All spoilers regarding the Skywalker Saga, The Clone Wars and Rogue One are unmarked. Examples relating to Disney's EU and the new movies can be spoiler-tagged if deemed necessary.
Tropes specifically applying to the characters based on their appearances in Star Wars Legends can be found here.
A massive mobile space station the size of a small moon, the Death Star is considered the ultimate technological achievement of the Galactic Empire's Imperial Intelligence division. With a crew of nearly a million officers, soldiers and technicians, its most prominent feature is a superlaser capable of destroying an entire planet. It serves as the seat of the Imperial Joint Chiefs and a testament to Governor Tarkin's "Rule Through Fear" doctrine.
- Achilles' Heel: The Death Star is a moon sized space station capable of destroying a planet, with only one significant weakness; a two meter wide exhaust port that leads directly to the station's reactor. Even then, the port is ray shielded, so only proton torpedoes have any chance of getting through, and it's still a very slim chance at best.
- Activation Sequence: The Death Star needs about twenty seconds from "Commence primary ignition" until it fires its superlaser upon Alderaan.
- Converging-Stream Weapon: The superlaser has eight tributary beams that feed the main weapon. Currently serves as the trope image.
- Doomsday Device: The Death Star is a space station that can destroy planets with its massive laser. Grand Moff Tarkin hopes to use it to eliminate the Rebellion and to scare the rest of the galaxy into submission.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The superlaser on the Death Star is capable of destroying entire planets.
- Evil Is Not Well-Lit: The interior of the Death Star, the villains' secret base, is drab and monotone.
- Failsafe Failure: Including one of the most famous in all media:
- The Death Star, a battle station the size of a small moon, can be completely destroyed by a small fighter firing a couple of missiles down a thermal exhaust shaft that leads directly to the main reactor. Imperial designers apparently recognized the problem to the extent of ray shielding the shaft to protect it from blaster fire, but for some reason cannot stop projectiles. The Empire can be forgiven for this, since you would have to be some kind of space wizard who is also a fighter pilot to actually hit a target that small. Rogue One addresses the weakness: the film would retroactively reveal that the weakness was installed on purpose as an act of sabotage, and that a lot of bloodshed and grief went into making that little detail, and the discovery of it, possible.
- All the doors on the Death Star. If you shoot out the control panels for them on one side, the controls on the other side no longer work either. This proves to be both a feature and a bug for Luke and Leia during their escape.
- Further demonstrating the Death Star's shoddy design, the tractor beam system has seven separate power junctions feeding it. This is apparently not for backup and failsafe purposes, as the disconnection of any one of the junctions will disable the entire system.
- No OSHA Compliance:
- The Death Star either fired their safety inspection team or have complete disregard for the safety of their staff, because the inside of the station is a giant death trap. You have massive chasms with very tiny bridges that can be retracted, and they have no railings or support at all. The tractor beam's power is controlled through a panel perched on a tower over a bottomless pit, and the catwalk to access the controls is about a foot wide. There are giant doors that slam shut in the blink of an eye. Their hangar bay has a giant, open elevator pit right next to where the ships would land. Heck, the superlaser cannon has two crew members perched on the itty bitty platform right next to the gigantic superlaser beam!
- The blast doors. These are quadruple-section doors that close in from the corners, leaving an increasingly-shrinking square in the middle. Yes, in the event of decompression or a firefight, these doors need to close quickly for the safety of the onboard personnel (and to prevent pesky intruders from escaping, natch). But if a body (organic or mechanic) gets caught in the opening and mulched by the doors, that's a whole lotta cleaning up involved, and that's if the doors don't jam from all that matter caught in them.
- Elements from the expanded universe which may no longer be canon made it clear that, despite the enormity of the task of building the Death Star, it was a rushed project from start to finish, which would explain if corners were cut to make sure that it was done on time.
- Given Rogue One revealed that Galen Erso was the one responsible for the thermal exhaust port that ultimately lead to the destruction of the first Death Star, it's not entirely unreasonable he may have created other ways to get back at the Imperials for all the pain they caused him.
- Point Defenseless: Justified in that the Empire didn't think that fighters could possibly threaten the Death Star on their own, so their static defenses were designed to fight off capital ships. In fact, Tarkin is so arrogant about his station's invincibility that he doesn't bother scrambling the vast fighter fleet available to deal with the Rebels' fighters. Unfortunately, Darth Vader is not so stupid and had his personal squadron launch on his own authority with himself in the lead to deal with them.
- Space Base: The Death Star is a moon-sized space base capable of blowing up whole planets.
- That's No Moon!: Trope Namer
- Wave-Motion Gun: The Death Star's main weapon is a superlaser powerful enough to cause an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin
An ambitious military officer who rose through the Republic Army's ranks during the Clone Wars. As governor of the Outer Rim Territories for the Galactic Empire, he was put in charge of the construction of the Death Star, which he saw as a way to keep the galaxy's star systems in check.
- Adaptational Sexuality: Possibly. It's implied that he was the officer that TK-421 was having an affair with. In Legends, he was straight and had a widow (and a mistress, in Admiral Daala).
- All There in the Script: In the closing credits of "Point of No Return", it's revealed that he's been promoted to the rank of Admiral since his previous appearance in The Clone Wars.
- Ambiguously Evil: Presented as such in The Clone Wars. As anyone familiar with A New Hope knows, he simply hasn't gotten the chance to be unambiguous yet.
- Ambiguously Gay: Heavily implied to be the the high-ranking officer TK-421 is having an affair with. If his Legends history holds true, it might be more Ambiguously Bi though.
- Ambition Is Evil: A majority of his evil actions are a means to climb the ranks of the Republic and later the Empire. The only thing he tries to do in the Citadel arc is to shoot Osi Sobek when he's seemingly down, no doubt so he can play hero later. He later uses Ahsoka's trial to cripple the Jedi's authority while advancing his own. He often clashes and fights with other ambitious Imperials, most notably Orson Krennic, over control of the Empire's military projects, which he successfully did by taking command of the Death Star and using it to wipe out his rivals on Scarif. His ambition is criticized by many in the Imperial bureaucracy, best summed up by General Tagge in a deleted scene from A New Hope.Cassio Tagge: I think the construction of this station has more to do with Governor Tarkins bid for recognition than any prudent military strategy.
