- "Of power, I could tell you much. One must seize the moment, and strike."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin
Wilhuff Tarkin was a human male politician, bureaucrat, and military officer whose career spanned the Fall of the Republic and the Age of the Empire. Born on the planet Eriadu in 64 BBY, he was a member of the Tarkin family and the great-nephew of Jova Tarkin. During the Republic Era, Tarkin served in the Galactic Republic's Judicial Department for a time before returning to his homeworld as the Governor of Eriadu. When the Clone Wars began, he renewed his military service, becoming a commissioned officer in the Republic Navy.
As a captain, Tarkin served under Jedi General Even Piell until the latter's death on Lola Sayu, where the two were held as prisoners in the Citadel by the Confederacy of Independent Systems for having memorized half of the Nexus Route. Saved by a Jedi-led rescue team, Tarkin grew to respect the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, who agreed with the captain's belief that the Jedi Code conflicted with their wartime duties. He staunchly opposed the Jedi Order's role as leaders in the Grand Army of the Republic, believing that peacekeepers should not direct the Republic war effort. A favorite of Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, Tarkin served on the Strategic Advisory Cell and was promoted to the military rank of Admiral. When Jedi Commander Ahsoka Tano was framed for the bombing of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, it was Tarkin who acted as the prosecutor in her trial.
Tarkin continued to rise in power with the proclamation of a new regime, the Galactic Empire, ruled by the self-appointed Emperor Palpatine. Joining the ranks of the New Order's regional governors, Grand Moff Tarkin administrated the Outer Rim Territories and was also involved in the secret construction of the DS-1 Death Star Mobile Battle Station. As governor of the regions of space along the galactic frontier, he sought to enforce Imperial rule on restive worlds such as Lothal where rebel cells grew increasingly bold in their opposition to the Empire. Having retained the Emperor's favor in the New Order, Tarkin often worked alongside the Emperor's chief enforcer, the Sith Lord Darth Vader, whom he once knew as Skywalker.
A proponent of the doctrine of fear, he believed that the battle station and its planet-killing superweapon would terrify the galaxy into total submission. At Tarkin's command the Core World Alderaan was destroyed by the Death Star, instantly killing billions of Alderaanians. Tarkin ultimately perished, however, when the Alliance to Restore the Republic succeeded in destroying the station at the Battle of Yavin in 0 BBY. As a result, his memory was tarnished in the views of some Imperial officers, such as Grand General Cassio Tagge, who referred to the Death Star as "Tarkin's folly." Princess Leia Organa remembered Tarkin as the man who destroyed her adopted homeworld and family long after his death. The First Order, having risen to power as the Empire's successor opposing the New Republic, commemorated Tarkin's memory in an effort to portray Imperial leaders in a more heroic light.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early life
- 1.2 The Clone Wars
- 1.3 Age of the Empire
- 1.3.1 Start of a New Era
- 1.3.2 Hunting Clone Force 99
- 1.3.3 Working with Vader
- 1.3.4 The Occupation of Mon Cala
- 1.3.5 Antar Atrocity
- 1.3.6 Western Reaches pacification operations
- 1.3.7 The Campaign at Salient
- 1.3.8 Sentinel Base
- 1.3.9 Berch Teller's campaign
- 1.3.10 Hunt on Chandar's Folly
- 1.3.11 Governor of the Outer Rim
- 184.108.40.206 Tour of the Outer Rim
- 220.127.116.11 Visit to Tsevuka
- 18.104.22.168 Working with Vidian
- 22.214.171.124 Jelucan annexation
- 126.96.36.199 The deal with Pryce
- 188.8.131.52 Lothal insurgency
- 184.108.40.206 Interrogating the Jedi
- 220.127.116.11 Return to Lothal
- 18.104.22.168 Meeting with Vader
- 22.214.171.124 Raid at Reklam Station
- 126.96.36.199 The Battle of Atollon
- 188.8.131.52 The competition of the projects
- 184.108.40.206 Taking over
- 1.3.12 Control of the Death Star
- 1.4 Death
- 1.5 Legacy
- 2 Personality and traits
- 3 Equipment
- 4 Behind the scenes
- 5 Appearances
- 6 Sources
- 7 Notes and references
- 8 External links
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 career
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 Eriadu
With Palpatine's backing, Tarkin became Governor of Eriadu. He aided Palpatine during the Eriadu Conference 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 Wars
Early in the war
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. He also participated in the Battle of Kamino.
Captured by the Confederacy
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 Confederacy navy. Before they were boarded Piell and Tarkin 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 Sayu
- "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 Wilhuff Tarkin
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 because they were still deep in enemy territory. When General Kenobi worked out a plan to escape, saying that they should split up so the information would be divided between them, 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 broke off 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 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 and was concerned what would happen when things did not go according to their plan. 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. As they continued, Tarkin said that he admired the structure of the Citadel, which disgusted Tano, asking him how he could admire such a horrible place. Tarkin smugly noted that Tano had revealed her shortsightedness on their ordeal.
After Tano took lead of the group, Tarkin expressed his lack of faith in the girl, despite Clone Captain "Rex" attempting to persuade him otherwise, by Rex 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 recommended 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 Group
After his imprisonment, Tarkin was drafted into the Strategic Advisory Cell's Special Weapons Group. 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, and 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 Callan 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 squad 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 hangar
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 Tano
- "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 Empire
Start of a New Era
- "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 Destroyers Executrix and Sovereign.
The Death Star project was moved from the now superseded Special Weapons Group to the Imperial Military Department of Advanced Weapons Research, which was a sub-agency of Imperial Intelligence, with the secrecy role of the organization belonging to the Imperial Security Bureau. 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.
Hunting Clone Force 99
After the Empire's formation, Tarkin was dispatched to Kamino to evaluate the worth of the clones, in regards to whether or not they would be an asset to the Empire. Though Tarkin himself viewed the clones unfavorably, he noticed the efficiency of Clone Force 99 during an impromptu fight in their cafeteria. Tarkin proceeded to request the clones to the training facility, wishing to have a closer look at their effectiveness in combat. After the squad completed the first simulation with ease, Tarkin instructed Lama Su to utilize live rounds in a second simulation, despite Su's protests. After Clone Force 99 completed the second simulation as well, Tarkin was impressed by their skills. However, he also found concern in the squad's disregard for authority, and made a note of Crosshair's report that stated Hunter had failed to execute Order 66.
Confronting the squad in their barracks, Tarkin, wishing to test Clone Force 99's loyalty, gave them the mission of quelling a group of insurgents on Onderon. Unbeknownst to the squad of clones, Tarkin was sending them to eliminate a group of refugees led by Saw Gerrera, including the elderly and children, while simultaneously spying on them through the use of probe droids. Upon their refusal to eliminate the refugees and the elimination of the probe droid, Tarkin had the squad of clones arrested upon their return to Kamino, as well as ordered the removal of all of their belongings from their barracks and into the hangar. Taking note of Crosshair's continued loyalty to the Empire, he had him removed from the group, ordering that his inhibitor chip be amplified to ensure full loyalty to the Empire. Tarkin then ordered that Crosshair be deployed against his former teammates, who were attempting to escape alongside a female clone, Omega. However, before Tarkin could exact punishment on Clone Force 99, the squad escaped Kamino. 
Tarkin, who at that point of time was promoted to Governor, decided to put Crosshair in charge of an Elite Squad of non-clones to test their capabilities by fulfilling the mission Clone Force 99 had previously failed at.
Working with Vader
- "Construction continues apace, your excellency. I believe we will meet or surpass all targets."
"And the weapon, Tarkin? Does that move forward on schedule as well?"
"The latest reports are promising, Mas Amedda. I believe that—"
- ―Tarkin and Amedda discuss the Death Star
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 utilize 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 a few days after the Declaration of the New Order, Tarkin journeyed to the Emperor's office 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 blasted two of the guards into the office window, knocking them unconscious. Tarkin, having never seen Vader before, expressed concern for the Emperor's safety, but the Emperor replied that he was safe and dismissed both Tarkin and Amedda.
Some time later, after an assassination attempt on him, Vader sought to teach members of the Imperial Officer Corps of his power. He assembled a list of officers with access codes to Imperial systems at Level 1A1 and above, which included Tarkin himself. Although the Emperor himself approved of Vader's plan, he specifically requested Tarkin be spared, as he was required. Vader then went on to execute five randomly chosen officers at a Coruscant auditorium, demonstrating to the rest of the gathered forces his strength.
