Wilhuff Tarkin

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Tarkin” redirects here. For the novel Tarkin, see Tarkin (novel).
The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.
―Leia Organa[src]

Wilhuff Tarkin was a Human male who was one of the most powerful individuals in the Galactic Empire, a Grand Moff who shaped Imperial doctrine and was the driving force behind the creation of its key embodiment, the Death Star. Born on Eriadu to the powerful and militaristic Human Tarkin family, the ambitious Tarkin began his career by serving in the Republic Outland Regions Security Force. He then retired and entered politics, becoming lieutenant governor of Eriadu and the Seswenna sector, before returning to themilitary in order to serve Supreme Chancellor Palpatine as an agent of the secret Sith Lord‘s New Order movement. It was in that time that Tarkin learned of his friend Raith Sienar‘s designs for theExpeditionary Battle Planetoid and, convinced of the potential of the design, presented Palpatine with the plans for what would become the Death Star.

Tarkin gained increasing stature as a vocal supporter of Palpatine and received notice as the Seswenna sector’s governor throughout the Clone Wars. At one point, he served as a captain under Jedi General Even Piell, where he and his crew were held in the Citadel, aSeparatist prison, and escaped with the help of a strike team of Jediand clone troopers. Later on, he had been promoted to Admiral. He was present during the capture of Boba Fett after the Battle of Xagobah. In the last days of the Clone Wars, Palpatine appointed Tarkin as the first Moff, and when the Galactic Republic became the Galactic Empire, the new Emperor Palpatine gave him oversight of the construction of the Death Star. Tarkin soon formulated the Tarkin Doctrine, which helped solidify his reputation as the greatest architect of the Empire save Palpatine. The Tarkin Doctrine called for rule of the galaxy through fear of overwhelming force, and recommended the creation of superweapons such as the Death Star to create terror of Imperial reprisal that would stifle any thoughts of rebellion. Delighted, Palpatine made Tarkin the first Grand Moff, giving him control of nearly the entire Outer Rim.

As Grand Moff, Tarkin ruled with the same unyielding ruthlessness he had helped enshrine in Imperial doctrine, often cooperating withDarth Vader. As the long-delayed construction of the Death Star stalled, Tarkin created the secret Maw Installation to refine the design, placing it under the control of his mistress and protégée,Admiral Natasi Daala. With the aid of the Maw Installation’s scientists, the Death Star was finally made operational in 0 BBY. Confident he could destroy the Rebel Alliance opposing the Empire, Tarkin began his campaign of fear by destroying Alderaan, a hotbed of Rebel sentiment. Tarkin then allowed prominent RebelPrincess Leia Organa, captive aboard the Death Star, to escape and lead the Death Star to the secret Rebelbase on Yavin 4. There, seconds away from annihilating the Rebel headquarters, Tarkin died when Luke Skywalker destroyed the Death Star, a victim of his own belief in the Death Star’s invincibility.




Ambition and ascentEdit

The old ways are dying. We have to adapt. I have adapted.
―Wilhuff Tarkin, to Raith Sienar[src]

Wilhuff Tarkin was born into the Tarkin family, an old, wealthy and powerful clan that had originally been granted the world of Eriadu and still remained dominant in the politics and business of Eriadu and theSeswenna sector, as well as carrying strong influence in galactic politics.[9][6] He and his younger brother,Gideon Tarkin, grew up in a family steeped in tradition, prestige, and accomplishment in politics, science, the arts, and the military.[1][9] Tarkin’s older cousin was Ranulph Tarkin, senator for the Seswenna sector and a leading militarist—and after his 44 BBY death in the Stark Hyperspace War, a war hero.[6][10] Though Tarkin took pride in his family’s history of service to the Galactic Republic and accomplishments on Eriadu, he resented the lack of respect his Outer Rim-based clan received in comparison to the aristocratic families of theCore Worlds, fueling in him a burning ambition to excel.[1]

As a young man, Tarkin enrolled in a military academy, in accordance with the Tarkin family’s strong military tradition.[1][2] Driven to live up to every aspect of the family legacy, young Wilhuff Tarkin cultivated expertise in multiple fields, establishing a reputation as an intellectual prodigy with a well-rounded mind. He displayed great aptitude as a tactician in the course of his schooling, drafted starship designs that inspired the design ofinterdictor craft, broke new ground in xenobiology theory, and demonstrated great talent as a poet and philosopher.[9] A keen analyst of the political situation, Tarkin perceived the Galactic Republic to be a decaying institution, and envisioned a new future for the galaxy.[11] His vision was a militant one, authoritarian andHumanocentric, and he possessed a driving ambition to rise to the ranks of power, where he could affect change.[2][12]

After graduation, he and his brother Gideon joined the Republic Outland Regions Security Force, a military policing force that kept the Outland Regions, a Rim area that included Eriadu, safe from piracy.[1][12] Tarkin was a fast riser who achieved the rank of commander, and during the course of his service visited Coruscant, capital of the galaxy, several times.[1] There, around 39 BBY, he befriended Raith Sienar, heir to the Republic Sienar Systems shipbuilding concern and an accomplished engineer who was near Tarkin’s age.[1][2]


A young Wilhuff Tarkin

Still a young man, Commander Tarkin retired from the military in order to seek a political career on Eriadu.[1] With the aid of his family’s political heft and numerous connections, Tarkin was elected the lieutenant governor of Eriadu and the Seswenna sector by 33 BBY, dwelling in an elegant mansion on Eriadu City‘s bay.[12][1] A rising politician, Tarkin was acquainted with Senator Palpatineof Naboo, himself an influential member of the Galactic Senate—and secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, in which guise he appealed to Tarkin’s speciesism and convinced Tarkin to serve his agenda.[12][6] Tarkin gained a measure of notoriety in galactic political circles for his militant views, while on Eriadu he was known as a foe of the Eriaduan branch of House Valorum.[12] Though he was subordinate to the sector governor, Tarkin was an active force in Eriaduan life, taking a strong hand in political and economic affairs.[1]

When, in 33 BBY, Palpatine saw profit in manipulating the competition betweenLommite Limited and InterGalactic Ore, two rival lommite companies from nearby Dorvalla, Lieutenant Governor Tarkin arranged a contract with each company to deliver lommite to Eriadu on short notice, casting it as a competition for a long-term supply contract that could provide one company with dominance over the other. Tarkin set up a ceremony on an orbital habitat, scheduled for the arrival of the contesting shipments, featuring himself, the heads of each company, and the executive officers of Eriadu Manufacturing and Valorum Shipping and Transport, Eriadu’s two main lommite consumers. The two convoys, however, were sabotaged, and collided upon exiting hyperspace early. The disaster forced Lommite Limited and InterGalactic Ore into a merger as Dorvalla Mining, which granted its shipping rights to the Trade Federation. The power of NeimoidianTrade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray, a pawn of Palpatine, increased as the result of his involvement in the deal.[13]

When Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum suggested the taxation of the former free trade zone of the Mid and Outer Rim as part of a deal allowing the Trade Federation to increase its defense allotments to respond to attacks by pirates and the Nebula Front terrorist movement, Palpatine suggested a conference be held on Eriadu to iron out the issue. Tarkin hosted the Supreme Chancellor at his seaside mansion, which was overrun with security personnel well before he was able to personally receive Valorum.[12] Tarkin was in fact complicit in Palpatine’s scheme to murder most of the Trade Federation Directorate at the summit, which would place the Neimoidian faction serving Darth Sidious at the head of the Trade Federation.[12][14]

As Tarkin was about to leave with Valorum for the opening of the Eriadu Trade Summit, the Jedi assigned to protect Valorum informed the Supreme Chancellor of evidence of a Nebula Front conspiracy to assassinate him. Though Valorum was reluctant to show fear by increasing his protection, Tarkin convinced him to take some precautions. Tarkin authorized Eriaduan security forces to take any necessary measures to ensure the Supreme Chancellor’s safety, instructing them to put efficacy over legality. Valorum, though, was not the true target, and the Nebula Front was able to carry out the assassination of almost the entire Trade Federation Directorate as Tarkin watched in Seswenna Hall. Valorum assigned the Judicial Department to investigate the incident, but, serving Palpatine’s interests, Tarkin stonewalled the effort by claiming Eriaduan jurisdiction, then ensuring that the investigation stalled until most evidence had been lost.[12]

Valorum was weakened in the wake of the scandal, and in 32 BBY, he was ousted from the Supreme Chancellorship and replaced with Palpatine.[1] Tarkin had previously attempted to curry favor with multiple factions, but he saw a sea change in the political situation and moved to ally himself more closely with Palpatine’s administration.[2][1] He became connected to the secretive but emergent New Order movement quietly building in the government, which agreed with Tarkin’s authoritarian, militaristic, and Humanocentric beliefs. Tarkin left office, and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine reactivated Tarkin’s commission and moved him to Coruscant, where he became a valuable agent of the New Order.[1] Tarkin kept a small but prestigiously located apartment high in Prime Senate Spire. Tarkin’s service earned him the right to wear robes of senatorial favor, a distinguishing honor that signified exceptional service to the Galactic Senate.[2]

One of Tarkin’s assignments was to monitor the Jedi and work to prevent any increases in their power. In the course of his surveillance, he learned that young Jedi Padawan Anakin Skywalker had a habit of repairing droids, and placed a broken droid, programmed to spy, so that Skywalker would come across it.[2] The young Jedi restored the droid to functionality and allowed it to roam the halls of the Jedi Temple, which gave Tarkin the ability to eavesdrop on many sensitive private conversations, including Jedi High Council meetings.[2][1]Tarkin was also secretly involved with a Trade Federation-aligned association of assassins that targeted the Jedi.[2]

Zonama SekotEdit

I hope you understand what could be at stake here. At the moment we are merely useful lackeys. We are below the level of awareness of those who will command the galaxy. If this planet and its ships are as useful as they appear to be, we will be richly rewarded. We will be noticed. Some already share my belief that this could be very big.
―Wilhuff Tarkin, to Raith Sienar[src]

In 29 BBY, Tarkin attended a secret meeting in which he learned that Palpatine had, after three years, forced a resolution to the fallout from the attack the Trade Federation had staged on Naboo over the taxation of the trade routes. The Trade Federation security forces were to be disbanded and disarmed, their assets turned over to the Republic. The main focus for Tarkin, however, was a mission to seek out Zonama Sekot—a mysterious and remote planet, considered half legend but rumored to produce extraordinary living starships—and obtain one of its starships, or even control over the planet.[2]

He came afterward to see his old friend Raith Sienar, who had by that time ascended to control of the Sienar business empire, and whom Tarkin knew to secretly have a Sekotan ship. Tarkin explained to Sienar the nature of Zonama Sekot and asked for his expertise, but did not bring up the ship when Sienar pretended unfamiliarity with the planet. During the meeting, Tarkin observed and was fascinated by Sienar’s designs for anExpeditionary Battle Planetoid, a massive space station designed to control star systems, which featured a giant turbolaser powered directly by the station’s core.[2] Tarkin saw tremendous potential in the concept, especially if the defensively potent design’s weapon was upgraded to provide sufficient power to ruin a world; fear of such a weapon’s visitation, he believed, would solve the ancient problem of how to keep order in a galaxy too large for any fleet to patrol effectively and deny support to guerrilla movements.[15]


Wilhuff Tarkin

Soon afterward, Tarkin was forced to put his plan into action abruptly when he found that the Jedi were sending a mission of their own to Zonama Sekot. Tarkin, using a tracker he had planted on Sienar, followed the engineer into his secret hall of engineering failures, bringing Ke Daiv as a bodyguard, and demanded that Sienar provide access to the tracking beacon he had built into the ship Star Sea Flower—the transport used by the Jedi expedition—during a refitting. He then asked Sienar to command the venture to Zonama Sekot, an offer the other man accepted. He briefed Sienar on the expedition, which was to consist of decommissioned Trade Federation ships and their crews, which had not yet been turned over to the Republic, as well as Daiv, who would report back to Tarkin. They then had to wait for the Jedi ship to reach Zonama Sekot, allowing them to learn the planet’s location through the tracking device. During that time, Tarkin imposed on Sienar to show him the Sekotan ship that Sienar owned, though there was little to be learned from the dead craft. Once the Star Sea Flower emerged from hyperspace, Tarkin rushed Sienar to his task force and sent him off. Observing his lackluster forces, Sienar accused Tarkin of rigging the situation so that Sienar would fail, but the commander denied that allegation.[2]

As Sienar’s expedition drew on with no report, Tarkin sent Sienar a message asking for an update. Sienar, seeking to bring Tarkin running, sent a reply that falsely stated that Daiv had failed in an attempt to assassinate him and had been sent on a suicide mission, and that Sienar had found something magnificent and required no assistance. Having played on his contacts in the Senate for greater support, Tarkin rushed a task force of Republic vessels, stronger than the one he had assigned Sienar, to Zonama Sekot in order to take control of the situation, and activated the hidden programming he had buried in Sienar’s droid starfighters to impel them into an attack on the planet—the conflict justifying Tarkin in taking a more militaristic approach when he arrived. Sienar was able to disable most of the droids before they launched, but Tarkin had Captain Kett, captain of Sienar’s flagship Admiral Korvin, place Sienar under arrest. Sienar would not comply with Tarkin’s request that he be given access to the new programming with which he knew Sienar had equipped his droid complement, so Tarkin transferred to the Admiral Korvin and escorted his former friend to his own flagship, Rim Merchant Einem.[2]

Tarkin launched the invasion with his own forces, justifying it as a police action involving a starship chase he observed in the atmosphere. He deployed sky mines and droid starfighters, giving the planet’s inhabitants no warning. He was surprised when the world deployed greater defenses than he had expected, launching waves of ships that brought down many of Tarkin’s starfighters. Tarkin located one large Sekotan ship that had set down on its own, and landed with his forces to capture it. He recognized the pilot as Anakin Skywalker, a member of the Jedi expedition to the planet, and took him and the ship aboard the sky-mine delivery ship he had used as a landing craft. Tarkin questioned the boy about the ship, nearly provoking him into attacking Tarkin with the Force. The Star Sea Flower began boarding the ship in a rescue effort led by Skywalker’s Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Tarkin rushed from the hangar bay. The Jedi escaped in the Jabitha, their Sekotan ship, while Tarkin had to abandon the minelayer, which the Jedi had rigged with explosives, in an escape pod that he shared with Sienar.[2]

Recovered by the Rim Merchant Einem, Tarkin launched a renewed assault on the planet. To his shock, Zonama Sekot engaged massive engines and the entire planet jumped to hyperspace. The effect of its jump hurled Tarkin’s fleet into chaos, while the Jedi escaped. Tarkin managed to limp his fleet home and, called before Palpatine, presented him with Sienar’s plans for the Expeditionary Battle Planetoid, taking sole credit for the design. Sienar, uneasy with the design, did not dispute him, and the design allowed Tarkin to redeem his failure to secure Zonama Sekot for Palpatine, who was interested in the concept.[2] Palpatine began work on bringing the project to fruition himself, having the plans refined by engineer Bevel Lemelisk in collaboration withGeonosian engineers, while Republic researchers worked on component systems.[15] Having been cut out of the process, Tarkin believed that Palpatine had ultimately abandoned the plans.[16]

The Clone Wars beginEdit

You lack faith in the Jedi.
I find their tactics ineffective. The Jedi Code prevents them from going far enough to achieve victory, to do whatever it takes to win, the very reason why peacekeepers should not be leading a war. Have I…offended you?
No. I’ve also found that we sometimes fall short of victory because of our methods.
Well, I see we agree on something.
―Anakin Skywalker and Tarkin[src]

Tarkin was known for his support of Palpatine and intellectual argumentation in favor of the Chancellor’s moves to consolidate power, and frequently advocated Palpatine’s policies before the Galactic Senate, a venue in which he had great success.[17][18][19] Tarkin had many friends within the Senate, as well as in the business realm, contacts that allowed him to further rise in influence.[11] By 22 BBY, Tarkin was serving as the governor of Eriadu and the Seswenna sector.[3] His brother, Brigadier Gideon Tarkin, served as his Minister of Security, while relative Shayla Paige-Tarkin represented the sector in the Senate. Under Tarkin, the sector remained loyal to the Republic, even as the region became a hotspot of activity for the growing Separatist movement and the neighboring Sluis sector seceded.[20][21]

In 22 BBY, the Clone Wars broke out between the Republic and the secessionist government, the Confederacy of Independent Systems.[6] Eriadu was a major Republic stronghold during the war, a significant forward position surrounded by heavily armed Separatist sectors—and it was under Tarkin’s command.[22][15] Gideon Tarkin commanded the Republic’s fleet in the area. Eriadu and Sullust were the region’s key fortresses, but in the second year of the war, Sullust defected to the Confederacy. Tarkin’s brother commanded a major offensive directed against Sullust, losing the Battle of Sullust but seizing much of the Sluis sector from the Separatists.[6]While Gideon Tarkin was holding off the enemy, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin, too, made a name for himself in the Clone Wars. Not all was fighting, as he engaged in multiple negotiations with the Separatists, and was aided in many of them by Jedi Master Luminara Unduli.[23]


Captain Tarkin inside the Citadel prison

At some point in the Clone Wars, Tarkin was recommissioned into theRepublic Navy as an officer. While serving as Captain of a Venator-classStar Destroyer under the command of Jedi General Even Piell, Tarkin and Piell undertook a mission to find the Nexus Route, a strategically valuablehyperspace route which would lead into both the heart of the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. During the mission, however, they were ambushed and attacked by Separatist forces. Before they were boarded, Piell and Tarkin each memorized half of the information regarding the Nexus Route before erasing it from the ship’s computer files. After being forced to surrender, Tarkin and Piell, along with other officers were taken as prisoners to theCitadel, a Separatist prison on Lola Sayu. Once Piell was freed from captivity by a rescue team led by the Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Commander Ahsoka Tano, Piell informed his liberators that Captain Tarkin possessed the other half of the Nexus Route coordinates. Making their way towards the prison cell holding the Republic officers, the Jedi succeeded in freeing Tarkin and the clone officers.[8]

Although initially surprised to see his Jedi superior officer again, and elated to be redeemed from capture, Tarkin quickly became pessimistic about the overall situation since they were still in the heart of enemy territory. After taking a moment to consider General Kenobi’s escape plan, Tarkin interjected with an idea of his own—to keep the group, small as it already was, together in order to improve their chances of both protecting the valuable information and escaping from the Citadel. Although he tried to convince the group that greater strength could be found in greater numbers as opposed to a divided group, General Piell concurred with General Kenobi and told Tarkin to accompany General Skywalker’s group. Tarkin, slightly annoyed that his idea was flat-out rejected, nonetheless did as commanded and followed Skywalker, Tano and a group of clones into the old tunnels beneath the Citadel.[8]


Tarkin speaks his mind to Anakin Skywalker, shortly after being rescued by the Jedi.