- Antagonistic Governor: He's the main antagonist of A New Hope and holds command over the Outer Rim.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: One of his best skills is his analytical genius: he is very good at noticing minor details that can lead him to unravel enemy plots or root out conspiracies.
- Ax-Crazy: An interestingly downplayed case. It's revealed in the Age of Rebellion comic that Tarkin, deep down, is a complete psycho who vividly fantasizes about tearing his "incompetent" subordinates apart with his bare hands. And given his past, he'd be more than capable of doing so despite his age. He'd even get away with it too, thanks to his rank. However, he's professional enough to restrain himself. So basically, Pragmatic Villainy.
- Badass Normal: The Clone Wars and Tarkin establish him as a very capable warrior and survivalist even without any Force powers. He spent years learning survival skills under his granduncle Jova in the Carrion Plateau and fought on the frontlines (both in space and on the ground) during the Clone Wars. And this is without mentioning the fact that he can boss Darth Vader around without getting his head lopped off.
- Bad Boss: Tarkin is willing to throw away thousands of Imperial lives if only to ensure that a handful of Rebels die. He uses the Death Star to destroy the Scarif facility, after the Rebels on the surface have been all but wiped out and the only people down there are thousands of Imperial personnel.
- Beyond Redemption: In the Radio Drama, after he destroys Alderaan, despite telling Leia that he would spare it after she gives him false information, Leia tells him that if he had a shred of humanity left in him, than its dead now, and that he is at war with life itself.
- Big Bad: He's the main antagonist in the chronological timespan between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope:
- He's the main adversary Leia encounters in A New Hope. Vader takes orders from him in the movie and the Emperor's own role wasn't quite finalized yet, but even after the official Imperial pecking order was established in the following films, Tarkin is still effectively the main antagonist in A New Hope.
- Rebels takes place in the Outer Rim and Tarkin is the military governor of the Outer Rim. All other main Imperial characters were shown to be subservient to him in "Call to Action", including the Inquisitor. Everything that has occurred on Lothal — the seizure of farmland, the rapid mining and industrialization, etc... — has been largely because of his orders. The slums and shanty towns are called "Tarkintowns" for a reason. Tarkin is clearly still in charge of operations by the Season 2 premiere, but Darth Vader is the main obstacle for the heroes during the season. By Season 3 though, he's back in the Big Bad seat, with Thrawn acting at his behest.
- Despite a limited appearance, he's comfortably back in the role in Rogue One as he seizes control of the Death Star from Krennic, using the Superlaser to finish off his rival.
- Blue Blood: The Tarkins had been one of the leading families of Eriadu for generations.
- The Cameo: He appears briefly at the end of Revenge of the Sith where he observes the construction of Death Star, alongside Darth Sidious and the newly-transformed Darth Vader.
- Catchphrase: "You may fire when ready."
- Chronically Crashed Car: Every warship we have seen him personally command gets destroyed. The Carrion Spike gets stolen and eventually scuttled by Teller's group. The Sovereign gets blown up over Mustafar. And we all know what happens to the Death Star. In fact, one reviewer commented that Tarkin just keeps getting bigger and bigger ships and they keep getting destroyed in more spectacular ways.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Downplayed Trope, but his complete lack of empathy is Played for Laughs at times. In Rogue One, he and Krennic discuss whether they should blow up Jedha as a whole or a part of it, as if they're discussing how many fireworks they would need for a celebration. And while the destruction of Alderaan is no laughing matter, the way he casually order its destruction comes off as darkly funny, as if killing two billion people is no big deal to him.
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: After being rescued from the Citadel, he isn't very grateful to Anakin and his team, which annoys them.
- Covered in Scars: And he's proud of each and every one.
- Deadpan Snarker: When reprimanding the Lothal garrison for their inability to deal with rebels, he makes a very sarcastic burn against the Grand Inquisitor.Tua: It's said that their leader... is a Jedi!
Tarkin: [completely unimpressed] Ah, yes. Let us not forget the sudden appearance of a Jedi, as if leaping from the pages of ancient history. It's a shame we don't have anyone who specializes in dealing with them, [glares at the Inquisitor, who gives a Death Glare in return] otherwise, our problems might be solved.
- Disc-One Final Boss: As far as the Original Trilogy go, he's the Big Bad of A New Hope. He's never mentioned again after his death in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Instead, we're introduced to Emperor Palpatine.
- Doublethink: By the time of Rebels, he tells his underlings that there's no way there are Jedi left, but once it seems that Darth Vader has killed them, he has no problem referring to them as the "Jedi leaders". In this case, it seems to be more keeping to the party line than any actual self-delusion on his part, although he genuinely believes the Jedi as a whole are extinct and any stragglers are functionally irrelevant.
- The Dreaded: Tarkin is the most brutal of the Emperor's officers besides Vader, and nobody wants to get on his bad side. In the premiere of Rebels, merely invoking his name was enough to get an Imperial officer to buy Hera's story. Additionally, if you're getting a visit from him, it's never a good sign. Once Minister Tua found out she was due for an appointment with him, she knew what that entailed.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He was appalled by his own family, far worse sociopaths than even him, to the point of planning to use the Death Star on Eriadu just to get the galaxy rid of them—and he probably would have, too, if the Rebels hadn't blown it up first.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
- His reasoning behind the Death Star is to frighten the citizens into servitude. Tarkin didn't seem to think that would result in people joining the Rebel cause because they don't like having their planets blown up.
- When the Death Star's Chief Gunner Frant turns out to have hesitated in giving the order to destroy Alderaan, Tarkin chastises the man. Frant angrily asks if Tarkin would fire on his homeworld if commanded to. Without missing a beat, Tarkin replies that he would ("With pleasure!") and then has Frant and other conscience-ridden Death Star personnel Thrown Out the Airlock.
- Evil Is Petty:
- With their rivalry shown in Catalyst in mind, it's implied that the true reason he fires the Death Star's superlaser on Scarif is to get rid of Krennic — even if it kills thousands of other Imperials in the process; the Rebel attack gave him the perfect excuse.