The Occupation of Mon Cala
Preparing for conflict
- "I had hoped for another solution, but these fools have chosen war."
In around 18 BBY, Tarkin undertook a mission to Mon Cala by personal order of the Emperor, in order to make an example of the world for the price of defiance. Tarkin arrived in the Sovereign, and briefed his crew of the upcoming operation on the vessel's bridge. He noted that although the sea-world's oceans proved difficult to navigate, the reefs and islands held several large cities, which could be used as the staging ground for an invasion force. Tarkin asked Major Rantu if his teams were ready, to which he replied they had already been running simulations. He then asked Commander Jordo to discuss non-military opportunities for disruption, such as propaganda. Jordo had already had his teams mock up artwork and holos, which he wanted Tarkin to approve, although the governor trusted the commander's experience.
When Colonel Bergon questioned why the Sovereign didn't just commence an orbital bombardment on the world, Tarkin replied that the Empire didn't just want to destroy its assets, but rather control them. Mon Cala was important to the Empire due to its people, technology and civilization. However, Tarkin was then informed by a technician that the Zeta-class shuttle Infernum had jumped out of hyperspace. Although he was originally confused, as additional forces weren't expected, once Tarkin became aware of the shuttle's designation, he realized that it was the personal craft of the Inquisitorius, led by Darth Vader. After the craft landed, Ambassador Telvar's shuttle was destroyed. As it wasn't clear if it was attack, sabotage or malfunction, Tarkin made sure to inform Major Rantu to prepare to deploy his forces, and that Jordo and Bergon should prepare their phases as well.
Battle of Dac City
As Vader and Major Rantu attacked Dac City, King Lee-Char of Mon Cala contacted Tarkin with outrage of his sudden invasion of his planet. Lee-Char told Tarkin to stand down, but Tarkin repelled his order, reminding him that an Imperial envoy had been assassinated under the protection of the Mon Calamari. Tarkin told Lee-Char that he had to surrender before he could negotiate with him. Lee-Char took his quarrel to his secret adviser, the Jedi Padawan Ferren Barr, who used a mind trick to make him take drastic action. Lee-Char did so by arranging a school of large fish-like creatures to generate a waves large enough to sweep the Imperial ground forces off the surface of Mon Cala.
Bergon witnessed the sudden attack from the Sovereign and gasped at the fact that Lee-Char had sacrificed Mon Cala's surface settlements. Tarkin told her and Jordo that the Mon Calamari had lost nothing as their real community was underwater, a thousand times more expansive. Tarkin told them that it had barely hurt Mon Cala and since Major Rantu was at Dac City when it was swept away, Tarkin had to assume he was lost in the cataclysm. Tarkin therefore told Bergon that the next wave of assault would fall to her. Bergon agreed and told him that she intended to use aerial landing platforms for her assault to keep her forces from the path of a similar tactic to the Lee-Char's aforementioned attack. Tarkin then told Jordo that he was responsible for the planet and asked him how he did not predict Lee-Char's attack. Jordo told him that he had no explanation for it but then assured Tarkin that he would redouble his efforts and redeem himself. Tarkin asked one of his officers if there was any word from Vader but the officer told him that the he was not responding.
Bergon deployed her forces onto Mon Cala, directing them from her sky-base. Tarkin soon asked of her status, to which she told him she was making progress. As she acknowledged Gial Ackbar's efforts in her hemisphere and Raddus's efforts consolidating reefships in the southern polar regions. Tarkin warned her that despite Raddus's obvious defensive techniques, he always had an offensive strategy in mind. One of Bergon's officers then told her that they had something incoming and Ackbar inevitably appeared, leading a swarm of aquatic vehicles. They passed under Bergon's sky-base and fired a barrage of missiles at it. The sky base exploded, incinerating Bergon instantly. Tarkin received a report of the Attack on Bergon's sky-base and was unhappy with Jordo for yet again not predicting an attack like this. Jordo attempted to make excuses for his failure but Tarkin instead had him put in stormtrooper armor and sent down to Mon Cala's surface. Tarkin's lieutenant asked him if they were to retaliate to the most recent attack. But Tarkin instead told him that he was leaning towards escalation.
One of Tarkin's lieutenants soon informed him that they were winning every engagement on Mon Cala as the present time. Tarkin acknowledged his point, but then stated that there were too many engagements. He explained that the Mon Calamari and Quarren warriors were using two primary tactics: They were either holing up in settlements and taking the fight to the corridors, which were unfamiliar to their attackers; or they were scattering into distant empty oceans where the Imperial forces would have to split up to get them all, requiring constant supply. Tarkin then pointed out Raddus, who had thought of a more creative strategy. Tarkin told the Lieutenant of how Raddus had connected the shields of many merchant vessels from the Mon Cala Mercantile Fleet, making a large shield bubble that could repel any attack. Tarkin thought it it was a brilliant strategy and told the Lieutenant that Raddus had built himself a fortress.
As the conflict stretched on, Tarkin contacted Vader, who had managed to chase Ferren Barr to Bel City. He requested Vader to leave his Inquisitors and the Purge troopers to take on the Jedi and instead capture Lee-Char. Vader told Tarkin that he was not a subject to his authority, but Tarkin stated that it was only a request and that the Emperor wanted a swift victory on Mon Cala. He said to Vader that it would end the war quickly and he asked him if he could do this for him, promising that he would owe Vader a debt in the foreseeable future. Vader complied and left his forces to hunt Barr themselves.
Vader reached the Royal Command Bunker, where he killed Lee-Char's guards before disarming and capturing him. Vader contacted Tarkin, telling him of his success. Tarkin congratulated Vader and told him to transmit his precise location. Vader asked Tarkin if he was sending a shuttle but Tarkin said not yet and had Vader take Lee-Char to a window. Tarkin then ordered the Sovereign and two other Star Destroyers, that had joined his flagship shortly before, to bombard Mon Cala. The Star Destroyers wrecked havoc on the first city, destroying it soon enough. Lee-Char still refused to surrender despite this and he and Vader were soon interrupted by Barr, who had managed to evade being killed by the Inquisitors and their Purge troopers in Bel City.
Vader and Barr fought each other and Barr revealed that he had assassinated Ambassador Telvar all along. As Barr explained why, Lee-Char realized that it was Barr who had caused the war on Mon Cala and not the Empire. Without hesitation he ran to the console and sent out a message, ordering his forces on Mon Cala to ceasefire. Lee-Char then contacted Tarkin, telling him he surrendered and was ready to talk terms with him. Tarkin had a shuttle head down to pick up Lee-Char, but in the meantime he continued the bombardment. As the Star Destroyers began targeting closer to Raddus's ships, the Mon Calamari ordered his small fleet to de-link their shield and run the blockade. The five cruisers and their support ships flew past Tarkin's Star Destroyers, losing two cruisers along the way which kept the Star Destroyers from targeting Mon Cala. Tarkin stopped targeting the last three when it became inevitable that they would escape. Vader then slew Barr and Lee-Char was arrested and taken away, ending the war on Mon Cala.
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 operations
- "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-Separatist 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 wondered 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 Salient
- "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 Obitt'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 realized 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 hypothesized 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 defenses, 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 hypothesized 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 realized 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, whose 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, and this was 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 of 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 Empire 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 recognized 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 naive 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 rescue 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 realizing 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 Obitt. Obitt 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 losing 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 Problem
- "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 pretense 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 Base
- "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 his 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 stabilize 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 recognized. 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 recognized. After studying the repeating holovid being displayed, Tarkin noticed a specific area of distortion being repeated on the transmission, which allowed him to realize 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 recognized 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 firing 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 several 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 recognizable 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 defenses. 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.
Meeting on Coruscant
- "You are referring to the need for oversector control."
"I am. Each oversector governor would then be responsible for maintaining control beneath him—it only as a means of policing districts without having to request guidance from Coruscant."
