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Hans is a greedy and cruel scientist. He has converted many of his crew on his ship into robotic slaves.
Role in the film
Nearing the end of a long mission exploring deep space, the spacecraft USS Palomino returns to Earth. The crew consists of Captain Dan Holland, First Officer Lieutenant Charlie Pizer, Harry Booth, Dr. Kate McCrae, Dr. Alex Durant, and V.I.N.CENT.
The Palomino crew discovers a black hole in space with a spaceship nearby, somehow defying the hole's massive gravitational pull. The ship is identified as the long-lost USS Cygnus, the ship McCrae's father served aboard when it went missing. Deciding to investigate, the Palomino encounters a mysterious null-gravity field surrounding the Cygnus. The Palomino becomes damaged when it drifts away from the Cygnus and into the black hole's intense gravity field, but the ship manages to move back to the Cygnus and finds itself able to dock to what initially appears to be an abandoned vessel.
The Palomino crew carefully boards the Cygnus and soon encounters the ship's commander, Dr. Hans Reinhardt. Aided by a crew of faceless, black-robed android drones and his sinister-looking robot named Maximilian, Reinhardt explains that he has lived all alone on the Cygnus for years. After the ship encountered a meteor field and was disabled, he ordered the human crew to return to Earth, but Kate's father chose to remain aboard and has since died. Reinhardt then reveals that he has spent the past twenty years studying the black hole and intends to fly the Cygnus through it. Durant believes that it is possible and asks to accompany Reinhardt on the trip.
The rest of the Palomino crew became suspicious of the faceless drones' human-like behavior: Booth sees a robot limping and Holland witnesses a robot funeral and discovers the Cygnus crew's personal items in the ship's living quarters. Old B.O.B. explains that the faceless drones are actually the human crew, who mutinied when Reinhardt refused to return to Earth and had been lobotomized and "reprogrammed" by Reinhardt to serve him. McCrae's father had led the mutiny and was killed. Using telepathic communication, V.I.N.CENT tells Kate the truth about what happened. When Kate tells Durant, he removes the reflective faceplate from a "drone" to reveal the monstrous face of a crew member. Appalled, Durant tries to flee the bridge with Kate, but Maximilian kills him. Reinhardt takes Kate prisoner, ordering his sentry robots to take her to the ship's hospital bay to be lobotomized.
Just as the process begins, Holland, V.I.N.CENT, and B.O.B. rescue Kate. Meanwhile, fearing the situation is escalating in an extremely dangerous way, Booth attempts to escape alone in the Palomino. Reinhardt orders the craft shot down, but the weapons fire sends the ship crashing into the Cygnus, destroying its port-side antigravity force field generator. A destructive meteor storm then destroys the starboard generator. Without its null-gravity bubble, the Cygnus starts to break apart under the black hole's huge gravitational forces.
Reinhardt and the Palomino survivors separately plan their escape aboard a small probe ship used to study the black hole. Reinhardt orders Maximilian to go and prepare the probe ship, but then a large viewscreen falls on Reinhardt, pinning him down. His lobotomized crew stand motionless as he helplessly struggles. Maximilian has a confrontation with the others, and fatally damages B.O.B. before he is damaged by V.I.N.CENT, and drifts out of the broken ship into the black hole. Holland, Pizer, McCrae, and V.I.N.CENT reach the probe ship and launch, only to discover the controls locked onto a flight path that takes them into the black hole.
In a bizarre sequence inside the black hole which resembles Heaven and Hell, Reinhardt becomes merged with Maximilian in an infernal landscape populated by a blasphemous group of black-robed spectres resembling the Cygnus drones. Next, a floating and angelic figure with long flowing hair passes through a cathedral-like arched crystal tunnel. The probe ship then emerges from a white hole and is last seen flying through space towards a planet near a bright star.
Hans Renhardt's defeat.
The robot Maximilian is named after his actor, the late Maximilain Schell.