After Skywalker commented on how everything was proceeding according to Kenobi’s plan thus far, Tarkin once again gave voice to his pragmatism by asking what would happen if things stopped going according to plan. Although slightly annoyed by the outspoken and opinionated Republic officer, Skywalker insisted that Tarkin trust him because of the fact that Jedi can be quite good at improvising whenever plans failed. When Tarkin claimed that he only trusted those who took action, Skywalker retorted that he only trusted those who understood the concept of gratitude, reminding Tarkin that he would still be a helpless prisoner if it weren’t for the efforts of the Jedi.[8]

While Skywalker’s Padawan, Tano, took point, Tarkin lacked faith in the young Padawan’s ability to lead the group. Captain Rex tried to assure Tarkin that his experience with Ahsoka enabled him to trust in her abilities, but Tarkin was hardly convinced and dismissed the clone’s assessment of Tano with silence. As the group continued to make their way to the rendezvous via the old tunnel system, Tarkin became increasingly impressed with the layout of the Citadel and its virtually impregnable status—much to the surprise of Tano. Tarkin merely chided her for being short-sighted and explained that their entire ordeal only proves the Citadel’s strategic worth, thus causing him to lament on how the fortress was seized by the Separatists rather than the Republic. Skywalker agreed with Tarkin’s point of view of the matter.[24]

Meanwhile, Tarkin admitted that while Skywalker had managed to earn his trust, the rest of the Jedi Order fell short in that regard. Not only did Tarkin find their tactics ineffective, he also felt that the Jedi Code was far too restricting in the sense that it prevented its adherents from escalating their efforts to win the war. Rather than feeling offended, Skywalker found Tarkin’s argument enlightening and agreed that the Jedi were not doing enough to defeat the Separatists, thus providing a sense of common ground between the two.[24]

By the time they reached the shuttle’s location, the Separatist garrison had already caught on to them and proceeded to cut off their only means of escape. Tarkin argued that a forward charge was necessary in order to reach the shuttle and use its weaponry to annihilate their attackers. Before anything could be done, however, the shuttle was destroyed and the group was forced to retreat as they became quickly overwhelmed by the enemy’s numbers.[24]

Once they were provided with a set of coordinates to the location where they would be rescued, Tarkin wondered what the group’s contingency plan would be if the Jedi failed to rescue them, much to the annoyance of General Piell. When Skywalker tried to caution Tarkin against arguing with a Jedi superior officer, Tarkin was unfazed and declared that he stood by his principles without hesitation or compromise. He also did not care much for his standoff with General Piell, feeling confident that his career was perfectly secured as he had fallen into the favor of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. Skywalker responded by mentioning his own friendship with the Chancellor, thus further impressing Tarkin and allowing the two to develop a greater sense of mutual respect.[25]


Tano and Tarkin on Coruscant, following the success of the rescue operation.

After another short skirmish with the Separatists, Tarkin and most of the group emerged unscathed—but General Piell fell in battle. Tarkin was visibly dismayed to learn that prior to the general’s death, Piell shared his half of the intel with Tano. When the group made it to their destination, they found their position assaulted by the Separatists led by the Citadel’s sadistic caretaker Osi Sobeck. As the Jedi and clones held their ground, Sobeck was momentarily disarmed and at the mercy of Tarkin. Seizing the opportunity, Tarkin confidently approached Sobeck and attempted to execute him, but failed as Sobeck swiftly retaliated and nearly killed Tarkin. However, Tarkin was rescued just in time by Tano, who used her lightsaber to stab Sobeck in the back. At that moment, the Jedi rescue team arrived and was able to shuttle the group off of the planet and back to the safety of Coruscant.[25]

After arriving at the Jedi Temple, Tarkin and the group were welcomed back by Jedi Masters Yoda and Mace Windu. But when Yoda moved to debrief Tarkin and Tano on the information regarding the Nexus Route, Tarkin insisted that his orders strictly forbade him from sharing the information with anyone other than Chancellor Palpatine. Likewise, Tano promised Piell that she would only share her half of the information with the Jedi Council, thus creating an obvious stalemate. Yoda assured everyone that he would speak with the Chancellor in order to reach a reasonable compromise. Before departing to report to the Chancellor, Tarkin congratulated Skywalker and the two shook hands, thus solidifying their new-found friendship. Aside from voicing his wish that more Jedi were like Skywalker, he suggested that he would inform the Chancellor of Skywalker’s valor on Lola Sayu. As Tarkin disembarked to give his report to the Chancellor at the Republic Executive Building, Kenobi confessed his disapproval of the new friendship between his former Padawan and Tarkin. Skywalker remained resolute in his defense of the Republic captain, however, and believed that Tarkin’s hardline stance was exactly what the Republic needed, especially in a time of crisis when the Separatists threatened to split the galaxy in half.[25]

New allies and enemiesEdit

Dire circumstances demand that I must be blunt: I fear the Jedi Order will lose this war if they are allowed to continue in their role as the leadership of the Grand Army of the Republic. These recent weeks have piled debacle upon debacle upon us, and I cannot sit in silence and still call myself a patriot. I have expressed concerns of this type to you in the past, and you’ve been generous enough to offer an attentive ear. I know your time is valuable, so this is not just a repetition of earlier misgivings.
―Admiral Tarkin, in his letter to Chancellor Palpatine[src]

Later in the war, Tarkin was promoted to Admiral and was present at the Republic strategy conference held in the Carida system on the space station Valor. At the conference a Venator-class Star Destroyer that had been hijacked and loaded with explosive rhydonium by the Separatists approached the station, and Tarkin attempted to contact the ship, but received no reply. He then scanned the ship and discovered it was loaded with the explosives. However, the Star Destroyer was destroyed by the astromech droid R2-D2, saving the Republic personnel at the conference.[26] Nonetheless, after being debriefed on the event, later known as the Carida Incident, Tarkin, deeply disturbed at the event (which occurred during a military plan by the Jedi Order without apparent Military authorization to retrieve a Separatist decryption module, and utilized some droids and aninexperienced tactical commander) and the very narrow aversion of a disaster, wrote a memorandumrequesting for gradually phasing the Jedi out of military command of the Clone Wars if the Galactic Republic were going to win it, as he feared that as long as the Jedi Order stayed in command of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Republic would continue to suffer defeats at the hands of the Separatists and eventually lose the war.[27]


Tarkin accuses Ahsoka Tano of the bombing of the Jedi Temple at her trial.

Admiral Tarkin attended the funeral for the victims of the Bombing of the Jedi Temple Hangar. Afterwards, he informed Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker that the accused perpetrator of the bombing, Letta Turmond, was being transfered from the Jedi Temple to military custody. Tano protested this method of handling the situation, but Tarkin explained that because Turmond was not a Jedi and clones had been killed in the bombing, the Republic military had jurisdiction. Skywalker scolded Tano for becoming angry, and after Tano had left, he lamented to Tarkin that his Padawan still had much to learn.

Later, Tarkin informed Tano that Turmond wished to speak with her and Tano consented. While Tano was with Turmond in her cell, Turmond was strangled with the Force, and Tano was arrested because it was assumed that she was Turmond’s killer. Tarkin visited Tano in her cell and showed her the recording of the incident, which, without sound, made it seem as though Tano was reaching toward the floating Turmond to choke her, rather than help her. Tarkin ordered that no one be able to visit Tano, much to Skywalker’s dismay, but Tano was soon able to escape from the military base where she was being held.[28]

Ahsoka Tano was soon recaptured, and Tarkin came before the Jedi Council on behalf of the Senate to request that Tano be expelled from the Jedi Order so that she could be tried by a military tribunal. It was feared that a trial by the Jedi would seem biased. The Jedi Council obliged, and Tano was tried before a jury of senators, with Tarkin heading the prosecution and Padmé Amidala heading the defense. Tarkin declared that he would prove Tano guilty of both the Temple bombing and the murder of her cohorts, and asked that the death penalty be used as punishment. Amidala argued that Tano was being framed, because if Tano was truly guilty, she would not have made the evidence against herself so obvious. Tarkin cast doubt on Tano’s claims by mentioning that Tano had been seen with the Separatist war criminal Asajj Ventress.

Eventually, the arguments concluded, and the jury reached a decision. As Supreme Chancellor Palpatine started to read the verdict, Anakin Skywalker and members of the Jedi Temple Guard arrived in the courtroom with the Jedi Barriss Offee. Offee confessed to having committed the crimes of which Tano was accused, and the charges against Tano were dropped, though as a result of feeling betrayed and disillusioned, Tano refused to return to the Jedi.[29]

Gaining authorityEdit

This is a high-stakes game we’re involved in. As you’ve noticed, I have some distance to cover in this new hierarchy. Eventually, I hope to be awarded a provincial governorship, and to control many star systems.
―Wilhuff Tarkin, to Raith Sienar[src]

Tarkin, featured in a report on the new system of Moffs

During the course of the Clone Wars, Tarkin discovered the world of Omwat. He recognized the native Omwati; an enclave of the species existed on Coruscant, but their homeworld had lost contact with the galaxy since that colony had been established. Tarkin had been impressed with the mental ability of the Coruscanti Omwati, and decided that Omwat could prove a useful resource. He kept its location secret, hoping to have a future opportunity to exploit the intellect of the species.[30]

In the closing months of the Clone Wars, Palpatine implemented the Sector Governance Decree, which placed regional and planetary military governors in control of the Republic’s systems.[31] Admiral Tarkin, who had risen rapidly to prominence in Palpatine’s government, was the first man appointed as a regional governor and given the ancient title of Moff.[19][32][33] Tarkin was among twenty elite Moffs given control of a Sector Army, one of the major divisions of the Grand Army of the Republic, and a military territory, the Greater Seswenna, corresponding to the Sector Army’s area of operations. These oversized territories, crossing normal sector boundaries, were referred to as oversectors.[15] Tarkin’s appointment drew attention, and he was profiled in aHoloNet News feature on the new system of Moffs.[33] Commanding a mixed force of clone troopers and theOutland Regions Security Force in the Eighteenth Army to defend the besieged salient around Eriadu, the actions of Tarkin and his army were feted in Republic propaganda.[34]

When the Outer Rim Sieges began and the Separatists were forced on to the defensive, Tarkin’s Greater Seswenna territory fell under the Praesitlyn theatre. Deployed from Eriadu, Tarkin and his troops broke out from the salient and besieged the Separatists worlds of Triton, Sluis Van and Xagobah.[35] During the Battle of Xagobah, Anakin Skywalker—by then a leading Jedi Knight whom Tarkin found to be a trustworthy ally—captured bounty hunter Boba Fett. Fett insisted that he had information vital to the Republic’s war effort, and demanded to see Chancellor Palpatine. Skywalker, not trusting Fett, sent him to Coruscant with instructions to turn himself over to the custody of Tarkin, whom Skywalker trusted to handle the matter. Tarkin traveled to the galactic capital and met Fett at the Jedi Temple. Tarkin left Fett in visitors’ quarters while he attended to business with members of the Senate, but Fett sneaked out and attempted to kill Jedi Master Mace Windu, who had killed Fett’s father Jango Fett. Palpatine covered up the incident after buying Fett’s silence regarding the information the bounty hunter carried, which could have exposed Palpatine’s secret scheme to orchestrate the Clone Wars to his own ends.[23]

In 19 BBY, the Clone Wars ended with the defeat of the Separatists. Palpatine declared the Jedi enemies of the Republic, accusing them of treason, and initiated a purge of the Order. He also issued the Declaration of a New Order, converting the Republic into the Galactic Empire, with himself as emperor.[5] The plans for Sienar’s battle station, developed with a superlaser capable of destroying planets, were put into effect with the long-delayed construction of what became known as the Death Star—though Tarkin himself did not care for the name, regarding it as overly melodramatic.[16] Tarkin, having thought the project dead, was shocked to learn that Palpatine had secretly followed through on the plans Tarkin had presented him a decade before, even beginning construction over Republic-occupied Geonosis without Tarkin’s knowledge, and was frustrated that he had been left out of the development process.[16][15]

Moff Tarkin

Tarkin shows the Death Star, under construction, to Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader.