- ―Darth Sidious and Moff Tarkin discussing the governance of the Empire
While pondering on the identity of the Sentinel Base attackers, Tarkin received a special communique from Grand Vizier Mas Amedda, who informed him that the Emperor required his presence on Coruscant. While Tarkin was preoccupied with work matters including the expected shipments of materiel from Desolation Station to Geonosis, Tarkin obliged after learning that the Emperor had personally issued the order for him to report to Coruscant. Tarkin traveled aboard his personal starship Carrion Spike, which was equipped with an advanced Class One hyperdrive and stealth technology. During the journey, Tarkin ordered an impromptu inspection of the crew. After exposing Ensign Baz as a spice addict, Tarkin ordered that he be confined to quarters and that Commander Cassel conduct a flash inspection of all barracks and personal lockers.
Following the inspection, Tarkin briefly replaced the captain at the helm of the Carrion Spike. After landing at the Imperial Palace on Coruscant, Tarkin was greeted by Grand Vizier Amedda and several Royal Guards. Tarkin also chatted with Nils Tenant, who had also been summoned for a Joint Chiefs meeting. When Tenant queried about the Death Star project, Tarkin refused to discuss the matter since he was sworn to secrecy.
Amedda then led Tarkin down to a courtroom within the Imperial Palace, which was the former Jedi Temple. There, they witnessed Darth Vader along with the Imperial Security Bureau deputy director Harus Ison and the Twi'lek Prefect Phoca Soot addressing a gathering of gangsters, smugglers, and bounty hunters. Tarkin watched as Vader harangued the gathering and ordered them to relocate their operations to the Outer Rim. As a stark and gruesome warning, Vader used the Force to crush Soot's heart in front of the entire gathering at the conclusion of his speech. While Amedaa was horrified, Tarkin discreetly smiled. While chatting with the Sith Lord, Vader informed Tarkin that Prefect Soot had colluded with the Droid Gotra.
When Tarkin observed that the Crymorah syndicate was not represented among the audience, Vader revealed that the Empire had entered into some sort of arrangement with them. While heading back to the turbolifts, Tarkin briefed the Sith Lord about the progress of the Death Star project. He reassured Vader that components for the hyperdrive generator were being shipped from Desolation Station and that work was progressing on the navigational matrix and hypermatter reactor. When Vader queried about the weapons system, Tarkin responded that their chief designers still had not reached an agreement about the laser array and were debating the optimum configuration for the kyber crystal assembly. Vader proposed remedying the situation, to which Tarkin agreed. Vader then exited the turbolift one level from the palace summi and informed Tarkin that the Emperor was waiting for him on the floor above.
During his meeting with the Emperor, the two discussed the Imperial Senate and the fate of the former Separatist worlds. Tarkin advocated using military force to suppress resistance to the Empire, and let it be known that he favored allowing Separatist worlds back into the Imperial fold, but only after they earned the right to do so. After touching upon the Sentinel Base attack, Tarkin proposed the need for oversector control as a means of lessening dependence on Coruscant by outlying system commanders. Tarkin also reaffirmed his suspicion that the Sentinel Base assailants had somehow overridden the local HoloNet relay station.
Tarkin then attended a meeting of the Ruling Council and the Joint Chiefs, a meeting which also included the Emperor, Lord Vader, and Grand Vizier Amedda. The Imperial Security Bureau's Deputy Director Harus Ison informed the gathering that his agents had uncovered a cache of communications devices on the former Separatist world of Murkhana, which he regarded as a prelude to a plot to disrupt the HoloNet. ISB Colonel Wullf Yularen speculated that political dissenters were planning to launch a propaganda operation similar to the wartime Shadowfeeds utilized by the Separatists. When Sate Pestage raised the matter of Tarkin's encounter with the insurgents at Sentinel Base, Dodd Rancit of the Naval Intelligence Agency vouched for Tarkin's role in frustrating Separatist propaganda efforts during the Clone Wars. At the end of the meeting, Tarkin recommended that the Joint Chiefs issue an advisory to Imperial base commanders to double check all HoloNet transmission encryption codes.
Berch Teller's campaign
Theft of the Carrion Spike
- "You can think of the Carrion Spike as just a ship, but she's more than that. She's an expression of who Tarkin is; a small–scale example of the lengths he's willing to go. Stealth, speed, power... That's Tarkin, the omniscient, ubiquitous Imperial enforcer. And that's why we're turning her into a symbol of something else: of resistance."
- ―Berch Teller, following the theft of the Carrion Spike
Following the Ruling Council meeting, Tarkin made preparations to depart on a mission to Murkhana to investigate the communications cache. Before leaving, Tarkin made preparations with Commander Cassel to delay his return to Sentinel Base. While he sent back most of his crew to Sentinel Base, he kept the Carrion Spike's captain and communications officer. Tarkin was accompanied by Lord Vader, who had been dispatched by the Emperor who suspected a trap on Murkhana. However, the Emperor had not specified whether Tarkin or Vader was in command of the mission, which irritated Tarkin and made him suspect a political reason for the move. Lord Vader brought a contingent of stormtroopers including the former Clone trooper Sergeant Crest and his mediation chamber.
Upon arriving on Murkhana, Tarkin parked the Carrion Spike at a former Corporate Alliance airfield. Upon landing, Tarkin and Vader were met by a group of stormtroopers aboard a Low-altitude Imperial transport, who would serve as their local escorts. Tarkin left behind the crew and four stormtroopers including Sergeant Crest while he, Vader, and the other stormtroopers traveled to the abandoned medcenter where the communications cache had purportedly been uncovered. Upon inspecting the site, Tarkin suspected that the devices had deliberately been planted there. Ultimately, he came to the conclusion that whoever found the cache made use of some of the components to engineer the false distress call transmitted to Sentinel Base. Vader then insisted on questioning the ISB asset who first reported the find.
Later, at the Imperial compound, Tarkin and Lord Vader met with the Imperial ambassador and the Koorivar ISB asset Bracchia. When questioned, Bracchia admitted that he had not discovered the communications cache himself, but had been tasked with verifying a report sent by his ISB case officer on Coruscant, surprising Tarkin. Before Tarkin could question Bracchia further, he was contacted by Sergeant Crest, who had received a holotransmission telling him to meet Tarkin at the abandoned medcenter. Tarkin confirmed that he had sent no such message, and quickly realized that the same insurgents who had created the false Holovid feed to Sentinel Base had likely sent a similar message to Crest, luring the stormtroopers away from the Carrion Spike and leaving it vulnerable. After failing to contact the Carrion Spike, Sergeant Crest and his troops returned to the landing field only to discover that the ship had been stolen. Two stormtroopers, the captain, and the communications officer had been killed.
Lord Vader deduced that the trip to Murkhana was a ruse to steal the Carrion Spike; an assessment that Tarkin shared. The Carrion Spike had been stolen by the former Republic Intelligence agent Berch Teller and his rebel cell. Teller and his insurgents shared a deep animus towards Tarkin due to his role in the Antar Atrocity years earlier. They stole the Carrion Spike in order to turn it into a symbol of resistance by raiding Imperial facilities and broadcasting holovids of their attacks on the HoloNet. The insurgents were being aided by Vice-Admiral Rancit, a rival of Tarkin who was jealous of Tarkin's oversight over the Death Star project.
With no way to pursue the Carrior Spike immediately forthcoming, Tarkin was downcast, but Vader reassured his colleague that he knew where to procure a replacement vessel. Lord Vader had a local acquaintance on Murkhana, the Sugi crime lord Faazah, who was the local Crymorah affiliate on the planet. Lord Vader managed to force Faazah to lend them his starship Parsec Predator by threatening to execute his family in the weapons warehouse. After Faazah obliged, Lord Vader Force choked the crime lord to death and slaughtered his underlings for wasting his time. Accompanied by Vader and his stormtroopers, Tarkin boarded the Parsec Predator and pursued the Carrion Spike to the edge of the Murkhana system. Though the insurgents managed to jump to lightspeed, Vader had demonstrated an uncanny ability to track the ship via the Force, and Tarkin soon realized that he was somehow sensing the location of his meditation chamber.
Skirmish above Galidraan
- "If escape were their plan, they would have already done so. No. They have something else in mind. Perhaps to strike at another target."
- ―Tarkin realizing the insurgents' intentions
Pursuing the Carrion Spike through hyperspace, Tarkin and Lord Vader followed the insurgents to the Galidraan system, where an Imperial station orbited Galidraan III. Since the stolen corvette was cloaked, Vader and Tarkin decided it was futile alerting the station. Upon arriving, they found Galidraan Station under attack from the cloaked Carrion Spike. Upon seeing the damage, Tarkin realized that the shipjackers were not mere pirates but dissidents. The station deployed several V-wings and ARC-170 starfighters to hunt out the invisible ship, which exacted a heavy toll on the Imperial defenders.
