh!
Vader: You Have Failed Me for the last time, Admiral.
- Mook Lieutenant: To Darth Vader, as commander of Vader's personal fleet, Death Squadron.
- Overranked Soldier: Given his incompetence, it is surprising he somehow managed to become an Admiral and commander of Darth Vader's personal fleet.
- Small Name, Big Ego: An Admiral who talks down to people (AND Darth Vader, who had none of it) when they actually have good eyes for where the Rebel Alliance can be found, and smug enough to launch a surprise attack meant to wipe out the Rebellion for good without Vader's approval. He pays for this trope with his life when said surprise attack instead alerts the Rebels to get their shield and forces ready before the Death Squadron can do anything.
- Smug Snake: Is very proud as one of the highest ranking Imperial leaders, but isn't particularly smart at what he does, and Darth Vader makes his disdain for him quite clear.
- Spanner in the Works: If he hadn't disobeyed Vader out of arrogance/stupidity the Rebellion would have been annihilated. Instead the Imperials are forced to launch a ground campaign which while successful in damaging the Rebellion (it's actually referred to as their biggest defeat) allows a fairly sizable portion to escape with their lives.
- Too Dumb to Live: Sure, directly ignore your superior's order to launch a stealth attack. It will certainly go over without a hitch with Darth Vader, and it's not going give your enemies more of an opportunity to escape.
- Underestimating Badassery: He underestimates the Rebels' defenses and skills, assuming that the sight of the Death Squadron appearing directly over Hoth would stun them and allow him to commence an immediate orbital bombardment. Instead, they put up their defensive shield and begin evacuating while putting up a ferocious defense, which has the added effect of giving Darth Vader the little bit of motivation and reason he needs to permanently remove Ozzel from command and install Piett in as the new Admiral.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: He only has two short scenes before Vader kills him for his incompetence.
- You Are in Command Now: He is promoted as the commander of the Executor by Darth Vader after the Dark Lord executes Cassio Tagge for failing to foresee Doctor Cylo's attempted coup of the newly christened ship (as well as payback for Tagge belittling Vader). In hindsight, that might have been a poor decision on Vader's part, and Ozzel passes the baton to Piett when HE is executed.
- You Have Failed Me: He is the "you" in question, particularly when his bumbling prevents a perfect chance to wipe out the Rebellion once and for all on Hoth.
Fleet Admiral Firmus Piett
A captain from Axxila who served aboard the Executor. He was promoted to admiral after Admiral Ozzel failed Vader for the last time. He managed to survive under Vader's command long enough to lead the Imperial fleet in the Battles of Hoth and Endor.
- Benevolent Boss: We see some of this in Lost Stars. He is kind to Ciena Ree, even politely correcting her when she's still addressing him as "Captain" because she wasn't there for his promotion.
- Breakout Villain: A minor example; he was slated to only appear in The Empire Strikes Back, but proved to be quite popular with audiences and returned in Return of the Jedi to command the Imperial fleet in the Battle of Endor. Despite his quick death, he still remains one of the more popular minor characters.
- The Captain: When he's introduced, Piett is the commanding officer of the Executor. He's quickly promoted to flag rank, though.
- Character Death: He dies during the Battle of Endor when a Rebel A-Wing crashes into the bridge of the Executor. Whether or not he survived the initial crash is moot when the Executor crashes into the Death Star and explodes.
- Cowardly Lion: Just look at that terrified face he has throughout The Empire Strikes Back! He still manages to hold himself together and isn't killed by Vader.
- Deadly Euphemism: His mention of "something special planned" for the Rebels at the Battle of Endor when his subordinate asks why the Imperial Fleet is not engaging.
- Disease Bleach: Not mentioned, but the stress of being an Admiral (or more specifically, Vader's Admiral) for just six months ages him horribly. Compare.
- The Dragon: To Darth Vader, after he replaced Ozzel as commander of Vader's personal fleet, Death Squadron.
- Dragon Their Feet: Of the "wasn't around when the Big Bad went down" variety. He's the last villain to be defeated in Return of the Jedi, commanding the space battle until an A-Wing crashes into the bridge of the Executor.
- Everyone Has Standards:
- He is disgusted that Darth Vader brought in bounty hunters to hunt for the Millennium Falcon.Admiral Piett: Bounty hunters! We don't need their scum!
