Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, better known as Grand Moff Tarkin or simply Tarkin is a major antagonist in the Star Wars franchise, serving as a supporting anti-hero of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a cameo antagonist of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, the opening antagonist of Star Wars: The Bad Batch(as the main antagonist of "Aftermath" and the overarching antagonist of "Requirements" and "Return to Kamino"), the villainous protagonist of Tarkin, a major antagonist of Star Wars: Rebels(as the final antagonist of Season 1, an unseen antagonist of Season 2, the overarching antagonist of Season 3 and a minor antagonist of Season 4), the secondary antagonist of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the main antagonist of Star Wars: A New Hope.
He was a human male who served the Galactic Republic and later the Galactic Empire. During the Clone Wars he served under the Republic, and when the Empire was found, he was granted the rank of Grand Moff. He was also the commander of he Death Star, whose destruction would be his own death. He also acted as one of Vader's only superiors.
He was portrayed by the late Peter Cushing in A New Hope, by Wayne Pygram in Revenge of the Sith, and voiced by Stephen Stanton in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
In this television series , the young version of Tarkin appears in the Republic Navy as a Captain and later an Admiral during the Clone Wars.
In the third season, Captain Tarkin and Jedi Master Even Piell are ambushed and attacked by Count Dooku's Separatistforces. Prisoners to the Citadel, Tarkin and Piell are freed from captivity by a rescue team. Initially pessimistic about being in enemy territory, Tarkin puts himself at odds with Anakin Skywalker, but their respective opinions of each other improve when each realizes that they are mutual acquaintances of the Supreme Chancellor. During a skirmish, Tarkin fights with Osi Sobeck and attempts to execute him, but fails when the Citadel's sadistic caretaker swiftly retaliates and nearly kills Tarkin. However, Tarkin is rescued just in time by Ahsoka Tano.
In the fifth season, Admiral Tarkin appears resembling his original character. After the funeral for the Jedi Temple's bombing victims and the murder of Letta Turmond, Tarkin assumes that Ahsoka Tano is the culprit and attempts to have the Padawan arrested. Ahsoka flees into the sewers, but is eventually recaptured. After Ahsoka is expelled from the Jedi Order and tried before a jury of senators, Tarkin heads the prosecution while Padmé Amidala heads the defense. Despite Amidala's impressive defense, Tarkin casts doubt by mentioning that Tano had been seen with Asajj Ventress. After Tarkin and Amidala's arguments conclude and the jury reaches a verdict that the Supreme Chancellor is about to read, Anakin Skywalker arrives with the true mastermind of the crimes; Ahsoka's treacherous friend and fellow Padawan Barriss Offee.
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
At the end of the last prequel film, a younger version of Tarkin makes a cameo appearance overseeing the Death Star I's construction.
Star Wars: Rebels
In this television series, Tarkin, now with the title of Grand Moff, visits the planet Lothal to deal with its growing insurgent activity. He reprimands Minister Maketh Tua, Agent Kallus, and the Inquisitor for their repeated failures to stop the planet's rebel cell. Tarkin has the Inquisitor execute Commandant Aresko and Taskmaster Grint for their inability to deal with the cell's leader, Jedi Kanan Jarrus. Later, Tarkin sets a trap for the rebels and manages to capture Kanan during their mission to send a message through one of the planet's communication towers. The rebel's message gets sent out, but Tarkin then orders the tower to be destroyed.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
He appears in the 2016 film, commanding The Death Star. He at first tests his Death Star, and lets Orson Krennic choose the locations. After watching the functions of The Death Star with Orson, he was impressed of his new weapon. He and Orson however get into a brief argument, as Tarkin says he will prove Orson wrong. As Orson wants the weapon for himself, without Tarkin guiding him, Tarkin informs him there is a traitor from Galen's facility, pointing out to Orson that he is failing, and ordering him to kill the traitor. Orson goes to Galen Erso's research center. However, Galen revealed he had only built the Death Star so Tarkin or Orson wouldn't. Galen was killed during a battle in the research center. As Orson goes to his own research center on Scarif, Grand Moff Tarkin who is informed that Orson is on Scarif, sends Darth Vader and his fleet to deal with the rebels, and prepares to extract the research which Orson extracts, including Galen's hidden messages, just as expected. He manipulates Orson into finding the hidden message of Galen's, as Orson does his job. Later, Tarkin realized he has to do things by himself, as he assumes that Orson had failed, as he expected. Therefore, he destroyed Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor and even Orson Krennic by shooting his weapon on Scarif and destroying it. Tarkin had later sent Darth Vader to get the tape with the message recorded on it, however, it was too late as one of the rebel soldiers have escaped delivered it to Leia first.
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
In the first film in the original trilogy, Governor Tarkin is the Governor of the Imperial Outland Regions and commander of the Death Star. After the Emperor dissolved the Galactic Senate, Tarkin and Darth Vader are charged with pursuing and destroying the Rebel Alliance. He then orders Darth Vader to bring Princess Leia to him, so he can either destroy Alderaan with a copy of the death star or destroy the base of the Rebels. His plans work, and he orders Leia to reveal the location of the Rebel Base. She reveals it is on Dantooine, however, he decides to destroy both of his targets, and he manages to destroy Alderaan first. He later occupies the death star itself. In the film's climax, Tarkin refuses to evacuate, and orders everyone to continue the operation anyway. Thereafter, he is killed by Luke Skywalker, who destroys the Death Star with his spaceship, while Tarkin is still on board.
Tarkin was similar to Emperor Palpatine when it came to way of ruling. Just like the Emperor, he wanted the strong to rule, while the "weaker" ones was to obey and follow this one ruler. His experience and training in his younger years, would be very beneficial for his later years of service. He wasn't super fond of the Jedi Order, viewing their role as peacekeepers, not warriors, but he developed a strong friendship with Even Piell and Anakin Skywalker. He became one of the Emperor's strongest supporters when the Republic transformed into the Empire, and his ruthless methods, high-ranking power and tactical/strategical genius, made him some of the Empire's greatest resources.
While working in the Republic Navy, he wore the same uniform as traditional officers with a rank insigna plaque with three red squares above two blue, showing his rank as Captain-turned-Admiral. When the Empire was founded, he kept the same uniform, but now he had a rank insigna with five blue squares above three red and two blue, showing his rank as Moff. Around 14 years before the Battle of Yavin and onwards, he wore a new uniform, one that was created specifically for the Empire. When he became Grand Moff, he got yet another plaque. Although, he didn't usually carry a blaster around, he was skilled with the weapon.