At Vader's direction, Crest and the stormtroopers used the Parsec Predator's weapons systems to attack the Carrion Spike, following the tracers back to their source. While Vader directed the stormtroopers, Tarkin flew the Predator. During the dogfight, the Imperials managed to use the Predator's particle beams to inflict some damage on the Carrion Spike. However, the Carrion Spike managed to disable the Parsect Predator with its pintle guns before fleeing to the edge of the Galidraan system.
While waiting to picked up by a shuttle from Galidraan Station, Tarkin got the station's navicomputers to calculate all possible egress points. After examining a list of local systems that hosted Imperial resources, Tarkin realized that the insurgents were planning to use the Carrion Spike to raid Imperial facilities in the region. After discussing the insurgents' possible targets with Lord Vader, Tarkin ordered the Colonel at Galidraan Station to instruct the Imperial R/M Facility Four deepdock to dispatch the Venator-class Star Destroyer Liberator to Nam Chorios, which hosted an Imperial prison and mining colony. Shortly later, Tarkin and Vader learnt that the insurgents had jettisoned Vader's meditation sphere and destroyed Galidraan's hyperspace buoy; rendering themselves untraceable as well as invisible.
Pursuing Teller's insurgents
- "... Not only are they conversant with the Carrion Spike's instruments, they are also well acquainted with Imperial procedure. The self-styled commander looks every bit an officer, and he used code cylinders to requisition the fuel cells. Some of the Empire's own?"
"The Emperor has limited patience for puzzles, Governor. Whoever they are, we need to put an end to their game."
- ―Tarkin and Lord Vader discussing the insurgents.
Aboard the Liberator, Tarkin and Lord Vader learnt that the insurgents had attacked the TaggeCo orbital mining processing facility and groundside operations on Lucazec in a sneak attack. The insurgents then broadcast holovids of their raid on the Imperial HoloNet, attracting some media attention in the Outer Systems. In response to the raid, Vice Admirals Rancit and Screed managed to convince the Emperor to deploy Imperial Navy ships to defend unprotected Imperial facilities along the Perlemian Trade Route and the Hydian Way. Consequently, the Liberator was dispatched to reinforce Ord Cestus in anticipation of an insurgent attack.
After Darth Vader's black Eta-2 Actis-class light interceptor arrived, Tarkin met with Vader to discuss his suspicion that the insurgents who stole the Carrion Spike were working with the warship observed at Sentinel Base. He observed that the dissidents' attack on the Galidraan Station was well-timed since a Victory-class Star Destroyer had exited the system less than an hour before the raid. Vader agreed and suggested that the insurgents were linked to the Murkhana communications cache. Having used a hidden paralight tracker to monitor the Carrion Spike's fuel consumption and travel movements, Tarkin speculated that the insurgents would refuel at either Gromas in the Perkell sector or Phindar in the Mandalore sector. Since Gromas was the most obvious choice, Tarkin rightfully deduced that the insurgents would refuel at Phindar to avoid arousing attention.
Tarkin's prediction proved correct and the Imperials were informed by the Phindian administrator of a tanker that the Carrion Spike had docked to refuel. Tarkin and Lord Vader traveled with the V-wing Yellow Squadron and the Imperial escort carrier Goliath to intercept the stolen corvette. Tarkin himself donned a black flight suit and flew a V-wing alongside Lord Vader's Eta-2 light interceptor. After learning that one of the insurgents had managed to bluff their way by posing as the Imperial Commander Abel LaSal, the two deduced that the insurgents were well-acquainted with Imperial procedure. Vader also speculated that someone had warned them away from Gromas.
The Imperials caught up with the insurgents as the Carrion Spike had just finished refueling. Tarkin's attack plan was to use the V-wings to force the corvette to lower its deflector shields before they returned fire. Their second tactic was to target to hyperdrive generator, which was aft of the main guns along the corvette's spine. Unable to match the combined firepower of the starfighters, the Carrion Spike flew rings around the tanker to prevent the Imperials from shooting it. The dogfight was further complicated by the tanker deployed ARC-170 starfighters in an attempt to combat the Carrion Spike. Tarkin ordered the Phindian administrator to recall his fighters but the latter insisted on defending his starship.
Before the Goliath could fire its proton torpedoes at the stolen corvette, the cloaked Carrion Spike disappeared from their scanners. Shortly later, the tanker exploded, destroying all hands aboard along with the ARC-170s and most of Yellow Squadron. Only Tarkin, Vader, two starfighters, and the support carrier Goliath survived the explosion. The insurgents then took the opportunity to escape with the Carrion Spike into hyperspace.
Following the debacle at Phindar, Tarkin met with the planetary leadership to iron out responsibility for the Tanker's destruction. Tarkin felt accountable for letting himself and Vader be baited by the insurgents into a trap. After learning from Phindar's rescue–and–recovery operation that the tanker had been destroyed by a concealed explosive within a spent fuel cell, Tarkin realized that the dissidents had hope to draw them into a trap with the intent of killing them. After viewing another of the insurgents' holovids, Tarkin received news that the Carrion Spike had surfaced in the Expansion Region near Thustra and Aquaris.
Feint above Obroa-skai
- "The failure of the corvette to appear does not owe to any impromptu change of plans, Governor. The dissidents are trying to throw us off the scent, and I intend to search each interdicted ship until we have answers."
- ―Darth Vader
However, Berch Teller and his insurgents learnt that Tarkin had been tracking them through the paralight tracker. Teller and his crew then transmitted false coordinates claiming they were planning to jump to the Obroa-skai system. Teller's associate, the information broker Knotts, also dispatched the YT-1000 light freighter Reticent to Obroa-skai as a decoy. Acting on this disinformation, the Empire diverted considerable resources to Obroa-skai including three interdictor vessels; a Detainer CC-2200, a CC-7700 frigate, and a prototype Immobilizer 418 cruiser. Tarkin himself commanded the operation from the bridge of the Imperial Star Destroyer Executrix with Vader commanding a boarding party aboard a picket ship.
Under Tarkin's orders, the interdictor vessels activated their interdiction field. However, the Immobilizer's gravity well projectors malfunctioned with the overcurrent resistors failing to prevent the gravitic systems from redlining. As a result, several starships were yanked out of hyperspace including the Reticent and the Star Cruiser Stellar Vista, a luxury liner from Corsin. The Stellar Vista collided with the Detainer CC-2200, damaging both ships and killing 1,100 passengers. Tarkin ordered the frigates to render assistance to the luxury liner and instructed the Interdictors to negate the field. Tarkin also gave orders for the various civilian ships and cargo freighters to be contained for screening.
When the Lux-400 yacht Truant tried to escape, Tarkin ordered his gunners to destroy the smuggling vessel. With no sign of the Carrion Spike, Tarkin and Vader realized that the dissidents were trying to throw them off-scent. The two Imperials began searching all the interdicted ships with Tarkin taking a particularly interest in the Reticent, the first ship to emerge from hyperspace. Under interrogation, the Koorivar captain of the freighter denied being a Separatist but admitted to accepting a delivery job from the broker Knotts to deliver a shipment of Sephi flyers to Obroa-skai. While Tarkin was satisfied, Vader insisted on interrogating the captain and his crew further.
Exposing a conspiracy
- "We're not in some Coruscant courtroom, Governor. Questions of this sort are useless."
"You prefer to break him with pain."
"If need be. Unless, of course, you object."
- ―Darth Vader and Governor Tarkin discussing interrogation techniques.
Aboard the Executrix, Tarkin received news that Imperial forces had rebuffed the Carrion Spike's attack on the Imperial facility in the Nouane system; a testament to Vice Admiral Rancit's strategy to reinforce Imperial assets. While there were rumors that Rancit's assignment indicated that the Emperor was disappointed with Tarkin, Lord Vader reassured Tarkin that the Emperor was trying to free him from other commitments so that he could focus on eliminating the threat of the insurgents. Meanwhile, the Emperor questioned Bracchia and his ISB case officer Stellan, who confessed that Naval Intelligence had tipped the ISB off to the Murkhana communications cache.