- He is clearly trying to hide his terror as Ozzel is force choked right next to him.
- He is disgusted that Darth Vader brought in bounty hunters to hunt for the Millennium Falcon.
- Famous Last Words: Intensify forward firepower!
- Field Promotion: Piett is made admiral right as Darth Vader strangles the previous admiral behind him, a very tacit reminder of the consequences of messing up.
- Frontline General: He leads the Imperial fleet during the Battle of Endor, which ultimately results in his death.
- High Turnover Rate: Averted; he gets his job because his predecessor was an idiot, but he manages to keep it for two whole movies.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Upon introduction, Captain Piett is shown to be a much more competent officer than his superior, the clumsy and stupid Admiral Ozzel, when he figures out where the Rebels are hiding. He doesn't remain a sidekick for long when Darth Vader kills Ozzel for his blunders and promotes Piett on the spot.
- Meaningful Name: While Piett's last name wouldn't look out of place in a Real Life list of English names, his given name is the Latin word for strong/reliable/trustworthy, properties he proves to have in spades.
- Mook Lieutenant: Once promoted he serves as the commander of the Imperial fleet. He explains to a subordinate what the Empire's battle plan is during the the battle for Endor.
- Oh, Crap!:
- When the Millennium Falcon escapes Bespin, Piett's face shows that he is sure he is about to suffer Ozzel's fate. Luckily for him, Darth Vader is distracted by his recent confrontation with Luke and doesn't punish Piett.
- He has another moment when the forward shields protecting the Executor's bridge go down with an A-Wing on a collision course for it.
- Punch-Clock Villain: As opposed to most Imperials, he comes across as a dutiful and level-headed man just doing his job.
- You Are in Command Now: He is the "you" in question; it's stated by Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back as he strangles his commanding officer right behind him. Piett's expression shows he's not sure whether he should be grateful or worried.
- You Have Failed Me: Subverted; it appears he's about to suffer this fate at the end of The Empire Strikes Back for losing the Millennium Falcon, but Darth Vader is far too preoccupied with losing his son, miraculously allowing Piett to live for another movie.
Executive officer of the Super Star Destroyer Executor during the Battle of Endor.
- Character Death: Killed along with Admiral Piett and the Executor bridge crew when Arvel Crynyd rams his out-of-control A-Wing into the command tower. Whether or not he survived the initial crash is moot when the Executor crashes into the Death Star and explodes.
- Famous Last Words: "Too late!"
- Number Two: Serves as Admiral Piett's executive officer.
- Oh, Crap!: When an officer reports that the bridge shields are down, he looks reasonably worried. But the real "Oh, Crap!" comes when he sees an out-of-control A-Wing heading for the bridge.Imperial Officer: Sir! We've lost the bridge's deflector shields!(Cut to Arvel Crynyd's A-Wing being hit by a laser from the Executor and sent spinning out of control towards the Executor's bridge.)Piett: Intensify forward firepower!(Gherant is pointing at the oncoming A-Wing, Piett not noticing.)Arvel Crynyd: AAAAAAAH!!!Gherant: Too late!(Gherant runs away, causing Piett to notice the A-Wing spiraling towards the bridge. Both dive for cover as the A-Wing crashes into and destroys the bridge.)
- The Watson: After being told they are ready to attack the Rebel fleet, Gherant is surprised when Admiral Piett orders them to hold position. Piett then explains that the Emperor has a surprise for the Rebels and they only need to keep them from escaping.
Lieutenant Berisse Sai
A officer on the Devastator who befriends Ciena Rae. She is later transferred alongside her to the Executor.
- Affably Evil: Her cheerful and easygoing demeanor are in sharp contrast to her being glad the Empire built another Death Star so they can show the galaxy that the Rebels' victory at Yavin means nothing.
- Blind Obedience: Always follows her superiors' orders to the letter, without ever questioning their intent or the morality behind the Empire's actions. The few times Ciena tries to discuss the Empire's actions with her, she just gets confused before getting distracted by something and moving on to another topic of conversation.
- Character Death: She dies in the Battle of Endor when the Executor is destroyed.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: The author imagines her being played by America Ferrera.
- Obliviously Evil: Never seems to give much thought to the morality of the Empire's actions beyond assuming that it is keeping order and that being good enough for her.
- Punch-Clock Villain: She is utterly indifferent to the actions of the Empire outside of how it affects her job.
