- "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."
- ―Leia Organa to Wilhuff Tarkin
Wilhuff Tarkin was a human male who served the Galactic Republic and later the Galactic Empire. During the Clone Wars, Tarkin served as a Republic captain under Jedi Master Even Piell and was taken prisoner by the Confederacy of Independent Systems, before escaping with the help of a Jedi and clone trooper strike team. During the incident Piell was killed and Tarkin was later promoted to Admiral and served as prosecutor in the trial of Ahsoka Tano, who was framed for the bombing of the Jedi Temple hangar.
After Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire, Tarkin became the Empire's first Grand Moff, and regional Governor of the Outer Rim. With this responsibility, he was also given oversight of the Death Star which he took command over after removing Orson Krennic from the position once it was operational. He believed that fear of the battle station would keep the local systems loyal to the Empire, and used it to destroy Alderaan to showcase the station's power. The Rebel Alliance squad Rogue One, however, stole the plans to the Death Star from Scarif, and Luke Skywalker was able to destroy it during the Battle of Yavin, killing all those on board, including Tarkin.
Wilhuff Tarkin was born on the planet Eriadu into the wealthy Tarkin family. He lived with his family in the family compound, where the Tarkins had lived for over a millennium. Wilhuff's father and mother taught him that Eriadu hadn't always been the safe environment that it seemed—the entire planet had once been an untamed wilderness. The jungle and predators had been more of a threat than pirates and marauders. The early Tarkins had helped settle Eriadu; they had been their own police force. Later a militia had been formed—under Tarkin leadership. Wilhuff took these history lessons to heart. Wilhuff's parents made sure that he knew that respect, discipline and obedience were of the utmost importance. Because of this Wilhuff thought of himself as a product of a military upbringing. One night while at supper Tarkin's father ordered a servant to take Wilhuff's plate before he could eat—teaching him how easy it is to lose something.
Following family tradition, Wilhuff's grand-uncle Jova Tarkin, along with two other relatives and two Rodian guides, took him on trips to the Carrion Plateau, on which he taught the young survival skills and lessons on the savage wilderness that his ancestors had tamed. After passing a test in which he outwitted a pack of predators at the Carrion Spike, sixteen year-old Tarkin was deemed to have completed his testing on the plateau. Six months after passing this test, Wilhuff's training shifted to space combat. More family members and hired trainers taught him tactics and piloting skills, while admonishing him to apply the lessons he learned as a hunter to control the pirates and lawbreakers of the Outer Rim.
Early military careerEdit
Tarkin joined the Outland Regions Security Force, a force dedicated to protecting Eriadu and the Greater Seswenna sector in the absence of a Republic military. As part of this organization's anti-pirate taskforce, he made a name for himself by outwitting and brutally suppressing a group of pirates known as Q'anah's Marauders during the Greater Seswenna raids. After decoding the pattern in the pirate leader Q'anah's attacks, Tarkin captured her ship, launching her and her crew on a slow course into a sun. The Outland ships broadcast the suffering of Q'anah's crew on her group's comm network, and destroyed any ships that came to her rescue. At the age of nineteen, Tarkin was even designing new ships for the Outland Security Force.
After working with the Outland Regions Security Force, Tarkin attended the Sullust Sector Spacefarers Academy to join the Judicial Department's forces. While training there, he met Sheev Palpatine, then a Senator from Naboo. Palpatine offered to help him secure a place in the Republic's Judicial Academy, but asked him to consider a career in politics. Tarkin did not follow the Senator's advice at the time, but did take his help in admission to the Academy. Following an overly dramatic entrance at the head of an Outland delegation, Tarkin had a hard time fitting in, often brawling with other students.
A mission to the world Halcyon alongside a group of Jedi gave him a chance to prove his worth, when the officer leading his team disobeyed Jedi orders and set off on a march to attack their target from another angle. The other Judicials quickly proved to be out of their depth in the wilderness, and came to rely on Tarkin's skills and leadership as he brought them safely to the objective, where the Jedi had just completed the mission. Tarkin was credited with saving their lives. Stories began to circulate within the Judicial Department of his exploits. As he continued to build a name for himself, Tarkin saw that conflicts throughout the galaxy were increasing, and turned his mind to Palpatine's advice to enter politics.
Governor of EriaduEdit
With Palpatine's backing, Tarkin became Governor of Eriadu. He aided Palpatine during the Eriadu trade summit by preventing Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum from investigating, which contributed to Valorum's fall from grace. During this time, he briefly met with Orson Callan Krennic. During the Separatist Crisis, Count Dooku attempted to convince Tarkin to pledge Eriadu to the Separatist cause, but Tarkin remained loyal to Palpatine. In truth, Palpatine, as his alter ego Darth Sidious, had sent Dooku to sway him as a test of his loyalty.
The Clone WarsEdit
Battle of MurkhanaEdit
When the Clone Wars began, Tarkin became an officer in the newly-formed and militarized Republic Navy, where he stayed in contact with now-chancellor Palpatine. Despite his departure from the role of governor, the title remained with him. During the early stages of the war, in 21 BBY, Tarkin was a Captain and commanded the battle of Murkhana, an assault against the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
Captured by the ConfederacyEdit
Sometime after the Battle of Murkhana, in 20 BBY, Tarkin served under Jedi Master Even Piell as the captain of his flagship. Tarkin and Piell undertook a mission to secure the Nexus Route, a strategically important hyperspace route that led into both the heart of the Confederacy of Independent Systems and the Galactic Republic. Before Tarkin and Piell were able to return to Republic space and secure the information for the Republic, they were attacked by the Separatist navy. Before they were boarded Piell and Tarkin each memorized half of the information regarding the Nexus Route, they then erased it from the ship's computer. Shortly after, they and several clone troopers were captured and taken to the Separatist controlled planet Lola Sayu, a volcanic world home to the Citadel, a prison built hundreds of years before that was designed to hold renegade Jedi if any had lost their way, where Tarkin was repeatedly tortured.
Escape from Lola SayuEdit
- "You lack faith in the Jedi."
"I find their tactics ineffective. The Jedi Code prevents them from going far enough to achieve victory, to do whatever it takes to win, the very reason why peacekeepers should not be leading a war. Have I…offended you?"
"No. I've also found that we sometimes fall short of victory because of our methods."
"Well, I see we agree on something."
- ―Anakin Skywalker and Tarkin discuss the Jedi Order's place in the war.
Later, Piell was rescued by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, Skywalker's Padawan Ahsoka Tano, and several clone troopers that made up the rest of the rescue team. Piell informed Skywalker that Tarkin possessed the other half of the Nexus Route and that he and several clone troopers were being held in a separate cell. Skywalker and his team made their way to Tarkin's cell, destroying several battle droids along the way. They then freed the Republic officers and began their escape from the Citadel.
Tarkin was at first surprised to see Piell again, and elated to be freed from capture. Tarkin despaired about their current situation for they were still deep in enemy territory. General Kenobi worked out a plan to escape, but Tarkin disagreed with it, stating it would be better to stay together to bring strength in numbers, providing the already small group with better protection to escape the Citadel and protect the Nexus Route information. Piell and the others rejected Captain Tarkin's plan. They then split up into two groups, Tarkin still trying to convince them that greater strength would be found in greater numbers. Piell agreed with Kenobi and ordered Tarkin to accompany Skywalker's group. Tarkin was annoyed that his seemingly superior plan was rejected, but still did as commanded and followed Skywalker into the old tunnels under the Citadel.
As they began moving through the tunnels, Skywalker noted that everything was going according to Kenobi's plan so far. Tarkin again voiced his opinion of the matter, questioning as to what would happen if Kenobi's plan began to fail. In response, Skywalker asked Tarkin to trust them, stating Jedi worked at their best when they had to improvise. Tarkin then told the Jedi he only trusted those who took action. Skywalker retorted that he only trusted those who understood gratitude, reminding Tarkin he would have still been a prisoner if not for the efforts of the Jedi.
After Skywalker's Padawan Ahsoka Tano took lead of the group, Tarkin expressed his lack of faith in the girl, despite clone captain Rex's attempts to persuade him otherwise, by telling him he had served under her many times before and she had never failed him. Tarkin was unconvinced and dismissed the clone's thoughts with silence. While the group made their way through the old tunnel system towards the rendezvous point, Tarkin became increasingly impressed with the layout and structure of the Citadel. Tano grew frustrated at this, asking Tarkin how he could admire such a monstrosity. Tarkin then claimed to Tano that their entire ordeal only proved his claim, and that he wished the Citadel had been claimed by the Republic and not the Separatists. Although Tano still disagreed with Tarkin, her master agreed with his philosophy.
Tarkin then admitted to Skywalker that he had earned his trust, but not the rest of the Jedi Order, for in Tarkin's experience the Jedi's tactics had proved ineffective. The Jedi Code prevented them from going far enough to defeat the Confederacy and end the Clone War. Skywalker, rather than being offended by Tarkin's opinion, agreed with him, stating that their tactics did keep them from going far enough to achieve victory at times. Tarkin and Skywalker came to a mutual respect for one another.
They soon reached the shuttle's location, but before they could board they were attacked by a Separatist droid garrison and several laser cannons. Tarkin reached the conclusion that to take the shuttle and escape they would have to attack in a full forward assault, but before a decision could be made the shuttle was destroyed by the droids. The group was then forced to retreat from the superior numbers of their enemies.
Soon they were provided a set of coordinates where they would be picked up by a Jedi led rescue team. Tarkin questioned what would become of them if the Jedi failed to rescue them, much to Piell's annoyance. Skywalker warned Tarkin that arguing with Piell was ill-fated, although Tarkin stated he stood by his principles without compromise, as his career was sound due to his relationship with Chancellor Sheev Palpatine. Skywalker retorted that he had also fallen into favor with the Chancellor, causing the pair to grow a further sense of respect for one another.
Soon the group was attacked by more droids and several anoobas, the group reached a cliff face, unable to climb down they locked in their ascension gun cables, Tarkin climbed onto Skywalker's back and rappelled down the cliff. Tarkin then engaged the droids in combat, shooting down at least one STAP and several commando droids, Tarkin was saved by a clone navy trooper who sacrificed himself by pushing Tarkin out of a blaster bolt's path by taking it himself. After the battle Tarkin informed the group that more squads would soon be on their way. General Piell fell in battle, mortally wounded by an anooba, but before he died he passed on his half of the information to Ahsoka Tano, much to Tarkin's annoyance. The Jedi held a short funeral for Master Piell before moving on.