After learning that one of Vader's Crymorah contacts had supplied custom fuel cells to the Sugi crime lord Faazah through the auspices of the information broker prior to the Murkhana heist, Tarkin consulted the Imperial HoloNet database. He discovered that Knotts was a former Republic Intelligence operative who had been stationed on Antar 4 prior to the Antar Atrocity. Tarkin also learnt that the insurgent leader Berch Teller and several of his fellow dissidents had links to Antar 4 including the journalist Anora Fair, the Zygerrian film director Hask Taff, the Gotal pilot Salikk, and the Koorivar munitions expert Cala. All had either witnessed or survived the Antar Atrocity. An outlier was the former Mon Calamari Knight Dr. Artoz, a missing scientist with high-level security clearance. After comparing images of Teller with the fake "Commander LaSal," Tarkin realized that they were the same man. He also found information that Teller had once worked as the chief of security at Desolation Station prior to the Antar Atrocity.
Later, Tarkin learned from Darth Vader that Vice Admiral Rancit was preparing a task force to thwart an alleged plot by the dissidents to attack the Imperial Academy on Carida in the Colonies. Rancit claimed that the dissidents were planning to make their last stand. While making their way to a shuttle that would take them to a frigate bound for Carida, Lord Vader asked Tarkin why he named the corvette Carrion Spike. Tarkin then told Vader the story of how he had defeated a pack of veermoks marauding on his family homestead at the age of sixteen. After observing the pack, he pitted the alpha male Lord against a contender named Shadow. Shadow convinced the other veermoks to turn on the pack leader. Tarkin then killed Shadow, leaving the pack leaderless. As a result, the veermoks abandoned the Carrion Spike, the hill near his family homestead. Vader opined that the lesson was that the veermoks brought themselves down by turning on their leader. Tarkin surmised that he had named his ship after the site of his final adolescent trial.
Armed with new information, Lord Vader confronted Vice Admiral Rancit aboard the Secutor-class Star Destroyer Conquest. He stopped the Vice Admiral before he could order his gunners to destroy the Carrion Spike in an attempt to hide his collusion with Teller's insurgents. After exposing Rancit's treason, Lord Vader executed Rancit by forcing him into an escape pod and forcing him to give the order to destroy the pod with him inside. Before departing, Lord Vader told Rancit that Governor Tarkin sent his regards.
Battle near the Gulf of Tatooine
- "Only glory can follow a man to the grave."
- ―Moff Tarkin recalling his uncle Jova's adage
While Lord Vader dealt with Rancit, Tarkin traveled aboard the Executrix to a barren moon near the Gulf of Tatooine. Berch Teller and his insurgents had ambushed an Imperial convoy ferrying supplies to Desolation Station for the Death Star project. By the time Tarkin arrived to relieve the convoy, the insurgents' laser cannons and droid tri-fighters was inflicting heavy damage on the escort gunboats, frigates, and starfighters protecting the cargo ships and transports. Besides the Providence-class carrier that attacked Sentinel Base, the insurgents' forces included a EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate, multiple droid tri-fighters, and four starfighters.
Assessing the situation, Tarkin ordered the Executrix's V-wing fighters to engage the frigate and the carrier and leave the droid fighters to the convoy escorts. In response, the enemy carrier tried to form a wedge between the Executrix and the convoy. With the Imperial V-wings coming under heavy enemy fire, Tarkin ordered his crew to charge the Executrix forward and attack the Nebulon-B frigate. The Star Destroyer's firepower quickly destroyed the enemy frigate. Tarkin then turned his attention to Teller's warship. The Executrix blasted the former Separatist carrier apart, disabling the ship's systems and master control computer. The destruction of the master control computer disabled the droid tri-fighters.
With the enemy flagship disabled, Tarkin led a stormtrooper boarding party aboard. Though Teller had escaped aboard a Z-95 Headhunter, Imperial forces managed to apprehend 26 insurgents including Anora Fair, Hask Taff, the information broker Knotts, and Dr Artoz. Tarkin taunted Knotts about the insurgents double-crossing Rancit but the man remained silent. When a defiant Anora Fair remarked that he would fall from his perch, Tarkin made a remark about the sorry state of the Carrion Spike. Anora responded with an obscene gesture, and a stormtrooper slammed a rifle butt against the back of her skull. After mocking Anora, Tarkin informed the prisoners that he would find ways to loosen their tongues.
Moment of glory
- "I will not fail you."
"It will be a momentous responsibility. For once the battle station is fully operational, you will wield the ultimate power in the galaxy."
- ―Tarkin and the Emperor discussing the former's promotion
For the next three weeks, Tarkin along with Vader and the ISB interrogated the captured insurgents and their collaborators. After questioning, the insurgents were executed privately on the Emperor's orders to deny the dissidents martyrdom. The Empire also took action against the warehouse workers and salvagers who supplied the dissidents along with several scientists at Desolation Station who had violated the terms of their security oath. Vader also eliminated the members of the Tenloss Syndicate and Crymorah syndicate who had assembled the insurgents' carrier.
After putting their house in order, Tarkin met with the Emperor and Lord Vader. Based on the interrogations, Tarkin identified the late Rancit as the financier behind Teller's insurgency. While Rancit had funded the insurgents by diverting funds allocated to Naval Intelligence's black budget, Tarkin concluded that Teller and Knotts were the cell's ring leaders. Despite their successful crackdown, Teller eluded capture. While the Empire had located his Headhunter on Christophsis, they found no sign of the fugitive. Tarkin also deduced that the attack on Carida was a ruse for the insurgents' raid on the convoy transporting materials to the Death Star project.
As a reward for his services, the Emperor promoted Tarkin to the newly–created office of Grand Moff, a position which had oversight over several sectors. The Emperor also appointed Tarkin Governor of the Outer Rim Territories and the Death Star. Tarkin promised not to fail. The Emperor told Tarkin that once the Death Star was fully operational, he would wield the ultimate power in the galaxy. Following his promotion Tarkin gave lengthy interviews to the media outlining his vision of the galaxy and advocating a strong Imperial military. The media coined Tarkin's statements as the Tarkin Doctrine.
Over the next few weeks, Tarkin met with senators representing star systems over which he now had authority. While most were relieved that they only had to answer to him rather than the Emperor or Ruling Council, Tarkin warned that he would not tolerate sedition or anti-Imperial propaganda. Tarkin also consulted with the Joint Chiefs of the Imperial Army and Navy as well as the directors and top officers of the intelligence agencies. Tarkin also tightened security arrangements at both Desolation Station and Geonosis to ensure the secrecy of the Death Star project. As a precaution, Tarkin reinforced Sentinel Base and the marshaling stations by deploying patrol flotillas to the nearby systems.
- "Tarkin, you will die horribly because you deserve nothing less. The more you try to coerce the disadvantaged to play by your rules, the more they will rebel. I'm not the only one."
- ―Berch Teller's ominous warning to Tarkin
After completing business on Coruscant, Tarkin returned to Eriadu on his new flagship the Executrix. In addition to the Star Destroyer, Tarkin was assigned a personal bodyguard of 32 stormtroopers. Upon arriving at Phelar Spaceport, Tarkin was welcomed as a hero. In Eriadu City, he visited his family and old friends and granted more interviews. The local governor, who happened to be a relative, awarded him the key to the city and held a parade in his honor. Tarkin also had a statue commissioned in his honor in the city's main public space. Before departing Eriadu, Tarkin undertook a personal pilgrimage to the Carrion Plateau.
While visiting the Carrion Spike, he was greeted by his uncle Jova, who informed him that Teller had been tracking him but had fallen into a pit. Jova expressed pride in the younger Tarkin's achievements while Tarkin complimented his uncle for mentoring him. Tarkin confronted his nemesis, who admitted wanting to kill him while staring him in the eyes. After debating Imperial politics, Teller asked about what the Empire was building at Geonosis. Tarkin smugly responded that he was not at liberty to share this information. Knowing that the Carrion plateau was the haunt of fearsome animals, Tarkin then offered to let Teller go if he could climb out of the pit with a broken ankle. Teller rejected his offer of "mercy" but warned Tarkin he would die horribly. After bidding Teller "farewell," Tarkin and his uncle chatted about Teller's slim chances of survival.
