Was there more to the Imperial officer Admiral Ozzel than we thought?
Admiral Ozzel’s legacy is that Darth Vader Force-choked him to death before the Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.
As commander of Darth Vader’s flagship the Executor, Ozzel was one of the first to learn that an Imperial probe droid had been destroyed on Hoth. He was skeptical this was evidence of the Rebel Alliance’s secret base, even when Vader himself was confident the Rebels were there.
Ozzel made things even worse for himself by pulling the Executor out of lightspeed right above Hoth. The Rebels were not caught off guard and the Empire was unable to execute the swift attack Ozzel envisioned as the Rebels had already figured out they were coming from the probe droid.
As soon as the Rebels saw the Executor materialize over the planet, they raised a shield around their base, preventing the Empire from firing on the base. The Empire then needed to attack the base via ground assault, giving the Rebels time to evacuate and attack.
Enraged by Ozzel’s blunder, Vader Force-choked him to death and promoted Firmus Piett to Admiral and commanding officer of the Executor.
For several years now–from Reddit to YouTube–fans have theorized Ozzel was actually a Rebel spy. His tactics were designed to buy the Rebels time to put a shield around their base and begin their evacuation.
Admiral Ozzel does dismiss the possibility of the probe droid’s findings on Hoth rather quickly. It’s even more suspicious given he continues to voice his skepticism even when Vader is confident the base is on Hoth. Ozzel had already witnessed Vader Force-choke high-ranking Imperial officer Cassio Tagge to death in the comics for blunders made, so it seems unlikely Ozzel would dare challenge him.
He’s far from the only Imperial officer to make a mistake, yet Vader kills Ozzel while others live. Admiral Ozzel’s replacement Admiral Piett failed to capture the Millennium Falcon and its valuable passengers at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, but he was still alive and in charge of the Executor during Return of the Jedi.
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Fans have theorized Vader figured out Ozzel was a Rebel spy and intentionally messed up in order to helps them. It was this knowledge that truly drove Vader to kill him. That makes all the difference between Ozzel and some of the other officers like Piett who failed but weren’t consequently slain by Vader.
It is an intriguing theory and is certainly possible. Ultimately I don’t believe it to be true, though. A spy would be more subtle than Ozzel. His actions were too conspicuous and clumsy to be that of a spy.
As for Vader killing him, giving the Rebels time to escape and defend themselves is an incredibly costly mistake. The Empire won the Battle of Hoth, but the Rebel Alliance still lived to fight another day. With better strategy from Ozzel the Empire could’ve crushed the Rebels once and for all. That’s more than enough to anger Vader and motivate him to end Ozzel’s life.
At the end of the day, Ozzel was similar to Admiral Konstantine from Star Wars Rebels, Imperial officers who let greed and overzealousness control their actions, culminating in their deaths and setbacks for the Empire.
Do you think Admiral Ozzel was a Rebel spy? Let us know in the comments below!