Soon the group made their way to the coordinates and were attacked by more battle droids and the Citadel's sadistic caretaker Osi Sobeck. After a brief battle with his entourage of droids, Sobeck was all who remained. He found himself cornered by Tarkin, who fired at him with his blaster rifle, wounding Sobeck. However, he didn't manage to kill the Phindian, who charged Tarkin, lifting him over his head. Sobeck was about to throw Tarkin into a river of lava when Ahsoka Tano stabbed Sobeck through the back with her lightsaber. After Tarkin recovered, he briefly thanked Tano and then told Skywalker he had trained his Padawan well. They were then picked up by the rescue team and were taken to the safety of Coruscant. When Master Yoda suggested debriefing both Tarkin and Tano on the intel they possessed, Tarkin insisted that his intel be taken directly to the Supreme Chancellor, in contrast to Tano's resolution to share the information only with the Jedi High Council. Following this debate, Tarkin commended Skywalker on his efforts, while subtly insulting Kenobi by expressing a desire to see more Jedi with Skywalker's military sensibilities.
Following the Citadel incident, Tarkin recommend that the Jedi be gradually phased out from military command, as he feared their code could be responsible for the Republic losing the war.
Special Weapons GroupEdit
Shortly after his imprisonment, Tarkin was drafted into the Strategic Advisory Cell's Special Weapons Group, which had been created during his time on Lola Sayu. The main purpose of the group was to oversee the construction of what would become the Death Star, a moon-sized battle station, that point of which was to house a superlaser. Tarkin had in fact urged Chancellor Palpatine to move forward with the station, with some believing he even had a similar station in mind before the discovery of the original Geonosian plans. At this time, he was kept up to date with the progress of the station's construction, which was happening over Geonosis under the supervision of Lieutenant Commander Orson Krennic, who was also a key figure in the Special Weapons Group. It was public rumor that Tarkin was set by Palpatine to become the leader of the entire project, something Krennic felt threatened by.
By this point, Tarkin had become an Adjutant General, although this was a nominal position only. He had a permanent office on Coruscant, near to the Senate Building. At this time, he knew the lawyer Arsha Lome, and at one point they visited The Cupola. In this new position, Tarkin led a formal interview of Galen Walton Erso, despite Krennic attempting to dissuade him. Erso had, one year previously, been rescued from Vallt, a Separatist-controlled world. Erso was originally on the planet to experiment on kyber crystals for Zerpen Industries, although the allegiance of the planet changed while he was there, leading to him being imprisoned. However, due to the nature of his research, he was rescued by Orson Krennic, who only did so as felt that Erso and his research could help with the Death Star project.
Erso, however, wouldn't knowingly help build a weapon of mass destruction, so Krennic intended to play the long game to control Erso. When meeting with Tarkin, Erso asked why he couldn't leave Coruscant, to which Tarkin replied that his loyalty to the Republic was being questioned. He then questioned Erso as to why he wanted no part in the Republic. Erso stated that he was a pacifist, and would only work for the Republic in a capacity that wasn't involved in the war, such as the energy enrichment he had been completing for Zerpen. Tarkin later revealed his suspicions of the possibility that Erso was a CIS spy, who had been deliberately planted on Coruscant to steal military secrets. However, due to Erso's relationship with Orson Krennic, Tarkin gave the opinion to his superiors that the case on him should be shut, which it later was. However, before Erso left, Tarkin quizzed him as to whether Krennic had offered him any position in the Republic, to which the scientist truthfully replied a negative. After their meeting, the two stayed in contact and were on good terms.
At Geonosis, Krennic heard of Erso and Tarkin's meeting. This troubled Krennic, as although he was pleased the espionage charges had been dropped, he was wary of Tarkin's involvement with Erso, as he didn't trust the Adjutant General, not had he ever done since their meeting when Tarkin was governor of Eriadu. Krennic knew that the only way to retain command of construction was to gain Erso's allegiance, and so by extension his skills. Krennic suggested Erso take a position at Helical HyperCom on Lokori, a decision which was supported by Tarkin. However, Krennic only suggested the move to make Erso more bored than he was on Coruscant, making him move closer to the Republic.
- "We are scanning a large amount of rhydonium on that ship!"
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin, during the Carida incident
The same year, Tarkin was promoted to the rank of admiral. He was present at the Republic strategy conference with many other members of the Republic Navy and Jedi Order on space station Valor in orbit of the planet Carida, to discuss their ongoing efforts to defeat the Separatists. Shortly before the conference was set to begin, a Venator-class Star Destroyer, which had been hijacked and loaded with highly explosive rhydonium by the Separatists, came out of hyperspace near the station. Tarkin's astromech droid, Z9, notified Tarkin that he was unable to contact anyone on board the ship. Just as they realized the ship was really a bomb, the rhydonium was set off and tore open the ship. The shockwave shook Valor while debris crashed into the hull. Luckily D-Squad, a squadron of droids led by Colonel Meebur Gascon sent on a secret mission, had been able to stop the Venator and detonate the bomb before it reached the station, saving Tarkin and everyone else on board.
Bombing of the Jedi Temple hangarEdit
One year after the Carida Incident, the Jedi Temple hanger was bombed. Several civilians, Jedi, and clone troopers were killed in the blast. Tarkin attended a funeral for the victims of the bombing. Afterwards he informed Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano and Barriss Offee that the accused perpetrator of the bombing, Letta Turmond, had been transferred from the Jedi Temple to Republic custody. Tano was dismayed by this and insisted it was a Jedi matter, not the Republic military's business. Tarkin firmly explained to her that since clones were killed and and that the culprit was not a Jedi, the Republic military had jurisdiction. Skywalker scolded Tano for becoming angry. After Tano left Skywalker admitted to Tarkin that in many ways Tano was still very young.
Later, Admiral Tarkin contacted Tano and informed her Letta Turmond wished to speak with her. Tano met with Turmond in her prison cell where she was suddenly choked to death by ways of the Force. It was assumed that since Tano was a Jedi and she was alone with Turmond when she was killed, that Tano was the killer. Tano was arrested as a result. Tarkin later visited Tano in her cell and showed her a holorecording of the incident. Curiously the sound was missing from the recording, which made it seem as though Tano was telekentically strangling Turmond. Tarkin ordered no one be allowed to visit Tano, which angered her Jedi Master, Anakin Skywalker. Tano soon escaped from the Coruscant military base where she had been imprisoned.
Shortly after Tano's escape, Tarkin came before the Jedi Council via hologram, flanked by two clone troopers. He relayed the accusations against Tano, concluding that she had used a Jedi mind trick to convince the clones to release her and had proceeded to kill them during her escape. Although Master Plo Koon, a long-time friend and mentor of Tano's, refused to believe that the young Togruta would commit such deeds, Tarkin coldly dismissed his and the Council's beliefs as "irrelevant", and swiftly ended the transmission.
Trial of Ahsoka TanoEdit
- "Former Padawan Tano, I shall prove that you were the mastermind behind the attack on the Jedi Temple. That once your accomplices carried out your orders, you eliminated them one by one. When you are found guilty, I ask the Court that the full-extent of the law be brought down upon you, including penalty of death!"
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin, presiding over the trial
Soon after, Ahsoka Tano was recaptured. Tarkin came before the Jedi Council via hologram on behalf of the senate to request that Tano be expelled from the Jedi Order so that she could be tried by a Republic military court. The senate and Tarkin feared that if Tano were tried solely by the Jedi the verdict would be biased, as Tano was a Jedi. The Council reluctantly conceded and Tano was tried before a jury of senators. Tarkin headed the prosecution while senator Padmé Amidala of Naboo headed the defense. Tarkin stated he would prove Tano guilty of the Jedi Temple bombing and the murder of her cohorts, and requested the death penalty be used "when" Tano was found guilty. Padmé Amidala argued that if Tano were truly guilty she would not have made the evidence against herself so obvious. Tarkin doubted this claim and mentioned that Tano had been seen collaborating with the known Separatist terrorist Asajj Ventress after she had escaped Republic custody.
Soon the arguments were concluded and the jury reached a verdict. But before Chancellor Palpatine could read the verdict aloud to the court room, Anakin Skywalker and several Jedi Temple Guards arrived in the court room with Jedi Padawan Barriss Offee. Offee confessed to the bombing and the murder of Letta Turmond, and then a speech protesting against what the Jedi Order had become during the Clone Wars. Tarkin looked on with much interest. All charges against Ahsoka Tano were dropped, but she refused to rejoin the Jedi as a result of feeling betrayed by them during the escapade.
Age of the EmpireEdit
Start of a New EraEdit
- "Heck, he had already created an army."
- ―Berch Teller, on Tarkin
In the same year as Tano's departure from the Jedi, Count Dooku was killed by Anakin Skywalker. This set in motion a series of events that most of the galaxy was made to believe was an attempt by the Jedi Order to seize control of the Republic. In the chaos, the Jedi were defeated and the Galactic Empire was proclaimed, designed to bring order to the galaxy. However, the true events were more sinister, and were in fact orchestrated by Palpatine, who was secretly a Sith, so he could rule the galaxy. For Wilhuff Tarkin, it served as an opportunity to gain greater power. Although his rank of admiral remained with the Imperial Navy, Tarkin was formally made the moff of the Greater Seswenna sector by now-emperor Palpatine, with a place on the Imperial High Command. As such, Tarkin was given the corvette Carrion Spike, named after the place of his childhood trial, and ownership of the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Executrix.
The Death Star project was moved from the now superseded Special Weapons Group to Advanced Weapons Research, which was a sub-agency of Military Intelligence. At some point, Tarkin founded the Tarkin Initiative, a secret think tank within Advanced Weapons Research, that would also be heavily involved in the creation of the battle station.
Tarkin was present on a Venator-class Star Destroyer with the Emperor and his new apprentice Darth Vader, who was, unbeknownst to most, Anakin Skywalker. During the early years of the Empire, Tarkin would work with Vader on several missions. Together on the bridge, they arrived over Geonosis to view the Death Star, which now had its focusing dish installed, despite Krennic facing several setbacks with the working Geonosians. However, with the Clone Wars now over, Krennic found a new opportunity to lure the pacifist Erso to the Death Star project. He was inducted into Project Celestial Power, where he was promised he was experimenting on kyber crystals only to utilise them as an energy supply. However, Galen's research was actually being sent to other locations to be weaponized for the Death Star's superlaser, which was to be powered by kybers.
At one point, Tarkin journeyed to the Imperial Palace on Coruscant, where he reported on the progress of the construction of the Death Star to the Emperor and Grand Vizier Mas Amedda. He reported that it would either meet or surpass expectations. Amedda then asked of the superlaser, to which Tarkin began to state that early tests were successful. However, he was interrupted by the arrival of a heavily injured Darth Vader, who knocked out two guards. Tarkin expressed concern for the Emperor's safety, but he replied that he was safe, and that it was time for Tarkin and Amedda to leave.
