- "You need our help as much as we need yours."
- ―Major Grau to Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker
Wil'm Grau was a Human male who served as a commando in the Galactic Empire and held the rank of major around the time of the Battle of Yavin. Being sent in pursuit of an experimental vessel hijacked by members of the Rebel Alliance, Major Grau and his team eventually tracked it down in the Alashan system. The stolen ship crash-landed on the surface of Alashan, where Grau and another five commandos were waiting, but their main vessel―a Star Destroyer in orbit―had been obliterated by a Death Star-like laser beam. Grau and his men eventually discovered the wreck of the stolen vessel and decided to cooperate with its Rebel hijackers to get off of Alashan alive, and to investigate the origin of the laser beam, which had been fired from the surface.
Grau and his men, along with the Rebels Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, examined an old Rebel archaeological camp that was located a day's walk away from the ship's crash site. They were attacked again by the laser once they reached the site, though Skywalker pushed Grau out of the way of the beam seconds before it reached them, saving the major's life and winning his trust. The team briefly looked through the camp, finding the dead bodies of Rebel researchers, before going down into the tunnel that its occupants had excavated before their deaths. The tunnel led them to a vast underground city. However, the group was followed by the Sentinel, a large creature that fired the laser at them earlier. Organa and Skywalker realized that the advanced computers at the city control center they discovered gave the Sentinel its power and destroyed them, which killed the creature. Grau and the only other surviving Imperial, Anarine, helped the Rebels repair the downed ship and left the planet, later going their separate ways.
- "Don't be foolish, laddy-buck. Make a wrong move―make any wrong move at all―and it'll be your last."
- ―Grau to Luke Skywalker
Wil'm Grau was a Human male Imperial officer that held the rank of major as of 0 ABY. That year, he was part of a force that intercepted communications about the hijacked experimental Imperial starship known as the Staraker, which was stolen from the planet Foundry by the Rebels Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Mici Shabandar, along with the droids C-3PO and R2-D2. However, when the Staraker was passing through the Alashan system, it was attacked and critically damaged by a Death Star-like superlaser beam fired from the surface of Alashan. An Imperial Star Destroyer that was pursuing it was also hit, but it was completely destroyed. Six Imperial commandos, led by Major Grau, had arrived in a smaller craft ahead of the Star Destroyer and landed on the surface of the planet. From there, they witnessed their base ship being obliterated in orbit by the superlaser shortly after it arrived.
- "Princess, I offer a truce. Apart, we haven't a prayer of fighting whatever destroyed our two ships much less of getting off this mud-ball alive. Together, who knows?"
- ―Grau speaking to Skywalker and Organa
Arriving on the planet, the crew sought out the Staraker which had also become damaged and crashed on Alashan. After finding the Staraker partly buried underground from its crash landing, Grau and the rest of the Imperials first noticed Skywalker emerge from a tunnel that he had to create in order to reach the surface. They identified him as a Rebel Alliance member immediately due to his lightsaber (which he used to carve a tunnel). Leia Organa then emerged from the buried vessel shortly afterwards. At that point, one of Grau's comrades, Ensign Kyril Lopaki, wanted to take them prisoner upon recognizing Organa. Grau angrily told him that if they were going to survive, they would need to work together, and offered the Rebels a truce. The pair of Rebels recognized their tenuous position and decided that they did not have much of a choice. They agreed to work with the stranded Imperials to get off of the planet.
After wandering through the planet's rugged terrain, the Imperial commandos and the Rebels came to the old archaeological base used by the Rebel Alliance that had been destroyed by an unknown force. Grau explained their situation to the Rebels as they reached the site, observing it from the peak of a large hill. Skywalker sensed something in the Force at that moment and pushed the major down from where he was standing. A laser beam struck the spot where the commando was seconds ago. A second shot caused an avalanche and forced the Rebels and the Imperials to rush down the hill to avoid being crushed. One of the stormtroopers with them, Boaz, broke his leg and was unable to escape in time, being killed. Leia helped dig out Grau from under some fallen rocks, and the major voiced his appreciation for being rescued to Skywalker, telling him that the Rebel saved his life. He gave Skywalker back his lightsaber (which he took from him when the Imperials first found him) as a sign of his trust.