- He yoinks the Death Star right in front of Krennic when the weapon proves to be a success, despite voicing his annoyance of the project's development to at least Thrawn, while Krennic is nowhere as high on the Imperial ladder as him.
- He decides to have Alderaan, and its people, blown to smithereens simply to spite and demoralize Leia.
- Evil Old Folks: During the Galactic Civil War, he was one of the oldest Imperials, and many considered him one of the most monstrous due to ordering the destruction of Alderaan.
- Eviler Than Thou: As ruthless as Krennic was, he found out the hard way that Tarkin's a rival you don't want to have. Especially when he uses your own superweapon to destroy not just you, but also the planet you're standing on.
- Face Framed in Shadow: During the Citadel arc, his face had a tendency to have rather sinister lighting.
- Fake Shemp: Rogue One has Guy Henry portray Grand Moff Tarkin with a digital recreation of Peter Cushing's head superimposed over Henry's.
- Famous Last Words: "Evacuate, in our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances." Alternately, "You may fire when ready."
- Faux Affably Evil:
- He acts very politely towards Leia, then casually orders her planet blown up in front of her.
- It appears to be so much a habit with him that he uses exaggerated courtesy even for minor things; when Krennic's first test of the Death Star's Superlaser is a success despite Tarkin's skepticism, he says to Krennic "I owe you an apology" with many other Imperial officers present to hear it... and then immediately announces that he's taking over command of the Death Star from Krennic.
- He criticizes Aresko and Grint's failure in capturing the Ghost Crew in Rebels in a manner similar to a middle-school teacher chastising students for delivering a poor assignment, and then has them decapitated on the spot.
- Flat-Earth Atheist: Downplayed. He denies that any Jedi could still be alive in Rebels, in spite of directly addressing the Inquisitor, who he mentions as having the explicit job of hunting them down. However, it's possible that he's just reminding the Inquisitor of the "official" Imperial line- as far as the public knows, the Jedi were destroyed by the Empire, and the fact that some Jedi aren't dead yet is an irrelevant technicality the galaxy doesn't need to know about. He's also somewhat accurate in that since these particular Jedi in question are actually just a former Padawan who never completed his training and his recently recruited apprentice, they're not "true" Jedi and believes that Obi-Wan and Yoda are dead.
- Frontline General: He flew a fighter during the events of Tarkin and was close to the combat in Rebels, even wearing battle armor.
- General Failure: To say that Tarkin bungles his tasks is a severe understatement. He seems to have been given a high position because Palpatine admired his brutality, and little else.
- Tarkin blows up an entire planet and kills at the barest minimum thousands of his own soldiers solely to take out a few rebel stragglers. He does this after the rebels had already been defeated on the ground, with said stragglers being hunted by the garrison.
- He also blew up said planet for the dual purpose of disposing of his rival, Krennic. The problem with that plan, aside from it being completely fucking insane, is that as the chief engineer on the project Krennic probably has some important insight to share on the Death Star's strengths and weaknesses, something that Tarkin doesn't consider for a second, instead focusing purely on advancing his own political position. In fact, it's solely due to this act that Krennic can't inform them about the weakness that Galen Erso built into the Death Star, something that he remarks on himself with bitter amusement in the novelization of Rogue One.
- He blows up Alderaan, an Imperial world and a rather economically important one at that, for no reason other than to spite Leia and discourage the rebels. This has the exact opposite effect and instead galvanizes support for the rebellion; after all, if you can be loyal Imperial subjects and still get killed en masse For the Evulz, what do you have to lose?
- Despite Vader's protests, he refuses to scatter fighters to stop the rebel attack on the Death Star, out of nothing but sheer arrogance. Considering that Vader and two other guys were nearly able to avert the attack on their own, the rebels would have stood absolutely zero chance had Tarkin showed even the slightest bit of caution and deployed so much as a single squadron. His incompetence finally costs him and he perishes along with the Death Star.
- While it wasn't his idea, Tarkin was totally on board with the Death Star project and tried to take credit for it. Tagge later commented on what an utterly stupid waste of resources the project was, stating that for the cost of the Death Star they could have built enough fighter squadrons and Star Destroyers to drown the rebellion in no time.
- A God Am I: Implied. Upon gaining the full destructive power of the Death Star's apocalyptic main weapon, Tarkin casually orders the death of worlds with the same care one would give to swatting a fly.
- Hate Sink: At least in The Clone Wars. Peter Cushing managed to make Tarkin coldly charming despite his evil actions. In Rogue One, the Hate Sink flag is taken by his Foil, Krennic. In The Clone Wars, he lacks Cushing's charm and he doesn't have any direct contenders; instead, he's portrayed as a Jerkass belittling the Jedi who are rescuing him and eventually turns into a Ungrateful Bastard who tries to Kangaroo Court Ahsoka (at this point a Breakout Character) just to push his own agenda, despite Ahsoka rescuing his life earlier.
- Hidden Depths:
- Confirmed in all but name to have been involved with TK-421. The relationship is presented, while not redeeming, as something he was genuinely happy in. Tarkin goes so far as to lament to having had plans for them together back on Corusant after a promotion he arranged for TK-421 winds up getting him killed. It's never confirmed, though, so the exact nature of their relationship remains ambigious for the most part even now.
- In Lost Stars, he ran into the main characters Thane and Ciena when they were children as they were fighting off bullies. After briefly quizzing them about their knowledge of piloting, he invites them to see the inside of his shuttle. This impresses the two enough that they eventually join the Imperial Starfleet. Years later, Lieutenant Ciena runs into him again briefly on the Death Star, where he recalls the encounter with some fondness.
- Hit Me, Dammit!: When challenging Frant to a knife fight in his Imagine Spot over the latter's hesitation during a simulation. Frant is reluctant to attack his superior and has to be goaded into it by Tarkin bludgeoning Frant with his own helmet.
- Hurl It into the Sun: His first claim to fame was to do this to a captured pirate queen and her crew, slowly enough they'd die slowly and broadcasting their screams to inform pirates of what awaited for them. Piracy in the Greater Seswenna almost disappeared overnight.
- His going back on his ultimatum and having Alderaan blown up anyway is all the more vile when he acts shocked and enraged that Leia lied about where the rebels were stationed.