An officer who is present at the freezing of Han Solo at Cloud City.
General Maximillian Veers
An Imperial Army officer from Denon stationed aboard the Executor. He leads the elite Blizzard Force during the Battle of Hoth.
- Aerith and Bob: For someone from a Core World like Denon, Veers full name is unusual as it wouldnt look out of place in Real Life.
- Cool Helmet: Wears a Nazi-inspired helmet in battle. It's essentially a differently colored version of what the Snowtroopers wear, minus the face mask.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: His AT-ATs (All Terrain Armored Transports) versus the Rebel infantry. Their weapons can't penetrate the armor on his walkers while they rain fire down on their entrenched positions and easily slaughter them. The only two he loses are due to the snowspeeders tripping one up with wires (a tactic that only works once), and Luke using his lightsaber to cut a hole in the bottom of one and toss a grenade in.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The Star Wars Character Encyclopedia mentions that he's married and devoted to his family.
- Four-Star Badass: He crushes the Rebel soldiers on Hoth with only a few casualties in his forces.
- Frontline General: He personally heads the Imperial assault against the Rebel base, commanding the lead AT-AT that fires the shots to destroy the Alliance's power generators.
- Large and in Charge: He's one of the few Imperials who stands at eye-level with Vader◊.
- Mook Lieutenant: The commander of Darth Vader's ground forces. He shows the inner workings of the Imperial Army and by winning the battle of Hoth allows Vader to focus on the more important task of finding Skywalker.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Similar to Piett, he is generally a dutiful and level-headed officer. He even makes a short attempt to try and defend Ozzel's final blunder, seemingly knowing what fate Vader is planning for him.
- Uncertain Doom: With the death of Hobbie via Suicide Attack on the lead walker confirmed as canon, it's unclear if Veers was killed in the attack as per the intention of the deleted scene or survived like in Legends.
- Walking Tank: He helms a squadron of massive, four-legged AT-ATs.
Crew of the Avenger
Captain Lorth Needa
The commander of the Imperial Star Destroyer Avenger during the Battle of Hoth.
- Benevolent Boss: When he realizes the Millennium Falcon has escaped, rather than try to shift onto blame someone else and escape punishment, he takes full responsibility and submits himself to Vader for punishment.
- Character Death: The second Imperial officer in The Empire Strikes Back after Ozzel to receive a You Have Failed Me Force-choke from Vader.
- Face Death with Dignity: He knows he's a dead man walking after losing the Millennium Falcon, but calmly decides to apologize to Darth Vader in person anyway.
- Forgiveness Requires Death: He's executed by Vader for his failure, and only afterwards does Vader forgive him.Vader: Apology accepted, Captain Needa.
- Mauve Shirt: Appears twice in the film before the Millennium Falcon disappears. The first, Han is able to outmaneuver Avenger, causing it to collide with another Star Destroyer. Afterwards, Needa reports to Vader that the fleet is sustaining heavy damage from being in the asteroid field.
- Old Soldier: Has served in the Imperial Navy for over twenty years. He was even a veteran of the Clone Wars and participated in the Battle of Coruscant as a lieutenant commander.
- Oh, Crap!:
- When the Millennium Falcon outmaneuvers Avenger, causing it to collide and scrape along another Star Destroyer.
- He realizes his fate the moment the Millennium Falcon disappears.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Compared to many of the other Imperial officers seen in the films, Needa comes off as relatively benign.
- Shoot the Messenger: Exploited: he went to Vader to apologize in person so no one else on his crew would be punished.
- Token Good Teammate: The other punch clock officers are not evil, but look after their own well-being and do their jobs as best as they can to avoid being killed by Vader. Needa outright sacrifices himself for his men.
- You Have Failed Me: Gets choked by Vader when he fails to capture the Millennium Falcon when they try to escape. "Apology accepted", indeed.
Crew of the Tyrant
Captain Xamuel Lennox
Captain of the Imperial Star Destroyer Tyrant during the Battle of Hoth.
- Smug Snake: When his executive officer reports a Rebel transport heading towards them, he's more than a little overconfident they'll be able to capture or shoot it down.
- Tempting Fate: Moments after learning a Rebel transport is heading towards them, he says the quote above. Then the ion cannon at Echo Base fires several shots, which disables the Tyrant and allows the Rebel ship to escape.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: His name is Samuel, but with an X instead of an S so to look space-exotic.
