Antagonists Wiki

Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station.

-Grand Moff Tarkin's most famous quote

Tarkin SWSB.png
Wilhuff Tarkin
Background information
Feature films Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of The Sith (cameo), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
Television programs
Video games
Park attractions
Actor Peter Cushing, Wayne Pygram, Guy Henry
Performance model
Character information
Other names Grand Moff Tarkin, Governor Tarkin
Personality Cold, ruthless, cruel, evil, vicious, intilligent, manipulative, cold hearted, cunning, serious, traiterous, genocidal, destructive, brutal, selfish, arrogant, monstrous, vengeful, vindictive, power hungry, abusive.
Occupation Governor and Grand Moff commander
Affiliations Chaotic Evil
Goal To present the Death Star I to Emperor Palpatine, destroy the Rebels, and conquer the galaxy for the Galactic Empire. (all failed)
Enemies Luke, Leia, Han, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, Galen Erso, Orson Krennic
Minions Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, Imperial Militants, Orson Krennic (formerly), Death-Troopers, Galen Erso (formerly)
Likes Evil, power, being successful, winning, money, The Death Star, command, terror
Dislikes Jedi, Rebels, defeat, Orson Krennic's nagging, rebels
Powers and abilities Command, manipulation, leadership, intelligence, control on heavy weaponry
Weapons The Death Star I's weaponary
Fate Killed when the Death Star I was destroyed.
Quote "You may fire, when ready."
"You want another target? A military target? Then name the system!!! I grow tired and tired of asking this, so it'll be the last time: where is the Rebel base?"
"You're far too trusting. Dantooine is too remote to be an effective demonstration, but don't worry. We will deal with your Rebel friends soon enough."

Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, also known as Governor Tarkin, is a major antagonist in the Star Wars universe. He serves as a cameo antagonist in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of The Sith, a major protagonist in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, one of the antagonists in Star Wars: Rebels, the 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and the main antagonist of the 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.

He was portrayed by the late Peter Cushing in A New Hope, by Wayne Pygram in Revenge of the Sith, voiced by Stephon Stanton in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Star Wars: Rebels. He was also portrayed by Guy Henry in Rogue One, with Cushing's likeness projected onto his face via CGI.


Coming soon...


Cushing is a calculating sociopath who will twist what you say and use it against you to get what he wants. He has a very cold as ice demeanor that enabled him to make a proud arrogant Director Orson Krennic turn away in defeat.

Similar Antagonists

  • One-Eye (The Dino King) - Both are old and tyrannical characters who have no remorse for anyone, and eventually get what they deserve.
  • General Armitage Hux (Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens) - Both are evil commanders that care about nothing but themselves, and have deadly superweapons on their side.


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, 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 Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. 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 Anakin's Padawan, 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 Count Dooku's minion Asajj Ventress. After Tarkin and Amidala's arguments conclude and the jury reaches a verdict that the Supreme Chancellor is about to read, Anakin 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

Tarkin oversees the Death Star I's construction after being told by Emperor Palpatine to do so off-screen, with Darth Vader watching with him.

Star Wars: Rebels

In this television series, Tarkin returns as the secondary main antagonist of the first season, and the Bigger Bad of the second and third season. Now with the title of Grand Moff, Tarkin 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 as the secondary antagonist of the 2016 prequel (although having less screen-time than Orson), commanding the Death Star I, which Galen Erso had built for him. 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 killed 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 and delivered it to Leia first.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

Discussion about The Empire's future

Grand Moff Tarkin eventually becomes the Governor of the Imperial Outland Regions and commander of the Death Star I, returning as the main antagonist. Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader walk into the meeting with the Death Star I's leaders. He says that the Imperial Senate will no longer be a threat to the Empire because Palpatine dissolved the Old Republic permanently.

When one officer starts to argue that the Rebels could find a weakness, Vader says the plans will come back to them. However, he argues again, and Darth Vader force-chokes him. However, Tarkin, being manipulative, tells him to release the officer, and states that he will crush the rebellion once and for all.

Preparations for the attack

Vader tells Tarkin that her resistance to the Mind Probe is considerable, after some time before the Empire can get any information. Meanwhile, one of the top officers tells them that all systems are operational. Tarkin then thinks that she could respond to an alternative form of persuasion.

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. He says that it's time to demonstrate the full power of the Death Star I. He tells the officer to set the course of Alderaan, which he does with pleasure.

Where's the Rebel Base?

His plans work. Leia is captured by Vader after her resistance to the Empire, and when she is brought to Tarkin, she tells him that she expected to find him holding Vader's leash, and that she recognized his foul stench when she was brought on board, thus revealing that Darth Vader has been working for Tarkin the whole time. Tarkin then states that before her execution, he wants her to be his guest, as an aid that can help make the Death Star I operational. Leia then whispers that the more he tightens his grip targets the more star systems will slip through his fingers. Tarkin then argues, saying it will not happen after he demonstrates the power of the superweapon.

Tarkin then thinks out loud, which planet should be destroyed first. However, since she is reluctant to provide him with the Rebel Base's location, he decides to test the Death Star's power on Leia's home planet: Alderaan. However, Leia tells him that there are no weapons on the planet; however, Tarkin orders Leia to reveal the location of the Rebel Base for the last time. To save her people's lives, she lies that it is on Dantooine. Tarkin believes her, and tells Vader that she can be reasonable; however, he doesn't truly care at all, and tells his minions to continue the operation. Tarkin then says to Leia that Dantooine is too remote to make an effective demonstration, but he will deal with the Rebels soon enough to destroy them. He tells his operators to fire the weapon on Alderaan and destroy it, and they manage do so.

Governor Tarkin's Death

He later occupies the Death Star I itself. However, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker manage to invade the Death Star, trying to rescue Leia and find it's weakspot. Tarkin then commands Vader to destroy Obi-Wan and his teammates, then terminate Leia. As Luke, Han and Leia manage to find the weakspot of the Death Star, Tarkin gets ready to fire the death star, and destroy the real rebel base.

Tarkin orders Vader and his TIE fighters to attack Luke Skywalker's spaceship.

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.


  • In Rogue One and A New Hope, Tarkin is the more dangerous antagonist because he had much bigger plans than anyone else, even Orson Krennic and Darth Vader.