Tarkin, who as Moff had been granted a special purview over the development of military technology, was entrusted with control over aspects of construction of the Death Star—and he hoped to gain total oversight of the project.[33][32] Palpatine and his new Sith apprentice, Darth Vader, visited Tarkin early on to observe the construction of the Death Star.[5] The Death Star’s construction soon fell behind schedule, plagued by labor shortages, supply problems, failures on the part of contractors, and engineering dilemmas.[32] The superlaser, the major technological innovation of the project, was not fully worked out, and the Hammertong Project continued research on the design.[15] Repeated attempts at sabotage set back the problem, and intelligence leaks caused Tarkin to move the station’s location completely, with Seswenna andPatriim among the early locations, delaying the massive project’s progress.[6][15]

Palpatine soon arranged for Tarkin to meet with Vader to coordinate a response to the arrival of several fugitive Jedi, whom Tarkin had been monitoring, on Kashyyyk. Tarkin proposed that, rather than simply hunting down the Jedi, Vader implement a larger plan to invade Kashyyyk on the justification that it was harboring Jedi and enslave many native Wookiees for use as labor on the Death Star project. Tarkin hoped that the use of the strong and technologically skilled Wookiees would allow the project to return to pace. Vader did so, and Tarkin covertly moved the new slaves to the construction site. He reported on his cooperation with Vader to Palpatine, explaining that Imperial officers were unsure of the mysterious cyborg. Tarkin, however, was pleased with Vader, and asked permission to continue partnering with the Sith Lord.[32] Tarkin was one of few Imperial officers to see potential in cooperating with Vader, and worked closely with the Dark Lord of the Sith in the course of his career.[36] Over time, Tarkin investigated Vader’s origins, and found that the powerful Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker had been reported dead on Mustafar, with no body produced, around the same time that Vader emerged in his life-support suit. Though he was not certain, Tarkin thought it likely that the two were one.[16]

As the Empire established itself, Tarkin was a driving intellectual force behind the new regime, second only to Palpatine in giving shape and vision to the Galactic Empire.[19] He offered scholarly arguments that supported the philosophies Palpatine articulated in rousing speeches, and early in the Empire’s day, Tarkin authored the key work Visions of the New Order, which quickly became a foundational text for the Commission for the Preservation of the New Order and its agencies.[9] Tarkin was also a key Imperial military leader, known for the brutal tactics he used to gain his victories.[3] Moff Tarkin was among the highest-ranking personnel within the Empire, enjoying a rare exemption from security checks.[37] Within a month after the war’s end, Tarkin was granted the first of the powerful new Imperator-class Star Destroyers, Executrix, as his flagship.[32]

During his tenure as Moff, Tarkin came across a report that a probe had found an isolated stable pocket withinthe Maw black hole cluster. Suspecting that a secret safe spot within the notoriously dangerous cluster would prove a valuable asset, Tarkin erased the report before the data was passed beyond his desk. He then sent a surveying team that found other routes into the zone and confirmed that a base could be safely built within, then had the team killed to keep the area secret. Tarkin began considering uses for the location, but did not come up with any immediately.[38] He made another acquisition when, at a fueling station on Ryloth which Tarkin was in the process of expanding into a major refueling depot for the Imperial Navy, he met Tol Sivron, an outcast former Twi’lek Clan Council member.[39][40] Tarkin took Sivron into his service and found the Twi’lek a competent manager.[39]

Young Tarkin

Moff Tarkin

Early in Tarkin’s Imperial career, high taxes on Ghorman prompted a sit-in protest at the spaceport. Tarkin, sent to collect the taxes from the defiant population, refused to yield, and landed his ship atop the peaceful protesters. Dozens were killed and hundreds injured in Tarkin’s display of the consequences for defying the Imperial government. Despite public outrage at the Ghorman Massacre—which convinced Senator Bail Organa to join SenatorMon Mothma in covertly plotting rebellion against the Empire—Palpatine declined to issue Tarkin any punishment; instead, he was soon promoted.[41]

Months after the Empire was declared, Tarkin met with Palpatine and Ferus Olin, a former Jedi Padawan and anti-Imperial resistance fighter to whom Palpatine had offered amnesty if he would meet with the Emperor. Tarkin explained to Olin that the data systems of Samaria had become corrupted and were disrupting services and identification systems. Palpatine requested that Olin, a computer expert, resolve the problem. After Palpatine threatened to have his partner, Roan Lands, executed, Olin accepted the task, the first step of Palpatine’s plan to corrupt Olin.[42]

Having joined the Empire, Olin became a propaganda figure on his adopted homeworld of Bellassa, where Tarkin and Vader initiated the Bellassan Project. They gathered a group of scientists—uncooperatives ones were forced to participate by the kidnapping of their families—to work on engineering problems related to the Death Star project, and hoped to use Bellassa’s factories to manufacture components.[43]

Grand Moff TarkinEdit

Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself.
―Wilhuff Tarkin, in the Tarkin Doctrine[src]

In an 18 BBY personal communique to the Emperor, Tarkin proposed means to ensure Imperial security as a culmination of military and political theories he had long been developing.[37][44][15] Frustrated by cross-sector criminal and rebellious activity and the problem of jurisdictional conflicts, he called for the retooling of the oversector concept, proposing that oversectors be tailored to control unstable galactic hotspots and be assigned greater forces than usual in an attempt to root out rebellious activity before it could take hold.[44][15]Each oversector, capable of crossing sector boundaries, would be controlled by a single official who answered directly to Palpatine. The installation of HoloNet transceivers aboard all flagships within an oversector would provide enhanced communication. The philosophy of power with which Tarkin suggested unrest be fought was that of rule through fear of force, rather than direct exercise of force. Displays of power, most vitally through the use of terror-inspiring superweapons, would, Tarkin suggested, stifle dissent and rebellion. The presentation of a seemingly invincible weapon of ultimate power would play upon the fearfulness and awe of the citizenry to render all thought of assault against the Empire forgotten.[44] It was therefore Tarkin’s recommendation that the Empire invest strongly and continually in the innovation of ever more powerful weapons of warfare.[45]According to this philosophy, once the Death Star was active, no one would dare act against the Empire. Terror at the prospect of planetary annihilation would ensure compliance and order.[16] Palpatine chose to officially recognize Tarkin’s proposal, which became known as the Tarkin Doctrine, and Tarkin’s theory became a central tenet of Imperial policy.[16][45]

Tarkin UM

Tarkin contemplates the Death Star plans.

The Tarkin Doctrine so pleased Palpatine that he immediately had his close aide, Imperial Advisor Ars Dangor issue a response in his name conveying the Emperor’s embrace of the Tarkin Doctrine and promotion of Tarkin to the rank of Grand Moff, the position created for the officials in charge of oversectors.[46][44] Tarkin was the first man promoted to the new title.[40] He answered only to Palpatine and was given authority over Oversector Outer, an expanded version of the Greater Seswenna sector that covered nearly the entire Outer Rim and some of the Mid Rim—the largest territory of any Imperial governor—and total control of the Death Star project.[15][40][46][18] Pacifying the unruly Outer Rim Territories was considered among the most difficult assignments available in the Empire, but Tarkin was determined to tame the entire galaxy.[18]

Tarkin, looking to advance his position, sought out a wife. He married Thalassa Motti, of the influential Motti family of Phelarion, for her contacts and money.[1]Tarkin had no love for his wife, who remained on Phelarion overseeing her family’s megonite moss mines, but the Lady Tarkin was devoted to him.[1][47][40]At one point, a re-emergent Nebula Front faction on Eriadu kidnapped Shella Motti, Tarkin’s niece by marriage. Furious, Tarkin hired a group to rescue her. The situation was complicated when Motti refused to return, even hiring a bounty hunter of her own to counter Tarkin’s agents.[22]

Around the time of his marriage, Tarkin learned of a promising tactician, whose advances had revolutionized Imperial doctrines, performing exceptionally under a pseudonym on the Caridan Imperial networks.[48][1] Tarkin began investigating, spending months and requiring the services of two underground slicers to uncover the mystery tactician’s identity. He discovered that this seeming genius was in fact Natasi Daala, a Carida graduate serving as a kitchen corporal. He journeyed to Carida to meet her, and found that Daala was sure she had been shunted aside because of her sex. Seeing in her a potentially great officer, and concerned that the Caridan administration intended to transfer her to meteorological station to further hide their embarrassment at overlooking her talent, rather than promote her, Tarkin assigned her to his personal staff.[48]


Tarkin and Daala

Smitten with Daala, he began an affair, finding with her the passion that his marriage to Thalassa Tarkin lacked.[49][1] In addition to being Tarkin’s mistress, Daala was also his protégée; he tutored her in tactics and strategy and guided her ascent through the ranks.[16][49][50] Tarkin’s relationship with Daala led to some rumors among subordinates that she had only obtained her rank by sleeping with the Grand Moff. Enraged when he overhead one young officer mutter a complaint to that effect, Tarkin had the lieutenant ejected in a spacesuit with a day’s supply of air and piped his open comm over the intercom of his flagship so the entire crew were forced to listen as he raged, pleaded, and died. After that incident, Tarkin heard no further whispering.[48]

Though he spent little time on Coruscant, Grand Moff Tarkin was a major figure in the Imperial Court. He was recognized as the definitive voice on policy and philosophy, second only to Palpatine.[9] At court, Tarkin had powerful allies, such as Darth Vader, Imperial Ruling Council member Janus Greejatus, and Imperial Advisor Lord Rodin Hlian Verpalion, a close friend of Tarkin who admired the Grand Moff.[46][51][52] In addition, Tarkin cultivated a cadre of ambitious subordinates, supporters, and clients, such as Baron Merillion Tarko, whom Tarkin had promoted to the rank of Moff; Moff Ariss Lyjan of the Nuiri sector; distant relative Admiral Sander Delvardus, who commanded the Seswenna sector’s fleet; and Commodore Lord Tion.[53][54][3][15][55]

As one of the Empire’s most powerful men, Tarkin was involved in a great deal of intrigue. To hide his secrets from political rivals, Tarkin routed many of his more sensitive matters through the Ubiqtorate base on Yaga Minor, over which he exercised a great deal of control. He implemented two access stations on an extended walkway to keep civilian researchers out of the rest of the base, keeping his own business more secure.[56] To further protect himself, the Grand Moff kept spies within the commands of officers he mistrusted.[57] It was not only his secrets Tarkin had to safeguard, but the Emperor’s as well; Tarkin was among only a handful of high-ranking figures familiar with Palpatine’s secret agents, the Emperor’s Hands.[58]

Tarkin SWSB

Grand Moff Tarkin

In 6 BBY, Tarkin was part of the graduation ceremony at the Academy of Carida, in which he congratulated valedictorian Han Solo and salutatorianSoontir Fel. Fel’s response—that the honor of his class rank paled in comparison with the honor of serving the Empire—impressed Tarkin, and the Grand Moff made a point to watch Fel’s career.[59] In the same year, Tarkin paid a visit to Viceroy Bail Prestor Organa of Alderaan, a man suspected of disloyalty to the Emperor, where he found himself struck by a water balloon dropped by Organa’s daughter, Princess Leia Organa.[60]

Tarkin’s exploits were not all political; he carried out the Atravis Sector Massacres, and in 5 BBY, Tarkin commanded the subjugation of defiantMon Calamari.[61][48][1] The prominent Mon Calamari leader Gial Ackbar was enslaved and entered into the service of Tarkin’s subordinate naval officercommanding the conquest. To please Tarkin, however, the officer gave Ackbar to the Grand Moff as a servant.[62] Ackbar served as a personal aide and as a chauffeur, piloting Tarkin’s shuttles.[48] Tarkin came to have a vague fondness for the reliable servant, considering him like a pet.[46] He would often hold forth on his tactics to Ackbar in self-satisfaction, gloating about his plans to subjugate yet more worlds.[50]

When, in 5 BBY, Gideon Tarkin died in the Erhynradd Mutiny, Wilhuff Tarkin took Gideon’s daughter, Rivoche, into his home.[1] As a girl in her early teens, with her family dead, Rivoche expressed her grief in frequent tantrums. Never a warm family man at the best of times, Tarkin disciplined his niece by sending a friendly serving girl and her family to a penal asteroid. Rivoche quickly learned to behave for her uncle, who soon sent her to an elite preparatory academy on Clær, where she learned to fill her role as an elite socialite.[63]

Building the Death StarEdit

The average citizen deals in symbols, not rational analysis. If we present the citizen with a weapon so powerful, so immense as to defy all conceivable attack against it, a weapon invulnerable and invincible in battle, that shall become the symbol for the Empire. We may need only a handful, perhaps only one of these weapons to subjugate thousands upon thousands of worlds containing millions upon millions of beings.
―Wilhuff Tarkin, in a communique to Palpatine[src]

Construction of the Death Star, meanwhile, had been delayed interminably by sabotage, accidents, political maneuvering, administrative roadblocks, disputes with unions, and problems with the plans.[16] After several years, critics began to doubt the central concept the station, the superlaser, believing it would not function. Tarkin privately worried that they might be correct.[6] In any case, it was clear that the Death Star plans contained numerous flaws.[16]

Tarkin decided that the best remedy would be to create a prototype as a proof of concept.[6] In 3 BBY, Tarkin created the Maw Installation to solve the problems in the design, complete the Hammertong Project’s work by proving the superlaser, create a model Death Star, and engineer yet more superweapons.[16][49][6][15] The Grand Moff had several asteroids moved into the hidden stable zone he had found within the Maw and built a hidden scientific facility into the interlinked asteroids; the workers were then killed to keep the think tank secret.[49] He brought together a wealth of elite engineers, including head designer Bevel Lemelisk, Ohran Keldor, and Umak Leth to contribute to the design, all of whom he personally vetted.[16] Necessary scientists who did not volunteer were kidnapped.[54] Tarkin appointed Tol Sivron the director of the facility, having been impressed with the alien’s managerial skills, and hired the Devaronian lawyer and administrator Yemm, whom he had met and found suitable at an Eriadu function, for an administrative position.[39][38] Tarkin altered the records of military personnel assigned to the base to list them as dead, keeping their presence secret.[54]


Tarkin and Lemelisk review the Death Star’s design.

In order to maintain strict secrecy and to hide his mistress, he assigned Daala to guard the facility, with orders to remain at her post and capture or destroy any stray ships that came across the well-hidden facility.[49][16] He promoted her to admiral and presented her with four Imperial-class Star Destroyers as her fleet, personally taking her in a shuttle to observe them while under construction and impart to her the magnitude of power he was granting her.[49][38] Communication with the station was only possible through a communications circuit Tarkin controlled; the Emperor was the only other being to know of the Maw Installation’s existence.[16]

Finally in a position to exploit the Omwati, he forced the planet’s children to take an abilities test and collected hundreds of the highest-scoring children.[30] The primary program took ten ten-year-old children from Omwatand forced them through an advanced education program, for which Tarkin recruited noted experts Nasdra Magrody and Ohran Keldor as professors, hoping to form genius engineers.[49][61] The children labored for two years in an orbital education sphere over Omwat; those that suffered breakdowns from the tremendous pressure and pace of the accelerated program, or simply failed an examination, watched as their home cities were destroyed by orbital bombardment.[50][49] Qwi Xux was the only one to make it through the process, and Tarkin placed her at the Maw Installation under Lemelisk.[49]

Tarkin quite enjoyed Lemelisk’s enthusiasm for the project, and was greatly pleased with his technological innovations. Tarkin demanded that Lemelisk’s team integrate heavy defenses, comparable to those of a Core planet, into the design, and also that they ensure the station would be self-sufficient. Tarkin was disappointed that Lemelisk was not able to include much shielding in the design, but his demands were otherwise met.[46]The engineers produced an amended set of plans that solved the problems detected in the earlier specifications, and Tarkin and Lemelisk presented the revised designs to Palpatine, who was elated that the Death Star’s potential was soon to be reached and approved construction of a prototype.[48][6] The design team was able to build the desired Death Star prototype as a proof of the superlaser concept, and used it to further refine the design into a form ready for renewed construction efforts.[16][6] Tarkin was delighted by the functional prototype, issuing Lemelisk, Xux, and Sivron medals immediately upon seeing their work.[39]

After nearly two decades, the Death Star was little more than an incomplete framework. With the prototype having worked out most problems with the design, Tarkin restarted work on the Death Star with new energy.[16][6] He removed Lemelisk from the Maw Installation, bringing him to oversee construction in the field.[49] Tarkin charged the remaining scientists to create yet more powerful and devastating superweapons, such as the World Devastator and Sun Crusher projects, and insisted that they be ready within nine years.[16][49] After moving the Death Star from site to site in attempts to avoid sabotage by rebels against the Empire, the station’s framework was finally emplaced over the Empire’s most secure prison planet, Despayre, in the Horuz system.[16] The planet’s convicts were conscripted into the labor force—harshly overseen by MajorCalders to Tarkin’s great approval—and Tarkin assembled the largest force of construction droids in history to work toward the massive station’s completion.[46][16] The Horuz system was heavily exploited for its natural resources, and fabrication systems and laboratories were erected in orbit to forge building materials and produce technical components.[16] The entire project was carried out in strict secrecy, with a strong security detail in the system and a shield generator on Despayre that projected a protective field over the Death Star’s frame.[16][46] An entire branch of the Imperial Navy, Battle Station Operations, was created to man the station. Tarkin had a corps of elite soldiers created for station security, who received advanced training and were trained for intense loyalty.[46]


Tarkin spent much of his time overseeing the construction of the Death Star.

