- "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 Callan 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. 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.
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, asking what would happen if Kenobi's plan began to fail. When Skywalker stated Jedi worked at their best when they had to improvise, Tarkin informed the young Jedi Knight he only respected those who took action. Skywalker retorted that he only respected those who understood gratitude, reminding Tarkin he would have still been a prisoner if not for the efforts of the Jedi.
Skywalker's Padawan learner Ahsoka Tano took lead of the group. Tarkin lacked faith in the young girl, and clone captain Rex attempted to persuade Tarkin otherwise, telling him he had served under her many times before and 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 was annoyed, asking Tarkin how he could admire such a monstrosity. Tarkin then claimed to Tano that their entire ordeal only proved his claim. He then explained that he wished the Citadel had been claimed by the Republic and not the Separatists. Tano still disagreed with Tarkin while Skywalker agreed with him.
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, Tarkin stated he stood by his principles without compromise no matter what. Tarkin did not feel threatened by Piell for his career was sound, he had found favor with the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic Sheev Palpatine. Anakin 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 repelled 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 Sobeck was all that remained, he was unarmed and at Tarkin's mercy, Tarkin fired his blaster rifle, wounding Sobeck. Sobeck charged Tarkin, lifting him over his head. Sobeck was about to throw Tarkin into a river of lava when Ahoska Tano stabbed Sobeck through the back with her lightsaber. Captain Tarkin recovered, thanked Tano and then stated that Skywalker 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.
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 superweapon. 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 pasafist, 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.
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. He was made the Moff of the Greater Seswenna sector by now-emperor Palpatine. 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.
The Graf ProblemEdit
Around this time, Tarkin met with prisoners Auric and Rhyssa Graf on Agaris, in order to discuss their children Milo and Lina. The infants had recently stolen the Imperial scout ship Star Herald, which in turn had been originally been stolen by former Imperial Captain Visler Korda.
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 the Empire expanding past Wild Space
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. 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 bit 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.
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.
Governor of the Outer RimEdit
- "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 Maketh Tua about her failure to stop the rebels.
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.
Following his promotion, Tarkin 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.
In 11 BBY, Tarkin gave a grand speech at the introduction ceremony for the planet Jelucan into the Galactic Empire, following its conquest. He was accompanied by a young Firmus Piett. He later accosted the children Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree, who had sneaked inside an Imperial hangar in order to get a close up view of various starships, but allowed them inside an Imperial Shuttle to prove a point in an ideological argument he was engaged in with Piett.
By 5 BBY, the Empire began to expand into the Outer Rim Territories, the farthest reaches of the known galaxy which had been notorious for its lawlessness during the days of the Republic. The Empire claimed several worlds in the Outer Rim, such as Lothal. Tarkin was appointed as Governor of the Outer Rim and took on a great many responsibilities in seeing that every planet operated at peak efficiency to assist Imperial expansion into the Outer Rim. On Lothal, Tarkin 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.
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. Although they were considered insignificant by the Empire, Tarkin and several other high-ranking Imperials feared that these cells would unite and form a more dangerous threat to the Empire. Tarkin therefore required his officers to act with brutal efficiency against such defiance to prevent any type of allied resistance developing.
A Jedi on LothalEdit
- "I actually knew the Jedi, not from the pages of folklore or children's tales, but as flesh and blood. And do you know what happened to them?"
"Well, there were rumors-"
"They died. Every last one of them. So you see, this criminal cannot be what he claims to be—and I shall prove it."
- ―Governor Tarkin and Minister Maketh Tua, regarding Kanan Jarrus and the rebels
When rumors reached the high levels of the Empire that a Jedi was leading the rebel cell on Lothal, a world vital to Imperial Military efforts in the Outer Rim, it created fear that this could be the symbol the various rebels needed to unite against Imperial occupation. Although Tarkin doubted the existence of the Jedi, believing them to have all died during the Purge, the constant failures of the Grand Inquisitor to apprehend the rebels made the situation all the more pressing. In 4 BBY, Tarkin eventually decided to travel to Lothal personally to deal with the rebels.
Arriving on Lothal, Tarkin was greeted by Minister Maketh Tua, who had been looking after Lothal's industries in the absence of Governor Arihnda Pryce, Agent Kallus of the Imperial Security Bureau, and the Inquisitor. Tarkin wasted no time in addressing the excuses and failures of the leadership. The following day, Tarkin addressed the previous failures of two officers, Commandant Cumberlayne Aresko and Taskmaster Myles Grint in putting down the rebel threat by having the Inquisitor behead them to set an example for the others.