After departing Eriadu, Tarkin visited the Death Star's construction site above Geonosis, which was safeguarded by four Star Destroyers and twice as many frigates. By that stage, the station's hyperdrive components were being installed but the Death Star was still incapable of hyperspace travel. After touring the station, Tarkin gave the order for the Death Star's sublight engines to be activated. The massive battle station departed Geonosis and traveled into deep space.
Hunt on Chandar's Folly
- "Kill me…if you can."
- ―Darth Vader
Sometime after the occupation of Mon Cala, and after Vader learned of Tarkin's past hunting, Vader came to Tarkin about the debt he owed him for going out of his way to capture Lee-Char. To Tarkin's surprise, Vader asked him to hunt him, going as far as asking him to kill him if he had to. Tarkin was confused as to why but after careful thought, he suspected that after killing most of the remaining Jedi, Vader had become eager to be challenged. Tarkin felt flattered for being chosen and brought together nineteen of the galaxy's most professional hunters.
The hunt took place on the planet Chandar's Folly and Tarkin immediately got to trying to take on the Dark Lord of the Sith. Being able to witness Vader's brutal abilities in the past, Tarkin outfitted his hunters with slugthrowers and flamethrowers to evade the possibility of Vader deflecting their shots. On the second day, they managed to track Vader to a copse of Thurian trees where four hunters attacked him with their flamethrowers. As Tarkin watched Vader be engulfed by the flames he thought he saw a hint of fear in his body language. Vader's suspected fear was short lived as he attacked the hunters' flamethrowers, incinerating the four. Throughout the following days, Tarkin saw that Vader was not hard to track, leaving signs everywhere he went. They learned repeatedly why as on multiple occasions Vader attacked them.
Tarkin realized that while Vader had his lightsaber, he was unbeatable. Over the course of the next four days, he made attempts to seize Vader's weapon of fortune. After losing six men, one of Tarkin's hunters, Eighty-One, managed to snatch it out of Vader's hand as he was fighting using a grappling wire. After this success, Tarkin saw that not only was Vader adopting new tactics, he was more enraged. Tarkin knew that enraged prey was usually easier to destroy, but he was willing to admit that this didn't apply to Vader. Soon later, Vader faced down five of Tarkin's hunters as they fired on him, hitting his armor many times. Tarkin watched from the hill top as Vader got close to the hunters and used the Force to snap one of their necks instantly. The other hunters began running away and Vader Force choked another one to death. Once knowing of the true capabilities Vader had with the Force, Tarkin feared that the hunt would soon draw to a close. However Tarkin realized that Vader was so drawn to getting back his lightsaber, that as long as Tarkin's team hunted him, he hunted them.
On the ninth day of the hunt, Tarkin was down to just seven hunters. One of his Chadra-Fan hunters, Sissian, spotted Vader northwest of their camp and Yerga notified Tarkin of this. Tarkin got out his binoculars and spotted Vader on top of a peak wearing the hide of a Valath, the planet's apex predator. Tarkin told Gil and Eighty-One to take point and had Sissian and his grandfather Hardhear as the first line of defense with their long range hearing. The group of them tracked Vader into a crystal ravine. As they walked through, Hardhear detected Vader's breathing which was echoing and hard to track. Tarkin ordered his team to run and Vader attacked, Force pushing Gil into the ravine wall and Force-choking Hardhear. Vader then leapt down and destroyed Eighty-One.
Tarkin had his team run into the Stormlands, where it was open ground for them. They set up camp and Sissian listened out for Vader's breathing. However, Vader had deactivated his breathing apparatus to evade being tracked and he Force-choked Sissian. Yerga attempted to attack Vader but was taken by the neck and killed. The last two hunters opened fire and Vader used the Force to retake his lightsaber, slicing through the pair of hunters immediately. Tarkin ran, but after realizing Vader would catch up with him eventually, he stopped and knelt down in surrender. Vader loomed over him, not realizing that as he was standing higher than Tarkin, he was more susceptible to the lightning in the Stormlands.
Without warning, Vader was struck by lightning and he fell to the ground, though still alive. Tarkin got up from the ground and contacted the Carrion Spike for an immediate pickup. Tarkin sat by Vader and waited for the Carrion Spike to arrive. The corvette approached them, its deflector shields being frequently struck by lightning due to its height in the Stormlands. As the Carrion Spike prepared to land, Tarkin assured Vader that he hoped he learned what he wanted to learn from the hunt. Tarkin continued to watch Vader as the Carrion Spike landed, when suddenly, Vader's hand twitched, Force choking Tarkin as a reminder of his power. The Sith Lord eventually released his grip, and the two continued to lay there, contemplating their newfound understanding and the state of their coexistence.
Governor of the Outer Rim
- "You do not know what it takes to win a war. But I do."
- ―Grand Moff Tarkin to Kanan Jarrus
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.
Tour of the Outer Rim
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.
Visit to Tsevuka
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.
Working with Vidian
- "I concur with the Grand Moff's plan, Your Highness. Gilvaanen should be 'imperialized.'"
- ―Grand Moff Tarkin found an unlikely ally in Count Vidian
At the request of the Emperor, Tarkin accompanied the cyborg Count Denetrius Vidian to investigate a decline in the stormtrooper armor production rate on the Inner Rim planet Gilvaanen. Tarkin initially distrusted Vidian, disagreeing with the efficiency expert's philosophical views on the limit of state interference in the Imperial economy. Wary of Vidian, Tarkin ordered Commander Rae Sloane to compile a report on the cyborg. From Sloane, he learnt that Vidian had a reputation as a miracle worker who had presided over the successful Gozanti freighter program. Before leaving, Sloane informed Tarkin that she had been promoted to captain but was uncertain about her posting due to the rapid expansion of the Imperial military. Sloane refused to consider a recommendation, something that earned Tarkin's respect.
Tarkin and Vidian visited Thetis Quelton's Quelton Fabrication factory on Gilvaanen where they found Quelton testing Pikaati armor with her Ithorian workers. Vidian had already visited the factory the night before and identified seventeen recommendations for Quelton to improve production. Tarkin opined that Vidian's recommendations were insufficient to addressing Gilvaanen's armor production rate. After further prodding, Quelton blamed a strike at the Cladtech factory, which assembled the interior armor parts, for the poor production rate.
At Cladtech, Tarkin met with the owner Mawdo Larrth, who defended his workers on the grounds that they were abiding with tier contracts. Tarkin advocated voiding the contacts on the grounds that it was a military necessity. Larth then warned that his workers would then resign rather than submit themselves to the new conditions. After learning about the work force, Tarkin summoned several ISB officers and stormtroopers, whom he ordered to detain the workers at the factory until their production quotas were met. Vidian disagreed with Tarkin's heavy-handed methods on the grounds that they lack finesse.
Later, Vidian discovered that Tarkin had been researching his past and confronted him. Tarkin queried about Vidian's defense of the Ithorian workers and raised Baron Lero Danthe's concerns about Vidian. Vidian dismissed Danthe as a "lying, disloyal hypocrite" who was motivated by jealousy. To allay Tarkin's distrust, Vidian reassured the Grand Moff that he had no interest for political games and was concerned with finding the most efficient path to achieving the Emperor's goals. Vidian objected to Tarkin's interference with his work but Tarkin was unmoved. Quelton then interrupted to informed the two about rumors of treason on the factory floor.
That night, Imperial forces disrupted an illegal meeting of the Ithorian supervisors. Tarkin wanted to execute the workers but Vidian remonstrated with the Grand Moff. Vidian instead revealed that the manager Larrth was in league with the striking workers and strangled him to death. Vidian then warned the terrified managers that they had been given second chance to meet the Imperial production targets. He warned that failure would be met by their death. This incident convinced Tarkin that Vidian was a man of his word. After meeting in private, Vidian convinced Tarkin about the merits of merging Quelton Fabrication and Cladtech. The two men agreed to arrange a meeting with Thetis Quelton herself to discuss the merger.
Instead, Tarkin and Vidian confronted Quelton about her collusion with the striking workers. Vidian then revealed that Quelton had been secretly outfitting the stormtrooper helmets' ventilation systems with tiny Bottleneck spores, which were harmful to stormtroopers. Quelton was motivated by a distaste for the Empire's militarism and did not want her armor to be used for aggressive war. Before the Imperials could apprehend her, Quelton committed suicide by ingesting the hydrogen cyanide inside her helmet.