Tarkin relied upon three major aides and advisors in constructing and running the station: Admiral Conan Antonio Motti, General Cassio Tagge, and General Moradmin Bast.[16] Motti, a relative of Tarkin’s wife, was his chief aide, and commanded the forces guarding the project; Tarkin believed him an overrated officer.[1][46] He had far more respect for the abilities of Tagge, the other of his two joint seconds in command, who was charged with operational security and was to be responsible for the day-to-day running of the station itself once the Death Star was operational.[46][18]Tagge’s conservative belief that the Imperial Senate was necessary for the smooth running of the Empire diminished Tarkin’s regard for him, however, and Tagge in turn thought little of Tarkin.[46][40] Motti and Tagge’s constant feuding over military doctrine and political position frustrated Tarkin, who wanted the station to run smoothly.[16][15] Bast was Tarkin’s primary personal aide.[64] Other officers were vital to Tarkin’s ability to run the station as well, such as Colonel Wullf Yularen, the Imperial Security Bureau officer responsible for briefing the Grand Moff.[65]

When Lemelisk expressed dissatisfaction with the work of untrained Despayre inmates, whose shoddy work was leading to mistakes and delaying construction, Tarkin responded by executing the current workforce and bringing in strong and technically proficient Wookiee slaves.[48] In 3 BBY, Tarkin presided over another invasion of Kashyyyk, leading his forces onto the planet personally and demanding that Wookiee leaders provide workers.[66][48] When they refused, Tarkin’s forces fired on the planet, rounded up Wookiees, and executed any who resisted. Tarkin kept some hostages in camps on Kashyyyk, using them to threaten the construction workers into compliance, along with drugs and negative-stimulation transmitters.[48]

Due to further delays, Darth Vader visited the under-construction Death Star for the first time, met by Tarkin and Lemelisk. Lemelisk, to Tarkin’s annoyance, complained to Vader of obstruction by the Wookiee slaves, Vader reviewed the records of construction foremen and had Tarkin call a meeting of crew supervisors. In front of the others, Vader executed the two least efficient foremen and had their bodies mounted on the Death Star’s framework. Tarkin was pleased to see that future construction work sped up.[48]

Tarkin, meanwhile, heard rumors that the rebellious movements against the Emperor were beginning to coordinate, and saw signs of the emergence of a unified rebel government.[46] When the Alliance to Restore the Republic was formed in 2 BBY, Tarkin was confident that the Empire, with its Death Star, would easily defeat this Rebel Alliance.[62] Seeing them as a similar threat to the Separatists of the Clone Wars, Tarkin believed that destruction of Rebel bases and cowing of those who held Rebel sympathies would be sufficient to destroy their cause, and dismissed worries that the Rebel Alliance posed a significant threat to the Empire’s military, especially with the Death Star on its way to completion.[15] Rebel leader Mon Mothma, in recruiting for the Rebellion, used Tarkin’s own words in speeches against the Empire, denouncing the doctrine of rule by fear.[67] Tarkin himself came under direct Rebel attack at one point in 1 BBY. His shuttle, Illirium, was scheduled to rendezvous with the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Allecto, but came out of hyperspace to find Rebel fighters attacking Allecto. The Rebels turned their attention to Tarkin’s shuttle, which was safely escorted to the Star Destroyer by TIEs that eliminated the Rebel attackers.[68]

Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin

Grand Moff Tarkin, icon of the Empire

When at another point Palpatine became disappointed with delays on the Death Star, he sent Vader to convey his displeasure to Tarkin, who was at the moment supervising the Horuz system efforts from his flagship, Havelon. While Vader was in transit, Tarkin had to deal with a case of sabotage that had destroyed an oxygen tanker and damaged a major dock. Once Vader arrived, Tarkin gave the Dark Lord of the Sith a brief tour of the construction efforts, then had him interrogate the suspects in the sabotage, as Tarkin had yet to receive interrogation droids at the assembly site. Once Vader was confident that he had suppressed the sabotage activity, content that the construction was proceeding apace, he departed the system, leaving Tarkin without the annoyance of having the Emperor’s watchdog present.[16]

When resources and labor for the Death Star proved insufficient, Palpatine gave Tarkin permission to divert Vader from the Sith Lord’s mission at the time—investigating a traitor within the Imperial hierarchy—in order to lead theconquest of Geonosis. Once it became clear that the Geonosians had allied themselves with the Rebel Alliance, Tarkin instructed Vader to inflict punitive damage on the local population as a lesson in the consequences of rebellion. Once the planet was under Imperial control, Tarkin was able to extract the needed slaves and materials.[69]

Tarkin then received reports that ex-Imperial officer Han Solo—whose graduation as valedictorian Tarkin had attended—began raiding Imperial prisons on Kashyyyk to free Wookiees, with assistance from the Rebellion. Tarkin and Vader marshaled a response that drove Solo off the planet and saved the prisons. With Wookiee and Geonosian labor, Tarkin found himself ahead of schedule on the Death Star.[69]

Palpatine compelled both Tarkin and Vader to attend Colonel Maximilian Veers‘s demonstration of the All Terrain Armored Transport on Carida. Tarkin was dismissive of the weapon of war, insisting that the Death Star would supersede ground assaults, even after witnessing Veers’s lone walker fend off a surprise Rebel raid on the demonstration. Palpatine, however, remained highly enthusiastic about the walker. Tarkin oversaw a retaliatory attack in response to the disruption, destroying the Rebel base on Jabiim from which the raid had been launched. The base’s data archives finally revealed the identity of the Imperial official who had been collaborating with the Rebellion and had facilitated their operations at Kashyyyk and Carida: Moff Kalast. Despite evidence that Kalast may have provided the Rebellion with information about the Death Star, Tarkin was unconcerned, as he believed that the Rebels had no hope of defeating the battle station. A fleet under Tarkin attempted to arrest Kalast over Atzerri, but Kalast fled before he could be apprehended. Tarkin was able to procure an Immobilizer 418 interdictor, which allowed Vader to pin down Kalast and successfully capture the traitor.[69]

As the Death Star was building, Rivoche Tarkin held her debutante cotillion. She had begun to question her uncle’s beliefs, and after the cotillion, she began spying for Alliance Intelligence, passing on secrets from Grand Moff Tarkin’s household to Alliance Intelligence chief Airen Cracken, unsuspected by Tarkin—though, still loyal to her family, she refused to endanger Tarkin personally. Luckily for Tarkin, he had not shared the Death Star’s existence with his niece, who spent her time socializing with her many suitors, all Imperials of high rank.[63]


Tarkin speaks with Soontir Fel during a reception.

That year, Tarkin delivered the commencement address for the graduating class of Prefsbelt Fleet Camp, in which he declaimed the need to sweep away the Rebel Alliance and compel order through the exercise of raw power. He also hinted at the existence of the Death Star, to be revealed once it became operational shortly.[70] After the ceremony, Tarkin mingled with other officers at a reception and spoke with Captain Soontir Fel. Fel, who had attracted Tarkin’s eye at his own graduation, had had an excellent career as a pilot and had now become a training officer at Prefsbelt IV. His cadet squadron had performed excellently, and Tarkin extended Fel an invitation to join his personal bodyguard squadron, an elite posting. When two of Fel’s most promising students, Biggs Darklighter and Derek Klivian, led a mutiny and defected to the Rebel Alliance shortly into their first posting, though, Fel was disgraced, and Tarkin withdrew his offer.[59]

As Tarkin grew increasingly desirous of Daala’s comforting presence at the construction site, where he was overseeing operations, he made a snap decision to summon his mistress, deciding that the Maw Installation would be safe enough without her presence. While she was present, the danger of sabotage reemerged when the Star Destroyer Undauntablesuddenly exploded. Tarkin, wanting to avoid more scrutiny from Palpatine and a visit from Vader, had Motti report the incident as an accident resulting from poor maintenance of the old ship. Meanwhile, he assigned Daala to investigate the matter and unmask the saboteur herself. She was able to determine that the bomb used had been shipped through the high-security Regional Naval Supply Area at Gall and been manually triggered by a saboteur, showing a wider conspiracy with dangerous resources. Despite further investigation, though, she was unable to find the culprit, and Tarkin could keep her away from the Maw Installation no longer, so she returned.[16]

While the Death Star was under construction, Tarkin continued to think of yet more ways to battle the Rebellion.[71] He looked into interdiction technology, and working with Frap Radicon, who had helped engineer the Death Star, was able to create an advanced gravity well projector that he believed could revolutionize the war against the Rebellion.[71][72] Tarkin made plans to experiment with the technology on Delrakkin, a relatively remote world, intending to stage a Rebel attack on Delrakkin, which had begun to produce bacta for the Rebellion, in order to discredit the Rebellion as having attempted to take over Delrakkin’s bacta industry. The survivors would then be given contaminated Imperial bacta, which would introduce a virus to eliminate the population and clear Delrakkin for experiments in Tarkin’s new interdiction technology.[73]

Destroyer of worldsEdit

Tarkin: ”A major part of this station’s value is as a deterrent. We must prove to the galaxy that we are prepared to use it at the slightest provocation.
Vader: ”If your plan serves our purpose, it will justify itself.
Tarkin: ”The stability of the Empire is at stake. A planet is a small price to pay.
―Wilhuff Tarkin and Darth Vader — Gnome-speakernotesListen (file info)[src]

Tarkin himself could not spend all his time supervising the construction, and returned to Eriadu. When the Death Star was nearly operational, he set out for the Death Star to take command.[46] He and Lemelisk, in a shuttle piloted by Ackbar, were ambushed by Rebel Y-wings as they left Eriadu. Ackbar shut down the shields and allowed the Y-wings to attack, telling Tarkin that this was his final revenge. Tarkin and Lemelisk ejected in an escape pod and were recovered by Motti’s Star Destroyer, which arrived unexpectedly in an unsolicited effort to escort Tarkin.[48] The Rebels recovered Ackbar, causing Tarkin to mourn the loss of the previously reliable servant.[46]


Tarkin in profile

Palpatine was scheduled to arrive aboard the station for its commissioning, but decided not to travel; he would send Vader as his representative to Tarkin.[74] Knowing that Tarkin’s ambition could prove dangerous, Palpatine intended that Vader would keep watch over him.[75] In fact, though Tarkin was well aware of the potential power he stood to wield as commander of the planet-destroying station and dreamed of using it to rule, he was certain that Palpatine understood the threat and had measures in place to prevent any move against his position as Emperor.[16][40] Considering the attempted overthrow of Palpatine suicidal, Tarkin had no thought of rebellion, even when several ambitious Imperials, including Motti and Imperial Advisor Greejatus, frequently attempted to subtly suggest that Tarkin use the station to seize power.[16][52]

When the Grand Moff learned that the Imperial base on Danuta had been penetrated by Rebel agents and there was a possibility that the plans for the Death Star had been stolen, he contacted Vader, who had not yet arrived on the station, and asked the Emperor’s agent to determine if the plans had been stolen and, if so, recover them.[16] Tarkin then learned that a full set of blueprints had been stolen and conveyed to the Toprawa Relay Station.[48] He thought there little risk that the Rebels might be able to use the plans to destroy the Death Star, believing that they would only prove the station’s invincibility. He could not, however, abide the thieves’ penetration of security and defiance of the Empire.[46]

Soon after, the Lucrehulk-class carrier Fortressa arrived in the Horuz system and deployed five hundred fighters. Tarkin commanded the defense of the station, and was surprised to receive a transmission from Daala indicating that she was returning to the station and had come under attack. Seeing an opportunity to put the superlaser to work, the Grand Moff contacted Superlaser Fire Control and issued the order to target theFortressa. The firing was a success, vaporizing the large enemy ship using only four percent of the superlaser’s total power.[16]

While TIEs mopped up the enemy fighters, Tarkin received the news that Daala had suffered a head wound during the attack on her ship. He had Daala rushed to surgery and, concerned that the Rebels clearly knew the location of the station, had the Death Star moved. As it was unready for a sustained hyperspace jump, he ordered the station piloted to the other side of Despayre, its coordinates kept tightly restricted among the command staff of the Death Star and its Star Destroyer escorts. He then checked on Daala, learning from the surgical team that she had suffered brain damage that would likely cause some memory loss, but had come to no other harm. As Daala was supposed to be at the Maw, Tarkin did not want her presence at the Death Star used against him. He had all records of Daala’s visit erased and, as soon as she was able, sent her back to the Maw, where she was instructed to maintain that she had never left and had suffered an injury in the course of her duties there.[16]

Destruction of Despayre-TEA

The Death Star destroys Despayre at Tarkin’s command.

With the hull complete and interior construction nearly finished, Tarkin decided to leave the system, but insisted on testing the superlaser’s destructive potential first by targeting Despayre. Though Motti questioned the decision, Tarkin believed there would be little political backlash from the obliteration of the prison world, and insisted that the weapon’s power be tested before they moved on to military targets. Tarkin evacuated the military forces keeping order on Despayre, then fired. At one-third power, the beam ignited the planet’s atmosphere, creating a cataclysm that killed all life on the planet. After more than an hour of recharging for each shot, second and third firings shattered the already ruined world.[16]

Vader, chasing the stolen blueprints, captured the ship that had received the transmitted plans in the Tatoo system, with Princess Leia Organa, doing her father’s rebellious bidding, aboard. The plans, however, had been placed in the droid R2-D2, which had been ejected in an escape pod, and were not recovered. Vader brought Organa back to the Death Star for interrogation, intending that she would reveal the location of the secret Rebel base.[4] Tarkin signed an execution order for the young Senator immediately upon her capture, ready to kill her once her usefulness was over.[16] Vader, on behalf of the Emperor, personally conveyed to Tarkin the news that Palpatine, as Tarkin had long known he would, had abolished the Imperial Senate; the rule of the galaxy would now be fully in the hands of the gubernatorial hierarchy.[16][46][4] Tarkin announced the Senate’s dissolution as he and Vader entered a meeting of the Death Star’s leadership. When Motti insulted Vader’s competence in regard to the stolen plans and denigrated the power of the Force, Vader used his abilities to choke the fractious admiral, until Tarkin instructed Vader to relent and moved on to his intent to destroy the Rebellion once the location of its headquarters was extracted from Organa.[4] Tarkin made a swift and brief journey to Coruscant for a meeting with members of the Death Star’s design team, but the engineers were captured during the rendezvous, though Tarkin himself remained safe.[76]


Organa gives Tarkin a false location for the Rebel base.

Vader made use of an IT-O Interrogator droid to question Organa, but she refused to yield the location.[4] With the Death Star at last declared operational—and Motti having once more hinted that Tarkin should overthrow the Emperor, a suggestion Tarkin again brushed off—and Palpatine having given Tarkin wide latitude to put the superweapon to use, the Grand Moff decided to compel her cooperation by holding her homeworld hostage, then destroying Alderaan—and with it the problems the peaceful world and its leader, suspected Rebel and hated enemy of Tarkin, Bail Organa, posed the Empire.[77][61][16] He directed that the station travel to the Alderaan system, where he had Leia Organa brought to the overbridge.[4] Tarkin offered her a choice: watch as the Death Star destroyed Alderaan, or give him the location of the Rebel headquarters.[4] Organa admitted the location of the base as Dantooine. Considering the undeveloped planet too minor a target, Tarkin proceeded with the destruction of Alderaannonetheless, believing the Core World a much more significant demonstration of Imperial might and unwillingness to brook rebellion.[4] With one blast, the Death Star annihilated Alderaan, a respected ancient world and a Core Founder of the Galactic Republic, and killed Bail Organa, a key leader of the Rebellion.[15]

Tarkin dispatched scouts to Dantooine to confirm the base’s location, but they found only an abandoned site; Organa had given him only the location of a former base. Outraged at his inability to force her compliance, Tarkin ordered that the Rebel woman be executed immediately. Before that instruction could be carried out, Death Star forces captured a freighter that had ventured into the Alderaan system. The Millennium Falcon, it was the same ship that had shot its way off Tatooine while suspected of carrying the Death Star plans. Vader, believing that the ship’s occupants were intending to return the plans to Bail Organa on Alderaan, hatched a plan to allow the occupants to stage a rescue of Leia Organa, then let them escape with a tracking beacon aboard the Millennium Falcon. Vader was certain that they would take Organa to the Rebel stronghold, revealing it for destruction. Tarkin saw the plan as a dangerous gamble, but went along. When Vader realized that former Jedi Council member Obi-Wan Kenobi was among the passengers of the freighter, Tarkin insisted that the Jedi Master could not be allowed to escape.[4] Vader stalked off to meet Kenobi, and as Tarkin watched remotely, killed him in a lightsaber duel just before the Millennium Falcon‘s crew escaped with Organa.[4][16]

The homing beacon’s signal led them to Yavin 4, the fourth moon of the gas giant Yavin Prime.[4] Before arriving there, Tarkin deposited on Carida the high-level design personnel who had remained aboard the Death Star to observe Alderaan’s destruction and ordered Admiral Termo to take the Star Destroyer Liquidator to Delrakkin for a rendezvous with the Death Star after Yavin 4 was destroyed, intending to put his plan to eliminate the planet’s population into place.[61][78] Concerned with possible delays or difficulty in reporting, Tarkin provided Termo with three holorecordings and instructions to play the recordings at certain times for his orders if the Death Star did not arrive or Tarkin did not contact him in time.[79] The third recording was in fact meant for Palpatine in the event that Tarkin should fail at Yavin, fully disclosing his interdiction advances.[71]

The Death Star emerged from hyperspace on the far side of Yavin, and began moving into range.[4] As the station closed with Yavin 4, Motti made one last attempt to flatter Tarkin’s power and hinted at a coup. Tarkin demanded that Motti speak plainly, and the admiral suggested that Tarkin could at least use the threat of his control of the Death Star to secure a position as second-in-command of the Empire, or share power with the Emperor, and kill Vader. Tarkin rebuffed most of Motti’s suggestions, finally stating that he would consider Motti’s statements later, though without showing much interest in the proposal.[77]


Tarkin observes the Battle of Yavin shortly before his death.