Crew of the Devastator
Admiral Jhared Montferrat
Commander of the Star Destroyer Devastator, a vessel in Death Squadron and Vader's former flagship. Montferrat participated in and met his demise at the Battle of Endor.
- Bad Boss: He knows all about this trope from serving under Vader when the Devastator was his flagship, and learned how to keep a crew in line from him (although he privately admits to himself how terrified he was of Vader and was relieved when he transferred his flag to the Executor). When the officer monitoring the hyperdrive begins panicking, Montferrat shoots him out of annoyance before going over to his station to see what the fuss was about; turns out Blade Squadron scored a direct hit on the hyperdrive, and it was exploding and causing a chain reaction all across the ship.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: As he listens to the smugglers he is about to space beg for mercy, Montferrat hopes that when his death comes he faces it with more dignity than them. He gets just that chance the next day at the Battle of Endor.
- Big Bad: Of Blade Squadron, with the titular Rebel squadron attempting to destroy his vessel to clear the way for Lando's fighter unit to attack the second Death Star.
- Color-Coded Eyes: He has one cold grey eye that reinforces his dispassionate and brutal personality.
- Comicbook Fantasy Casting: As you can see from the picture above, he is clearly based on Mads Mikkelsen as Bond villain Le Chiffre. As the Force would have it, Mikkelsen would later be cast as Galen Erso in Rogue One (though unlike Montferrat, Le Chiffre, and most of Mikkelson's other roles, Erso is actually a hero).
- Establishing Character Moment: He is introduced being annoyed by the screams and pleas for mercy coming from the four men he just ordered to be spaced on the mere suspicion they were Rebel spies.
- Face Death with Dignity: When realizing that his ship is about to be destroyed and that the Empire is losing the Battle of Endor, Montferrat calmly takes off his gloves and waits for the end to come.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: He has a lot of scarring on the left side of his face, mostly around and across his eye, which he lost the use of in whatever injury he sustained.
- Smug Snake: He is extremely dismissive of the Rebels and considers it impossible for them to be a true threat to the Empire. Montferrat decides to die with his ship rather than escape when he realizes the Rebels are winning the battle. Interestingly, he considers fellow Smug Snake Commander Gradd to be an arrogant annoying kiss-ass.
- The Sociopath: The only emotion he feels towards pleas for mercy is annoyance.
Captain Shaef Corssin
Captain of the Devastator during the Battle of Scarif.
One of the best Imperial pilots in the fleet, Gradd is the commander of the Devastator's TIE squadrons during the Battle of Endor.
- Ace Pilot: Even Montferrat, who holds an extreme dislike of Gradd, has to admit that he is one of the best pilots he has ever known, and Gradd is described as being close to Darth Vader's skill level.
- Badass Mustache: Has a pencil-thin mustache.
- Character Death: He is killed when Adon Fox survives Gradd's shots and fires back.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: One of the reasons that Montferrat dislikes him is that Gradd has the audacity to compliment Montferrat's plans after just questioning them.
- Straight for the Commander: His favored tactic, using a comm scanner to determine which Rebel starfighter has the most communications traffic going to and from it, indicating the squadron leader, and then taking them out to break the spirit of the other Rebels. Unfortunately for him, Adon Fox was a even match for his skills.
Commander Daine Jir
A officer on the Devastator who served under the command of Darth Vader.
- Commanding Coolness: He has no trouble confronting Darth Vader over his decision to hold Princess Leia, believing that it would only increase support for the Rebellion.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The real reason for why he could be so blunt with Darth Vader: at the time of the original film's release, Vader's status as a Bad Boss who'd kill subordinates at the slightest provocation had yet to be established, so it was entirely conceivable that a lowly officer could openly question his orders and suffer no consequences for it.
- Honest Advisor: He is the only Imperial officer in the films who criticizes Vader's actions without fear and does not suffer for it. In fact, Jir's concerns prompt Darth Vader to order him to destroy Leia's ship and cover up the incident by faking a distress signal and sending a message to the Imperial Senate claiming that all aboard were killed.
- Mook Lieutenant: One who apparently has enough respect from Darth Vader to criticize his actions without fear of being killed.
- Punny Name: His full name is pronounced like "danger".
A high-ranking officer on the Devastator, five years before the Battle of Yavin.