Following Quelton's death, Vidian supported Tarkin's proposal that Gilvaanen be Imperialized and stormtrooper armor production be brought under the Imperial Department of Military Research. Vidian placed his aide, Lieutenant Everi Chalis, in charge of the armor production chain. As a reward for his services, Tarkin granted Vidian his own personal Star Destroyer. At Vidian's request, Tarkin assigned the ship a green officer with "no attachment to past practices." This officer was presumably the aspiring Captain Sloane, whom Tarkin had met earlier.
- "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 was 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 Pryce
- "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 recognized 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 the Lothal sector. 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 as 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 eyeing 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.
- "I am concerned with what he [Kanan Jarrus] represents. Or perhaps I should say, I am concerned by what you allow him to represent by failing to stop him—hope. There are whispers of this alleged Jedi in the streets. In time, such whispers might spark belief in something other than the strength and security of the Empire. And that, gentlemen, is something I cannot have. Make no mistake. From now on, failure will have consequences. Agent Kallus, you will dispatch probe droids to every known location of insurgent activity on Lothal. We will discover the whereabouts of these criminals and we will make examples of them."
- ―Governor Tarkin takes command
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,[source?] 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 that immediate action be taken. Due to this, Tarkin decided to deal with the situation in person.
Soon after, Tarkin visited the backwater planet in the Sovereign, one 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's failings in allowing the insurgents to flourish and attack Imperial Stormtroopers and destroy the Empire's property and trade, 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 Grand 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 prompting them to elaborate on their most recent encounter with the rebels, Tarkin took note of the fact that the rebel cell in question had not inflicted any casualties on the Imperials. Tarkin then elaborated on the importance of this fact, speculating that the hope that the cell's Jedi leader represented could give the increasing number of disparate rebel cells throughout the galaxy unity. That had the potential to turn a number of trivial annoyances into a credible threat to the Empire, and the incompetence of the two Imperial officers played into that issue. As such, Tarkin had the Inquisitor behead them, not only to rid himself of their bungling but to make it plain to Kallus and Tua that failure would no longer be tolerated.
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 predicted that the communication tower would make a perfect target for the rebels. 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 Jedi
- "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 Fortress Vader 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 Cell.
Return to Lothal
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 Siward 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 Vader
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 serve aboard the Death Star, which he predicted would be ready in around four years time.
Raid at Reklam Station
In 2 BBY,[source?] 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 be 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.
The Battle of Atollon
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 designed 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.
Due to the fact that his defeat was due to circumstances beyond his control, Thrawn was allowed to keep the Seventh Fleet, although he was summoned to Coruscant in the Chimaera by the Emperor, after which he was sent to Batuu with Darth Vader to deal with a disturbance in the Force felt by the Emperor. While he was gone, Tarkin assisted Commander Woldar in tracking down the escaped rebels, until the commander's new assignment was prepared.
The competition of the projects
- "In my view, Director Krennic's project has been nothing but expenses and excuses for years on end. If construction of the Defender is to continue, you must make your case directly to the Emperor himself. I have already arranged the meeting."
"I'll leave immediately, Moff Tarkin."
- ―Tarkin and Thrawn discuss the future of the TIE Defender
Later, in 1 BBY,[source?] Tarkin contacted Thrawn on the Chimaera above Lothal via holotransmission. The Grand Moff stated that Thrawn's TIE Defender program was at risk, due to Orson Krennic's persuasiveness about diverting the program's funding to the Death Star. Thrawn then replied saying that the Emperor had already stated that he supported the defender project. Tarkin went on to say that Krennic's project had been merely expenses and excuses, although this skepticism was only part of his political mindedness, as he didn't want to reveal his intentions of taking over the project until it was proven to be successful. Tarkin then told Thrawn that in order to ensure the continued construction of the TIE Defender, he would have to make a case directly to the Emperor, in a meeting which he had already arranged. Thrawn then immediately departed for Coruscant in the Chimaera.
- "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 rumors on Jedha about the Death Star's 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 Jedha's 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 realized the time had come for him to assume control. After sarcastically apologizing to Krennic for doubting the 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 Jedha'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 Star
Loss of the Death Star plans
- "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 for 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 duplicates 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 him 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 recognized 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.
Preparing to end the Rebellion
- "Now, Lord Vader will provide us with the location of the rebel fortress by the time this station is operational. We will then crush the Rebellion with one swift stroke."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin
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 base by the time the station was operational, and that the Empire would then use the Death Star to destroy them.
Two men and a mouse droid
- "Yes? Well? What did he say? Is he coming?"
"I say, sir, thank ya kindly for sendin' my little MSE-6 droid back to me all fixed up so good! Ya got a gift, if that's not too forward of me, sir. TK-421 out!"
"...My, but he's laying it on a bit thick... Ah well. The games we play."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin and a holorecording of TK-421
The stormtrooper TK-421 worked in the Sector AA-345 Maintenance Unit with an MSE-6 series repair droid, designation MSE-6-G735Y or "G7," that mistakenly activated its holorecorder when he took off his helmet to complain about its detrimental effects on his skin. TK-421 sent G7 to Detention Block AA-23, where Leia Organa was being held, with a parts delivery ordered by Lieutenant Blagg for the IT-O Interrogator droid. Tarkin had also arrived in the detention block to ensure that Lieutenant Blagg was on schedule for the interrogation. When Blagg told G7 to leave quickly, it sped away at its top speed and collided with Tarkin's ankle, causing him to fall and bruise his hip. As Tarkin was saying how the trooper who dispatched the droid must be punished, the droid's damaged holorecorder matrix malfunctioned and displayed the holo-recording of TK-421 with his helmet off. Tarkin was immediately captivated by the stormtrooper's appearance and wondered who he was. He ordered G7 to play back the entire message, but it was unable to comply; although Tarkin's Alpha-One-level security clearance superseded all known commands and subroutines, it had experienced an recoverable failure that would require a complete system reboot. Blagg asked if he and Tarkin would be interrogating the prisoner, and Tarkin informed him that Darth Vader would conduct the interrogation; meanwhile, Tarkin would personally deal with the trooper. After assessing the droid's damage, Tarkin ordered it to await him in his quarters in Sector GM1-A.
Tarkin remembered basic droid mechanics from his Academy education, but he succeeded in getting G7's holorecorder back online and replaced its wheel treads, which he told G7 was necessary to prevent it tracking on his new Coruscant fiberweave carpet. He then invoked Imperial Protocol Alpha One to order the droid not to uplink with the network, store geosync data, or record him; instead, it would divert its instructions and subroutines to his personal ephemeradata-neurocloud until the instructions were completed, then it would scramble and expunge its memory. Tarkin placed a gift of antibacterial nanofoam within the droid's cargo bay and recorded a holomessage for G7 to deliver to TK-421 in Sector AA-345. The contents of the message included an instruction to visit Tarkin's quarters to repair his aqualeisure unit.
Upon viewing the holomessage, TK-421 felt flattered that he had caught someone's eye and saw an opportunity to secure advancements for himself and G7, including a hoped-for transfer to Coruscant; he decided to play the part of an unsophisticated, backwater military grunt. TK-421 sent a response ahead with G7; Tarkin thought TK-421 had overacted, but dismissed it as all part of the game. When the trooper reported to him, Tarkin instructed him to remove his presumably filthy armor and place it on a veermok hide chair. He told TK-421 that he had a meeting of the Joint Chiefs to prepare for, but the trooper was to go about his business in the aqualeisure unit; Tarkin quietly reminded G7 to execute Imperial Protocol Alpha One.
The destruction of Alderaan
- "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 sympathizers 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 bid for greater power.
Upon nearing the system, 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 he 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. Chief 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.
Taking risks and making plans
- "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 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.
Over the prior seven cycles, Tarkin had grown very close to TK-421. He had confided in the trooper about the stress of the responsibilities that were all riding on him, and dropped his icy exterior. TK-421 even made him laugh, which Tarkin told him nobody else could do. Tarkin began making plans for their future, and TK-421 envisioned living in Tarkin's penthouse on Coruscant while G7 entered the droid racing circuit. Tarkin upgraded the trooper's security level and transferred him to station security on the 300 level, which was supposed to be a comfortable and low-risk job for a time until Tarkin recruited TK-321 for his personal detail. However, this transfer proved ill-fated when TK-421 was given his first assignment: guard duty for the captured ship in Docking Bay 327, Millennium Falcon. To secure a pair of armor as disguises, TK-421 and TK-710 were tricked by Han Solo into entering his ship, where Solo killed both of them with his blaster. TK-421's armor was removed for Luke Skywalker to wear. At some point, TK-421's body was placed in a crawl space within the Death Star. TK-421 had sent G7 to Tarkin's quarters while he worked; Tarkin, excited to meet with him, tasked the droid with fetching the trooper, but the droid instead encountered Skywalker, Solo, and Chewbacca and subsequently fled in self-preservation mode.