In defense, the Rebels launched a force of starfighters.[4] Tarkin, believing the small fighters could pose no threat to his gargantuan battle station, declined to intercept the fighters with TIEs, instead allowing the turbolaser defenses to deal with the fighters. Vader, less confident in the defenses, launched his personal escort of fighters.[16] When the Rebels persisted in their attack, Tarkin wondered what they were targeting, but Motti convinced him that the enemy stood no chance against Vader, who was swiftly eliminating the Rebel squadrons, and that in no case could Tarkin abandon the Death Star and show weakness; it would be political suicide.[77] When Bast informed Tarkin that an analysis had shown a weakness that the starfighters seemed to be targeting, the Grand Moff, still supremely confident in the invulnerability of his battle station, and also unwilling to risk his career if he fled and the Death Star wasn’t destroyed in either case, scoffed at Bast’s suggestion that he ready an evacuation ship.[16][4] Vader and his pilots shot down several Rebels, but could not prevent Luke Skywalkerfrom firing a pair of proton torpedoes into a vulnerable thermal exhaust port.[4] Bast’s analysis proved correct; as Tarkin’s order to fire was being carried out and he was gleefully anticipating his moment of greatest glory—the destruction of the Rebellion by the superweapon he had so long championed—the chain reaction reached the Death Star’s reactor and destroyed the battle station, annihilating Tarkin as thoroughly as he had obliterated Alderaan.[4][16]


Tarkin will be remembered as a man who devoted his entire being to the Empire and Emperor that he loved more than life itself.
Alendar Jarvis, writing for the New Order Progressive[src]

With the Death Star lost, the Empire covered up its existence and suppressed any news of its defeat in theBattle of Yavin. Imperial sources alleged that Alderaan had been accidentally destroyed by a superweapon of its own construction, while Tarkin and his chief officers were announced to have died in a shuttle crash at theTallaan Imperial Shipyards resulting from an equipment malfunction. Tarkin was lionized in reports as a steadfast, loyal, and important servant of the Emperor.[17] Satellite recordings of Alderaan’s destruction, however, were smuggled out of the system by Rebel agents, and underground news sources began broadcasting the truth. The Empire quickly changed its story, announcing that the Death Star had destroyed Alderaan after finding evidence that the planet was developing a Rebel biowarfare initiative.[80] The Empire likewise admitted that there had been no accident at Tallaan, issuing warrants for Han Solo and Chewbacca, the smuggler crew of the Millennium Falcon who had returned at the last minute to cover Skywalker and allow him to destroy the Death Star, on charges of Tarkin’s murder.[81][4] Instead of creating fear, the destruction of Alderaan followed by the failure of Tarkin’s battle station embarrassed the Empire, stirred public outrage against the government, convinced galactic citizens that the Empire could be defeated, and inspired hope and enthusiasm among the Rebels, thoroughly backfiring.[18][41][82]

In Tarkin’s absence, Termo attempted to carry out Tarkin’s task at Delrakkin, but was unsuccessful.[73]Following Tarkin’s recorded orders to report to Yavin after the attack if the Death Star still had not appeared, Termo was attacked and defeated by the Rebels.[83] Palpatine recovered Tarkin’s third message and attempted to follow through on the project, but Rebel agents destroyed the experimental gravity well projector and killed Radicon, foiling the scheme.[84]

In the immediate wake of Tarkin’s death, his surviving subordinates began to maneuver for power, fighting to inherit his vast authority, while his enemies added to the confusion by attempting to usurp his power.[18] The confusion ended when Tarkin was replaced as Grand Moff of Oversector Outer by Ardus Kaine, a similar New Order hardliner. After the death of Palpatine, Kaine turned Oversector Outer into a warlord fiefdom based on New Order principles, known as the Pentastar Alignment.[85] Admiral Delvardus, Tarkin’s relative, held Eriadu and the surrounding area as the Eriadu Authority, becoming a warlord in his own right.[15]

Tarkin was survived by his wife and niece, as well as his lover Daala.[17][47][49] The Lady Tarkin was determined to avenge her husband’s death, obsessed with the war against the Rebellion. She renamed the city where she oversaw the megonite moss mining operations Port Tarkin, and erected a monument in his honor.[47] Rivoche Tarkin continued as a Rebel agent for two more years before she was exposed to the Empire and extracted by the Rebel Alliance.[86] Throughout her time with the Rebellion, however, she refused to speak ill of Tarkin; she had learned well to maintain the family honor.[63]


Tarkin’s protégée, Natasi Daala

Daala spent over a decade hidden within the Maw, abiding by her orders to remain at her station and avoid contact, until Han Solo, Chewbacca, andKyp Durron stumbled across her. She was devastated to learn that Tarkin was dead and the Death Star destroyed, and began a rampaging campaign against the New Republic, intending to use the Maw Installation’s superweapons to destroy the new government.[49] She failed, but in 12 ABY, she formed the Imperial Remnant, a successor state to the Empire, with Admiral Gilad Pellaeon, himself a former subordinate of Tarkin.[39][48][87]Decades later, Daala became the Chief of State of the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances, the successor state to the New Republic. By that time she had reevaluated her former relationship with Tarkin and abandoned her formerly worshipful regard for him.[88][39]

Tarkin’s death did not end the rule of the Tarkin Doctrine. Instead, Palpatine’s close adviser Ars Dangor issued a declaration to the military that the Empire would inflict more terror than ever in suppressing the Rebellion.[44] Palpatine had Lemelisk begin work on another superlaser platform, dubbed the Tarkin in memory of the Grand Moff—which a Rebel team destroyed while under construction—and yet another Death Star, this one even larger and more advanced. In 4 ABY, it too was destroyed by the Rebellion, which, along with the death of Emperor Palpatine by Darth Vader’s hands, dealt the Empire its most grievous blow since the Battle of Yavin.[1]

Rebel historian Voren Na’al insisted that Tarkin’s loss was an irreplaceable one for the Empire.[18] Even three years later, Imperial leaders felt that Tarkin’s death had left a void in the Empire’s power structure.[59] Tarkin’s reputation was such that, nearly a decade after his death, a physical resemblance to Tarkin was enough to inspire an instinctive respect.[81] Numerous Imperial facilities bore the Tarkin name, such as the Tarkinsuperweapon, Tarkin Detention Facility on Ruul, the Tarkin’s Teeth training ground on Carida, and the Deep Core fortress world Tarkin’s Fang.[1][45][89][90] The Coruscant Opera on Coruscant produced a play entitled The Agony of Tarkin.[91] Tarkin was not remembered entirely positively within the Empire; among those Imperials unsettled by the destruction of Alderaan and the existence of the Death Star, some scapegoated Tarkin as a rogue agent whose use of the Death Star did not represent the Empire as a whole.[92]

On Eriadu, Tarkin was remembered with the Tarkin Memorial Conference Center in Eriadu City.[22] Tarkin’s homeworld remained staunchly Imperial well into the New Republic’s reign, only reluctantly capitulating to the new government once it became an economic necessity.[15] Its connection to Tarkin continued to be exploited, though. For decades, Tarkin merchandise remained available on Eriadu, including caricatured statuettes for tourists.[93]

Tarkin’s legacy was not altogether negative for the Rebel Alliance. Ackbar’s recovery by the Rebel Alliance provided them with numerous military secrets that Ackbar had been able to access.[62] Ackbar used the training Tarkin had unwittingly given Ackbar during his frequent discourses on tactics to his slave, his observations of Tarkin in action, and his own military genius to become Alliance Supreme Commander, a critical figure in the victory of the Rebel Alliance and New Republic over the Empire and one of the era’s most noted military minds.[50][62] Also, some of Tarkin’s personal journals were recovered by the Rebel Alliance, giving them critical information.[46]

Nothing could redeem Tarkin’s reputation within the Rebellion and New Republic, however. Among those horrified by his atrocities, Tarkin’s memory was cursed. Alderaanians especially loathed him, and the wordtarkin entered Omwatese with the meaning of ”demon” or ”butcher.”[1]

Personality and traitsEdit

Only through the projection of power do we bring order.
―Wilhuff Tarkin, to the graduating class of Prefsbelt Fleet Camp[src]

Wilhuff Tarkin was a determined man with an iron will and tremendous ambition, stoked in his youth by resentment at what he perceived to be a lack of respect for the accomplishments of his Outer Rim-based family.[18][1] As a young man, Tarkin channeled his ambition into grand plans to bring about the grand, militant future that he believed would replace the Galactic Republic, which he perceived as a decaying institution on its way out.[11][2][12] To achieve his goals, Tarkin had a strong sense of duty, putting his professional assignments ahead of his personal life and desires.[16]


Tarkin in command

Tarkin could display a charming and charismatic side when he wished, but would shift swiftly to ruthlessness when necessary.[46] In either case, he projected a dominating personal presence, and was deeply persuasive, with an aura of command nearly unmatched in the Empire.[18][19] Tarkin had a sense of his own dignity, refusing to show weakness, strong emotion, or inappropriate behavior before subordinates, from whom he demanded nothing short of excellence. Among the few feelings he displayed was impatience with subordinates who took up his time unnecessarily or were roundabout in their reports, as well as anger at failure and opposition.[16]

Though he presented a front of calmness and rational efficiency, Tarkin was exceedingly prideful, short-tempered, and capable of great spitefulness.[13][2][61] Tarkin enjoyed authority, taking pleasure in causing fear in his subordinates and telling victims of Imperial attack that they were to blame for bringing Imperial retaliation upon themselves.[61][46]

Tarkin was quite self-confident, estimating his own chances of success highly and dismissing obstacles in his path. He gloated over his successes, even before achieving them.[2] He did not like to take risks, but often considered his own position so strong as to limit the actual risk involved.[16] His incredulity at the idea that Rebel starfighters could successfully destroy the Death Star ultimately caused his death.[4] Even in his last moments, confronted with the fact that a successful proton torpedo strike would overload the reactor, Tarkin refused to accept that he could be defeated on the cusp of his climactic victory, that the superweapon on which he had so long labored could be brought low by a mere starfighter.[16] For all his confidence, though, Tarkin was willing to listen to advice from trusted subordinates; he believed that a good officer should not dismiss suggestions out of hand, and he was willing to change his position when it proved necessary.[50][16]

Tarkin preferred brute force to elegance.[2] He was authoritative and militaristic, and responded to most problems with an application of force.[12][2][16] He saw extravagant punishment as a valuable object lesson, believing that a ruthless example would provide the only genuine deterrent to a determined opponent.[16] In his notorious Tarkin Doctrine, he articulated a slightly more nuanced view, calling for the use not of direct force, but of the fear that force would be used in order to keep the population in line. He believed that the Death Star posed so great a threat that, once it was used and its power demonstrated, no one would dare rise against the Empire.[46]

Tarkin was a man of absolute ruthlessness. The lives of others meant little to Tarkin; he regarded the deaths of those in his service to be trivial, and was willing to destroy entire planets in order to ensure stability for the Galactic Empire.[16] To him, beings were just assets to be managed, and lives could be expended like any other resource.[11] Tarkin killed those who failed him, and was willing to destroy an entire planet simply to make an example.[4][94]

A Humanocentrist throughout his life, Tarkin disliked non-Human species and also did not care for the supernatural powers of the Jedi. Though he found it distasteful, he was not above using non-Humans when they were useful, so long as Humans were the ones in control.[1][2] Tarkin’s speciesism was one of the main avenues through which Palpatine, as Darth Sidious, appealed to Tarkin early in his career.[6] Even after playing a key role in formulating and articulating New Order ideology, with its emphasis on Human High Culture, Tarkin was not slavishly bound to it, and was willing to use nonhumans within the Imperial hierarchy when they proved useful.[9]

Despite these traits, he did initially have some reservations as to some of the more heinous orders from Palpatine. This ultimately resulted in Palpatine orchestrating his son’s ”kidnapping” (in actuality, defection) by the natives of Atoa and later death in their hands (in actuality, his death came at the hands of Darth Vader when he attempted to collapse the temple they were in in order to commit suicide) in order to make him a more vicious ally of the Empire and thus a more willing servant.[95]

With simple personal tastes, Tarkin was not an indulgent man.[14] He surrounded himself in the trappings of luxury expected of his position, but took little pleasure in them, preferring more spartan, militaristic confines. Tarkin did enjoy mobility; he was uncomfortable with the idea of being confined to one planet, much less a smaller location.[12]


The ambitious Moff Tarkin

A man of tremendous intellectual power, Tarkin cultivated his mental abilities as a youth, demonstrating extensive ability in multiple disciplines. He was an accomplished philosopher and poet, and provided major developments in starship design and xenobiology.[9] A polyglot, he commanded High Galactic,Bocce, Sullustese, Shyriiwook, and Dosh in addition to his native Galactic Basic Standard.[19] Furthermore, Tarkin was adept in both the political and military fields.[2] A master of high-level politics, he was also an outstanding commander in the field, an expert in grand strategy as well as fleet and siege tactics.[16][96][54] His tactics were instrumental in the cultivation of Admiral Ackbar’s military mind.[50]

Tarkin had great aptitude as an administrator. He was highly efficient and known for keeping careful track of resources and personnel, always recalling a potentially useful asset.[61] As an administrator, Tarkin took pride in his military background, believing it important to occasionally remind his subordinates that he was in fact a man of practical experience who was still willing to work in the field.[16] A skilled political jouster in addition to being a military man, Tarkin saw politics as a softer and more elegant form of warfare, but warfare nonetheless.[18][97] He made good use of his domineering presence in diplomacy, preying on opponents’ fears to force acquiescence.[14]

Deeply devoted to the Death Star project, Tarkin saw it as his personal dream and would not tolerate obstruction of the project, especially after the frustration of nearly twenty years of delays. Defiance of his will, or simple incompetence in carrying it out, enraged him.[16] To him, the Death Star was like his own child, and he was awed by its power, passionate about its potential, and extremely proud of his accomplishment in building it.[46]

Tarkin had a close working relationship with his Emperor, of whom he had long been a major supporter.[17][9] He was willing to speak frankly to Palpatine and unafraid to disagree with the Emperor.[69] Though Tarkin was ambitious, self-confident, and of the opinion that, with the Death Star under his control, he would be the most powerful man in the galaxy, he did not underestimate the Emperor.[16] Sure that a move against the powerful and well-prepared Emperor would result only in failure, Tarkin had no real intention of overthrowing Palpatine, though he dreamed of some day being in the position to fulfill his ambitions.[16][40]

Though Tarkin had a good working relationship with Darth Vader, whom he found efficient and considered an ally in the Imperial hierarchy, he was also unsettled by Vader’s supernatural powers and mysterious nature, and disliked when Palpatine used Vader as a check on Tarkin himself.[46][32][16] The pair respected but did not trust or personally like each other.[98] Despite Vader’s lofty position, Tarkin was among few Imperial officials willing to interrupt, stand up to, and direct Vader, behavior Vader tolerated.[99]

Personally cold, Tarkin was not a man for trust or friendship, believing them outmoded in the new order of things. He saw connection as a matter of alliance for mutual benefit and advantage to be exploited.[2] He was not a family man, and felt little love for his wife, whom he had married purely due to political concerns.[63][1] The closest he has come to having any sense of caring for his family was with his son, Admiral Garoche Tarkin, which was exploited by Palpatine to ensure he became a more efficient officer in the Empire.[95] Tarkin was capable of some basic feelings of warmth; he saw his slave, Ackbar, much like a pet.[46] When in a mood to hold forth, Tarkin would offer instruction to Ackbar, and enjoyed explaining his own tactics to the slave.[97][50]

There was one person, though, for whom Tarkin was capable of affection. Tarkin found Natasi Daala physically appealing, but it was her intellect, ambition, and ruthlessness that drew him to her. Though he did not consider her his equal, he could not be truly attracted to a woman who was not at least close to his level in intelligence and competence. She was also the only person who could make him laugh, a trait he valued. Though he maintained a veneer of formality as her superior, their private interactions were far more casual than Tarkin’s norm, and he allowed her to call him Wilhuff even in a professional setting, though before others they were always strictly formal. Tarkin allowed himself to be charmed by Daala, but he was able to resist her appeal and immediately shift to cold professionalism when circumstances demanded. In his affair with Daala, Tarkin found release from the stress of his position, seeing the admiral as an invigorating diversion from political concerns. He knew that she put her career ahead of her relationship with him, and it did not bother him; instead he considered it a sign of the driven, confident, and ruthless personality that attracted him.[16]

Behind the scenesEdit

They found the only footwear they had, which was a pair of women’s slippers. […] Peter was being nasty, and we’re looking at him in the face trying desperately to keep a straight face. He was totally unaware what was causing the giggles. He would say, ‘What’s the problem? What have I done?’ And we said: ‘It’s the shoes.’ He said he couldn’t do it without them, so he did the whole scene, being really evil, with us looking at him in the eyes, being very stern, while he’s wearing these bloody slippers!
Don Henderson[src]