In 18 BBY, Imperial forces began to target former Separatist worlds in the hope of pacifying any remnants of Separatist rebellion. Tarkin was assigned to make an example of the moon Antar 4, the purpose of which was to demonstrate that simply because the war was over, confederacy aligned systems weren't forgiven. The moon's government had been taken over by Separatists shortly after the Battle of Geonosis, and had remained in Confederacy hands throughout the war. However, a significant resistance movement had risen up amongst the moon's indigenous Gotal population, and had been supported throughout the war by Republic Intelligence. Despite this, Tarkin's orders were to bring the proverbial hammer down on the moon without making any attempt to sort Separatists from Republic loyalists and intelligence assets. Though Tarkin didn't support retribution, he carried out the orders with brutal efficiency, believing that it was justified in the sense that a repatriation attempt by the Republic could very well allow many of Antar 4's Separatists to escape. As such, his forces carried out numerous mass arrests and executions without due process. When word of this broke out, the media dubbed the event as the Antar Atrocity.
Western Reaches pacification operationsEdit
- "The Empire won't stop until it reaches the edge of the galaxy, is that it?"
"Why stop there?"
- ―Has Obitt and Wilhuff Tarkin, the latter of which showing interest in the potential for extragalactic expansion
In order to distance Tarkin from the controversial event, the Emperor assigned him to pacification operations in the Western Reaches, where he fought against entrenched Separatist holdouts. Assisting him was Hurst Romodi.
During this time, Tarkin met with Krennic over a shipyard over Kartoosh, where the Executrix was undergoing repairs after a battle in the Western Reaches, and Tarkin was overseeing the launch of a dreadnought. At that point, the Death Star had entered phase three of its construction, with work now focusing on the hypermatter reactor and shield generators. However, Krennic was running out of raw materials in Geonosis' rings, specifically doonium and dolovite. Krennic wanted to mine the resources from Western Reaches worlds in less populated sectors, in order to make sure there was no unwanted attention on the mining that could allude to the existence of the weapon. He wanted to mine legacy worlds due to the secrecy they would offer, although the problem was that they were heavily protected against exploitation. Krennic and Tarkin both thought it best to use ex-Seperatist companies on the planets to gain access to mining rights. Tarkin allowed Krennic to mine the worlds that were under his jurisdiction, despite him still having reservations as to if the Death Star would ever reach completion. Tarkin was also unimpressed with Krennic neglecting to inform the Emperor of his plan, having to do so himself.
Krennic used his former acquaintances Matese and Has Obitt, who were involved in the rescue of Galen Erso from Vallt, to control several legacy-status worlds, including Samovar and Wadi Raffa. Obitt shipped appropriated CIS weaponry to former Separatist mining companies, so Tarkin could arrive and 'discover' the weapons, then remove that world's statuses on account of having to deal with the possibility of a Separatist uprising. The Empire then declared the planets off limits, and were free to mine for the appropriate resources without risk of legal infringement or public attention, with the mining companies and other former Separatists in the surround area being forced to work for the Empire. Tarkin visited Samovar in the Executrix to oversee the mining operation. Mining was planned to continue until the heavy mining equipment hit bedrock, by which time the oceans would be acid, forests destroyed, atmosphere heavily polluted and native species extinct.
At this time, the pacification operations in the Western Reaches had taught him of the necessity of the station, as fear would be the only fully effective deterrent. Tarkin sought to command the project, but knew there would be many more setbacks. Instead, he plotted to keep Krennic in command, as a scapegoat, until a time when he could take over. Until then, he knew he must answer to Krennic, so the Emperor didn't give him command prematurely, and he would be accountable for delays. He then thought to involve Darth Vader, who he had previously worked with, to keep an eye on Krennic. From his cabin, Tarkin received a hologram from Arsha Lome on Coruscant, who was representing Samovar's mining conglomerate. She told him that her clients didn't know where the implicating weapons came from, to which Tarkin replied an investigation was ongoing, and a court date would be arranged. However, Lome wandered when this would be, and thought it was likely linked to the mining conglomerate's connection to the Separatists during the war. She continued by complaining how the Empire acquired all mining operations, and questioned as to whether the takeover was to do with doonium and dolovite. Tarkin then denied the accusations, and ended the transmission.
The Campaign at SalientEdit
- "What a wonderful myth it will make for the generations to come. The time Tarkin came to Salient!"
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin
Soon after, Krennic had dispatched Obitt to the Salient system, a former-separatist star system in the Corporate Sector. Yet again, Obitt was to deliver proscribed arms to Zerpen Industries' headquarters on the planet Epiphany's moon, in order to set up another Imperial mining operation, which would slowly expand to the rest of the system. However, Obitt was done working for Krennic, as he was concerned with his part in the destruction of vulnerable worlds. He joined Saw Gerrera's partisans, and warned the system's government of the Empire's plans, giving them a chance to fight before the Empire took over. Tarkin arrived on Epiphany's moon in order to seize control of the headquarters, after following Obbit's ships there. He spoke with a Zerpen representative, who he accused of harboring insurgents. However, the representative denied the accusations, and invited the Empire to search the facility. The crew of the overhead Executrix then realised that the smugglers had only orbited the moon, and were now headed deeper into the system towards Salient II.
While returning to the ship, Tarkin hypothesised that Zerpen knew the Empire was following the smugglers, and so refused their landing so they couldn't be blamed and appropriated. However, he wondered why Krennic's crew were going further into the system rather than leaving, although he knew he could still take over the system by framing the smugglers as insurgents. Then, Tarkin was alerted that ships from Salient's battle group were heading towards the Executrix. Immediately after, the Moff received a communication from a Hiitian general from Salient II's strategic command, who requested the Empire leave and allow Salient to deal with the insurgents, who they were secretly in league with. Furthermore, he told Tarkin that Salient was an autonomous system, and the Empire would face consequences if they continued their operation. Tarkin refused, and requested support from Admiral Utu's forces at Telos, as he predicted an upcoming campaign, although he refrained from an immediate invasion in order to see if any other systems in the Corporate Sector would come to Salient's aid.
After the smugglers landed at Salient II, Tarkin commenced a microjump towards the planet, while still remaining out of range of the battle group's defences, in an attempt to see if Obitt and his crew had been arrested or given sanctuary, the latter of which would confirm that Salient was in league with the smugglers, and they were working together against the Empire. In the meantime, several warships were dispatched from Salient I to reinforce the system's second planet. Tarkin, however, was also expecting backup in the form of two Star Destroyers from Telos. He thought it likely that the system's government were warned of the Empire's intentions beforehand by the smugglers, due to their quick shift to a war footing, although he found it strange that they would defect after flawless operations at Samovar and Wadi Raffa. Tarkin hypothesised that Krennic knew Obitt would defect, and deliberately allowed him to continue the operation in the hope a battle would occur, forcing Tarkin to stay away from the Death Star project, due to the fact that a retreat would show other systems that the Empire could be beaten. Tarkin was correct in this assumption, as Krennic was keeping him away at the most important part of the battle station's construction, with work on the superlaser imminent. The Moff's train of thought was interrupted by a communication from the Hiitian general. He told Tarkin he wouldn't give up the smugglers as they were essential to revealing the Empire's subterfuge. However, he told Tarkin that he wanted to find a peaceful solution, and asked if Salient II's ambassador could board the Executrix. Tarkin agreed, as he thought that perhaps Salient II could be the Empire's foothold to gain access to the rest of the system, instead of intended Epiphany. However, the shuttle approaching the Star Destroyer showed no life signs, and Tarkin held it in the ship's tractor beam, with concerns raised that it was a bomb. While this occurred, three warships emerged from Salient II's dark side, and Tarkin realised that they were provoking the Empire into taking preemptive action.
The drone shuttle then exploded, as Tarkin had predicted, and the three warships attacked the Executrix. It returned fire and the ensuing battle lasting several standard hours, until the Salient ships repositioned closer to the planet, now under the protection of its turbolaser batteries. Tarkin was willing to admit he had underestimated Krennic, who he was now convinced had designed the predicament, as he had learned the former Lieutenant Commander had recently been promoted to full commander. Due to this, Tarkin had been forced to re-evaluate his standing on the Death Star project, as he was now sure Krennic was unsuitable to to supervise, aware he may have to assume command sooner rather than later, despite the inevitable setbacks and delays.
Over the next several standard weeks, Imperial forces were able to claim Epiphany's moon and Zerpen Industries' facilities there, and the capture of Salient II was imminent, despite its militias holding out longer than expected. Its planetary shield generators had been destroyed, and the government had sued for a cease-fire to prevent more civilian deaths. Two Venator-class Star Destroyers were eventually sent from Telos, and were proving Aggressive ReConnaissance-170 starfighters to attack four cruisers stationed over the planet, and to prevent any support reaching the enemy, although Obitt was able to go around Tarkin's blockade using secret hyperspace exit points. The fighting was the fiercest Tarkin had experienced since the Clone War, with casualties higher than those from battles in the Western Reaches. Additionally, the governments of both Salient II and Epiphany had destroyed anything of industrial, commercial and agricultural value, including mining facilities. Tarkin knew that even when he captured the planet, it would take months of fighting militias before a garrison could be installed, with something similar likely to occur on Salient I, the innermost planet, that's capture was unlikely to be under six months without any additional support.
Tarkin relayed information on the Empire's progress to Mas Amedda via hologram, although the Chagrian tried to persuade him to conclude operations there, just as Tarkin predicted he would. Tarkin declined, instead requesting additional stormtroopers, and suggested using cadets when the Grand Vizier told him there weren't enough troops to spare. Then, Tarkin requested a wing of TIE fighters, although he was told these were in even shorter supply. Tarkin told Amedda he felt he was being undermined, to which he was told that the Imperial Senate was unimpressed with his 'adventurism'. Tarkin made it clear he didn't care about the senate, who he viewed as a fiction, as he knew his actions were necessary for the completion the Death Star. Tarkin felt that Amedda was in league with Krennic, who he had used as an example to condescend Tarkin, and that they were out to weaken him for their own advancement. However, Tarkin knew he had the Emperor's support, and told the Vizier that his success would send a message to other rebellious systems to avoid any similar uprisings. Amedda eventually accepted the importance of Tarkin's campaign, and told him he would try to sent additional support. After the transmission ended, Tarkin was alerted to smugglers' ships inserting at Salient I, the leader of which was discovered to be Has Obitt.