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 station commander Sheard. With Sheard was fellow station commander Pamel Poul, who had met Tarkin twice but disliked the Grand Moff. Tarkin was informed of an alert from Detention Block AA-23, the same block Organa was being held in. Realizing 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 master so he would not get away; Vader successfully killed Kenobi before the other Rebels escaped. When Vader informed Tarkin of the ship's departure, Tarkin told him he still had reservations about the plan to track the ship and the risk they were taking.
- "Because today, little one, today you are no lowly repair and maintenance droid. Today and today only, for your master's sake, you shall stand witness to the awesome destructive power of this battle station."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin, to TK-421's mouse droid MSE-6-G735Y
Vader's plan worked; 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 Yavin to get to its moon, a small Rebel group consisting of starfighters attacked the station. Tarkin had learned of TK-421's death, and located G7 to inform the mouse droid of their loss and express his disappointment. He vowed to avenge TK-421 by annihilating the last pitiful dregs of the Rebellion. Ordering G7 to ignore the ongoing attack on the station, he instructed the droid to wait a little while, and then join him on the Overbridge to witness the destruction of the Rebellion that had killed TK-421.
- "We've analyzed their attack, sir, and there is a danger. Should I have your ship standing by?"
"Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you over-estimate their chances!"
- ―Moradmin Bast and Tarkin, convinced of the Death Star's invulnerability to the end
Although an analysis of the Rebel's precise bombing runs down the meridian trench led others to 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 Luke Skywalker from successfully targeting the exhaust port with Han Solo's late intervention aboard the Millennium Falcon. Tarkin was still in the Overbridge and had given the order that began the superlaser's firing sequence when the Death Star exploded, killing him along with nearly two million other beings.
Tarkin's death on the battle station only seconds before he could wipe out the Rebellion fulfilled the prediction Colonel Teller had made years ago; Tarkin would die a horrible death. Director Krennic's final thoughts were also proven true: Galen Erso's flaw was the undoing of Grand Moff Tarkin.
- "I mean…think about who we lost. The repercussions are going to be pretty horrifying. Some of the Empire's top people were on that station. Grand Moff Tarkin. Colonel Yularen. So many good men and women. The Empire would have been better off if others had made it instead of me. I'm just a TIE pilot."
- ―Iden Versio, to Gideon Hask
The Battle of Yavin stunned the galaxy, and nearly all blame for the Empire's defeat was placed on Tarkin. Tarkin's overconfidence in the Death Star caused him to forgo a naval escort, and, with the exception of the single squadron launched by Vader, no TIE fighters were deployed to defend the station. Nevertheless, the Grand Moff was no longer alive, so he could not defend himself. 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.
Aside from Vader, other Imperials resented the Grand Moff's death, such as the TIE fighter pilot Iden Versio, who considered Tarkin as one of the Empire's top people and thought that it would have been better had Tarkin survived instead of a TIE pilot. An Imperial II-class Star Destroyer named Tarkin's Will existed by 3 ABY. Following the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY, the second Death Star was destroyed and both the Emperor and Vader were killed, dealing the Empire another fatal blow. The Empire was left heavily weakened and leaderless, and it was ultimately defeated once and for all by the New Republic in 5 ABY. Years after the Battle of Yavin, a memoir Tarkin had spent his life writing was published.
While searching the Hall of Imperial Register on Coruscant shortly before the Batttle of Jakku, after discovering that the Emperor's personal Super Star Destroyer Eclipse had disappeared, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane found an image crystal showing a still image of the Emperor and several Imperial personnel, including Tarkin. When meeting with the Kajain'sa'Nikto crime lord Rinnrivin Di on Bastatha in 28 ABY, Leia Organa noted that Di considered himself cultivated, intellectual and that he wanted respectability, she then thought that had Di been born a human, he could have turned into a figure a great deal like Tarkin, and that if Tarkin had been a Nikto, he'd have been exactly like Di.
Over thirty years after his death in the Battle of Yavin, Tarkin was 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 and saw action in 34 ABY when they attempted to defend Starkiller from rebel forces of Organa's Resistance.
In the aftermath of the Resistance's defeat on Crait, when Leia tried to convince the Mon Calamari to join their side as the First Order prepared to make an example of Mon Cala, Leia acknowledged that what she was asking them would require a kind of sacrifice as she had done several times over the years, silently remembering when Tarkin destroyed her homeworld with the Death Star's superweapon.
Personality and traits
- "He's a heartless skeleton held together by the stiffness of his uniform."
- ―Mon Mothma
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. Tarkin's body was also covered in scarred wounds from blasterfire, claws of predators, and falls, collected throughout his life. 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. During this time, it became known that he flew boldly into adversity. Tarkin would go onto gain 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. However, he resented the Jedi Order for its independence from the bureaucracy and military hierarchy, and for the fact that their moral code prevented them from assisting the Republic with the full extent of their power. Furthermore, 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 Sheev 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.
Although at times ruthless or arrogant, 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. 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. Additionally, he had an almost spiritual attachment to the wilderness of his homeworld, and felt a deep appreciation to the land for having provided him with so many critical life lessons. He also held his uncle Jova in high esteem for similar reasons.
Tarkin was notably rival to Director Krennic, seeing his obsession surrounding Project Stardust as a waste due to the scope of the project that, for years, had not yielded any results for the Empire. He backed Grand Admiral Thrawn's TIE Defender project in opposition to using funds to support Krennic's ambitions, even arranging a meeting with the Emperor on behalf of Thrawn so the admiral could make his case for his new starfighter. However, after a successful test of the Death Star at Jedha, Tarkin was impressed by the superweapon and manipulated his way into command of the station, greatly angering Krennic, who would travel to Mustafar to complain directly to Darth Vader.
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 gold, 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 gold one on the right side. Tarkin wore a white shirt under his tunic, the neck and sleeves of which were often visible.
Behind the scenes
Tarkin was played by Peter Cushing in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, by Wayne Pygram in a cameo in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, and by Guy Henry in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He is voiced by Stephen Stanton in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
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, Cushing behaved kindly and cordially with the cast members, which led to Carrie Fisher, the actress who played Princess Leia, finding it difficult to simulate her character's hatred for Tarkin despite Cushing's gentlemanly behavior. Cushing's boots that he wore as Tarkin were a few sizes too small, and, as a result, had to wear slippers on set; this required Tarkin to have to be seen from the waist up for the majority of the film. Cushing reportedly enjoyed his experience on the film, with his only regret being unable to appear in subsequent sequels due to his character's death.[source?]
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, the actor playing Dooku in the film, and a close friend of Cushing, about the possibility of using a digital model of Cushing.[source?]
However, Lucas later decided that the stock footage wasn't good enough to be used: the scene in question required a full-body appearance of Tarkin, but Cushing recorded his scenes in A New Hope with slippers instead of boots, due to the size of his feet. Ultimately, Wayne Pygram was cast as Tarkin in a nonspeaking role, because he shared an uncanny resemblance with Cushing.
For Rogue One, groundbreaking CGI and digitally altered archive footage was used to insert Cushing's likeness from the original film over the body of Guy Henry. The owners of Cushing's estate 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. As Cushing made it into the final project, he received an additional message: "With Special Acknowledgement to Peter Cushing, OBE." 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 reprising the role, in addition to hinting that there could be an Anthology film focusing on Tarkin.
For Tarkin's appearances in The Clone Wars, Stephen Stanton researched much of Cushing's previous works, including A New Hope, to imitate a voice that was similar to that of Cushing, but when he was in his mid-thirties; he, also, softened the voice to show a level of humanity in the character. He reprised his role in Rebels and attempted to sound more like Cushing towards the time of A New Hope.
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Return of the Kyber Saber" (Mentioned only)
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- Disney Magic Kingdoms (Mentioned only)