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Star Wars ABCs: W is for Wilhuff Tarkin

Star Wars

Star Wars ABCs: W is for Wilhuff Tarkin

A cunning and ruthless politician, bureaucrat, and military officer.

Star Wars ABCs is a fun 26-part series that partners Star Wars with your ABCs to introduce you to characters, droids, places, and creatures from every era of the franchise, including the newest venture into a galaxy far, far away — The High Republic.

W is for Wilhuff Tarkin

Wilhuff Tarkin


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Wilhuff Tarkin was a human male born in the year 64 BBY who had a long career as a politician, bureaucrat, and military officer during the waning years of the Republic and the age of the Galactic Empire. Born on the planet Eriadu in the Outer Rim Territories to the immensely wealthy and influential Tarkin family, Wilhuff grew up learning respect, discipline and obedience were of the utmost importance. The young Tarkin was trained in survival skills in the savage wilderness of his ancestors’ land, taught the harsh lessons that life can quickly and brutally deliver, and trained in space combat, which he applied to hunting pirates and lawbreakers on the Outer Rim when he joined the Outland Regions Security Force.

As Tarkin aged, he joined the Republic Judicial Department and met Sheev Palpatine, then a Senator of Naboo. The two became friendly and maintained their relationship over the years, with Palpatine advising Tarkin to take up a career in politics, which he did, becoming the Governor of Eriadu with Palpatine’s backing. Together the pair helped ensure Supreme Chancellor Finish Valorum’s fall from grace and continued to strengthen their ties to one another as they both grew in power.

When the Clone Wars broke out, Tarkin became an officer in the newly-formed Grand Army of the Republic, joining the Navy where he became a captain and participated in a number of notable battles, including the Battle of Murkhana and the Battle of Kamino. By the end of the Clone Wars, Tarkin had attained the rank of Admiral and was one for Chancellor Palpatine’s strongest supporters, when the newly-crowned Emperor Palpatine took full control of the senate and created the Galactic Empire, Tarkin threw his full weight behind the Emperor which in turn earned him more power and the position of Moff of the Greater Seswenna sector.

Together with Emperor Palpatine’s new apprentice, Lord Vader, Tarkin worked on a number of missions involving various secret weapons projects to support the creation of the Death Star and various other Imperial weapons of war. As a Moff and one of the Emperor’s most trusted servants, Tarkin worked to put down early rebellions and governments that resisted the Empire’s expansion and policies. For his exceptional work in furthering the interests of the Empire, Emperor Palpatine promoted Tarkin to the newly created position of Grand Moff, which saw him overseeing several sectors of Imperial space.

Grand Moff Tarkin wrested control of the Death Star project from Director Krennic and had his underling killed on the tropical world of Scarif after the Director failed to stop the Rebel Alliance from stealing the Death Star plans from the Imperial archives. The Grand Moff made an example of Princess Leia Organa’s home world of Alderaan, using the Death Star to destroy it for the planet’s constant rebellion against Imperial rule and to send a message to the rest of the galaxy for what would happen if they defied the Empire. Not long after destroying Alderaan, Wilhuff Tarkin was killed when Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance attacked the Death Star in a daring raid above the Rebel base on Yavin 4.

You can join Wilhuff Tarkin on his adventures in the films Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Episode IV: A New Hope, along with the animated series Star Wars: Rebels on Disney+.

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