Soon thereafter, citizens of both Salient II and Epiphany's moon were ordered by their governments to destroy anything and everything the Emire could use once it seized control of the system, including dams, power facilities and reservoirs, with Zerpen's entire headquarters destroyed by militia sappers. Entire cities had been burned, with many destroying their houses before they fled to deeper in-sector. On the Executrix, Tarkin watched Salient II. He had decided to let the exodus live, on account of it being easier to establish an Imperial presence on the planet with a smaller population. As the assault on Salient I had recently begun, Tarkin ordered Admiral Utu to initiate an invasion quickly, before the government got a chance to order a similar mass destruction. Although he knew any detoxification and reseeding efforts would be useless, Tarkin remained optimistic that Salient could serve the Empire in being a jumping-off point for any other strikes deeper in the sector.. He asked his adjutant if the smuggler's hideout had been discovered, to which the XO replied an affirmative. It had been discovered they were hidden under a large cliff overhang, which Tarkin ordered Utu's Venator-class Star Destroyer obliterate, crushing those who had been re-supplying the militias under the rock. Although initially disinterested with any survivors, Tarkin later ordered droids to search to rubble to see who he had eliminated. Has Obitt was discovered to be the only remaining survivor, as the rest had fled, and so the Dressellian was airlifted to the Executrix to be placed in custody and to receive bacta treatment for his wounds.
Weeks later, Obitt woke up in the medbay on the Executrix. He immediately recognised Tarkin as he stood over him, and questioned why he was still alive. Tarkin replied that he thought there was information that could be extracted from him before a prison sentence. He wanted to know if Krennic had ordered Obitt to commence the Salient campaign, to which the smuggler truthfully replied a negative. Tarkin then pressed as to why Obitt had betrayed the Empire after his work appropriating the legacy worlds, to which he received a reply about how a visit to Alpinn with Lyra Erso (originally designed by Krennic to keep her away from her husband) had ended with his eyes being opened to the extent of the Empire's destruction. Tarkin was disappointed with this naïve sentiment, but nonetheless continued in the questioning. Obitt revealed that he took Erso to the legacy worlds he had helped appropriate, to which Tarkin sarcastically respond that the smuggler was more of a chaperone than he had expected. Obitt then accidentally revealed that Lyra was the husband of an Imperial science officer. Tarkin immediately deduced that this was Galen Erso, and thus ensued a conversation about how Krennic and Obitt had been the ones to recuse Erso in the first place, and that the two were still working together. Tarkin realized that Erso was the reason for Krennic's fast advancement in control of the Death Star, and that he had foreseen Obitt's departure for that Empire after being with Lyra Erso, and had used it as an opportunity to remove Tarkin from the project, confirming the moff's earlier suspicions. Noticing that Obitt could be a useful ally to strike back at Krennic, as he had played them both, Tarkin decided to give him a chance to redeem himself.
Around one week later, Tarkin had a complete victory at Salient, allowing him to refocus on Krennic and the Death Star. Originally wanting Obitt to get back in Krennic's favor and to serve as an inside man, he was instead persuaded by the smuggler to remove the Ersos from Krennic's service, which would allow Obitt to get back in league with the commander. He contacted Lyra Erso and offered her a chance to escape from Coruscant. She agreed, but wanted to wait until Galen was convinced, which she was confident he would be after their next confrontation with Krennic. One day later, the meeting occurred. As Lyra had predicted, Galen agreed that they needed to escape after realisizing his research was being weaponized, and so they arranged to meet with Obitt. As Krennic traveled away from the Ersos' home, Tarkin contacted him, and told him that Has Obitt had escaped custody at Salient. After receiving verification that Krennic was disinterested with his former operative, Tarkin continued his deception by telling Krennic that Obitt was en route to Coruscant, and he had contacted someone there. Although the commander replied he didn't know why he would do that, Tarkin's dupe proved successful as after ending the transmission, Krennic began to panic at the prospect of the Ersos contacting Obitt in order for them to escape. He headed for the spaceport, where he found Has Obbit. Obbit continued Tarkin's ruse, pretending to be annoyed when Krennic revealed he was tracked from Salient. Denying he had contacted Lyra Erso, he instead convinced Krennic he was looking for protection from Tarkin, and that he hadn't betrayed the Empire, but Zerpen had. Furthermore, he told Krennic to look around, as the Ersos weren't coming. In actuality, the Ersos were being rescued by Saw Gerrera elsewhere. The plan worked, with the Ersos escaping and Obitt re-entering into Krennic's service working as Tarkin's inside man, although only after Krennic contacted the moff to confirm Obitt's story, something Tarkin had happily gone along with.
In the aftermath of the loss of the Galen Erso, who was though to be the only person capable of making the superlaser operational, Tarkin was placed in command of the network of stations that monitored the supply shipments traveling to the construction site over Geonosis. From Sentinel Base, Tarkin was to monitor and oversee Krennic's activities, upon personal request from the Emperor. Although Tarkin predicted it would be a dull assignment compared with the active Western Reaches operations, he knew it was necessary for a few years so he could further his goals. Obitt was still reporting on Krennic for him, and he knew that loosing Erso would cause many more delays, reducing Krennnic's prestige and influence. With Emperor Palpatine supporting his bid for authority, Tarkin knew it was only a matter of time before he took command of the project, although only once Erso or other equally-gifted individuals had been found, so further setbacks weren't his responsibility. For those Imperials in the know, it seemed strange that Tarkin had been posed in such a seemingly bland system in the Outer Rim, although those who knew him guessed that he was involved in a secret operation there.
The Graf ProblemEdit
- "You tell me everything about this pitiful little backwater world—absolutely everything. If I like what I hear, I'll consider returning your children."
- ―Tarkin, to Auric and Rhyssa Graf
Whilst in command of Sentinel Base, Tarkin journeyed to the Imperial compound on Agaris in the mostly uncharted expanse of Wild Space, in order to oversee the mining of quadanium, which would be used to make up the Death Star's hull. The recently promoted Director Krennic had supposedly been assured of the planet's rich deposits, but progress on mining it had been slow due to several disappearances of several patrols that were searching for suitable mining locations. To counteract this issue, Tarkin met with prisoners Auric and Rhyssa Graf, two former cartographers renowned for their studies of planets in Wild Space, that may be able to shed some light on the situation. Although much of their data had been pillaged by the Empire for its expansion into the region following their arrest, much remained hidden within their droid, who was with their children Milo and Lina. The children had since joined a rebel cell on Lothal.
In order to uncover the truth about Agaris, Tarkin planned to either lure the children to the planet as to rescue their parents, and extract the relevant information from the droid, or use the children to blackmail the elder Grafs into revealing information themselves. Krennic's KX-series security droid K-4D8 had been sent to oversee the first shipment of ore back to Sentinel Base, although Tarkin and many others believed he was only there as a means for Krennic to spy on the moff's operation. As the first shipment was far from complete, Tarkin sent the droid to investigate a crash-landing in the nearby fungus forests, which he suspected was the children.
In the meantime, he interrogated their parents again, even offering them white Alderaanian wine. However, they still didn't reveal any information on the planet, not even when Tarkin deceived them into believing he had their children and that he was willing to kill them. This was due to their pacifistic beliefs, wherein giving the Empire control of the quadanium would allow them to do even more evil than killing their children. However, when Tarkin mentioned that there was no sentient life on the planet, Auric had an almost unnoticeable twitch upon hearing the word. As the man was now acting uneasy in response to his earlier reaction, Tarkin came to the conclusion that there was undiscovered sentient life on Agaris that was responsible for taking his workforce, something he sought to either recruit into the Empire or enslave for work in the mines. He gave the Grafs one more day to make a decision, warning that if they make the wrong one, their next conversation will be after their children's demise.
Before this could happen, however, K-4 returned from the site of the crash, which was the children's vessel, with the head of the rebel droid. Information extracted from it explained about the Agarians, a sentient species of fungus who existed on the planet. In order to gloat, Tarkin bought his prisoners up to his office, where he revealed their secrets were his hands. He explained how the Agarians would be exterminated, to stop them kidnaping troops and disrupting his operation, or put to work in the mines. He then tossed the droid's head down a garbage chute, much to its former owners' dismay. Still going under the pretence that he had the children, Tarkin explained to the Grafs that due to their lack of cooperation, they would be terminated. On their way, however, they briefly escaped and were reunited with their children, who had come to rescue them. Tarkin then arrived, and revealed that he knew of the children's rebel activities on Lothal, and imprisoned them all with a view to extracting the names of rebel spies and safe houses.
The next day, Tarkin ordered K-4D8 to bring all four of the Grafs to a large procession of Imperial flametroopers in the compound's courtyard, preparing to burn down all of the Agarians. Tarkin was inspecting the troops by the time they arrived, and then explained how the droid's records had provided information on how to kill the fungi, and that the men were all wearing breath masks to counter the poisonous gas they produced. He had also readied TIE/sa bombers, and predicted his takeover should be complete in several days.
However, just as Tarkin was about to give a final speech, a spiked spore from the forest hit the lead bomber, causing it to crash on the courtyard. As panic ensued, smaller spores were launched at the compound, causing troops to collapse. Tarkin was given a breath mask, and ordered the prisoners were given them too, so they could witness his response to the situation. The flametroopers advanced, with K-4 leading them and bombers circling overhead. Despite this, the troops were overpowered, and Tarkin was prepared to leave in the Carrion Spike with the prisoners, and return with a bigger force from the Executrix. As he entered the hangar, several Agarians breached the perimeter and spoke with Tarkin. They revealed that his men were alive, and they were willing to trade them back if the Imperial presence left. Tarkin refused, stating that the men were failures and were worthless to him. Ordering K-4D8 to attack the fungi, Tarkin then boarded his ship and piloted it himself back to the Executrix. After killing K-4, the Grafs and the Agarians realized that Tarkin would only commence an orbital bombardment once he arrived back at his ship. As such, the Agarians let their prisoners go, and then all left the planet in the form of space-traveling spores that were to colonize other worlds. Tarkin decided to let the seedlings go, as he knew the planet was his. However, upon seeing the rebel vessel containing the Grafs, Tarkin ordered his TIEs to pursue it, although it managed to jump to hyperspace before they could intercept it.
Attack on Sentinel BaseEdit
- "Sir, we've got multiple marks launching from the cruiser—Sir they're droid fighters! Tri-fighters, vultures, the whole Sep menagerie."
- ―An Imperial technician and Moff Tarkin
By 14 BBY, Tarkin was still stationed at Sentinel Base. Delays for the battle station were still ongoing, and there were also issues with mining. In an attempt to distract himself from this, Tarkin and an RA-7 protocol droid set about redesigning the Imperial officer's uniform, which had been unchanged since the Republic design. Although the droid wanted to make a uniform that was up-to-date with Coruscant's trends, all Tarkin wanted was to have a uniform that was practical and comfortable. However, he changed him mind after the droid reminded him of his influence as a moff, deciding to include some of the influences in his design, although making sure it was still to his precise tastes. Just as Tarkin was concluding, he was interrupted by his adjutant, who informed him that one of the marshalling depots for Geonosis, Rampart Station, was under attack.