Tarkin then ordered Agent Kallus to send probe droids to all areas of known rebel activity on the planet. Shortly after, one of the droids near Lothal's Imperial Communications Center was attacked and damaged, but was still able to transmit footage of the rebels as they made their escape. With this information Tarkin was able to plan a surprise counterattack on the rebels which lead to the capture of their leader, the Jedi Kanan Jarrus. However, the group was able to complete their objective, which was to broadcast a message to Lothal using the tower's transmitter. The message was only able to continue for another minute before Tarkin had the tower struck with missiles and brought down.
With Jarrus captured, he was brought to Tarkin's flagship, the Sovereign, in orbit over Lothal. Interrogated by Tarkin and Agent Kallus, he proved resistant to mind probes and failed to break. 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. Although the Inquisitor came to believe that Jarrus did not know anything about a larger rebellion, Tarkin refused to believe it and ordered that the Jedi be transferred to a new facility on Mustafar which had 'never failed to extract results.'
Rebellion over MustafarEdit
The Sovereign arrived over Mustafar to rendezvous with an Imperial fleet. As Tarkin took over command of the fleet, 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 neutralized all its stormtroopers. Tarkin ordered the ship to activate its secondary power source and reassured his officers that reinforcements were on their way: he had been sending out an all-clear signal to the fleet which went dead when the power was cut. Several shuttles bearing stormtroopers boarded 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 and caused a chain reaction which threatened to destroy the ship. Tarkin was eventually convinced to evacuate the Sovereign by one of his officers, leaving in a shuttle for the other ships of the fleet. Meanwhile, the rebels escaped the flagship in two TIE fighters. Although their craft prevented from jumping into hyperspace and made it difficult for them to resist the dozens of TIE fighters Tarkin had sent against them, a fleet of blockade runners jumped out of hyperspace and helped the rebels escape from the Imperial fleet. As such, 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.
After the events on Mustafar, Tarkin returned to Lothal where he 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 the Outer Rim. With the Inquisitor's death, he had sent a far deadlier agent to Lothal to deal with the growing rebellion: Darth Vader, the Emperor's own apprentice.
Some time later that year, he was displeased with Minister Tua's failures to capture the rebels, having taken the destruction of his Star Destroyer personally. He then demanded that Tua visit him to account for her failures, a message that was delivered by Darth Vader. This drove Tua to seek help from the rebels, leading to her death from explosives planted on her ship.
The secrets of ArkanisEdit
Around the time of his stay on Lothal, 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.
Raid at Reklam StationEdit
In 2 BBY, Six months after Lord Vader's mission to Malachor, Tarkin spoke with Governor Arihnda Pryce about securing Lothal. He also spoke with her about the recent rebel attack on Naraka's prison. Tarkin listened to her fears about the rebels and how they threaten the Empire. Tarkin agreed with her, but assured her that Lord Vader had taken care of the rebels' Jedi leadership. He then asked Pryce what the Empire should do. Pryce requested for the Seventh Fleet to deployed to Lothal due to Admiral Kassius Konstantine's status as a politician then a soldier. Tarkin then granted her request for the fleet and its commander, Grand Admiral Thrawn.
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. However, Grand Admiral Thrawn entered and believed that the rebels threat should remain that way. Tarkin then introduced Thrawn and told of them of Thrawn's promotion to Grand Admiral following his victory over the Batonn's insurgents. At this briefing, Tarkin asked Thrawn of what he thought of Pryce's theory about the Rebels. 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.
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.
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 the rebel attack presented him with an opportunity to wipe out the rebellion 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, 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.
- "Lord Vader will handle the fleet. Target the base of Scarif. Single reactor ignition... You may fire when ready."
- ―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, which consisted of a low power firing on the Jedi holy city on Jedha, with the intent being that the traitorous pilot would be killed and the station would be a success. The bombardment had the desired effect, resulting in the total destruction of the captured city and a devastating shockwave in the surrounding area. Suitably impressed, Tarkin 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, Tarkin refuted that the defector couldn't have acted alone, noting that he came out of the Eadu facility where Galen Erso was now stationed. A now fuming Krennic then departed to investigate.