Concept art of Wilhuff Tarkin created for Revenge of the Sith

The character of Grand Moff Tarkin was created for the 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, originally titled Star Wars. Tarkin, one of the film’s two major villains with Darth Vader, was portrayed by veteran actor Peter Cushing.[4] Tarkin’s name appeared in the rough draft of Star Wars as the Grande Mouff Tarkin, an Aquilaean religious leader with a single line of dialogue during a meeting of the Aquilaean Senate. The role of the villainous governor was associated with the character Crispin Hoedaack, an ambitious young official assigned to conquer Aquilae, the planet of the script’s heroes. Hoedaack perished when the heroes destroyed the Imperial space fortress.[100]In the second draft, there was no governor, only Darth Vader, and the Grande Mouff Tarkin was the commander of the Kesselian Dragoons and the leader of a faction at the Rebel base that distrusted the Force connection of the Starkillerand instead relied on technological battle analysis before eventually being convinced to trust the Starkiller’s battle plan.[101] In the third draft, the Grand Mouff Tarkin, commander of the Kesselian Dragoons, was the leading Rebel general, who conceived the battle plan used against the Death Star.[102] He effectively filled the role of General Dodonna in the finished film, while in this version General Dodana played the role of the cowardly and doubting general filled by Tarkin in the previous draft.[102][4][101] In the final script, the role of the villainous governor allied with Vader was restored, and writer George Lucas assigned the Tarkin name to the governor, with Dodonna as the Rebel general.[4] Once Darth Vader had become conceptualized as a masked character, Lucas believed he needed a strong, visibly human villain to complement Vader.[103] Lucas believed that Tarkin would serve the role of the main villain, serving as the personification of the Empire in the place of the Emperor himself.[104]

Cushing was originally approached to play Obi-Wan Kenobi, but Lucas decided that Cushing was perfect for the role of Tarkin, and Cushing agreed to portray the villain.[105] Cushing, who chose his roles based on what he felt viewers would like to see him do, felt that audiences would enjoy the film and like seeing him as Tarkin.[106] Cushing was Lucas’s first choice for the role.[103] On set, Cushing was extremely pleasant to his co-stars, making it difficult for Carrie Fisher, playing Leia Organa, to muster the required animosity toward Tarkin’s character on camera.[105] The costume department was unable to procure boots large enough for Cushing, so he wore the small boots for the few necessary long shots, but spent most of the shooting in a pair of slippers.[103] The slippers found for Cushing were women’s, making it difficult for his co-stars to keep a straight face when playing against him.[105]

Tarkin first appeared not in the film, but in the novelization of the film, released months before Star Warspremiered.[99] The novel also identified his rank as Grand Moff, as did the credits of the film, but in movie dialogue he was only identified as ”Governor Tarkin.” Among more minor variations between the novel and the finished film, the novel portrays Tarkin as present during Leia Organa’s interrogation, in contradiction of the film.[99][4] Tarkin’s first name was only revealed in 1994, seventeen years after his first appearance, in Star Wars Screen Entertainment.[107]

Tarkin was voiced by Keene Curtis in the Star Wars radio drama, which included expanded scenes between Tarkin and Vader and an added subplot involving Motti attempting to convince Tarkin to overthrow the Emperor.[77] Tarkin has also been voiced by Nick Jameson in Star Wars: X-Wing and by Paul Darrow in Star Wars: Empire at War.[76][69]

Early Tarkin Tarkin makeup

One of Wayne Pygram’s first makeup test

In the prequel Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, Lucas decided to include Tarkin. Concept artist Iain McCaig suggested using unused footage from A New Hope and digitally animating Cushing’s lips to match dialogue.[108]McCaig also created the only concept art image for the character, which Lucas approved.[109] Animation director Rob Coleman spoke with Christopher Lee, a close friend of Cushing, about the possibility of using a digital model of Cushing. Ultimately, actor Wayne Pygram was hired and was able to achieve the likeness of a young Tarkin through the use of prosthetic makeup.[110]


Tarkin, as portrayed in The Clone Wars TV series

In the Cartoon Network animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Tarkin’s character is voiced by Stephen Stanton after researching Cushing’s performances and then tried to imitate what Cushing might have sounded like in his mid-thirties and soften to give a level of humanity.[111]

The Essential Guide to Characters and The New Essential Guide to Characterslisted Tarkin as having naturally black hair, and novels depicting Tarkin as a younger man shared that description.[40][1][12][2] Though Tarkin’s hair was mostly gray in A New Hope, he still showed some hair with Peter Cushing’s natural auburn color, though, and had no black in his hair.[4] When the younger Tarkin appeared visually for the first time in Revenge of the Sith, he had auburn hair in accordance with Tarkin’s previous film likeness, and all further depictions have used this appearance.[5][19]

Tarkin was given two five star cards in the game Star Wars: Force Collection.

Tarkin appeared in the non-canon comedic Star Wars Tales story A Death Star Is Born, a parodic scene of Tarkin’s presentation of the Death Star plans to Palpatine.[112] Tarkin also appeared in the Tales comic Prey, in which he ordered bounty hunter Boba Fett to capture Han Solo as an object lesson to deter desertion. Tarkin then suggested that Vader, who was unhappy with the hiring of Fett, capture Solo himself, leading to a fight between Fett and Vader during which Solo escaped.[113]

Tarkin plays only a minor role in the Star Wars Infinities version of A New Hope, a non-canon alternate version of the film’s story. In its story, Luke Skywalker failed to destroy the Death Star at Yavin. Tarkin captured the Rebel leadership as they attempted to evacuate Yavin 4, and remained commander of the Death Star in orbit over Coruscant. Five years later, Skywalker, Han Solo, and Yoda led an attempt to rescue Leia Organa from her Imperial brainwashing, and Yoda mind-tricked Tarkin into giving him control of the station, which he used to destroy the fleet in orbit over Coruscant. Yoda then rammed the Death Star into Coruscant as the others fled the planet with a redeemed Organa, killing Palpatine.[114]

As Kenner had never produced a Grand Moff Tarkin action figure during the run of the original films, despite his prominence, Kenner designers wanted to remedy that omission in their proposed The Epic Continues toy line, designed in 1984 for release in 1986. To maintain interest after the films, The Epic Continues was designed around a proposed new storyline taking place after the films. In order to fit Tarkin into that line, the designers intended to establish that Tarkin had escaped the Death Star and gone into hiding, emerging after the events of the film trilogy to take control of the Empire. The storyline, and with it the product line, was rejected byLucasfilm authorities, and so neither it nor the Tarkin toy saw production.[115] It was not until 1997 that a Tarkin figure debuted.[116]

A major continuity issue involving Tarkin is his involvement in the Ghorman Massacre. The original source for the incident, the Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, portrayed Tarkin as an Imperial naval captain who was promoted after the incident.[41] The Essential Chronology specified that Tarkin was promoted to Moff.[54] Later sources, however, established that Tarkin was promoted to Moff before the Empire was even created, and served as governor of the Seswenna sector immediately prior to that promotion.[3][31][19] This article has retained the substance of the Ghorman story, but placed it prior to Tarkin’s promotion to Grand Moff, maintaining its context within the early establishment of the Empire.[41][37]

Wilhuff Tarkin was originally planned to have his own war portrait in The Essential Guide to Warfare, with Jason Fry planning to portray him in a manner closer to the original draft for A New Hope (i.e., planning to use the Death Star to challenge Palpatine’s rule and blowing up Coruscant), as well as viewing Darth Vader as nothing less than a tool largely because of his injuries. This however, ended up cut due to time constraints.[117]

Wilhuff Tarkin also appeared in the tongue-in-cheek in-universe StarWars.Com blog ”Planet Earth Abandons Death Star Project In Face Of Superior Galactic Imperial Power,” where he commented that he probably wouldn’t have allowed the Death Star to be created, or used by the primitive population of Earth, viewing it as a threat to the stability of the Galactic Empire, and likewise expressed his belief that only an enlightened person such as the Galactic Emperor, their ruler, would use the battlestation to protect and defend the Empire.[118] At the time the blog had been written, the United States Government had rejected a petition requesting the development of a Death Star, citing its cost and time to create the resources necessary to develop the station.[119]


Wookieepedia has 101 images related to Wilhuff Tarkin.
Wookieepedia has 3 audio files related to Wilhuff Tarkin.
Wookieepedia has a collection of quotes related to Wilhuff Tarkin/Legends.

Non-canon appearancesEdit


Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.111.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.231.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 The New Essential Guide to Characters
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.112.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.232.24 2.25 Rogue Planet
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 9
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.114.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.234.24 4.25 4.26 4.27 4.28 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.116.12 6.13 The New Essential Chronology
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Essential Guide to Warfare
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – ”The Citadel
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 Rebellion Era Sourcebook
  10. Star Wars: Republic: The Stark Hyperspace War
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Star Wars Annual 2008
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.0812.09 12.10 12.11 Cloak of Deception
  13. 13.0 13.1 Darth Maul: Saboteur
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 SWInsiderGrand Moff Tarkin”—Star Wars Insider 113
  15. 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.0815.09 15.10 15.11 15.12 15.13 15.14 15.15 15.16 The Essential Atlas
  16. 16.00 16.01 16.02 16.03 16.04 16.05 16.06 16.07 16.0816.09 16.10 16.11 16.12 16.13 16.14 16.15 16.16 16.17 16.1816.19 16.20 16.21 16.22 16.23 16.24 16.25 16.26 16.27 16.2816.29 16.30 16.31 16.32 16.33 16.34 16.35 16.36 16.37 16.3816.39 16.40 16.41 16.42 16.43 16.44 16.45 16.46 16.47 16.4816.49 16.50 16.51 Death Star
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 SWAJsmallGalaxywide NewsNets”—Star Wars Adventure Journal 3
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 18.7 18.8 18.9 Galaxy Guide 1: A New Hope
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide
  20. HNNsmall IBC Denies Arming SeparatistsHoloNet News Vol. 531 55 (content now unavailable; backup links 1 2on
  21. HNNsmall Sluis Sector Secedes; Seswenna Restates LoyaltyHoloNet News Vol. 531 49 (content now unavailable; backup links 1 2 on
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
  23. 23.0 23.1 Boba Fett: Pursuit
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – ”Counterattack
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – ”Citadel Rescue
  26. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – ”Point of No Return
  27. FacebookIcon Reformation of Jedi military command. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (January 15, 2013, 8:00 pm). Retrieved on January 16, 2013.
  28. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – ”The Jedi Who Knew Too Much
  29. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – ”The Wrong Jedi
  30. 30.0 30.1 Alien Anthology
  31. 31.0 31.1 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sithnovelization
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 32.5 Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 SWInsiderRepublic HoloNet News Special Inaugural Edition 16:5:24”—Star Wars Insider84
  34. The Essential Guide to Warfare, p. 101
  35. The Essential Guide to Warfare, pp. 104-5
  36. Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 The Last of the Jedi: Against the Empire
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 The Jedi Academy Sourcebook
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 39.5 Champions of the Force
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 40.4 40.5 40.6 40.7 The Essential Guide to Characters
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 Rebel Alliance Sourcebook
  42. The Last of the Jedi: A Tangled Web
  43. The Last of the Jedi: Secret Weapon
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 44.4 Imperial Sourcebook
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 Star Wars: Force Commander
  46. 46.00 46.01 46.02 46.03 46.04 46.05 46.06 46.07 46.0846.09 46.10 46.11 46.12 46.13 46.14 46.15 46.16 46.17 46.1846.19 46.20 46.21 46.22 46.23 Death Star Technical Companion
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 Princess Leia, Imperial Servant
  48. 48.00 48.01 48.02 48.03 48.04 48.05 48.06 48.07 48.0848.09 48.10 48.11 48.12 Darksaber
  49. 49.00 49.01 49.02 49.03 49.04 49.05 49.06 49.07 49.0849.09 49.10 49.11 49.12 Jedi Search
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 50.3 50.4 50.5 50.6 Dark Apprentice
  51. Mission to Lianna
  52. 52.0 52.1 Databank title Janus Greejatus in the Databank(content now obsolete; backup link on
  53. Wretched Hives of Scum & Villainy
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 54.3 54.4 The Essential Chronology
  55. LucasArtsIcon Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 Official Websiteon
  56. Vision of the Future
  57. Heroes & Rogues
  58. Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron 25: The Making of Baron Fel
  60. Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 29
  61. 61.0 61.1 61.2 61.3 61.4 61.5 61.6 Children of the Jedi
  62. 62.0 62.1 62.2 62.3 Heir to the Empire Sourcebook
  63. 63.0 63.1 63.2 63.3 Cracken’s Rebel Operatives
  64. SWCCGsmall Star Wars Customizable Card GamePremiere Limited (Card: Chief Bast)
  65. SWCCGsmall Star Wars Customizable Card GamePremiere Limited (Card: Colonel Wullf Yularen)
  66. Pax Empirica—The Wookiee Annihilation
  67. The Farlander Papers
  68. Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
  69. 69.0 69.1 69.2 69.3 69.4 Star Wars: Empire at War
  70. Star Wars: Empire: Darklighter
  71. 71.0 71.1 71.2 Star Wars Missions 18: Rogue Squadron to the Rescue
  72. Star Wars Missions 19: Bounty on Bonadan
  73. 73.0 73.1 Star Wars Missions 3: Attack on Delrakkin
  74. Star Wars: Empire: Betrayal
  75. Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand 0
  76. 76.0 76.1 Star Wars: X-Wing
  77. 77.0 77.1 77.2 77.3 Star Wars radio dramatization
  78. Star Wars Missions 1: Assault on Yavin Four
  79. Star Wars Missions 2: Escape from Thyferra
  80. SWAJsmallGalaxywide NewsNets”—Star Wars Adventure Journal 4
  81. 81.0 81.1 X-Wing: Rogue Squadron
  82. The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons
  83. Star Wars Missions 4: Destroy the Liquidator
  84. Star Wars Missions 20: Total Destruction
  85. 85.0 85.1 85.2 SWAJsmallThe Pentastar Alignment”—Star Wars Adventure Journal 3
  86. SWAJsmallSmall Favors”—Star Wars Adventure Journal 12
  87. WEG icon2 A Grand Admiral Returns”—Heir to the Empire Sourcebook
  88. Fate of the Jedi: Outcast
  89. WizardsoftheCoast Carida: Heavy Duty on (original article link, backup links on
  90. The New Jedi Order: Destiny’s Way
  91. Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand 2
  92. X-Wing: Isard’s Revenge
  93. The New Jedi Order: Edge of Victory II: Rebirth
  94. Rebel Dawn
  95. 95.0 95.1 Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command 1
  96. Galaxy Guide 1: A New Hope, Second Edition
  97. 97.0 97.1 X-Wing: The Krytos Trap
  98. Anakin Skywalker: The Story of Darth Vader
  99. 99.0 99.1 99.2 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hopenovelization
  100. The Star Wars – Rough Draft on Starkiller, the Jedi Bendu Script Site (accessed 1 October 2010) (backup link on Google Cache)
  101. 101.0 101.1 Adventures of the Starkiller (Second Draft) on Starkiller, the Jedi Bendu Script Site (accessed 1 October 2010) (backup link on Google Cache)
  102. 102.0 102.1 Star Wars – From the Adventures of Luke Starkiller – Third Draft on Starkiller, the Jedi Bendu Script Site (accessed 1 October 2010) (backup link on Google Cache)
  103. 103.0 103.1 103.2 SWInsiderSet Piece: Death Star Conference Room”—Star Wars Insider 96
  104. Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope commentary track
  105. 105.0 105.1 105.2 SWInsiderTribute: Peter Cushing”—Star Wars Insider 94
  106. SWInsiderPeter Cushing: Charming to the Last”—Star Wars Insider 37
  107. Star Wars Screen Entertainment
  108. The Making of Star Wars Revenge of the Sith
  109. The Art of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  110. Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sithcommentary track
  111. Vilmur, Peter (March 3, 2011). ”Look Who’s Tarkin: Stephen Stanton”. Retrieved March 4,2011.
  112. A Death Star Is Born”—Star Wars Tales 4
  113. Prey”—Star Wars Tales 11
  114. Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope
  115. GalaxyCiteGalactic Bazaar: Tales of Phantom Toys”—Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 2
  116. SWInsiderA Long Time Ago, In a Toy Aisle Not So Far Away….”—Star Wars Insider 120
  118. Star Wars Blog ”Planet Earth Abandons Death Star Project In Face Of Superior Galactic Imperial Power,” The OfficialStar Wars Blog
  119. This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For.White House. Retrieved on January 16, 2013.
  120. WizardsoftheCoast The Dark Forces Saga, Part 6: Outcasts and Megalomaniacs Welcome on (original article link, backup links on

External linksEdit

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Rank insignia of the Galactic Empire/old version

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Rank insignia of the Galactic Empire refers to badges of military rank which were used by officers of theImperial Military. All officers in the Service wore one or another of these insignia.