Tarkin quickly arrived at the command center, where he was greeted by Base Commander Cassel. Upon observing low-quality holovids of outdated starfighters attacking Rampart, Tarkin expressed doubt that it was a surprise attack, to which Cassel replied that the attack ship had apparently transmitted valid clearance codes upon its approach, allowing it to get close to the station with ease. Tarkin asked a specialist to stabilise the corrupted images, although the corruption was revealed to be occurring at the other end of the transmission. Upon noticing a symbol on the starfighters' hull, Tarkin asked for it to be run through the authenticator station to see if their foes could be recognised. Meanwhile, he observed a separate holotransmission of the main ship the fighters had been delivered from. After being informed it was made from Separatist-era designs, Tarkin found out that the attackers hadn't issued any demands and that their symbol hadn't been recognised. After studying the repeating holovid being displayed, Tarkin noticed a specific area of distortion being repeated on the transmission, which allowed him to realise the entire video was a false real-time feed being introduced to Rampart's HoloNet relay to trick other bases into believing the station was under attack.
After asking Lieutenant Thon, who had supposedly been transmitting the holos of the "attack" from Rampart, to train a cam on himself to confirm his identity, which he did, Tarkin recognised the area of distortion again. He then contacted Captain Burque of the Venator-class Star Destroyer Electrum, which was orbiting Sentinel moon. Burque was ordered to commence a microjump away from the base, where he would wait for further orders. Just as the ship was away, the same ship that appeared in the fake transmissions of the attack at Rampart emerged from hyperspace 200,000 kilometers away from Sentinel Base, and started attacking. After the ship deployed droid starfighters, Tarkin issued commanded for a boost in shielding and the fireing of the on-site guns. The Electrum then reappeared, and its TIE fighters destroyed the remainder of the fighters. Under Tarkin's orders, the pilots were to only disable the carrier, although it managed to escape capture by jumping to hyperspace.
Following the attack, Tarkin spoke with Lin Jae, the commander of Rampart, who confirmed there had never been an attack at his station, only a malfunction with their HoloNet relay. Tarkin then ordered that the parts of the destroyed droid ships be collected and examined. Once the initial shock of the attack had passed over the crew of the base, Tarkin visited the maintenance hangar where serval droid starfighters were being examined. He spoke with a tech, who informed him the attackers' main craft was a plethora of mismatched Separatist capital ships, with it being most recognisable as a smaller version of a Providence-class dreadnought. The tech went on to say that such ships were used in the war to jam signals and destroy HoloNet relays. He then explained that the ship was being run by a skeleton crew, and that the Free Dac Volunteers Engineering Corps, who originally built the Lucid Voice—the modules of which formed part of the new dreadnought, had been contacted to see if they were responsible for constructing the new ship. The tech concluded by telling Tarkin that there had been little success if finding the origin of the various starfighters, including their original jump point, and so the moff told him to continue investigating all aspects of the recovered craft.
Tarkin was troubled by the attack, as although pirates had been known to attack Imperial facilities, there had previously been nothing in Geonosis' proximity, due to its heavy defences. He was also confused at the nature of the dreadnought's attack; it hadn't fired any of its point-defense laser cannons or ranged weapons, nor had the clearly suicidal attack been deferred in place of using the command ship to crash into Sentinel Base at lightspeed, which would have caused more damage at a higher probability of success, with the added benefit of retaining all starfighters. He then wondered about Lieutenant Thon, and how the attackers learned of his supposedly secret posting at Rampart, as well as if he was involved in the plot and served as the insurgents' man on the inside, or if they had altered existing footage of him to serve their own purposes: answering Tarkin's request to see the officer.
The Theft of the Carrion SpikeEdit
After the base was attacked by a group using old Separatist-era starships, Emperor Palpatine assigned Tarkin and Vader to track down those responsible. During their mission to Murkhana Tarkin's personal starship, the Carrion Spike, was stolen by the rebels. Tarkin and Vader stole a ship from a Sugi arms dealer, who lived on the planet, named Faazah. Vader and Tarkin threatened to kill Faazah's family if they were not given a ship; the Sugi complied with the demand, though did not survive for Lord Vader killed him for wasting his time. The pair followed the ship and its pilots through space as the rebels used the ship to wreak havoc. Vader used the Force and its connection to his meditation chamber, which was still on the Carrion Spike, to follow the ship through hyperspace. Eventually the duo discovered that Vice Admiral Dodd Rancit had been conspiring with political dissidents, and crushed the plot before it could threaten the Imperial power structure. The Imperial defector was launched from his cruiser in an escape pod and forced to give the fire order against himself. As a result, Tarkin was elevated to the newly created rank of Grand Moff.
As Governor of the Outer Rim, Tarkin took on many responsibilities in seeing that every planet operated at peak efficiency to assist Imperial expansion. On Lothal, he was responsible for evicting a multitude of farmers from their land to allow the Empire to mine for minerals and establish new industrial complexes to increase productivity to equip the Imperial Military. The farmers were relocated to Lothal re-settlement camp 43, which they called "Tarkintown" after the Grand Moff.
Governor of the Outer RimEdit
- "You do not know what it takes to win a war. But I do."
- ―Grand Moff Tarkin to Kanan Jarrus
Tour of the Outer RimEdit
Around the same time, the freshly-anointed Grand Moff visited an Eriaduan air scrubber farm that had been the site of a tragic incident involving rebels. Tarkin addressed the nervous manager of the farm, whose daughter had been crushed to the ground by a falling scrubber during the rebel attack. The Grand Moff's retinue of stormtroopers made an impression on the manager's son, who would ultimately join their ranks.
Working with VidianEdit
After the planet Tsevuka was possessed by the Empire, in 11 BBY, Tarkin made a tour of the world. After a general informed him that the locals had been pacified, Tarkin thought it would be more efficient to travel overland between destinations. However, whilst travelling in an Imperial Troop Transport to the planetary garrison, which was the last stop on the tour, Tarkin's convoy was ambushed by native Tsevukans riding Kivaroa, who rammed the troop transport into a swamp. Just as Tarkin unhooked his restraints, another kivaroa rammed the GAV upright. Quickly taking command of the vehicle, Tarkin drove it off, hitting a kivaroa on his way. He was quickly flanked by Imperial speeder bikes, who assisted the damaged transport in traveling the last kilometer to the garrison.
Upon arriving, Tarkin told off the base commander, and asked why there weren't more troops stationed along the route. The commander replied that he didn't have enough men for that level of security, something that shocked Tarkin, who believed that recruitment had been going well. The commander elaborated that the number of men wasn't the problem, but rather that there wasn't enough stormtrooper armor to go around, and that requisitioning were short of it too. Tarkin informed him that the issue lied with specific individuals, before calling his shuttle and going to change into a clean uniform.
Tarkin later joined with Count Denetrius Vidian to investigate a decline in the stormtrooper armor production rate on the planet Gilvaanen. Despite their rivalry, the two discovered a plot to sabotage the armor, which they quickly extinguished. Subsequently, Vidian placed his aide, Lieutenant Everi Chalis, in charge of the armor production chain.
- "People of Jelucan, today represents both an ending and a beginning. On this day ends your isolation from the greater galaxy. Instead, Jelucan begins a new and glorious future by assuming its rightful place within the Empire!"
- ―Tarkin's speech to Jelucan
In the same year, the Outer Rim planet of Jelucan wan annexed into the Empire. Tarkin gave a grand speech at the introduction ceremony, to which he received overwhelming support from the citizens, except for some of those who been born before the Clone Wars. Later, accompanied by a young Firmus Piett, he came across a fight between the children Thane Kyrell, Ciena Ree and several second-wavers, all of whom had sneaked inside an Imperial hangar in order to get a close up view of various starships. Upon arriving, all but Kyrell and Ree fled. Impressed by the children's confidence and bravery, as well as their tactical planning, Tarkin quizzed them on the name of a shuttle. After correctly answering that it was a Lambda-class shuttle, Tarkin invited them to look inside the ship. After this, both children decided they wanted to be in the Imperial Navy, after a personal invitation from Tarkin. Despite his kindness, the whole point of his conversation with the children was to prove a point in an ideological argument he was engaged in with Piett, wherein he proved that although brute force was often required to make people work for the Empire, luring them into a false sense of security was also as effective.
The deal with PryceEdit
- "So Colonel Yularen gets data on the Empire's politicians. Commander Thrawn will get his aide promoted. I'll have Yularen's data before Yularen gets it, plus the satisfaction of removing Moff Ghadi from the face of the galaxy."
- ―Tarkin ponders what different parties in his deal with Pryce get out of it.
During a stay on Coruscant, Tarkin met with Arihnda Pryce, who was supposed to be representing the advocacy group Higher Skies. Once Pryce entered his office, she made it clear that she wasn't part of the group, and was only at the meeting for herself. After proclaiming she would strike a successful deal with Tarkin, Pryce passed him a datacard. Although initially concerned that the card contained a thief-program to steal his files, Pryce then produced another card, one that she informed Tarkin she had been ordered to give to him, and that contained the illegal program. Confused as to why someone ordered to steal information would come clean to the intended victim, Tarkin asked her of her intentions. Instead of answering, Pryce only told the Grand Moff to look at what was on the card she originally gave over. On it was information on the Empire's top politicians, information that had originally been stolen from the individuals in question via thief-programmed data cards, just as Pryce had been instructed to do with Tarkin. Although most of the information was known to Tarkin, some wasn't, although he was willing to believe it due to the fact that all of the other information was known to be correct. Tarkin was concerned with the extent of the information gathered by Higher Skies, and asked as to how they developed such an advanced program. In response, Pryce informed him of her fears that the group was affiliated with rebels.
Although Tarkin was concerned about the information being in potentially rebellious individuals' hands, Pryce assured him that she had been using a double-layer thief program to get the data, one that only gave a portion of the information to her employers so she was seen as doing her job, but extracted all available information from the victims in a way that was only available to her, so it could be handed over to Tarkin. Pryce then elaborated by saying she had two allies, one of which had installed the program to the datacard, and one who had persuaded her to meet with Tarkin. Impressed at the ingenuity of the device, but nonetheless annoyed at her desire to keep secrets, Tarkin demanded she reveal her allies. Pryce told him that ISB Colonel Yularen had installed the program, and Naval Commander Thrawn had suggested Tarkin was the one she should reveal the information to. Although initially disturbed at the idea of Pryce using two high-ranking officer's names to try to appear more influential, he was pleased to hear she only wanted him as a benefactor.