- He also scolds Vader for choking Admiral Motti, remarking that internal bickering is pointless, when he himself used the Death Star just to get rid of his personal rival Krennic.
- In Rebels, he voices his annoyance of Krennic's pet project to Thrawn, but when the weapon turns out to be a success in Rogue One, he hijacks the weapon on the spot.
- In The Clone Wars, he demands that the Jedi Council expel Ahsoka from the Order so she can receive an impartial judgement from the Senate tribunal. Needless to say, nothing is impartial in that trial, especially not him.
- Icy Blue Eyes: His eyes have a cold blue shade that matches his unpleasant personality.
- Idiot Ball:
- While his decision to blow up the Imperial base on Scarif was the perfect opportunity to get rid of Krennic, it also denied him the opportunity to interrogate any of the surviving Rebels and also killed substantially more Imperials than Rebels in addition to sacrificing the Citadel, a major source of Imperial information. From a militaristic standpoint, it was an uncharacteristically stupid thing for a brilliant tactician like Tarkin to do. It's also possible that he did so because It's the Only Way to Be Sure; none of the Imperials knew which of the plans of the Death Star were stolen. The rebels could've chosen to steal all of them for any given reason, and Tarkin might not have wanted to risk any more of the information to be compromised than it already could've been as far as he knows. Also, Tarkin specifically mentions that Vader would be the one to deal with the Rebel ships, which Vader indeed does tend to until Leia escapes and is able to send C-3P0 and R2-D2 off with the plans.
- This is also what leads to his downfall. Tarkin refuses to scramble fighters against the Rebels attacking the Death Star, and scoffs at the notion of evacuation even after his staff have deduced exactly what the Rebels are trying to hit. Vader is smart enough to scramble his personal squadron (which is almost enough to win on its own), but has no direct authority over the rest of the station's fighters.
- I Lied: His Establishing Character Moment is threatening to blow up Alderaan unless Leia gives up the coordinates to the Rebel base, then blowing up Alderaan anyway as a show of power.
- Imagine Spot: Has one where he strips to the waist to show off his scars and challenges Chief Gunner Frant to a knife fight, ending in him killing Frant. He later has another when Frant asks him if he'd destroy Eriadu if commanded. Tarkin replies "With pleasure!" and we see the hypothetical destruction of Eriadu, complete with the shock and horror of his Uncle Jova.
- Inspector Javert: Subverted in his prosecution of Ahsoka for the Jedi Temple bombing: he did everything in his power to make sure Ahsoka was convicted of her supposed crimes, despite some obvious and suspicious coincidences pointing to a Frameup. According to Word of God, this was because he didn't actually care about who was the perpetrator, he only wanted to convict a Jedi to strengthen his position and weaken the Order.
- Jerkass: In "The Citadel" (his first appearance in The Clone Wars), he had to be saved by Anakin from the Separatists. However, instead of being gracious enough to express gratitude to Anakin, he's a complete jerk about it, causing Anakin to tell him that he'll only respect those who know gratitude. However, the two do start to get along, and Anakin acknowledges that Tarkin has several good points. As Grand Moff, he's usually Faux Affably Evil, but sometimes doesn't bother, like in his introduction scene in Rebels.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Tarkin is without a doubt a cold, ruthless, ungrateful jerkass but he makes points that are hard to argue with. His initial reluctance to trust Ahsoka during the Citadel arc is because she's a child and shouldn't even be on such a mission. He also points out that the Jedi's peacekeeping methods often hinder the war instead of helping it.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: In The Clone Wars, while he's on the side of the Galactic Republic, he's a complete jerk towards everyone who isn't Palpatine, Anakin, or Piell.
- Karmic Death: He's killed on the very station he hoped to use to instill fear in the galaxy, giving it a new hope instead.
- Kick the Dog: He orders the destruction of Alderaan even after Leia tells him what he wants to hear (though she was lying), simply because he believes the planet would serve as an effective demonstration.
- Knight of Cerebus: His appearance in Rebels has him very quickly establish that he's done tolerating failure in capturing the crew of the Ghost. He has Aresko and Grint decapitated for their failures, then sets a trap for the rebels which ends in Kanan's capture.
- Knight Templar: Why no, he doesn't see anything amoral about blowing up a pacifist planet - it's only to protect order. In fact, this seems to be the Tarkin family's main trait. In reality, he's fully aware that what he does is wrong and doesn't care. In Tarkin, when Teller tells him that he's generating evil with his efforts to impose order, Tarkin simply states "Then evil will have to do".
- Lack of Empathy: He threatens to destroy Alderaan to make Princess Leia spill the beans on where the Rebels are hiding, then blows up Alderaan anyway to set an example for the rest of the galaxy.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: He stands out as unique among Star Wars film Big Bads, being a cold, stoic bureaucrat and Non-Action Guy, compared to the more energetic and personally dangerous assortment of Dark Side users, psycopathic cyborgs, or psychopathic cyborg Dark Side users who dominate the franchise's other cinematic outings. Part of this is because of Early Installment Weirdness; not only were the Sith not a concept in A New Hope, but the original vision was to have a cabal of mundane governors and officials controlling The Empire, while the Emperor was little more than a figurehead, and Vader a barely-tolerated flunky. Tarkin would've been a typical villain in that set-up, rather than the exception.
- Machiavelli Was Wrong: He was certain that fear of the Death Star would keep the thousands of oppressed star systems in line, and he blew up Alderaan as a demonstration and warning. It backfired, because the general outrage over destroying the peaceful planet increased the support of the Rebellion. Then again, the Death Star was destroyed shortly after the demonstration, rather undermining its efficiency as a tool of fear even if Tarkin had been right. Ironically though (if you read the trope page) this actually proves that Machiavelli was right because he believed a leader should be feared, admired, or respected but never hated. If Tarkin had destroyed an uninhabited world as a message then systems would have fallen in line with fear at the implied threat. By killing a whole world, other systems were either motivated by vengeance (lots of people came from Alderaan or had friends there) or desperation (after all, the only way to be truly safe from the empire is if it doesn't exist anymore) to fight back. A good leader should make sure that he is never hated or resented as hatred always trumps fear.