Skywalker brought up the fact that the lasers struck from behind them, meaning that the thing attacking them had found the Staraker. He wanted to go back to the ship, since they left the wounded Mici Shabandar back there, but the major tried talked him out of it by telling him that they would not be able to fight off their attacker. Leia also pointed out that the ship was a whole day's march away. Their conversation was interrupted as another laser beam hit the Staraker in the distance, further burying it underground. The team decided to proceed to the old Rebel camp.
Into the cityEdit
- "We won't find the answers up here, Princess. Djambo, you'll stay behind as rearguard. The rest of you steelbacks, follow me!"
- ―Grau speaking to the others
The team investigated the Rebel camp and discovered the dead bodies of the Rebels who worked there. Leia discovered a journal that the Rebels kept, which stated that they discovered an underground city that they would attempt to enter. Grau told them that they would no discover the answers to their problems in the base and jumped into the tunnel that the Rebels had excavated, leaving the stormtrooper Eger Djambo as a rearguard. The team discovered more bodies of Rebels and eventually found a breached metal barrier that led into the city itself. Meanwhile, on the surface, Djambo was killed by the Sentinel, the creature that attacked them earlier and was hunting them down.
As they entered the city, Grau stated that the place made him nervous, and he decided to give Djambo a call. They realized he was dead when the trooper failed to respond to their attempts at contacting him. The major left a stormtrooper named Voss behind to guard the bridge that connected the city with the cave tunnel that they entered through. Voss was killed shortly afterwards as the Sentinel arrived in the city. They all fired their blasters at the beast, but it appeared to be impervious to the shots. However, some of the shots were deflected off of its hide and were sent at the nearby tunnel walls. They destroyed the rock and caused the tunnel to collapse down onto the Sentinel. They entered the city assuming that it was killed, but the Sentinel actually survived and continued to go after them.
The creature attacked Skywalker and Organa, throwing them off of a ledge, but they managed to use a grapple to get onto a nearby platform. Meanwhile, Grau and one of his only surviving commandos, Fleet Sergeant Anarine, were pursued by the Sentinel through the streets of the city. The pair of Imperials tried to lure it into a building that they rigged with explosives in order to kill it, but the creature survived and chased after them. They were cornered in a dead-end alley when the creature suddenly vanished. The major did not know it until later, but the Sentinel teleported to the control center, where Skywalker, Organa, and Ensign Lopaki discovered the computer consoles that gave the Sentinel its power. The Sentinel killed Lopaki before the Rebels destroyed the computers, which weakened it and resulted in the creature's death.
- "An interesting offer, Princess―certainly the best I've had today. Anarine and I'll sleep on it."
- ―The major's response to Leia Organa asking him to defect
Several days later, their small group recovered the Staraker, made some basic repairs, and left the planet together. As they flew off, Organa asked Grau to join the Rebellion, calling him a "man of honor and principles." The major responded by asking for some time to think it over with Anarine. The two Imperials later left the Staraker by taking its scout boat, at which point Grau contacted the Rebels and told them the he and Anarine belong with the Empire.
Personality and traitsEdit
- "Whatever you may think princess, the Empire really is our kind of people. We'll stay with them."
- ―Grau explaining his escape to Organa and Skywalker
Grau was an experienced soldier and led a small team of stormtrooper commandos. He was not a zealous Imperial patriot like one of his men, Ensign Lopaki, and prevented him from handcuffing the Rebels when they encountered them at the downed Staraker. No one in the commando unit openly challenged his opinion that they needed to work together with the Rebels. When Skywalker later saved the major from being hit by the Sentinel's laser beam, he came to trust the Rebels and gave them back the lightsaber that the Imperials took from them earlier. Grau told them it was a sign of his trust. But the man nonetheless remained loyal to the Empire, refusing Organa's offer to join the Rebellion and leaving the Staraker with the only surviving commando of his team.
Behind the scenesEdit
Major Grau appeared in The Word for World is Death! and The Guardian of Forever!, issues of the Marvel Star Wars Weekly comic series that were published in April 1980. He was later given a mention in The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia.
- The Word for World is Death! (First appearance)
- The Guardian of Forever! (First identified as Wil'm)
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 360 ("Grau, Wil'm")