Tarkin had recognised the name of the Chiss Thrawn, and recalled that he had been summoned to Coruscant weeks ago for an ultimately unsuccessful court-martial panel, as members of High Command disliked an alien traversing the Imperial Navy's ranks as quickly as he had been. Tarkin then questioned the woman as to what her allies wanted in return for their help. Pryce revealed that Yularen wanted the data for an ISB study, although Tarkin had been given it first. She went on to say that Thrawn wanted a promotion for his aide, who was being held back by High Command as a dig at the commander. Tarkin queried as to who had the energy to spare on an ensign, to which Pryce replied it was Moff Ghadi, Tarkin's rival. She then revealed she had information on the Moff, who had previously blackmailed her, on a separate datacard. However, before handing it over, Pryce played a recording of a conversation between her and Ghadi. It revealed how Ghadi was keen to get data on Tarkin, something Pryce had lied to him about Higher Skies possessing, in order to remove the Grand Moff from power. Pleased with the prospect of removing Ghadi from power, and getting information on Imperial politicians, Tarkin asked what Pryce wanted from him.
In return for providing information to the Grand Moff, Pryce wanted his support in becoming Governor of Lothal. Tarkin was surprised at the comparative mildness of the request, although he informed her that the information she had provided wasn't a sufficient bargaining chip. Expecting as much, Pryce got him yet another datacard. This one contained all the information the Empire would need to acquire Lothal, including locations of secluded mining operations and information on societal frameworks, amongst other things designed to make the Empire's eventual expansion to the planet s easy as possible. Tarkin was pleased with the information, and informed Pryce that the place of governorship was soon to be available, although the current Senator for Lothal was also eying the position. Tarkin was willing to help Pryce get the spot, although he wanted her to become a spy for him by gaining information on other individuals of power he wanted a better insight on. Once Pryce agreed, Tarkin gave her acting governorship, with plans for her to become full Planetary Governor in several months. Despite this, he informed her that she would have to stay on Coruscant for one to two years to serve as his information provider, something Pryce actually wanted. After they agreed their terms, Pryce proved Tarkin with half of her total information, with the promise to give the other half over once she had become Governor.
Following his conversation with Pryce, she handed the data over to Yularen, who arrested the rebels. Soon after, Tarkin made good on this promise to give her Governorship, and then summoned Thrawn and his aide Vanto to Coruscant. At a special ceremony, Vanto was promoted to Lieutenant Commander, and Thrawn to Commodore, as a bonus from Tarkin. Additionally, the Chiss was given Captaincy of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Chimaera. Following the meeting, Tarkin personally congratulated at pair, and gave them Pryce's regards. Tarkin would later invite Pryce to Eriadu.
- "In the absence of Governor Pryce you have had a single, simple objective Minister; to protect the Empire's industrial interests here, interests which are vital for our expansion throughout the Outer Rim. But instead of protecting those interests, you have allowed a cell of insurgents to develop right under your nose."
- ―Governor Tarkin reprimanding Minister Tua about her failure to stop the rebels.
As more and more worlds were conquered by the Empire, rebel cells began to emerge to defy Imperial occupation, such as a small group of rebels on Lothal, the leader of which was rumored to be a Jedi. As the cell began to expand its interests past Lothal, Tarkin spoke with Pryce, telling her that she needed to personally deal with them, as Admiral Kassius Konstantine and others who were supposed to be stopping the threat had been failing to do so.
While Pryce worked on her solution, Tarkin decided to personally intervene. Due to the many failures of the Academy for Young Imperials on Lothal caused by the group in 4 BBY, he sent Assessor Potalla to investigate Commandant Cumberlayne Aresko and his staff. She reported to Tarkin via hologram that the officers had become complacent, and she advised immediate action was taken. Due to this, Tarkin decided to deal with the situation in person.
Soon after, Tarkin visited the backwater planet in the Sovereign, another of his Imperial I-class Star Destroyers. Upon arriving, he was greeted by the Grand Inquisitor, Agent Alexsandr Kallus and Minister Maketh Tua, who was protecting Lothal's industrial assets while Pryce was elsewhere. He criticized her and Kallus' failings in allowing the insurgents to flourish, to which Tua brought up that rumor of the Jedi. Although Tarkin doubted the existence of the Jedi, believing them to have all died during the Purge, the constant failures of the Inquisitor to apprehend the rebels made the situation all the more pressing.
The following day, Tarkin had moved into Kallus' office, in a move to show that anyone could be replaced by someone more capable. He summoned Commandant Aresko and Taskmaster Myles Grint to the office, where Kallus, Tua and the Inquisitor were already, in order to speak to them about their failings. After getting them to elaborate on their most recent encounter with the rebels, Tarkin noticed that the rebels never injure their foes, something that couldn't be said for other cells he had encountered. Knowing of the growing threat of a united rebellion, Tarkin decided that the Jedi could be responsible for uniting various cells, and the officers were contributing to this in their failings to stop him. Due to this, Tarkin had the Inquisitor behead them to set an example for the others. Now speaking to Kallus and Tua, Tarkin informed them that any failure on their part would have consequences.
In order to locate the Spectres, Tarkin ordered Agent Kallus to send Dwarf probe droids to all areas of known rebel activity on the planet. Shortly after, Kallus reported to Tarkin the one of the droids near Lothal's Imperial Communications Center was attacked and damaged. He handed the grand moff a card with footage of the rebels as they made their escape. With this information Tarkin strategised that the communication tower was a perfect target. However, he denied Kallus' request to reinforce security, instead planning to let the rebels believe they had the element of surprise. He gave the Inquisitor a chance to redeem himself with the capture of their leader, Kanan Jarrus, the rumored Jedi. At the tower, the Inquisitor managed to overpower the Jedi in a duel, as he was forced to submit to the Jedi hunter to allow his comrades to escape.
Some time later, Tarkin arrived the tower in a patrol transport, dressed in battle armor. Pleased with the Inquisitor's work, Tarkin took the Jedi's lightsaber. However, after starting to talk to Jarrus, Kallus reported that the rebels had set up a computer spike in the tower, and now had control over its broadcasting. On his comlink, those gathered heard a broadcast from a young rebel. Having boarded his transport, Tarkin ordered the firing of several missiles that destroyed the tower and ended the transmission, shocking Jarrus with his ruthlessness.
Interrogating the JediEdit
- "It's only a matter of time before he breaks"
"You have wasted enough of my time."
- ―Agent Kallus and Wilhuff Tarkin, after Kallus' failed attempts to interrogate Kanan Jarrus
With the capture of Jarrus, Tarkin traveled back to the Sovereign in orbit with the prisoner. Tarkin wanted to ascertain whether or not Jarrus was the Jedi he claimed to be, as well as to find the location of his rebel cell. Agent Kallus was initially in charge of the interrogations, although the prisoner proved resistant to the IT-O Interrogation Unit that was used to mind probe him. Because of this, the Inquisitor eventually took over the interrogation, when he revealed that Jedi were trained to resist mind probes but that they were not invulnerable to pain. Despite torturing him with both the Force and electricity, Jarrus refused to break. At the point where Jarrus was near death, Tarkin had become more open to the idea he was a Jedi, and ordered the Inquisitor to stop the torture as the prisoner would be useless dead. The Inquisitor suggested that Jarrus did not know anything about a larger rebellion, but Tarkin decided to transfer him to Darth Vader's castle on Mustafar, where he was adamant he would get answers, due to Vader's high success rate.
The Sovereign arrived over Mustafar to rendezvous with a small Imperial group of three other Imperial Star Destroyers. Tarkin took over command of the ship from the bridge, assisted in command by Admiral Konstantine, who had previously been responsible for the fleet over Lothal. Anticipating an attack, Tarkin sent all-clear messages to the other ships at regular intervals, so that if one was missed, reinforcements would be sent. The Inquisitor continued his interrogation of Jarrus about the activities of other rebels, specifically about a mysterious rebel codenamed "Fulcrum". However, before Jarrus could be broken, the other rebels came to rescue their captured leader. They infiltrated the Sovereign by sending in a stolen TIE fighter which contained several EMP devices, which neutralized the flagship's power and knocked out all its stormtroopers. Upon hearing of the attack, Tarkin ordered the ship to activate its secondary power source and reassured his officers that reinforcements were on their way, as the all-clear signal went dead when the power was cut. As expected, several shuttles bearing stormtroopers were sent to the Sovereign to stop the rebels.
After the rebels broke Jarrus out of his cell, the Inquisitor tried to stop the Jedi in the reactor room but was defeated by Jarrus. The Inquisitor's lightsaber hit the reactors while still ignited and caused a chain reaction, which threatened to destroy the ship. Tarkin was eventually convinced by an officer to evacuate the Sovereign, as there was damage to the hyperdrive. Meanwhile, the rebels escaped the flagship in two TIE fighters. Although they were overwhelmed by the dozens of Imperial TIEs, a group of blockade runners jumped out of hyperspace and helped the rebels escape. Tarkin left in a shuttle for the other Star Destroyers just as the rebels had fled, and was informed as much by one of the pilots. With this, Tarkin's, and the Empire's, worst fears had been confirmed: there was a larger rebellion active in the galaxy and they had just defied the Empire with impunity before escaping. Furthermore, the Lothal rebels had just joined this Phoenix Squadron.
Return to LothalEdit
After the events over Mustafar, Tarkin returned to Lothal with Darth Vader, who had been personally sent by the Emperor. Tarkin was greeted by Agent Kallus, who informed him that rumors from Mustafar had been reaching several worlds of the Outer Rim. Unrest and riots had been reported all over Lothal as the Empire was no longer believed to be invulnerable and was even considered weak. Tarkin reassured Kallus by telling him that the Emperor had taken a personal interest in the events in there by sending Vader.
Around this time, Tarkin heard rumors that Commandant Brendol Hux had created a secret society independent of the regular chain of command within the Arkanis Academy. In order to investigate the matter and, if need be, disrupt the secret society, Tarkin transferred Lieutenant Chiron from the Lothal academy to Arkanis. The Grand Moff made sure that his personal aide, Major Cass, provided Chiron with all the clearance codes the lieutenant would need to carry out his duties properly.
Some time later that year, Tarkin strived to punish Lothal, as he had taken the destruction of his Star Destroyer personally. This punishment was carried out by Vader and Kallus, who had greatly increased the Imperial presence on the planet. Tarkin tasked Minister Tua to find any information on the rebels, something she failed to accomplish. Due to this, Tarkin demanded that Tua visit him to account for her failures, a message that was delivered by Vader. This drove Tua to seek help from the rebels, leading to her death from explosives planted on her ship by Kallus. This allowed Imperial propaganda to frame the rebels for her death, forcing the group to leave the planet.