- Make an Example of Them:
- He first rose to prominence in the Outland Regions Security Force as a lieutenant when he devised a way to capture the notorious pirate queen Q'anah. Tarkin then put her and her crew into one of the shipping containers they had been trying to hijack and set it on course for a star, with broadcast equipment aboard that transmitted their agony and dying screams to anybody within range, including other pirates-and killing any who tried to rescue Q'anah, and broadcasting that. Unsurprisingly, piracy within the Seswenna Sector began to decrease significantly after that display.
- The destruction of Alderaan was likewise to be an example made of those who defied the Empire, but unlike the fate of Q'anah and her crew, this example backfired on Tarkin when support for the Empire decreased. Granted, he didn't live long enough to find that out.
- Subverted when he used the Death Star to blow up Jedha City and the Scarif Citadel, stating he just wants a statement and not a manifesto — which tells of how evil he is when he decided to make his manifesto on Alderaan instead.
- He later has all the Imperial Navy Troopers and gunners who hesitated during simulations of the superlaser, as well as when the time came to actually destroy a planet, including the Alderaanian chief gunner, jettisoned into space as a warning to any other Imperials on board against growing soft.
- The Mean Brit: He isn't British per se, but he's certainly mean.
- Moral Myopia: He's shocked, shocked, that Leia lied to him about the location of the Rebel base, even though he lied to her first, and about something much more serious- namely, whether or not he would blow up her entire planet.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
- His decision to kill Krennic with the Death Star's superlaser meant that the Empire would never find out about the Death Star's weakness until after it had been destroyed, as Krennic was the only one who got to learn that the Death Star had a deliberate design flaw that could bring it down.
- In Rebels, his ordering Thrawn to capture the Rebel commanders allows them to escape with the Bendu's interference, as it was shown Thrawn could have simply killed them all via Orbital Bombardment.
- Blowing up Alderaan was meant to strike such fear into the galaxy that all rebellious systems would submit to the Empire; instead, it horrified the galaxy so much that the Rebellion got a massive boost in support (coupled with the destruction of said Death Star, granted).
- Non-Action Big Bad: All he does in A New Hope is command the destruction of Alderaan, rather than personally fire the Death Star's superlaser himself.
- Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: He like to portray himself as a man willing to go to great lengths to maintain law and order in The Empire, but it's clear from his actions that he's an ambitious tyrant who's trying to climb as high on the imperial ladder as possible. He takes credit for other imperials' accomplishments, like the Death Star's completion, and really, how can you justify blowing up a highly populated planet just because some of their leaders have been covertly helping the rebels? Tarkin is, at best, "well intentioned" only in his own mind, as his political philosophy and ultimate ambition are to have an entire galaxy bend to a ruthless authoritarian regime without absolute power over life and death, simply because he finds that more orderly.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: Tarkin is in this territory by Rebels, and Thrawn knows it. It's downplayed in that Tarkin can get things done, but he's not as efficient as Thrawn. Simply put, Tarkin is too ruthless for his own good, brute forcing his way and barking orders to run the Outer Rim. It came to the point where Tarkin was willing to defer to Krennic for the Death Star, something that even Thrawn would find makes very little sense strategically.
- Pragmatic Villainy:
- He tells Krennic to destroy Jedha City instead of the whole moon, not for moral reasons, but because he wanted to downplay the Death Star's effectiveness and make the Emperor think Tarkin's a better choice to control the Death Star than Krennic.
- He also never planned to fire the Death Star at full power more times than strictly necessary, and for the first demonstration choose Alderaan, a planet whose destruction would be more shocking than most others and protected by a planetary shield to reduce the chances of having to fire it more times, so he won't damage the Empire's industrial base too much.
- He restrains his Ax-Crazy fantasies out of professionalism, not morality.
- When the real culprit behind the bombing of the Jedi Temple: Bariss Offee is revealed and thus Ahsoka's innocence was proven, Tarkin decides not to execute Ahsoka like he was going to. But this was only because he still was able to convict a Jedi for his own goals, not out of any remorse for his action or change of heart.
- He despises the TIE Fighter as excessively cramped and fragile and thus giving their pilots a low survavibility rate, partly out of principle as a skilled starfighter pilot himself and partly because if the pilots had a better survavibility rate they'd do a better job killing Rebels.
- He tells Krennic to destroy Jedha City instead of the whole moon, not for moral reasons, but because he wanted to downplay the Death Star's effectiveness and make the Emperor think Tarkin's a better choice to control the Death Star than Krennic.
- Putting on the Reich: Tarkin looks and acts the part of a Nazi officer — which given the Empire's inspiration was quite intentional.
- Removing the Rival: He orders the Death Star to be fired on Scarif in order to stop the Rebels while Krennic is on the planet.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He reprimands Minister Maketh Tua, Agent Kallus, and the Inquisitor for their inability to deal with the Ghost crew's insurrections on Lothal, in spite of the extremely small size of the crew and the Empire's vast resources.
- The Rival: To Director Orson Krennic of the Imperial military's Advanced Research Division. Both want ultimate control over the Death Star project, with Tarkin being the Emperor's favored choice while Grand Vizier Mas Amedda, who's also Tarkin's rival, backs Krennic.
- Sadistic Choice: Forces one on Leia, between betraying the Rebellion or Leia's home planet. Leia betrays the Rebellion. Appears to, anyway; it later turns out that she gave him false information in order to stall for time. Tarkin blows up her planet anyway.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Sort of. His constant complaining to his superior officer's face puts him into this trope. It's also hinted that he got his position from his connection with Palpatine, as well.
- Secret Keeper:
- He was able to surmise that Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker; take note of how he doesn't even flinch in a A New Hope when Vader describes Obi-Wan as "[his] old master." Of course, it appears to be an open secret in certain quarters of the Empire that Vader was formerly of the Jedi Order, seeing how no one else in the room reacts to Tarkin calling him "all that's left of their old religion".
- He's also one of the few people to know that Palpatine's first name is Sheev.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Tarkin has a recurring role in Rogue One, yet his only presence in the ad campaign were a few out-of-focus shots that didn't make it clear whether or not the character was making a cinematic return.
