Wilhuff Tarkin was a human male who served the Galactic Republic and later the Galactic Empire. During the Clone Wars, Tarkin served as a Captain and later Admiral. He formed a respectful relationship with Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker after he rescued him from the Citadel.
After Chancellor Sheev Palpatine transformed the Republic into the Empire, Tarkin became the Empire's first Grand Moff, and regional Governor of the Outer Rim. Tarkin saw to an ongoing problem with insurgents on Lothal before leaving it to Darth Vader (formerly Anakin Skywalker) and Grand Admiral Thrawn. After the Death Star finished its construction, he commanded the battle station and was killed after the Alliance to Restore the Republic attacked and destroyed the Death Star.
Wilhuff Tarkin, served as an Admiral aboard the Republic Navy during the Clone Wars and fought alongside the Jedi such as Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ahsoka Tano. He had strong views such as disagreeing with the Jedi serving as generals in the conflict. He was a good and trusted friend of Chancellor Palpatine and became friends with Anakin Skywalker after Skywalker rescued him from the Citadel. After the Republic was transformed into the Empire, Tarkin immediately joined the ranks and was promoted to "Governor" of the Outer Rim.
Governor Over the Outer Rim
According to Sabine, Tarkin had many farmers on Lothal kicked off their farms when the Empire wanted their land and anyone who tried to fight back got arrested for treason. As a result, the local farmers built a new town to live in which they named after Governor himself.
Hera used him for a cover story when she told the commander of an Imperial Transport ship that they got paid by him for the bounty of a Wookiee Prisoner: as part of a plan to get on board and rescue Wookiee prisoners.
Spark of Rebellion
Mission to Capture the Rebels
Tarkin made a personal visit to Lothal to deal with the ongoing rebel cell after numerous failed attempts by Agent Kallus, Minister Tua, and The Grand Inquisitor, and upon his arrival immediately reprimanded them for their ongoing failures. Despite Minister Tua's claims that the cell's leader was a Jedi, Tarkin chastised her for this belief as from his point of view, the Jedi were all dead and he intended to seek out this "criminal" and show that he was not what he claimed to be.
To ensure better results, he had The Grand Inquisitor execute Cumberlayne Aresko and Myles Grint for their continuous failures to put down the rebel cell, illustrating that their weakness in the eyes of the public inspired hope and could threaten the stability of the Empire. His demonstration proved effective as it prompted the Inquisitor and Kallus to successfully capture Kanan Jarrus at an imperial communication tower. Tarkin arrived in person at the tower-clad in Imperial Officer Battle Armor-to bring the rebel into custody and interrogate him. There he ordered his men to destroy the tower to prevent the rebels from broadcasting their message to the public. He belittled the captured rebel, claiming Kanan didn't know how to win a war, but he himself did.
Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin tortures Kanan Jarrus with the help of the Inquisitor and Agent Kallus. Tarkin then decides on taking Jarrus to Mustafar where he will talk.
Rebel Attack on Mustafar
Grand Moff Tarkin was commanding his Imperial Star Destroyer, the Sovereign when all the power was lost. He ordered reinforcements. Later, Kassius Konstantine explained that for his safety they should evacuate. Tarkin escaped the exploding Star Destroyer in a shuttle and arrived at Lothal where Agent Kallus told him that there was unrest all over the planet. Tarkin told him that the Emperor had an alternative solution, Darth Vader.
The Siege of Lothal
Some time later, he was displeased with Minister Tua's failures to capture the rebels, having taken the destruction of his Star Destroyer personally. He then demanded that Tua visit him to account for her failures, a message that was delivered by Darth Vader. Maketh Tua was supposed to meet Tarkin off the planet, however the minister called the rebels to infiltrate Lothal to save herself, causing the death of Tua.
Raid at Reklam Station
Six months after Vader's mission to Malachor, Tarkin then spoke with Governor Arihnda Pryce about securing Lothal. He also spoke with her about the recent rebel attack on Naraka's prison. Tarkin listened to her fears about the rebels and how they threaten the Empire. Tarkin agreed with her, but assured her that Lord Vader has taken care of the rebel's Jedi leadership. He then asked Pryce what the Empire should do. Pryce requested for the Seventh Fleet to deployed to Lothal due to Admiral Kassius Konstantine's status as a politician then a career officer. Tarkin then granted her request for the Seventh Fleet and it's commander, Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Tarkin then attended a briefing between Pryce, Kallus, and Konstantine. Konstantine attempted to convince Tarkin that Pryce was overestimating the rebels and did not constued a larger threat to the Empire. However, Thrawn entered and believed that the rebels threat should remain that way. Tarkin then introduce Thrawn and told of them of Thrawn promotion to Grand Admiral following his victory over the Batonn's insurgents. At this briefing, Tarkin asked Thrawn of what he thought of Pryce's theory about the Rebels. After reviewing the information about the rebels' rescue of Hondo Ohnaka from Naraka Prison, Thrawn concluded that the rebels next target would the Y-Wing Starfighters at Reklam Station.
Battle of Atollon
Later, Tarkin was present via hologram during a secret meeting between Thrawn, Pryce, and 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. Thrawn then reported that his spies had confirmed that General Jan Dodonna's Massassi Group were enroute to reinforce the Phoenix Squadron.
When Tarkin asked about where the rebels were massing, Thrawn replied that he still had not found the location of the hidden base. Thrawn added that the rebel attack presented him with an opportunity to wipe out the Rebellion once and for all. Tarkin tasked Thrawn with capturing the rebel leadership so that the Empire could make examples of them. Through Thrawn's forces inflicted heavy casualties on the rebels during the Battle of Atollon, he failed to capture their leaders.
Personality and Traits
As a child, Tarkin's 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. Sheev Palpatine had a strong influence on Tarkin as well. Through Palpatine's influence, Tarkin pursued career paths in both law enforcement and government, serving first with the Judicial Department before gaining the governorship of his homeworld on the advice of his mentor.
With the outbreak of the Clone Wars, Tarkin opted for renewed military service following his tenure as governor of Eriadu. As a captain in the Republic Navy, he served under the command of the Jedi Generals due to their appointment as leaders of the Grand Army of the Republic, but also resented the Jedi Order for its independence from the bureaucracy and military hierarchy. He believed that the Jedi were ill-suited to lead the Galactic Republic's war effort due to their traditional role as peacekeepers, although this view did not apply to all members of the Order—having developed a grudging respect for the hardened warrior Even Piell and admiration for Anakin Skywalker. As an Admiral, Tarkin remained resentful of the Jedi's independence and used the deaths of Clone Troopers in the bombing of the Jedi Temple to argue that the incident was a Republic military matter rather than an internal affair of the Order. Having made his case to the Jedi High Council, Tarkin sought to prosecute the defendant Ahsoka Tano to the full extent of Republic law, which included the penalty of death. While Tarkin ultimately failed to achieve his goal due to the confession of Barriss Offee, he listened with great interest as the fallen Jedi publicly denounced the Jedi Order and the Republic for their role in the Clone Wars.
As a loyal protégé of Palpatine, Tarkin became one of the strongest supporters of the New Order in the aftermath of the Republic's reorganization as the 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. 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. As Grand Moff, he did not tolerate failure and was keen on making examples of ineffectual officers by having them summarily executed.
- Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion (Mentioned only)
- "Call to Action" (First appearance)
- "Rebel Resolve"
- "Fire Across the Galaxy"
- Star Wars Rebels: The Siege of Lothal (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow
- "Secret Cargo" (Mentioned only)
- "Zero Hour" (Appears as hologram)