Herr Starr

In the first season of Preacher, in the episode The PossibilitiesTulip O’Hare obtained from her friend Dany the last known location of Carlos in exchange of a map, map that was later given to a man in a white dress, spotted in a theater while watching a snuff movie, portrayed by Morse Bicknell. With the second season rapidly approaching, we finally have a face for that man, as Pip Torrens has been cast as Herr Starr, the leader of the mysterious organization known as The Grail (or rather Grail Industries). Herr Starr and his right-hand-woman Lara Featherstone will be among the show’s primary villains, but nothing more is known about them… apart from the fact that they’ll be linked to the death of John Custer. In the comics, Herr Starr is not The Grail’s leader, well, at least not from the very beginning: let’s see together.

Not much is known about Herr Starr’s early life, not even his first name. He grew up in West Germany, the son of a British soldier. His mixed origins made him the target of bullies since he was a little kid, and it was during elementary schools that five thugs became his living nightmare, mocking him and physically assaulting him because of his father. One day, the five boys reached a new peak of brutality, as they decided to “put the star in Starr” by carving five lines across his right eye, blinding him from that side; terrified and in pain, Starr kept screaming during the entire process, to the point that he damaged his vocal cords, gaining a harsh, hoarse voice that would have accompanied him for his entire life. The event deeply traumatized the kid, and turned him into a monster: from that day, Starr decided he would have brought order into chaos, starting by “putting in line” the bullies who had scarred and blinded him; nobody knows the details, but the five boys were dead before Herr Starr was ten years old. Following this new mission of his, he joined the GSG 9, the Wehrmacht‘s elite counter-terrorism squad. He excelled in every field of training, but for the unarmed combat: his instructor was a sadist who enjoyed beating up recruits, and Starr didn’t want to learn anything from him. One day, during the usual training, Starr shot his instructor in the knees, then knocked him out and walked away, declaring he would have skipped that particular training: albeit this was obviously against the rules and against any idea of discipline, the man’s results in the other disciplines were so high that he was far too a precious asset to be dismissed. When a comrade made him notice that he would have not been as skilled as the others in unarmed combat, he coldly replied he didn’t plan to ever be unarmed. On his first mission, Herr Starr’s squad foiled a plane hijack annihilating a group of terrorists, with only one victim among the civilians: a six-years-old girl. Seeing the little girl’s corpse confirmed Starr in his crusade: the world needed to be changed. Radically.

Herr Starr’s deeds eventually attracted the attention of the right people, namely Brendel Hauptmann, an operative of the secret organization known as The Grail, who wanted to impose God‘s order over the world’s chaos… exactly what Herr Starr wanted as well. Hauptmann intrigued Starr with the promise of a new way to fight the world’s evils, and he introduced him to Eisenstein, who told him The Grail’s ultimate plan: the world was about to end, as an apocalypse would have killed millions in the upcoming millennium; on the verge of humanity’s destruction, The Grail would have produced the Messiah, the true blood-heir of Jesus Christ, who would have saved the world. If he wanted, Starr could be part of this plan, but only if he passed a simple test: he had to silence a renegade Grail operative, who was telling too much to some curious reporters. The man had been locked in an insane asylum, so it was quite difficult to kill the inmate without rising suspicions… but Herr Starr passed the test by blowing up the entire asylum: with hundreds of murders to investigate on, it was less than unlikely that the investigators would have understood who was the real target of the attack. Impressed, the leader of the Grail, the Allfather, allowed him in, and in a matter of a few years Herr Starr rose in ranks until he became the Sacred Executioner, the armed branch of The Grail, the man who represented all the organization’s power. When a man needed to be disposed of, or a government needed to be threatened, or an event to be covered up, Herr Starr was the man for the job, and he devoted all his talent for death and brutality to the cause. Finally, he was allowed to fulfill his greatest aspiration, and he met the Messiah… who turned out to be a dumb retarded man, the result of the same bloodline being inbred over and over again to maintain its purity. This, for Herr Starr, was inconceivable, as he realized that a man like the “Messiah” would have not brought order to the world, quite the opposite. It was clear what he had to do: he needed to work against The Grail from the inside, searching for a new Messiah to replace the original one.

Herr Starr is a determined, ruthless man, hellbent on bringing order to the world no matter the cost. He’s also brutal and sadistic, a sexual pervert who enjoys humiliating and demeaning the woman he’s having sex with in the kinkiest ways possible. Albeit he lacks talent in hand-to-hand combat, Herr Starr is a superb tactician and a master of weapons, a nearly infallible marksman at ease with any kind of firearm. With a relentlessness testified by the number of body parts he’s lost in his personal crusade, Herr Starr embodies the wrath of God over a world of chaos and cruelty, a man who holds entire states and nations in his grasp, ready to squeeze them if they do not follow his orders… after all, even innocents perished in Sodom and Gomorrah, an acceptable loss when doing God’s will.