- Smug Snake: He isn't a Grand Moff for nothing, as shown earlier in his career, but he let the Death Star's completion get over his head. For example, even when the Rebels have crucial information on how to blow up the Death Star, he deliberately does nothing to order the protection of the vulnerable area, nor does he have a contingency plan should anything go wrong. He even mocks Moradmin Bast to his face when he correctly brings up that the attack poses a credible threat.
- The Sociopath: Tarkin is a High-Functioning Sociopath in that he's ruthlessly intelligent, refined in thought and speech, fiercely charismatic and coldly charming; he also possesses neither the ability to feel compassion for other sentient-beings nor the ability to feel remorse for his atrocities, regarding emotions and morality as inferior to cold logic that allows him to accomplish his greater goals. When the Death Star becomes fully operational, his already monstrous ego is inflated to truly godlike-levels, casually ordering the obliteration of worlds with his newfound, literally apocalyptic authority and power. His cold, emotionless demeanor and his cruel actions tend to darken the story whenever he appears in the franchise. The first film was only as dark as it was due to his and Vader's heinous acts and the coldness they displayed.
- Speeches and Monologues: The "Tarkin Doctrine" statement, which emphasized the need for a strong military. It indirectly inspired the development of the strongest military weapon possible, a.k.a. the Death Star.
- Stealing the Credit: He blatantly steals the credit from Orson Krennic for the completion and successful test of the Death Star.
- The Strategist: He's one of the Empire's top military strategists and commanders, which is why he was given command over the Death Star.
- Tempting Fate: He sounds downright incredulous when General Bast suggests evacuating during the Rebel attack on the Death Star and the Imperials realize they could destroy it.Tarkin: Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances!
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Using the Death Star Superlaser to get rid of Krennic. It also qualifies as complete overkill as a measure to deal with the Rebels on Scarif, as there were less than a hundred actually within the planet's atmosphere at the time the weapon was fired, while thousands of Imperial personnel were present.
- Token Evil Teammate: Tarkin establishes that he was just as nasty back in his days as a Republic officer. While it did successfully deter piracy in the Seswenna Sector and the victims weren't the most sympathetic of people, his decision to make an example of the pirate leader Q'anah by having her and her crew slowly roasted alive by a star and having their screams broadcast across the system was still very cruel. In The Clone Wars, he was very eager to have Ahsoka — who was only a teenager at the time — incriminated and executed regardless of her innocence or guilt just to knock the Jedi down a peg in the chain of command. It isn't until the Empire is established that he decides to go all out with his coldly pragmatic philosophy of success through fear and force.
- Trrrilling Rrrs: Especially prominent in Peter Cushing's performance, with the animated shows keeping it.Tarkin: We will crrush the rrebellion with one swift strroke.
- The Unfettered: And he criticizes the Jedi for being The Fettered in a time of war. He takes this viewpoint further in his service to the Empire, blowing up a planet just to set an example.
- The Unfought: Despite being the Big Bad of A New Hope, he never directly confronts Luke at any point.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Ahsoka saves his life back when he's first introduced during the third season of The Clone Wars. One would think this would earn her at least a little consideration. One would be wrong. He cuts her no slack when it appears as if she murdered a suspect, and extends this to suspicion of her attempting to silence potential witnesses. He's outright gleeful when he asks the Court to sentence Ahsoka to death.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: The first glimpse of a young Wilhuff in Tarkin has him say he would serve food to the Tarkins' non-human servant. His parents swiftly quash that notion and begin instilling the "virtues" of the Tarkin family into him, and the time spent on the Carrion Plateau with his uncle Jova rid him of any remaining traces of decency.
- Villainous Breakdown: Briefly undergoes one when he learns Leia lied about the location of the Rebel base. He only calms down and agrees to give Leia a stay of execution when he learns of the Millennium Falcon's capture and Vader speculates she may still be useful under the circumstances.Tarkin: She lied! She lied to us!
Vader: [trying his best to stifle laughter] I told you she would never consciously betray the Rebellion, unless she thought she could destroy us in the process.
Tarkin: Terminate her immediately!
Vader: And lose your only link to the Rebel base?
Tarkin: You'll get nothing more out of her. I'll find that hidden fortress if I have to destroy every star system in this sector! [an officer in the Death Star's hangar contacts Tarkin] Yes?
Officer: We've captured a freighter entering the Alderaan system. Its markings match those of the ship that blasted its way out of Mos Eisley.
Vader: They must be trying to return the stolen plans to the Princess. She may yet be of some use to us.
- Villainous Cheekbones: Played with in The Clone Wars via the fact that that he's working for the good guys, but is still a ruthless Jerkass. They fully suit him under the Empire's rule.
- Villainous Face Hold: He grips captive Princess Leia's chin while mentioning that he's signed her death warrant. Leia is unbowed by this bullying.Tarkin: Charming to the last. You don't know how hard I found it, signing the order to terminate your life.
Leia: I'm surprised you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself.
- Villainous Friendship: With Admiral Nils Tenant and General Hurst Romodi. He also calls Darth Vader his friend in A New Hope, as they already established a friendly working relationship back in The Clone Wars (though Tarkin never tells Vader he has deduced his former identity).
- Villain Respect: In Tarkin, he reflects that he highly respected the Jedi as peacekeepers, although he has a decidedly lower opinion of them as generals and strategists.
- We ARE Struggling Together: He and Krennic don't get along. In fact, Krennic deliberately engineers a small war to keep Tarkin out of his hair. Tarkin, however, figures out what Krennic did and starts looking for a way to return the favor, which he does by using the Death Star Superlaser.
- Worthy Opponent: In Tarkin, he considers former Republic Intelligence officer Berch Teller to be one, and refers to him by his old rank of captain as a sign of respect.
- Would Hit a Girl: Has no problem ordering the torture and execution of multiple women, including Princess Leia.
- Would Hurt a Child: A given, since he ordered a planet to be blown up with who knows how many children on it. More specifically, he attempted to have the teenage Ahsoka Tano executed based on mostly circumstantial evidence.
General Moradmin Bast
A general serving as station chief aboard the Death Star and aide to Governor Tarkin. He tries to warn the Grand Moff of the danger the Rebel attack poses to the station.
