23. Admiral Piett
When Did They Die: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Who Were They: Imperial starship captain promoted to admiral upon the untimely execution of Admiral Ozzel
How Did They Die: Like a true (inept) starship captain, Piett died with all hands when the Executor crashed into the second Death Star
Piett had the unusual distinction of being one of the only high-ranking officers under Darth Vader to not get Force-choked. That fact did not spare him, however. In a way, Piett’s ascension to the admiralty after Ozzel’s execution above Hoth acts as a comeuppance for Darth Vader. Piett was, in effect, that eminently less capable officer waiting in the wings for the next guy up to slip up and get got by Vader. He stepped into/was forced into the role and, in so doing, became the last Imperial admiral to serve under Vader and the Emperor.
No, he didn’t do anything so egregious to warrant Vader’s extreme ire between the battles of Hoth and Endor, but he likely would have had he survived crashing the Empire’s flagship into the second Death Star.
The aptly named Executor was Darth Vader’s personal ship and the most powerful vessel in the Empire’s fleet short of the Death Star itself. It was the focal point of the Empire’s ambush of the Rebel fleet that appeared above Endor, at least until the Death Star was discovered to be operational.
That Piett couldn’t keep such a powerful vessel from falling to the Rebels is, if anything, a more choke-able offense than anything Captain Needa or Admiral Ozzel failed to do.
Next: 22. Count Dooku