Meeting with VaderEdit
In 3 BBY, eight years after the annexation of Jelucan, both of the children Tarkin met with there were accepted into the Imperial Royal Academy on Coruscant. Tarkin watched the induction ceremony with Darth Vader, and they conversed about the potential of the cadets. Tarkin knew that many who graduated from that year's group would would serve aboard the Death Star, which he predicted would be ready in around four years time.
Raid at Reklam StationEdit
In 2 BBY Tarkin spoke with Governor Arihnda Pryce in his office. She reported that Lothal was secure, but she feared that the recent rebel attack on Naraka's prison represented the start of a larger rebel threat. Tarkin agreed with her, saying that although Vader had recently taken care of the rebels' Jedi leadership, the remainder of the group had continued to persist. He then asked Pryce what the Empire should do. Pryce requested for the Seventh Fleet to deployed to Lothal to replace Konstantine's own fleet, due to the admiral's status as a politician then a soldier, as well as his failings to stop the threat. Tarkin then granted her request for the fleet and its newly-appointed commander, Grand Admiral Thrawn, who Pryce had recently been working with to gain his allegiance, which had included helping him in being promoted to his new rank and position by defeating the same rebel network that had been linked with Higher Skies.
Tarkin then attended a briefing between Pryce, Kallus, and Konstantine. Konstantine attempted to convince Tarkin that Pryce was overestimating the rebels and they did not pose a larger threat to the Empire, as there was no indication that the various cells were in coordination. However, Grand Admiral Thrawn and Governor Pryce entered, with the former informing those gathered that he wanted the rebel threat to remain that way. Tarkin then introduced Thrawn, who was initially doubted by Konstantine and Kallus due to the nature of his promotion. Tarkin asked Thrawn of what he thought of Pryce's theory about the Lothal rebels being part of a wider network. After reviewing the information about the rebels' rescue of Hondo Ohnaka from Naraka's prison, Thrawn concluded that the rebels next target would the Y-wing starfighters at Reklam Station. Tarkin trusted Thrawn to deal with this attack.
Battle of AtollonEdit
Later, Grand Moff Tarkin was present via hologram during a secret meeting between Grand Admiral Thrawn, Governor Pryce, and Admiral Konstantine. When Thrawn informed Tarkin that the Rebels of the Phoenix Squadron were planning a coordinated attack, Tarkin expressed skepticism. Thrawn countered that the previous attacks had been a rehearsal for their planned attack on the TIE Defender factories on Lothal, a project of Thrawn's to best the Rebels in starfighter combat. Thrawn then reported that his spies had confirmed that General Jan Dodonna's Massassi Group were enroute to reinforce the Phoenix Squadron, proving there was an effective network between separate cells.
When Tarkin asked about where the Rebels were massing, Thrawn replied that he still had not found the location of the hidden base. Thrawn added that this, the first attack made by multiple cells, offered him an opportunity to wipe out the Alliance once and for all. Tarkin tasked Thrawn with capturing the Rebel leadership so that the Empire could make examples of them. Through Thrawn's forces inflicted heavy casualties on the rebels during the Battle of Atollon and succeeded in destroying their base and driving them off the planet, he failed to capture their leaders.
After this incident, Thrawn and Tarkin spoke via holotransmission. The Grand Moff stated that the TIE Defender project was at risk, due to Krennic trying to focus attention on the Death Star.
- "I will be taking control over the weapon I first spoke of years ago effective immediately."
- ―Grand Moff Tarkin
Tarkin continued to monitor the Death Star's construction from the bridge of the Executrix. Just as the Mk I Superlaser was being installed in 0 BBY, Director Krennic came aboard the Star Destroyer. Tarkin expressed his concern over a defected cargo pilot, who was spreading rumours on Jedha about the Death Stars existence. He then told Krennic that his time was up for the completion of the station, and the Emperor wouldn't tolerate any more delays. Suggesting that both problems should be solved together with a test of the weapon, Tarkin warned that failure would not be tolerated.
Later, Tarkin was present on the Overbridge to observe the station's first live fire test of its superlaser on Jedha, in order to compose a report to the Emperor. The intent of the test, as suggested by Tarkin, was to kill the traitorous pilot and prove the station was a success. Although Krennic wanted to destroy the entire moon, Tarkin made it clear he only wanted a low power firing on the Jedi holy city, in order to make a statement. The bombardment had the desired effect, resulting in the total destruction of the captured city and a devastating shockwave in the surrounding area, which also destroyed the Partisan base and killed Saw Gerrera. After seeing the power of the station, Tarkin knew it was nearing completion, and there would be no other delays. As the only reason Krennic had remained as commander of the project was so that Tarkin wasn't responsible for such delays, Tarkin realised the time had come for him to assume control. After sarcastically apologising to Krennic for doubting to project, Tarkin told him he would inform the Emperor the weapon would destroy the Rebel Alliance. He then immediately assumed authority of the Death Star over the protests of Krennic, citing his subordinate's security failures with the project as justification. Despite Krennic defending that the loose ends had been eliminated with Jehda's destruction, and presumably the death of the pilot, Tarkin refuted that the defector couldn't have acted alone, noting that he came out of the Eadu facility where Galen Erso had been stationed. A now fuming Krennic then departed to investigate.
Control of the Death StarEdit
Loss of the Death Star plansEdit
- "You may fire when ready."
- ―Tarkin, ordering the destruction of the Citadel by reciting words he had been waiting over two decades to say
Shortly after the test, members of Alliance to Restore the Republic known as "Rogue One" raided the Imperial archives on Scarif for the Death Star's schematics, after being informed of its location in an intercepted message from Galen Erso. Erso had betrayed the Empire, and was in fact responsible the cargo pilot's defection. This initially unauthorized operation was then supported by the Rebel fleet, and the operation soon escalated into a full-fledged battle, marking the start of the Galactic Civil War. Correctly deducing the Rebels' objective upon receiving a report of the attack, Tarkin brought the Death Star to Scarif in response to the emergency. While Darth Vader dealt with the enemy fleet directly from the Devastator, Tarkin had the Death Star fire a single reactor ignition on the complex in an attempt to halt the transmissions of the plans being sent to the ships above.
The superlaser beam made direct contact with the top of the Citadel Tower, destroying the transmission array and killing Director Krennic, who was attempting to personally stop the transmission of the plans. The resulting shockwave then destroyed the remainder of the facility. Although Tarkin was quick to order the complex's destruction, he felt regret that projects War-Mantle and Stellar Sphere would be delayed, due to information on them being kept in the same vault that the Death Star plans once were, although he knew duplicate existed. Despite the destruction of the base, the intelligence was successfully transmitted to the Rebel fleet before the blast struck. From the rebel flagship, the plans were transported to the Tantive IV, which escaped the system before Vader could intercept it.
Vader eventually caught up with the Tantive IV, and discovered that Princess Leia Organa, the Imperial Senator for Alderaan, was on the vessel, confirming her suspected allegiance to the rebels. Although the ship and the princess were captured, the stolen plans were jettisoned by a pair of droids to Tatooine below. The Imperials soon worked out what had happened, and Tarkin sent several sandtrooper units, including Foot Patrol 7, to the planet to search for the plans.
As the Devastator made its way to the Death Star, Tarkin contacted the ship's main bridge via hologram. Upon seeing the senior Imperial Security Bureau officer on the ship, Captain Ronnadam, being lax in Imperial procedure, Tarkin told his as much, and said that a young lieutenant near him also had better manners. The lieutenant was, in fact, Ciena Ree, who had graduated from the Royal Academy. After introducing herself, Tarkin recognised her as one of the children he found on Jelucan. Pleased with himself at the fact of his recruitment in action, Tarkin joked that he should recruit from the planet more often. Before ceasing the transmission, Tarkin gave a short nod to her.
Within the hour, the Devastator had docked with the Death Star with the princess as a prisoner. Shortly after, a meeting of Joint Chiefs and other high ranking Imperials took place in the Death Star's conference room. As Admiral Conan Antonio Motti and General Cassio Tagge argued about the potential threat of the Rebel Alliance, Tarkin and Vader arrived. Tarkin had just received contact from the Emperor, with the news that he had dissolved the Imperial Senate. As Tarkin relayed the information to the officers, Tagge openly showed his disconcertion, as he believed the council was a necessity for keeping order. Tarkin countered by explaining how regional governors would now have control over their territories instead of various senators, and that the power of the Death Star would create a culture of fear to crush any further rebellious uprisings 
However, Tagge was still worried that the Alliance would be able to find a weakness in the Death Star by studying the stolen plans. Vader then told him that the plans would soon return to Imperial control. After Motti told Tarkin he should make maximum use of the battle station's potential, he and Vader got into an argument concerning the admiral's over-reliance on technology, with Motti mocking the Dark Lord by calling him a mere sorcerer. Motti was saved from Vader's force choke only by Tarkin's intervention, as he was bored by their squabbling. He then decreed that Vader would have found the Rebel's base by the time the station was operational, and that they would then use the Death Star to destroy them.
The destruction of AlderaanEdit
- "I think it is time we demonstrated the full power of this station. Set your course for Alderaan."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin
Despite Vader's best efforts, the interrogation of the princess failed to yield any results as she proved surprisingly resistant to the mind probe. As the Dark Lord was updating Tarkin and Tagge of this on the Overbridge, Motti approached the group to inform them that the Death Star was completely operational, and he asked Tarkin of their course. Believing the princess would respond to a different approach of interrogation, and that it was time to publicly display the extent of the station's power, Tarkin ordered that the Death Star be taken to Alderaan, the princess' homeworld located in the Core Worlds.
During the hyperspace jump to Alderaan, Tarkin returned to his office. He started to look through engineering reports although, when he was confident Motti's assessment of the station's completion was correct, he grew tired. He contemplated how the destruction of Alderaan could serve more than just extortion for Organa, but as a reminder to the galaxy not to step out of line. Additionally, it would kill all of the suspected Rebel sympathisers there, including now former-senator Bail Organa. Admiral Motti then arrived, first congratulating Tarkin, then going on to inform him it was his opinion that Tarkin was now the most powerful man in the galaxy, arguably more so than the Emperor. Correctly seeing Motti's intention in being his right-hand man, Tarkin dismissed him, knowing that was only the first move in Motti's bit for greater power.