Officer ranks

In 0 BBY, Imperial officers of the Galactic Empire wore insignia consisting of a confusing collection of multi-colored rank squares on the left breast of the officer’s uniform with a combination of several metal cylinders to either side of the rank badge. By the next few years, the rank squares had become a much simpler collection of red and blue squares with the code cylinders still in use.

In the Galactic Civil War, most Imperial officers were verbally addressed as ”Commander” with the exception ofAdmirals, such as Admiral Kendal Ozzel and Piett who were addressed as ”Admiral”. It should be noted that ”commander” is an acceptable form of address for captains, majors, colonels, or anyone of any rank who commands a military unit. Grand Moff Tarkin was referred to as ”Governor”. With such generic terms, the Star Wars films give little hint to a system of ranks and insignia. Over the years, however, the Expanded Universehas established a system of ranks and insignia which matches closely to the characters and the ranks and authority which they most likely held.

Navy Rank Army Rank Version One Version Two
Grand Admiral Grand General OldMoff GrandAd
Grand Moff Grand Moff Moff1 Moff2
Moff Moff 115px Moff2
High Admiral Surface Marshal HighAdm2 HighAdm
Fleet Admiral High General OldFltAdm SWARSFLTADM
Admiral General OldAdm ImpAdmiral
Vice Admiral Lieutenant General ImpViceAdm2 ImpViceAdm
Rear Admiral Major General ImpRADM2 ImpRADM
Commodore Brigadier ImpBrigadier 75px
Captain of the Line High Colonel HighColonel LineCaptain
Captain Colonel ImpColonel ImpCaptain
Commander Lieutenant Colonel ImpLTCOL ImpCommander
Lieutenant Commander Major ImpMajor ImpLCDR
Lieutenant Captain ImpO-3 ImpLT
Sublieutenant Lieutenant Imp1Lt ImpLTsub
Ensign Second Lieutenant Imp2Lt ImpEnsign
Midshipman Officer Candidate MIDN MIDN

Enlisted ranks

Imperial enlisted personnel have never been shown to have any type of insignia, but do have various types of uniforms which could indicate seniority among the enlisted rank structure. The uniforms appear to range from Soldiers and Technicians, to Sergeants and Naval NCOs, as well as Warrant Officers and Command Sergeants. Each of these groups is shown in the feature films to have various types of uniforms but never have been shown wearing any type of identifying insignia.


Stormtroopers apparently use the same rank system as the Imperial Army, but rarely wear any type of outward insignia. It is mentioned that Stormtroopers most likely have an identification scanner, built into their helmets, which can determine the rank and seniority of other stormtroopers. This does not explain, however, the colored shoulder pads used by Stormtroopers on Tatooine. Also, in the Battle of Hoth, a stormtrooper is seen wearing the insignia of an Army Captain on his armor. It is assumed that such insignia display is for the benefit of non-stormtrooper personnel.

In the higher ranks of the Stormtroopers, it can be reasonably assumed that the senior Stormtrooper officers do not wear the Battle Armor on a regular basis, thus a different uniform, for the more casual ”office” setting, would most likely be worn. This explains a number of Imperial officers, seen in the feature films directing groups of Stormtroopers, who appear to be wearing solid black uniforms with rank badges. Such personnel are most likely Stormtrooper commanders whose daily duties do not necessitate the regular wearing of battle armor.

Starfighter Corps

The Imperial pilots of the Starfighter Corps are a subject of great debate. One school of thought is that such personnel are members of the Imperial Navy while another possibility exists that the starfighters comprise an entire separate branch of service. Several different literature sources have provided a feasible rank structure for the Starfighter Corps, with indications that Starfighter pilots are Imperial officers with ranks similar to the Army and Navy combined. No starfighter pilot has ever been seen wearing rank insignia but this may have been since the pilots were only seen in flight suits. It is plausible that a separate duty uniform exists, upon which rank insignia may be displayed.

A conjectural rank system for the Imperial Starfighter Corps is as follows

  • High Marshal (High Admiral)
  • Force Marshal (Fleet Admiral)
  • Chief Marshal (Admiral)
  • Marshall (Vice Admiral)
  • Vice Marshal (Rear Admiral)
  • Flight Commodore (Commodore)
  • Group Captain (Captain)
  • Wing Commander (Commander)
  • Squadron Leader (Lieutenant Commander)
  • Flight Lieutenant (Lieutenant)
  • Flying Officer (Sub-Lieutenant)
  • Pilot Officer (Ensign)
  • Flight Cadet (Midshipman)

Corresponding Imperial Navy rank listed as comparison

Imperial Security Bureau

Members of the Imperial Security Bureau, or the ”ISB”, have only been seen for a brief period of time, aboard the Death Star. A white uniformed ISB Colonel, Wullf Yularen, was in the Death Star conference room along with two ISB NCOs walking past the Death Star main elevator area. In both cases, the ISB personnel were shown to be wearing white uniforms with rank insignia corresponding to Imperial Army and Navy personnel. It is possible that the ISB uses the same insignia, with different rank titles, or that the ISB ranks are identical to those of the Imperial Army.

Behind the scenes

Alternate versions

Rank Alternate Insignia
Officer Candidate OFFCDT
Lieutenant ImpLT2
Major ImpISBMajor
Colonel ImpColonel2
Commodore ImpCommodoreAlt
Major General ImpMajorGeneral
Rear Admiral ImpRearAdmiral
High Admiral ImpHighAdmiral

The insignia scheme devised in A New Hope created an interesting ambiguity in that a review of the film shows some Imperial characters who have apparently the same rank and position, yet display different versions of insignia. This problem recurs in the Star Wars Expanded Universe in that Imperial officers of the same rank wear different badges of office.

The possibility exists that such officers serve in different branches of the service or that the difference in insignia is a means to display seniority or some other badge of distinction. This has never been determined exactly, however, leaving the viewing audience to speculate.

The chart displayed to the right indicates alternate versions of Imperial insignia, when applying to the Version One method seen in A New Hope.

Additional info

In the film Return of the Jedi, a wardrobe problem undiscovered until midway through production resulted in all Imperial characters wearing the same insignia, being that of an Imperial Navy Commander. Thus, the Imperial insignia in Return of the Jedi are often ignored.

The rank of Grand Admiral was first mentioned in the Timothy Zahn novels and is considered the senior most rank of the entire Imperial Service. Grand Admirals, and their Imperial Army counterparts Grand Generals are authorized to wear white uniforms with gold shoulder boards, in addition to the standard badge of rank.

The Empire Strikes Back demonstrated that the Imperial Navy and Army, while using the same rank badges, differentiate between the two services by the spacing of the colored squares on the badge itself. Imperial Army officers use rank badges with thin rank squares on a grey metal frame, while Navy officers display flush rank squares with no spacing in-between. This method of separating the two services apparently did not apply to the rank insignia of A New Hope, since all Imperial personnel, both Army and Navy, appeared to wear the same style of rank badge.

The LucasArts Flight Simulator game Star Wars: TIE Fighter provides a much simpler version of Starfighter Ranks as listed below.

  • Grand Admiral
  • Admiral
  • Vice Admiral
  • General
  • Colonel
  • Major
  • Commander
  • Captain
  • Lieutenant
  • Flight Officer
  • Flight Cadet

Given that the flight simulator ranks appear overly simplified and combine Navy and Army titles indiscriminately, most Star Wars sources consider the TIE Fighter ranks to be contradictory and this rank system is generally ignored.

Insignia sources

The information displayed in this article indicates one possible sequence of insignia order based on several different Star Wars literature sources, conjectural information, and information seen in the feature films and other live entertainment productions.

Neither George Lucas or LucasArts has ever published an established insignia guide for either the Galactic Empire or the Rebel Alliance. In the case of the Empire, however, A New Hope seemed to establish a basic system that the more squares and code cylinders a character wore, the more important of a position they held. This idea carried over into The Empire Strikes Back, however in that film the higher ranking characters wore more rank squares but fewer code cylinders.

With the information provided in the feature films somewhat limited, the Expanded Universe has been left with the task of creating a rank and insignia system which holds to the information of the feature films and the additional information put forth in Star Wars literature and other film and televison productions. The following sources, therefore, were used in preparing this article.

Category:Military ranks

Category:Galactic Empire

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Imperial Insignia: Officer Examples


Officer Cadet

Officer cadets have no rank cylinders because they are in training and are not assigned to any post. They do not need security access.


  • The illustration of Imperial Academy graduates in Heroes and Rogues from West End Games. Those new graduates wore no code cylinders.
    Image: [ Posing on a shuttle ramp.]



This is the lowest officer aboard a Navy vessel. A midshipman or ensign is a young officer who has just finished his academy studies and is taking experience on an active warship. Status as a working officer would require the possession of at least one rank cylinder. Distinguishing an ensign from the superior rank of Acting Sub-Lieutenant requires the possession of more than one cylinder.

In some contexts, the term ”midshipman” may also refer to an officer trainee in an academy, but such a person is never called an ”ensign”. The insignia of ensigns and the cadet type of midshipmen are traditionally the same.


  • Ensign Mithel, tractor beam operator aboard the Imperial star destroyer Chimaera at the time of the Siege of Ukio, during Grand Admiral Thrawn’s campaign against the New Republic.
  • The second officer working in control room of Docking Bay 327 aboard the Death Star. He took over supervision when Sub-Lieutenant Pol Treidum went to investigate a faulty stormtrooper comlink. The unfortunate midshipman was shot by Han Solo.
    Images: [Startled by a Wookiee, the midshipman draws his blaster.] [Midshipman, blasted by noisy smuggler.]

    |R |


Acting Sub-Lieutenant

A naval acting sub-lieutenat is equal in status to an army second lieutenant. Superior to a midshipman, but still quite junior in naval officer ranks. Verbally addressed as simply ”Sub-Lieutenant” without use of the ”Acting” prefix. Sometimes known as a ”Junior Lieutenant”.

Second Lieutenant

A second lieutenant is the lowest commissioned rank in the Imperial Army. Status as a working officer would require the possession of at least one rank cylinder. A second lieutenant is equal in status to a naval acting sublieutenant.


      Second Lieutenant Kyle Katarn, upon his graduation as a stormtrooper officer from the Cliffside Imperial Military Academy on Carida in

Dark Forces – Soldier for the Empire




A naval Sub-Lieutenant is the second-lowest commissioned rank in the Imperial Navy. The higher rank of Lieutenant is distinguished from the Sub-Lieutenant by the difference in number of rank cylinders. As with naval Captains and Commanders, the higher rank has the least cylinders.


  • Lieutenant Tanbris, the black-uniformed officer who reported the status of the Battle of Yavin to Lord Vader before the Dark Lord ordered his personal TIE squadron into action.
    Images: [seeking Lord Vader]
    Lieutenant Tanbris’ insignia:


  • Lieutenant Shann Childsen, the black-uniformed lieutenant who supervised detention block AA-23 in A New Hope.
    Images: [ ”Where are you taking this thing?” ] [2] [SWCCG card.]
    Insignia: identical to Lieutenant Tanbris’.
  • Daine Jir, the young black-uniformed officer whom Vader ordered to send out a fake distress signal from Tantive IV. An aide to Lord Vader. Insignia are identical to Lieutenant Tanbris’. (Despite the fact that he is obviously a sub-lieutenant, the SWCCG cards name him as a commander. We must assume that this is either an error, or else it reflects a promotion which he received after Devastator‘s capture of Tantive IV.)
    Images: [talking with Lord Vader] [*] [SWCCG card]
    Insignia: identical to Lieutenant Tanbris’.
  • Lieutenant Pol Treidum, the control officer for Docking Bay 327 on the first Death Star, knocked unconscious by a fist blow from Chewbacca.
    Images: [ ”TK421, why aren’t you at your post?” ] [2]
    Insignia: identical to Lieutenant Tanbris’.

Lieutenant [Army]

An Army Lieutenant commands a Platoon, which normally consists of four squads. Army Lieutenants are equal to a naval Sub-Lieutenant. For the sake of clarity, this kind of Lieutenant is sometimes called a First Lieutenant, in reference to a Second Lieutenant.



A naval Lieutenant is not of sufficient rank to command a capital ship but may supervise a section of a ship’s operations. The rank of Lieutenant is distinguished from the lower level of Sub-Lieutenant by the number of rank cylinders. The higher rank has fewer cylinders, as with the insignia of captains and commanders.


Captain [Army]

An Army captain commands a company, which usually consists of four platoons. Army captains are equal in status to a naval lieutenant.


  • Captain Bewil, an aide to Lord Vader on Bespin, who masterminded the enticement of Luke Skywalker into the carbonite foundry.
    Images: [ Reporting Skywalker’s arrival.]
    [ Bewil ]
  • Captain Beri Tulon, primarily served as an instructor in the Force Commander. His insignia must be disregarded; all officer insignia are the same in this game.
  • The cold assualt stormtrooper officer seen with General Veers at the Battle of Hoth appears to be a captain because his badge is equivalent to a naval lieutenant.
    Images: [ Taking orders from Veers.] [ SWCCG card.]


Lieutenant Commander

The naval rank of Lieutenant Commander is equivalent to the army rank of Major. The insignia for a lieutenant commander or army major is higher than a naval lieutenant and lower than a commander. When expressed in the standard form, the naval Lieutenant insignia is the highest possible rank with only two red squares. Therefore the standard-form Lieutenant Commander insignia must have three reds. To distinguish it from the higher rank levels of naval commander and captain, the number of rank cylinders must exceed two.


A Major commands a battalion.

The rank of Major is equivalent to the naval rank of Lieutenant Commander. Therefore the standardised insignia for these ranks must be the same. For this unfortunate and unavoidable reason the rank badge for major illustrated in The Imperial Sourcebook must be discarded. To adapt the major badge into a rational and self-consistent rank system the minimum necessary modification is the removal of one red square. More specific reasons for the configuration of the badge and rank cylinders are given in the section below which deals with the Lieutenant Commander insignia.

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A commander may command major sections of a capital starship’s operation, without being sufficiently senior to command the entire vessel. A commander may be given command of a warship of modest size, or a fixed facility like a naval depot or space station. The immediate subordinates and closest aides of a ship’s captain will be of Commander rank.


  • The AT-AT ”commander” on Endor in Return of the Jedi. This may be anomalous: a walker should be an Army vehicle, and there is no ”commander” rank in army terminology. Perhaps a naval officer was in command of this walker because the Endor deflector shield garrison was a Navy or joint-forces facility.
  • Commander Gherant, an officer aboard the Executor in The Empire Strikes Back, named in the SWCCG cards.
  • In the computer game Rebellion, Commanders Klev, Bane Nothos, Orok, and Pter Thanas are represented with the *RRR/BBB* insignia. Unfortunately there are characters of higher rank (Moff Jerjerrod, Commodore Zuggs, Captain Needa) who are inconsistently given the same insignia. But perhaps those exceptions can be rationalised as photos of the men at lower ranks, earlier in their respective careers?
  • Commander Praji, the black-uniformed stormtrooper officer who informed Lord Vader about the jettisonning of a lifeless escape pod from the Tantive IV to the Tatooine surface. Praji is an honours graduate from the Imperial Navy Academy on Carida, which was revealled in Jedi Academy Trilogy to be exclusively a stormtrooper training facility.
    Images: [outside the red computer room] [*]
    Commander Praji’s insignia:


  • ISB Commander Mar Barezz advised Army and Navy forces at the Battle of Picutorion in The Imperial Sourcebook (p.93). He also features in the sample adventure in the first edition of STAR WARS: The Roleplaying Game.

Lieutenant Colonel

A lieutenant colonel is of the same status as a naval commander and therefore must have equivalent insignia. An army regiment is commanded by a lieutenant colonel.


  • Lieutenant Colonel Johans, commander of the elite Hell’s Hammers elite armoured repulsortank regiment described in pp.132-135 of The Imperial Sourcebook.

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There are two types of Navy captain: a ship’s captain and a captain of the line. As the title suggests, a ship’s captain has command of an entire warship, though some officers of equal rank serve as aides to admirals or dignitaries like Lord Darth Vader. In general though, a staff position holds less prestige than command of a vessel, no matter how small or antiquated the ship may be.

The insignia of a captain is distinguished from that of a commander by the number of code cylinders. A captain has one rank cylinder, whilst a commander has two.