- Character Death: He receives the order from Tarkin to fire on Yavin base right before the station explodes.
- Ignored Expert: After Gold Squadron is shot down, Bast reports to Tarkin that their attack pattern poses a serious risk to the station. He offers to ready the Grand Moff's personal ship, but is rebuffed.
- Mook Lieutenant: In a position of authority on the Death Star, as he's at the strategy conference with Tagge, Motti, Yularen, and Tarkin, but subordinate to the Joint Chiefs.
- Punch-Clock Villain: In a deleted scene, he has no problem voicing his annoyances to Vader about Tarkin, believing the Governor's plan to break Leia is a foolish waste of time.
General Hurst Romodi
A general in the Imperial Military and ally of Grand Moff Tarkin.
- Ascended Extra: He gets a few lines in Rogue One after initially appearing as a background character in A New Hope.
- Bald of Evil: He is an Imperial officer and has male pattern baldness.
- Canon Immigrant: He originated in the Legends novelization of A New Hope, replacing Admiral Motti. It was eventually decided he was one of the previously unnamed Imperial officers in the briefing room scene in the movie, but he has no lines. After being briefly referenced in Servants of the Empire, Rogue One is his first direct canon appearance where he actually speaks and has a role in the story.
- Mook Lieutenant: He reports directly to Tarkin and carries out his commands. He is the one Tarkin orders to have the Imperial security complex on Scarif destroyed.
- Number Two: In Rogue One, acting as one of Tarkin's aides.
- Old Soldier: According to Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide, Romodi had already retired and was invited to return to the Imperial Military to help in the readying of the Death Star project. Tarkin even thinks of him as "the old warhorse" in the novelization.
- Villainous Friendship: With Tarkin: the two served together during the Clone Wars and later jointly led the pacification campaigns in the Western Reaches in the years after the Empire was established. Tarkin personally invited him back to active military service to work with him on the final stages of the Death Star project.
Major Siward Cass
A officer who serves as an aide to Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin.
- All There in the Manual: His name and rank are given in Star Wars in 100 Scenes.
- Mook Lieutenant: As Tarkin's aide, he acts as an intermediary between Tarkin and lower ranked officers and also delivers reports to him.
- Old Soldier: He appears to be older than Tarkin, making him one of the oldest Imperial officers seen in the films.
- Uncertain Doom: Most likely died aboard the Death Star alongside Tarkin.
Captain Edmos Khurgee
A security officer who oversees the docking bays aboard the Death Star.
- All There in the Manual: His first name is first given in Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy, which also reveals that he was used as the model for a COMPNOR propaganda poster entitled COMPNOR Recruitment. The poster's creator, Dasita Lyros, was the Art Director for COMPNOR and she also modelled in the poster, which led to rumors that Khurgee and Lyros were involved.
- Mook Lieutenant: He inspects the Millennium Falcon once it's tractored in and reports the lack of anyone aboard to Darth Vader.
Lieutenant Pol Treidum
A officer on the Death Star who oversaw the hangar in which the captured Millennium Falcon was held.
- '70s Hair: Wears the long sideburns which were popular among Imperial officers at the time.
- Character Death: After being knocked down by Chewbacca, he is subsequently shot and killed by the Wookiee.
- Mook Lieutenant: Oversees one of the docking bays aboard the Death Star.
- Oh, Crap!: He barely has time to start to panic upon opening a door to see a giant Wookiee standing in front of him before being knocked down and killed.
Lieutenant Shann Childsen
A Imperial officer on the Death Star in charge of the prison block.
- Character Death: He is shot by Luke while attempting to retrieve his gun and return fire.
- Fantastic Racism: Refers to Chewbacca as a "thing".
- Mook Lieutenant: He is a minor Imperial officer on the Death Star who gets killed by the heroes.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Gets two lines to Luke and Han in disguise before a scuffle breaks out and he's shot by them.
An officer on the Death Star who serves as Darth Vader's tactical officer.
- Mook Lieutenant: A member of Vader's personal crew, upon reporting that the Rebel fighters are evading the Death Star's primary defenses, Tanbris is ordered to scramble the station's TIE squadrons.
- Point Defenseless: Recognizes that the Death Star was designed to ward off an attack by capital ships, and thus the small and fast X-Wings are able to slip through the defense net.
Lieutenant Jude Edivon
Jude was roommates with Ciena Ree and Kendy Idele at the Imperial Academy on Coruscant. Following her graduation, she was assigned to the Death Star and perished in the Battle of Yavin.
- Ambiguously Bi: When she leaves the graduation ball with several young officers, both male and female, Thane asks Ciena which one Jude is going to get with, and is told that she is probably going with all of them.
- Character Death: Dies in the destruction of the first Death Star.
- Ignored Expert: She is the analyst who discovers that the Rebel starfighter attack on the Death Star does pose a threat to the station. While General Bast takes her warning seriously, Tarkin refuses to order an evacuation, which results in Jude and the rest of the Death Star crew dying.
- Punch-Clock Villain: She is not evil, and considers the Empire to be an effective lawkeeping and orderly government. When Alderaan is destroyed, Jude struggles to come up with a rationalization for why it happened and the one she settles on, that it was to prevent a civil war from breaking out, is one she clearly recognizes as weak. Four years after Jude's death, Ciena notes that she would have been horrified to learn that another Death Star was built.
- Sacrificial Lion: She is the first major character to die in Lost Stars, and her death has a lot of impact on Ciena and Thane.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Ciena is stunned when Jude shows up at the graduation ball not in one of her normal grey or otherwise dull outfits, but instead an orange dress that has cutouts that show off her belly and back, in addition to having her hair spiked up and long golden earrings. Ciena even finds herself thinking that Jude is extremely sexy in that outfit.
- Shipper on Deck: Alongside Kendy, she also tries to help Ciena and Thane come together, especially after the two become estranged after the blaster incident.
- Statuesque Stunner: She's already naturally taller than most of her friends, but she shows up to the Imperial Ball in a pair of heels and absolutely towers over everyone else. Ved Foslo, her assigned dance partner, is not happy about this (he only comes up to her chest) and spends the entire dance demanding she bend down to make him seem less short.
