Governor Wilhuff Tarkin or Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe and the primary antagonist in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. He was portrayed by the late British actor Peter Cushing in that film. A younger version of the character makes a brief cameo in the prequel film Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, where he was portrayed by Wayne Pygram. He was also portrayed by Keene Curtis in the Star Wars radio drama. Tarkin has been called "one of the most formidable villains in Star Wars history".
In A New Hope, Tarkin is the Governor of the Imperial Outland Regions and commander of the Death Star. He is charged, along with Darth Vader, with pursuing and destroying the Rebel Alliance. He threatens Princess Leia Organa with the destruction of her home planet of Alderaan if she does not reveal the location of the Rebels' base. When she names another planet, he destroys Alderaan anyway, seemingly of his own initiative without any authorization from either the Emperor or Darth Vader. Tarkin dies when Luke Skywalker destroys the Death Star in the film's climax.
Tarkin also appears at the end of Revenge of the Sith, set 19 years earlier, watching the construction of the Death Star alongside Vader and Emperor Palpatine.
In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Tarkin also appears in Darth Maul: Saboteur and Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader. West End Games' roleplaying material describes the "Tarkin Doctrine", which emphasizes ruling "through the fear of force, rather than force itself". He is also mentioned during the Legacy of the Force novel series as to have been present on Zonama Sekot with Anakin Skywalker. Apparently, Tarkin also left a wife and a mistress behind.
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Official Site: 20th Century Fox Films
Links: Tarkin Wikipedia page Tarkin StarWars.com page StarWars.com