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Grand Moff Willhuff Tarkin

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The vile and ruthless commander of the original Death Star. Gaunt and imposing, Tarkin began his career as a regional governor, but his keen military mind and malevolence ensured his place as the first Imperial Grand Moff. In this capacity, he commanded numerous sectors vital to the Empire and reported directly to the Emperor. Tarkin’s greatest achievement was the construction of the Death Star battle station, where he met his demise when he arrogantly underestimated the Rebellion’s assault at the Battle of Yavin.

Tarkin first entered galactic politics when he was appointed governor of the Seswaenna sector of space. He fully supported Palpatine’s bid to become Emperor, and for this he was given the title of Moff of the Outer Rim Territories. He rapidly advanced in rank until he became the Grand Moff, the highest-ranking official beneath the Emperor. During his reign, he advanced the "Tarkin Doctrine," which insisted that the galaxy should be ruled through fear and force. The Tarkin Doctrine culminated in the construction of the Death Star, the ultimate weapon of terror.

Some sources suggest that the cold-hearted Tarkin took an Imperial Navy officer named Daala as his mistress. He then placed her in command of the Maw installation, the top-secret base where the Death Star was conceived. During a visit to the facility, Tarkin’s ship was attacked by Rebels. The Alliance troops boarded the vessel and rescued Tarkin’s Mon Calamari servant, Ackbar, who supplied the Rebellion with vital information concerning the Death Star and many of Tarkin’s other plots. Later, Ackbar would become an Alliance admiral and lead the attack on the second, much larger Death Star at the Battle of Endor.

Tarkin may have considered challenging Palpatine’s rule, but he never acted on these plots. Instead, he devoted himself to rooting out the Rebellion, a task that took on greater urgency after the Rebels acquired plans to the Death Star. When Darth Vader captured Princess Leia, Tarkin ordered that the young senator be tortured until she reveals the location of the hidden Rebel base. Leia resisted her interrogation, and Tarkin retaliated by using the Death Star to destroy her home planet of Alderaan. With a single command, Tarkin extinguished a billion lives. Tarkin later allowed Leia to escape aboard Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon, but only after a tracking device had been placed aboard the starship. The beacon led Tarkin, and the Death Star, to the Rebel outpost on Yavin 4. Confident of victory, Tarkin refused to abandon the space station even after advisors discovered a minute weakness in the Death Star’s defenses. He scoffed at the notion that a handful of Rebel fighters could defeat the Empire’s greatest weapon, and thus perished when the Death Star was indeed destroyed.

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