Galactic Civil WarEdit
Loss of the Death Star plansEdit
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 told their 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 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. 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 was 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. Vader then arrived on 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. Among the topics of discussion were the near-completion of the Death Star and the fact that it could be compromised with proper analysis of the plans. Midway through the meeting, Tarkin and Vader arrived, with the former informing the gathered officers that with the Death Star's near completion, the Emperor had decided that the time had come to dissolve the Imperial Senate as, with the fear the battle station could inspire, they would no longer need bureaucrats to keep order in the Empire's worlds. He continued to relay that the Senate's former powers would be transferred to the military and to regional governors, such as himself.
General Cassio Tagge was worried that the rebels, whom he believed were far better equipped and organized than the Empire believed, would be able to find a weakness in the Death Star and use it. However, Admiral Motti believed that the Death Star was indestructible and that they should not shy away from using it. When Vader berated him for relying too much on technology and boasted that the power of the Force was far greater than any of the Death Star's abilities, Motti mocked the Dark Lord by calling him a mere sorcerer and criticizing his inability to find the stolen plans or the rebels. Motti was saved from Vader's Force choke only by Tarkin's intervention. Irritated by two Chiefs' squabbling, Tarkin decreed that Vader would find the Rebels and that they would then use the Death Star to destroy them once and for all.
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, Motti approached them to inform them that the Death Star was completely operational. Believing the princess would respond to a different approach of interrogation, Tarkin ordered that the Death Star be taken to Alderaan. Upon arriving in the system, the princess was brought before Tarkin who threatened to have the planet destroyed if she refused to comply with them and give them the location of the rebel base. Eventually, Leia complied and told them that the rebels were hiding on Dantooine.
Pleased with the results, Tarkin nevertheless gave the order to destroy Alderaan, as Dantooine would not provide a good demonstration of the station's power. Despite Leia's protests, the action was carried forward and Alderaan was destroyed, causing a major disturbance in the Force. 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 been on the world at one point, it had long been deserted. Cass reported this information to Tarkin, who was furious at the princess' lie. Subsequently, he ordered Vader to execute her with immediate effect.
Setting a trapEdit
Before Vader could enact Tarkin's command to execute the princess, a ship was captured by the Death Star's tractor beam in the ruins of Alderaan and matched the description of the ship which had escaped Vader's troops on Tatooine during their hunt for the stolen plans. Believing that the passengers were 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. Despite Vader's assurance, Tarkin had doubts the plan could work.
Later, Vader met privately with Tarkin to inform him that one of the passengers of the captured ship was his former Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Surprised and unconvinced, Tarkin was nevertheless forced to accept that someone was loose in the station when he was informed that the princess had been broken out of her cell. Not only did he authorize Vader to pursue his old Master alone, it also seemed that he approved his plan to place a homing beacon on the Falcon so that they could track it back to the rebels. The rebels later escaped although Vader successfully killed Kenobi. In order to maintain the illusion of preventing escape, Tarkin sent four TIE fighters after the ship, but they were easily outran and the rebels escaped into hyperspace. The Death Star followed closely behind, determined to destroy the rebels once they found them.
- "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 planet, Tarkin gave instructions for the station to fire when ready. However, the rebels had discovered the weakness (intentionally placed during the station's construction by Galen Erso) in the battle-station's design: a small thermal exhaust port that led to the station's main reactor and, if hit properly with proton torpedoes, would cause a chain reaction that would destroy the Death Star, due to the reactor's instability.
As the station was designed to repel a large scale assault, the rebels attacked with small ships: X-wings and Y-Wings launched an attack on the Death Star. Vader ordered all fighters to launch to stop the rebels while Tarkin remained in the command center, observing the Death Star's progress around Yavin to reach the moon. When analyst Jude Edivon discovered that there was a danger in the rebel attack, Imperial officers tried to convince Tarkin to evacuate but the Grand Moff refused, convinced in the invulnerability of the Death Star and the upcoming victory against the rebels.
Eventually, as Vader shot down almost all Rebel ships, the Death Star finally reached range of the moon and Tarkin gave immediate orders for the base to be destroyed. However, Vader was unable to stop one of the last rebel pilots from targeting the exhaust port and destroying the station. Tarkin was still convinced in the invincibility of the battle station that he had commanded when it blew up under his feet.
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.
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.
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.
- 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