For other uses, see Tan (disambiguation).

"Luke Skywalker… File: ZC-1905-FT, Section: OC-6492, Human: 10th Degree, Born: Sidereal Era, AS-5670… of Master and Mistress Tan Skywalker on—"
―Mistress Mnemos[4]

Tan was a title-rank that was bestowed to exceptionally skilled pilots under the rule of Palpatine, Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. It remained in use even after Palpatine appointed himself Galactic Emperor of the New Order. Two well-known recipients of the special award were Force-sensitive Humans. One was Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi Knight who gained fame during the Clone Wars. The other was Maarek Stele, who distinguished himself in the Imperial Navy during the later Galactic Civil War.


Tan was both a military rank and a honorary title[3] awarded to Starfighter Corps officers who had done their Head of State a special service, in recognition of their exceptional piloting skills.[1] It was used as a honorific prefix to its bearer's surname,[3] sometimes in combination with the masculine form of address "Master." Additionally, the wife of a male recipient could also be referred to as "Mistress Tan" followed by her married name.[4]


Tan Maarek Stele

The name and concept of Tan was created by Palpatine, Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, during the Clone Wars,[1] a pan-galactic conflict that started in 22 BBY.[5] Following the end of the war in 19 BBY, Palpatine transformed the Republic into a New Order and appointed himself Galactic Emperor.[6] However, the title-rank Tan saw continued use under the new regime.[3]

Among the individuals who earned the title, at least two were Force-sensitive Human males. The first was Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi Knight from Tatooine who fought in the Clone Wars and was granted the title while flying a customized Eta-2 Actis-class interceptor[1] by 20 BBY.[2] The second one was Maarek Stele, a Kuan-born ace pilot who made a brilliant career in Palpatine's Imperial Navy during the Galactic Civil War, after he helped thwart an attempted coup[3] in 3.5 ABY.[5] The fact that Skywalker had once held the title-rank appeared in the database of Mistress Mnemos, a BRT supercomputer that served in a library branch of the Obroa-skai Celebratus Archive located on the planet Fusai. Mnemos once referred to him and his wife[4] Padmé Amidala[7] as "Master and Mistress Tan Skywalker" in a file pertaining to their son, Luke Skywalker.[4]

Behind the scenes[]

Tan Skywalker was mentioned in The Constancia Affair.

"Tan Skywalker. It's a rather apt name for a man from the suns-baked world of Tatooine, wouldn't you say? But the 'tan' here doesn't refer to the golden glow of Anakin or Luke's skin. Instead, the name comes down to us from Star Wars writer and illustrator Russ Manning."
―Abel G. Peña[src]

The name of Tan originated with Russ Manning, a Star Wars writer and illustrator who published numerous black-and-white newspaper comic strips in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[8] In one 1978 series of strips that was later titled The Constancia Affair, Luke Skywalker's parents were called "Master and Mistress Tan Skywalker."[4] At the time, the Expanded Universe was in its early stages, and nobody knew the name of Luke's father, save that the two probably shared the surname Skywalker. The given name "Anakin" was only revealed in the 1983 movie Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, five years after the release of The Constantia Affair. In view of that new element, the dialogue mentioning Tan Skywalker became a continuity problem.[8]

Another unexplained occurrence of the name appeared in TIE Fighter: The Official Strategy Guide, the Prima Games companion to the 1994 PC game of the same name. The publisher's summary on the guide's back flap stated that it "[continued] the story of Tan Stele's adventures." However, the hero of Star Wars: TIE Fighter was in fact named Maarek Stele, and was referred as such everywhere else in the strategy guide itself.[9]

Star Wars author Abel G. Peña, who had pointed out those two anomalies, discussed the matter with his colleague Pablo Hidalgo, who suggested that Tan was "some kind of title given to exceptional starfighter aces." Peña liked the idea and decided to endorse it. When he wrote his 2001 article The Emperor's Pawns, he tied the two occurrences together, introducing a retcon that established Tan as a title for exceptional pilots such as Maarek Stele.[3] He also took the opportunity to apply the title to Anakin Skywalker in Vader Tech, an article written for Vader: The Ultimate Guide,[1] hence explaining Mistress Mnemos' line in the 1978 comic strip. In 2006, Peña explained the history behind the retcon on his VIP Star Wars Blog, in a post titled "The Anatomy of a Ret-Con 3: or, "That Name No Longer Has Any Meaning For Me."[8]



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