- The Smart Girl: She is highly adept with technology and computers, and is the most academically skilled of her friends at the academy. She is even ranked number one for a brief period after Ciena and Thane get demerits. Jude's technological skills lead to her being stationed on the Death Star.
- The Stoic: She tends to analyze things in a calm and rational manner, showing very little emotion. Although, in her downtime Jude proves to be Not So Stoic.
- Unwitting Pawn: To the academy personnel who set up the false sabotage of Thane's project in order to drive a wedge between him and Ciena. Without her discovering "evidence" that Thane might have sabotaged his own project to frame Ciena their plan never would have worked.
Commander Kela Neerik
Callsign: Sigma Leader
The leader of Sigma Squadron.
- Uncertain Doom: After having responded to Iden's comm chatter throughout the Battle of Yavin, Iden finds that no one is answering anymore after the Death Star gets blown up, implying Commander Neerik was killed.
Senior Lieutenant Iden Versio
"DS-61-2" and "DS-61-3"
Two TIE pilots stationed in Death Star and accompanied Darth Vader as his wingmen during Battle of Yavin.
- Ace Pilot: They're slightly better than most other TIE pilots and handpicked by Darth Vader himself to be his wingmen.
- Character Death: One of them was shot down by Millennium Falcon, while the other panicked and tried to avoid the freighter's laser fire, only to collide with Vader's TIE Advanced before impacted against the trench wall and exploded.
- No Name Given: They're unnamed in their only appearance in A New Hope.
- Schrödinger's Canon:
- They're Only Known by Their Nickname, "Mauler" and "Backstabber", though "Mauler" had a family name. "Backstabber" was the one who was shot down by Millennium Falcon, while "Mauler" was the one who panicked and collided with Darth Vader's TIE Advanced before impacted against the trench wall and exploded.
- "Mauler"'s designation number was DS-61-2 and his family name was Mithel. He had achieved twenty-seven Rebel kills prior to the Battle of Yavin, and he marked them by flames painted on the hull of his fighter. He had a son named Rejlii Mithel who became a tractor beam operator on the Chimaera.
- "Backstabber" was a Corellian and his designation number was DS-61-3.
- Their squadron was called Black Squadron.
- Wingman: For Darth Vader during Battle of Yavin.
Corporal Ansin Thobel
An Imperial Navy Trooper who operates the main computer terminal in the Death Star's control room and directs the superlaser's gunners.
A Stormtrooper stationed on the Death Star who likes working with his MSE-6 "Mouse Droid", G7. He entered into an affair with a high-ranking officer shortly before the Millennium Falcon was captured.
- Adaptational Sexuality: There was no indication of his sexual orientation even in Legends.
- Ascended Extra: He gets his own story in the From a Certain Point of View anthology.
- Camp Gay: He shows quite a bit of... flair in his private conversations with his droid and his lover.
- Day in the Limelight: He's the focus of the short story Of MSE-6 and Men in the anthology From a Certain Point of View. Given that his role in the films lasts about one minute, most of his characterization comes from this story.
- Dies Differently in Adaptation: Unlike his legends counterpart, he was killed by Luke and Han. In Legends, he and the other stormtrooper where merely incapacitated and taken to the infirmary before perishing in the Death Star's destruction.
- Inappropriately Close Comrades: He enters an affair with ones one of his superior officers. His lover is never identified, but he's said to have Alpha-One security clearance; high enough to let him sidestep standard protocol. It's heavily implied to be Tarkin.
- Morality Pet: For his lover, with TK-421 apparently being the only person with whom he can relax. Considering his lover is likely Tarkin that's really saying something.
- Mugged for Disguise: He and another Stormtrooper are tricked into coming aboard the Millenniun Falcon, and get their armor stolen by Luke and Han. Luke wears his armor.
- Retirony: He spends much of his pagetime talking about how much he wants to get a transfer to Coruscant and make a living off of droid races with G7. Thanks to Luke and Han, he never gets the chance.
- Robot Buddy: G7, his heavily-modified mouse droid. He hopes to take him onto a droid racing circuit once his tour is over. After TK-421's death, his lover takes G7 in.
Chief Gunner Endo Frant
An Imperial Navy Trooper who serves as the chief gunner aboard the Death Star.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Tries this with Tarkin. When scolded for feeling guilty over blowing up Alderaan, Frant asks Tarkin how he'd feel if ordered to blow up Eriadu, his homeworld. Much to Frant's shock, Tarkin replies, "With pleasure!" complete with an Imagine Spot.
- Career-Ending Injury: The scar on his leg from a grav-ball tournament at university. It's implied this is why he joined the Imperial Navy in lieu of having a sports career.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: In contrast to the heavily scarred Tarkin, he only has a scar on his leg from a sports injury.
- Hit Me, Dammit!: After failing in the Rango Tan simulation, Tarkin challenges Frant to a knife fight in front of the whole crew. Frant refuses, but Tarkin tells him if he wins he'll get a promotion; otherwise he dies. Even then, it takes a lot of goading to make Frant attack him. Tarkin wins but it turns out to be an Imagine Spot, and he settles for blowing Frant out the airlock instead.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Done to Frant and the rest of the gunnery crew with the simulated destruction of Rango Tan. Destroying Jedha and the Citadel on Scarif was one thing, but Tarkin wants to see if his chief gunner will willingly destroy an entire planet. Frant hesitates to fire.
- Minion with an F in Evil: At least as far as Tarkin is concerned. He hesitates when commanded to fire on Rango Tan and later his own homeworld, Alderaan. Although he does actually blow up the latter, his hesitation disgusts Tarkin.
- Oh, Crap!: When Tarkin threatens to destroy Alderaan if Leia doesn't cooperate. He's visibly relieved when she caves and explains that the Rebel base is on Dantooine... only to go Oh, Crap! again when Tarkin orders the gunnery crew to fire anyway. Although he obeys, his hesitation costs him his life.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Not only is he forced to destroy his homeworld Alderaan, but for displaying remorse over the act, he and other dissenting Imperials are jettisoned into space among the debris of his home planet. Harsh, Tarkin. Harsh.
- Thrown Out the Airlock: Along with other gunners and Navy Troopers who opposed the destruction of Alderaan and hesitated in their duties.