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|“||A Jedi? [laughs] I am no longer naive enough to be a Jedi. A new power's rising; I've foreseen it. The Jedi are going to lose this war and the Republic will be ripped apart from the inside. In its place is going to rise a new order, and I will rule as part of it.||„|
|~ Pong Krell, revealing his fall to the dark side and foretelling the outcome of the Clone Wars to Captain Rex.|
Pong Krell is the main antagonist of the Umbara arc in Season 4 of the TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and arguably the secondary antagonist of the entire fourth season itself.
He is a very stern Besalisk male fallen Jedi Master who served as a Jedi General during the Clone Wars. An unyielding Jedi General, Krell took a no-nonsense approach when it came to commanding a group of clone troopers. Having won many key Republic victories during the war, the Besalisk Jedi Master was recognized as a successful general among Jedi and clones alike but had the highest amount of clone casualties under his belt. He is also the former boss and archenemy of Captain Rex.
Around the second year of the Clone Wars, Krell was present on the Confederate-aligned world Umbara, where he took over the command of the 501st Legion as an interim. Under his command, the troops of the 501st were ordered to take the planet's capital city in a full frontal assault on a highway that led into the city. Often at odds with Clone Captain Rex, Krell did not come to terms with the 501st Captain.
When the clone troopers had to capture an Umbaran airbase before they could proceed into the city, Rex, with many of the troopers under his command, felt uncertain about the order, due to the route Krell wanted the clones to take to reach the airbase leaving the clones exposed to the enemy.
After the capture of the airbase, Krell's battle group learned of a Confederate supply ship in orbit over Umbara. Even though Krell wanted all his troops to take the city, three clone troopers under his command – Jesse, Hardcase, and Fives – disobeyed the order and boarded separate starfighters to dock with the supply ship. When only Jesse and Fives returned, Krell wanted them to face the Grand Army's court-martial for disobeying orders, and when Rex tried to argue against it, Krell instead ordered him to organize a firing squad to execute the clones. When the clones refused to follow this order, Krell ordered Rex and the rest of his men to hunt Umbarans disguised in clone armor, the Jedi Master's betrayal was revealed when Rex's men learned that they were killing Kenobi's clone unit, who equally received the same order from Krell to kill clone-disguised Umbaran troops.
Rex, with Kenobi's troopers, attempted to arrest Krell for his treasonous act, although the Besalisk avoided capture by engaging the clone troopers in combat, killing many of them. After a brutal battle in the jungles of Umbara, trooper Tup knocked Krell unconscious by stunning him, and the fallen Jedi was taken to the airbase's prison. There, Krell revealed that he had foreseen that the Jedi would lose the Clone Wars and that a new order would rise in the place of the destroyed Republic, and wanted to become Count Dooku's apprentice. Trooper Dogma, who was present at the time, took a blaster and shot Krell in the back, killing him instantly. The battle was later won by the Republic.
|“||I will not be undermined by creatures bred in some laboratory!||„|
|~ Pong Krell insulting the clones after revealing his betrayal.|
In war, Pong Krell is a very obdurate, ruthless, relentless, and intransigent Jedi Master who settled for nothing less than absolute victory on the battlefield. Committed to both the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic, Krell became a successful general through his unorthodox but efficient strategies. He is supremely equanimous and confident in his command style, and thus he expected complete obedience to the chain-of-command from his subordinates.
During the Battle of Umbara, Pong Krell displayed very low opinion of clone troopers, but he was especially antagonized by Clone Captain 7567 (Rex). He is also extremely irritated by the captain's suggestion to let the troopers rest before completing their objective, as well as their failure to defeat Umbaran soldiers without the assistance of his reinforcements. Krell was also not afraid to use the threat of deadly force to put insubordinate troopers back in their place, as ARC-5555 (Fives) discovered when his outspoken criticism of the general's leadership was silenced with an order at the point of a lightsaber blade.
In terms of military strategy, Krell is keenly aware of Umbara's significance to the Republic's war effort, including the fact that the chances of victory depended primarily on himself and the 501st Legion. Though viewed by some clones as a gruff, pejorative, and uncompromising tactician, the fiercely focused Krell was unshakably determined to achieve the best results in battle so that the outcome would be nothing short of a Republic victory. Consequently, however, this record for success also produced a record for the highest casualties as well, which Krell rationalized as a natural consequence of war. Although he was a highly skilled combatant, Krell did not normally get involved in the fighting unless absolutely necessary. During the Battle of Umbara, he intentionally remained away from most of the fighting in order to covertly assist the Umbarans and the Separatists.
Very far from being an incompetent general as some of the 501st initially perceived him to be due to his seemingly reckless strategies, Pong Krell revealed his true nature when his own clone troopers attempted to arrest him. He detested the clones as "creatures" hatched in the laboratories of Kamino. He also took immense pleasure in killing many clones with ease, as well as the fact that he no longer had to hide behind his Jedi facade. By this time, the tenets of the Jedi Order had become meaningless to Krell. In his eyes, the Jedi were too naive, credulous, and unsuspecting, and the path to true power was through the Sith. As a result of his new beliefs, Krell reveled in the Dark Side of the Force.
- Before fighting the clones, Pong Krell says "It's treason then", which Emperor Palpatine also said in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
- Pong Krell's arrogance, his lack of regard for the lives of Clones, as well as his duplicity make him a heavily despised character by the Star Wars community. In fact, there is a subreddit dedicated to Pong Krell hate known as "r/f***pongkrell".