Upon nearing the system, the Tarkin sent for the princess, and was later informed of their arrival at Alderaan by Motti. When Organa arrived at the Overbridge, she exclaimed at her correct prediction at the fact that Tarkin was in control of the station. He then informed her that had filed for her execution, although he wanted her to first see a demonstration of the Death Star's power. Although Organa retorted that destroying a planet will only make systems under Imperial control more unruly, Tarkin replied it would be her homeworld that would be destroyed, due to her unwillingness to reveal the location of the Rebels base. Although distressed at this prospect, Organa nonetheless chose to lie, and incorrectly informed him that the Rebels were on Dantooine.
Tarkin, however, had believed this lie, although he nevertheless gave the order to Motti to destroy Alderaan, as Dantooine would not provide an effective demonstration of the station's power. Despite Leia's protests, the action was carried forward and Alderaan was completely destroyed. Sometime later, Imperial scouts that had been sent to Dantooine, under the leadership of General Tagge, reported back that Organa had lied: although the Rebels had a base there at one point, it had long since been deserted. Cass reported this information to Tarkin in the conference room. Furious at the princess' lie, Tarkin subsequently ordered Vader to execute her with immediate effect.
Setting a trapEdit
- "I'm taking an awful risk Vader. This had better work."
- ―Tarkin wasn't convinced Vader's plan would work.
Before Vader could enact Tarkin's command to execute the princess, Tarkin was informed that a freighter with markings similar to those of a ship that had had escaped Vader's troops on Tatooine during their hunt for the stolen plans had been captured by the Death Star's tractor beam in the ruins of Alderaan. Believing that the passengers had been trying to return said plans to the princess, Vader convinced the governor to suspend her execution as she may still be of use to them. Vader's plan was to let the Rebels escape with a homing beacon left on their ship, which would lead them to the Rebel base, a plan not dissimilar to one he used to track down Phoenix Squadron.
Later, Vader again met with Tarkin to inform him it was his belief that one of the passengers of the captured ship was his former Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Surprised and unconvinced, Tarkin then received a comm from Commander Sheard. He was informed of an alert from Detention Block AA-23, the same block Organa was being held in. Realising the princess had broken out of her cell, Tarkin got the commander to put all sections on alert. Now more responsive to Vader's reasoning, he allowed the Dark Lord to pursue his old maser so he couldn't get away. Although the Rebels later escaped, Vader had successfully managed to kill Kenobi. Once Vader informed him that they were away, Tarkin told him of the risk he was taking, and that he still had reservations about the plan to track the ship.
- "Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you over-estimate their chances!"
- ―Tarkin, convinced of the Death Star's invulnerability to the end
Vader's plan worked and the Death Star tracked the Falcon to the actual Rebel base hidden on the moon of Yavin 4. As the Death Star orbited the Yavin to get to its moon, a small Rebel group consisting of starfighters attacked the station. Although an analysis of their attack, which consisted of precise bombing runs down the meridian trench, gave the conclusion that there was a danger to the station, Tarkin opted to remain present at what he thought was an Imperial victory, despite the imploring to the contrary by Chief Moradmin Bast.
Once the base was in range, Tarkin gave instructions to Bast for the station to fire. However, the Rebels had discovered the weakness in the Death Star from the plans; a thermal exhaust port intentionally placed during construction by Galen Erso. The port led to the main reactor so that, if hit properly with proton torpedoes, it would cause a chain reaction capable of destroying the entire station.
Although Vader and his pilots had hunted down the majority of Rebels, they were unable to stop one of the last rebel pilots from successfully targeting the exhaust port. Tarkin was still in the Overbridge monitoring the progress of the battle as the Death Star exploded, killing him along with nearly two million others.
The destruction of the Death Star and Tarkin's subsequent death left a gap in the Imperial High Command, which paved the way for Cassio Tagge's rise to power as Grand General. As one of the staunchest critics of the Death Star and Tarkin's policies, Tagge derisively referred to the station as "Tarkin's folly," believing the Empire had wasted time and resources that could have been put towards the construction of more capital ships. Darth Vader, despite being left with the blame for the station's destruction, nonetheless regarded Tarkin posthumously for his vision, as opposed to Tagge's more practical methods.
Over thirty years after his death in the Battle of Yavin, Tarkin would be held in high esteem by the Empire's successor organization, the First Order. As part of the First Order's commemorative rank insignia system, honoring famous units and heroes of the Galactic Civil War, Tarkin's last name was present on the armband insignia for the rank of Major. A squadron of TIE/fo space superiority fighters stationed on Starkiller Base was designated Tarkin's Revenge.
Personality and traitsEdit
- "Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin, on the Death Star's intended psychological effect
Wilhuff Tarkin was a human male who stood 1.85 meters tall and had blue eyes. During the Clone Wars, he had auburn hair which later turned gray by the time of the rebellion. As a child, his parents instilled a sense of ruthlessness in their son by sending him into the untamed Carrion Plateau at the age of eleven. Through this experience, Tarkin came to believe that the strong and intelligent remained in power by maintaining control over those beneath them—that life was a constant struggle for survival. The lessons of Tarkin's childhood continued to influence him throughout his adolescent years, particularly in space combat where he killed a band of pirates while serving with the Outland Regions Security Force. The ambitious Naboo politician Sheev Palpatine had a strong influence on Tarkin as well. Through Palpatine's influence, Tarkin pursued career paths in both law enforcement and government, serving first with the Judicial Department before gaining the governorship of his homeworld on the advice of his mentor.
With the outbreak of the Clone Wars, Tarkin opted for renewed military service following his tenure as governor of Eriadu. As a captain in the Republic Navy, he served under the command of the Jedi Generals due to their appointment as leaders of the Grand Army of the Republic, although he resented the Jedi Order for its independence from the bureaucracy and military hierarchy. He believed that the Jedi were ill-suited to lead the Galactic Republic's war effort due to their traditional role as peacekeepers, although this view did not apply to all members of the Order—having developed a grudging respect for the hardened warrior Even Piell and admiration for Anakin Skywalker. As an admiral, Tarkin remained resentful of the Jedi's independence and used the deaths of clone troopers in the bombing of the Jedi Temple to argue that the incident was a Republic military matter rather than an internal affair of the Order. Having made his case to the Jedi High Council, Tarkin sought to prosecute the defendant Ahsoka Tano to the full extent of Republic law, which included the penalty of death. While Tarkin ultimately failed to achieve his goal due to the confession of Barriss Offee, he listened with great interest as the fallen Jedi publicly denounced the Jedi Order and the Republic for their role in the Clone Wars.
As a loyal protégé of Palpatine, Tarkin became one of the strongest supporters of the New Order in the aftermath of the Republic's reorganization as the Galactic Empire. His tireless efforts to root out resistance to Palpatine's rule as Emperor was rewarded with a promotion to the rank of Grand Moff of the Outer Rim Territories. Over the course of his career under the Empire, Tarkin helped to consolidate the Empire's control of the galaxy through the use of ruthless tactics, overseeing mass arrests and executions of both Separatists and Republic loyalists on Antar 4. As Grand Moff, he did not tolerate failure and was keen on making examples of ineffectual officers by having them summarily executed. With the completion of the Death Star, Tarkin developed a simple and brutal philosophy—fear of the battle station's planet-killing superweapon would henceforth suppress all resistance to Imperial power.
In addition to his reputation as an ambitious and ruthless proponent of military power, Tarkin was known for his sharp memory. He never forgot a favor or a slight and was capable of recalling people from meetings that took place over a decade before, even if he had only met them once. For example, when Ciena Ree greeted him via hologram, he recognized her from their encounter that took place when she was a child. Although at times ruthless, Tarkin wasn't always uncaring. Upon learning that the citizens of Salient II had burnt their houses and fled the system, he told his adjutant he hoped they had taken their pets with them. Although he was kind to both Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell on Jelucan, this was only a deception to prove a point to Firmus Piett.
While serving the Galactic Republic, Wilhuff Tarkin wore the standard uniform worn by Republic officers, with a rank insignia plaque with three red squares over two blue, which showed his rank of Captain, and later Admiral. When the Republic transitioned into the Galactic Empire, the same uniform was kept in service. However, Tarkin now had a rank insignia depicting five blue squares over three of red and two of blue, which showed his new rank of Moff. Additionally, he kept a pair of code cylinders on both sides of his tunic. By 14 BBY, Tarkin wore a new uniform, one that was created specifically for the Empire. Following his promotion to Grand Moff, he gained a new plaque, with an additional blue square over a yellow one on the right side. Tarkin wore a white shirt under his tunic, the neck and sleeves of which were often visible.
Behind the scenesEdit
Tarkin was played by Peter Cushing in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, and by Wayne Pygram in a cameo in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. He is voiced by Stephen Stanton in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.
Cushing was originally considered to play Obi-Wan Kenobi, but his friend Alec Guinness took that role when George Lucas decided that he was perfect for the role of Tarkin. On set, Tarkin behaved kindly and cordially with the cast members, which led to Carrie Fisher, the actress who played Princess Leia, finding it difficult simulate her character's hatred for Tarkin, as Cushing was a gentleman. Unlike Guiness, Cushing enjoyed his experience on the film, although he regretted not being able to appear in subsequent films due to his character's death.
During the early development of Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas wanted to mix stock footage with CGI to 'resurrect' Cushing for one of the final scenes of the film. Concept artist Iain McCaig suggested using unused footage from A New Hope and digitally animating Cushing's lips to match his new planned dialogue, and so created a concept art image for the character, which Lucas himself approved. Animation director Rob Coleman even spoke with Christopher Lee, Dooku's portrayer and a close friend of Cushing, about the possibility of using a digital model of Cushing.
However, Lucas later decided that the stock footage wasn't good enough to be used, in addition to the fact that the scene in question required a full-body appearance of Tarkin, but as Cushing recorded his scenes in A New Hope with slippers instead of boots there were none available. Ultimately, Wayne Pygram was cast as Tarkin in a nonspeaking role, because he shared an uncanny resemblance with Cushing.
For Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, groundbreaking CGI and digitally altered archive footage was used to insert Peter Cushing's likeness from the original movie over the body of actor Guy Henry. Cushing's family were heavily involved with the creation and had input right down to "small, subtle adjustments." However, even though both Industrial Light & Magic and Lucasfilm Ltd. knew that they would be able to 'resurrect' Cushing with CGI, back-up plans were made in case the footage didn't serve. Had "Cushing" not appeared in the film, Tarkin's lines would have been relegated to other characters. In 2017, when asked if he could return as Tarkin either in Solo: A Star Wars Story or the untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Wars Anthology film, Henry expressed interest in reprise the role in addition to hint that there could an Anthology film focusing on Tarkin.
- Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Return of the Kyber Saber" (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Mission to Mos Eisley" (Appears in flashback(s))
Notes and referencesEdit
- Grand Moff Tarkin on Wikipedia