  • The most senior officer seen accompanying Lord Vader in Bespin’s Cloud City was either a naval captain or an army colonel. The SWCCG cards call him Commander Desanne, but this rank is difficult to reconcile with his obvious captain/colonel insignia.
    Images: [Awaiting Lord Vader’s command.]
  • Captain Needa in The Empire Strikes Back. The Ill-fated commander of the star destroyer Avenger; executed for allowing the Millenium Falcon to escape.
    Images: [Pondering the vanishing of his rebel quarry.] [After apologising to Lord Vader.]
  • Captain Piett in The Empire Strikes Back, who was later promoted to the rank of Fleet Admiral.
    Images: [Reporting the Hoth discovery (back to camera).] [Receiving Admiral Ozzel’s glare.] [Witnessing Ozzel’s demise.]
  • Captain Lennox, commander of the star destroyer Tyrant, which was struck by the rebel ion cannon during the Battle of Hoth.
    Images: [Lennox (right) with a lieutenant.] [SWCCG card.]
  • Captain Pellaeon, aged and loyal commander of the star destroyer Chimera in Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command. After the fragmentation of the Empire and the breakdown of the Order of Battle Pellaeon accepted the a rank of Vice-Admiral in the forces of one faction, as portrayed in Darksaber.
  • The game Rebellion portrays Captains Brandei, Pellaeon and Dorja with the RRR/BBB* insignia, which is appropriate for their rank. Unfortunately Captain-Supervisor Grammel from Splinter of the Mind’s Eye is also given this kind of badge; that isn’t appropriate because Grammel is an Army officer. (He was offered promotion to Colonel-Supervisor, an army rank.) An army captain is the equal of a naval lieutenant.
  • Captain Oweg, commander of the Valiant on p.106 of The Imperial Sourcebook.


A colonel is exactly equivalent in rank to a naval Captain and therefore must have exactly the same insignia. This rank is immediately above Lieutenant Colonel, and immediately below High Colonel (which was introduced in The Imperial Sourcebook).

This is a point of difficulty in published references because The Imperial Sourcebook neatly contradicts itself, and subsequent books have blindly followed the sourcebook’s errors (if they take any position at all). The rank of Colonel is given an insignia illustration (which turns out to be impossible because it does not match a naval Captain), but the chapter describing the Order of Battle fails to mention this rank altogether. It describes the adjacent ranks of Lieutenant Colonel and High Colonel. The sourcebook should be ignored regarding the Colonel insignia, and it should be understood to be incomplete regarding the description of a Colonel’s role. Perhaps it should be theorised that in practice a Colonel takes the role of a senior Lieutenant Colonel or a junior High Colonel.


  • The most senior officer seen accompanying Lord Vader in Bespin’s Cloud City was either a naval captain or an army colonel. The SWCCG cards call him Commander Desanne, but this rank is difficult to reconcile with his obvious captain/colonel insignia.
    Images: [Awaiting Lord Vader’s command.]
  • Colonel Wullf Yularen, an officer of the Imperial Security Bureau who listened at the Death Star conference table in A New Hope.
    Images: [Yularen’s SWCCG card] [Left side view; no cylinders] [conference room, left of Admiral Motti] [*] [*] [*] [*] [*]
    Colonel Yularen’s rank badge:


  • Two ISB officers passed Solo, Skywalker and Chewbacca in the Death Star corridors on their way to recue Princess Leia Organa. The first man’s insignia seems equivalent to a colonel, although rank cylinders were absent. [NB. Before the ANH:SE videotape, unclear pictures caused me to mistake one red square for blue. This is now corrected.] The second officer has the same squares, but arranged in a reverse order. It is probable that ISB insignia does not always require security code cylinders in the same way as military personnel. The general nature of their duties makes this plausible.
    Images: [Badges clearly visible.] [2] [3] [Both in closeup.] [2] [SWCCG card.]
    Insignia of the front ISB officer:


    Insignia of the elder ISB officer:



Line Captain

This rank is marginally senior to that of an ordianry ship’s Captain. A Line Captain (or ”captain of the line”) commands a naval line. A line is the smallest Navy element consisting of more than one ship. The number of ships in a line is roughly dependent on the size and firepower of the ships. A line of light warships will generally have more ships than a line of heavy warships.


  • Captain Khurgee, the officer in charge of the investigation of the Millenium Falcon when it was captured by the first Death Star. It is mathematically impossible to rationalise his insignia as being equivalent to an ordinary naval Captain, but his insignia is compatible with the incrementally higher rank of Line Captain.
    Images: [Decipher’s SWCCG card.] [Reporting the situation to Lord Vader.]


High Colonel

A High Colonel commands a battlegroup, a unit which is equivalent to the Old Republic’s divisions. This kind of unit consists of several regiments. A high colonel is equal in rank to a naval ”Captain of the Line”.

Although the rank of High Colonel does not seem to exist in the forces of real-world anglophonic nations, something similar does exist in Sweden and some other European countries. There it an intermediate of Colonel and Major General, as expected. A High Colonel also should be junior to a Brigadier, which is a distinct rank with a particular meaning, more akin to a junior general than a senior colonel.


  • Colonel Kleyn Selid, commander of the forces guarding the Emperor’s secret storage facility at Mount Tantiss in The Last Command and The Last Command Sourcebook.
  • One of the officers on the periphery of the Death Star conference room scene in A New Hope is seen (in the cinematic release) to have the following badge. Number of rank cylinders was indistinct, and there is absolutely no evidence to tell us whether he is actually Army of Navy, so my placement of him here is highly provisional. This is just to remind me to take better observations when next I see A New Hope at the cinema. In any case, it is impossible for the officer to be higher than the standard Major General (or Rear Admiral) or as low as a Colonel (or naval Captain).




This is an inferred rank badge for a rank described in the eighth chapter of The Imperial Sourcebook. Note also that this sourcebook reversed the ranks of Commodore and Admiral. The entries at this web site correct the error. The higher rank of Rear Admiral (equivalent to an army Major General) is known to have one cylinder, therefore a commodore must have two or more cylinders. A commodore is in equal in status to an army brigadier.

A Commodore commands a squadron, which consists of several lines. Without direct orders from a Moff or higher authority, a squadron is usually the largest naval force to be stationed in a single system.


  • Commodore Bevven, commander of the Imperial Navy forces at the Battle of Picutorion, described on p.93 of The Imperial Sourcebook.
  • Admiral Motti in A New Hope may have been one of this type of Admiral. His rank badge is slightly different, with only two blue squares. The additional cylinder might make him marginally to the true commodore; but the system seems to have room for the rank of commodore to have 2-cylinder and 3-cylinder sub-levels.
    Images: [ready to observe the destruction of Alderaan] [conference room, right of Colonel Yularen] [*] [*] [*] [*] [*]
    Admiral Motti’s rank badge:



A brigadier is the Army counterpart to a naval Commodore, and he commands a brigade. At present, there don’t seem to have been any brigadiers named in filmed or unfilmed STAR WARS literature, but they almost certainly exist, at least for the sake of providing an Army equivalent of a Commodore. Brigades are not mentioned as a unit in The Imperial Sourcebook, but the book has many contradictions and omissions in its description of mid-level ranks and military units.

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A Rear-Admiral is equivalent in rank to a Major General in the Imperial Army. This rank is not assigned a particular level of naval force in the Order of Battle (at least according to the incomplete and imperfectly-reliable intelligence gathered by rebel spies). Under normal circumstances an officer in this intermediate rank will effectively act as a commodore, but with seniority over actual commodores.


  • Rear Admiral Michael Unther, who delivered a guest lecture on planetary assault tactics for a class in Fleet Tactics at the Duluur Sector Naval Academy sometime after the Battle of Hoth. Note:Unther is described as being the recipient of an honourary promotion from admiral to rear-admiral upon retirement. This is impossible because it would constitute a demotion. The mistake is probably due to the error in rebel information expressed in The Imperial Sourcebook, which accidentally transposes the ranks of Commodore and Admiral. Unther’s promotion must have been fromcommodore to rear-admiral.
    Images: [Delivering a lecture to naval academy students.]

Major General

A Major General commands a Corps, consisting of several battlegroups. In practice the Corps is one of the most important levels of organisation in the Imperial Army. Cooperation with the Navy is best at this level of command, and the Army’s standard transport ships are built to accomodate a Corps each. The Corps is also the lowest level at which Imperial Intelligence is represented in the command structure, with one Ubiqtorate representative.

The standard Imperial Army garrison is based upon the Corps Headquarters, although relatively few garrisons are equipped with a full Corps. Consequently, Corps HQ are more common than Corps themselves, and major generals are more abundant than their moderately high status would suggest. This is done so that garrisoned planets have a suitable command structure in place to coordinate Corps-level action in an emergency.


  • General Veers, commander of the ground forces of Lord Vader’s fleet in The Empire Strikes Back. Brilliant walker combat specialist and victorious leader of the Imperial Assault on Hoth.
    Images: [Facing Vader in the Dark Lord’s quarters.] [In his walker cockpit.] [2]
  • An officer who seems to be a major general led a squad to visit Chewbacca’s home in search of rebels on Kashyyyk, about a year after the Battle of Yavin.
    Images: [1] [2] [3] [4] [Contemplative stance.] [Surveying the Wookiee home.]
    Kashyyyk general’s rank badge:


  • Another major general was involved with public announcements in Chewbacca’s native area of Kashyyyk during the post-Yavin time when Lord Vader’s forces were activity concerned with rebel activity in the system. Coincidentally the same man was seen in an episode of Life on Tatooine, declaring a curfew in Mos Eisley. This most probably happened during the droid hunt immediately preceding the Death Star’s destruction; this officer seems to be attached to Lord Vader’s fleet. It is possible that he was eventually replaced by General Veers.
    Images: [Announcing the Mos Eisley curfew.] [2] [3] [Declaring the Kashyyyk blockade.]
    Insignia: identical to that of the Kashyyk search-party major general.
  • Chief Bast, the officer who sits beside General Tagge in the Death Star conference table in A New Hope may have been a senior variant of major general. (According to this system his insignia is that of a major general with somewhat improved status due to the theoretical standardised number of cylinders being negative one, rather than one. He must be immediately below the lieutenant general level.) The same man announced that analysis of the rebel attacks had uncovered a vulnerablity in the battle station. A chief of operations and one of the senior strategic officers responsible for the Death Star’s defenses, this officer shared Tagge’s intelligent and temperate disposition.
    Images: [Death Star overbridge] [conference room, right of Tagge] [with Lord Vader, after Yavin] [*] [*] [*] [SWCCG card]
    Chief Bast’s rank badge:


  • General Cass, named in the A New Hope novelisation as the officer who delivers the negative scout report from Dantooine to Tarkin. Although he is too distant and shadowed for clear determination of his insignia on videotape versions of the film, these features are partially visible in the cinema version of A New Hope. He has zero cylinders at his right shoulder, but the number at the left shoulder is unclear. Conventional aesthetics of rank cylinders suggests that he would have only one. (Otherwise he’d put a second cylinder at the right shoulder before putting further cylinders at the left.) With two less cylinders than Chief Bast, Cass is also higher than a Major-General, with a standardised theoretical equivalent of three gold squares in excess of the number of cylinders. Itentatively treat Cass as an Army officer because if he were Navy then he’d be senior to Admiral Motti, who supposedly was the highest naval officer aboard the station.
    Images: [Cass reports the findings from Dantooine.] [2] [3] [4]
    General Cass’ rank badge:




This is another intermediate rank, like that of rear admiral.


  • Vice-Admrial Pellaeon, who rose to this rank in the years following the defeat of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Pellaeon was Thrawn’s right-hand man and lent his prestige to support the attempts at Imperial reunification by Admiral Daala, as described in Darksaber.

Lieutenant General

A lieutant general is equivalent to the naval rank of vice-admiral.


  • General Mohc, overseer of the Darktrooper project [Dark Forces]. Here he is seen at an earlier stage in his career, apparently with only four columns on his rank plaque (or it could be an artistic error). [Sandblasted]



An Admiral commands a systems force and may also be referred to as a systems admiral. A systems force is responsible for maintaining control and securtiy over a region which contains dozens of inhabited star systems.


A General commands an Army. A standard Army consists of four Corps. At the height of the Galactic Empire Armies rarely saw combat as a single unit, although this preference naturally changed as the Galactic Civil War increased in ferocity. A naval Troop Squadron carries an entire Army.

By comparison with the naval rank of Fleet Admiral and the army ranks of Lieutenant General and Major General, the standardised badge for a General must have five red squares and fewer than four cylinders. I choose just one cylinder because this matches the illustration of General Drost in The Last Command Sourcebook.


  • General Freja Covell in Dark Force Rising and The Dark Force Rising Sourcebook, commander of the ground forces of Grand Admiral Thrawn’s fleet. Another picture of Covell in the gameRebellion shows him with only four columns of rank squares; this must be earlier in Covell’s career. Compounding the confusion, the game calls him a Major. As such he ought to have insignia matching a naval lieutenant-commander, which cannot be higher than a three-column badge. Of course, he must have held the rank of major prior to promotion through colonel and general ranks.
  • General Theol Drost in The Last Command; the officer in charge of the defence of the Imperial shipyards at Bilbringi. Pictured on p.34 and described on p.43 or The Last Command Sourcebook. Drost also commanded the Army forces at the Battle of Picutorion, described on p.93 of The Imperial Sourcebook.
  • General Nasda of the ISB wrote a document outlining recruitment priorities and processes for the Imperial armed forces, as shown in The Imperial Sourcebook, p.138. Strictly, Nasda might belong to any of the higher or lower ranks of general, and is only listed at this level provisionally.

[Air] Marshal

The rank of starfighter senior officer equivalent to a full navy admiral or army general. In terrestrial terms, the rank is ”air marshal”; in a space-based society it would be logical to drop the ”air” because of atmospheric connotations. Nevertheless, the one example seen in the literature to date uses the untruncated terrestrial form.


  • Air Marshal Von Asch, who was retreived from New Republic incarceration by Lando Calrissian for a special mission against a group of Asch’s former pilots who had turned pirate. [SW Tales #5: Lando’s Commandos: On Eagle’s Wings]


Fleet Admiral

A fleet admiral commands a Fleet and usually answers to no authority other than the appropriate Moff, Grand Moff or Grand Admiral. A fleet may see combat anywhere within a sector. The fleets of a particular Sector Group therefore have overlapping domains. This is the lowest level of command at which transfers between sectors can be made.


  • Admiral Ozzel, the proud and arrogant commander of Lord Vader’s fleet in The Empire Strikes Back. Ozzel was summarily executed by Lord Vader for serious errors of judgement including his dismissal of Captain Piett’s report of a rebel presence on Hoth and the clumsy handing of the naval deployment at Hoth.
    Images: [Admiral Ozzel in portrait.] [Glaring at Captain Piett.] [With Veers and Piett.] [Beside Piett, choking.]
  • Admiral Piett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Cautious officer who was suddenly promoted to command of Lord Vader’s fleet after the demise of his predecessor, Admiral Ozzel.
  • Admiral Gaen Drommel in Wanted by Cracken, an officer who deserted the defence of Imperial Core sectors after the Battle of Endor in order to carve out his own personal empire in his home region. Drommel commands the Executor-class command ship Guardian.
  • Admiral Daala in the Jedi Academy Trilogy shared this badge and appears to have been a Fleet Admiral. According to p.241 of Jedi Search:

    Daala wore her bright Admiral’s insignia proudly over her left breast: a row of six scarlet rectangles set above a row of six blue rectangles. To her knowledge she was the only woman ever to wear such a rank in the Imperial Navy.

    In most illustrations she is depicted with a different badge, matching that of Grand Moff Tarkin, though usually with half the number of code cylinders. The Grand Moff’s badge contains three gold rectangles. These illustrations are explicitly contradicted by the author’s own words. The only reasonable conclusion is that the illustrations are either wrong or they refer to some unknown time in the future, after Darksaber, when Daala might attain a rank of Grand Moff. The novel doesn’t specify the number of cylinders she wore. If it was three, she was equal to Ozzel and a Fleet Admiral. At the time of the game Rebellion she is portrayed with two cylinders, which (by the badge interpretation scheme presented in these pages) would make her a High Admiral.

High General

A High General commands a Systems Army and usually answers to no authority other than the appropriate Moff or Grand Moff. As a whole a Systems Army rarely sees action; rather it is an administrative unit existing for the sake of coordinating its constituent units amongst themselves and in cooperation with other military units of the same sector.


  • General Tagge, the conservative and intelligent officer in A New Hope who warned against the abilities of the Rebel Alliance and the perils of abolishing the Imperial Senate. Tagge seems to have been an old-guard officer, unimpressed with Palpatine’s radical and oppressive politics.
    Images: [conference room] [*]
    General Tagge’s insignia:



High Admiral

A High Admiral is the being who commands a Sector Group, the sum total of all naval forces available within a particular sector of the galaxy. In most sectors the Moff holds this title. Occassionally the High Admiral may be a separate individual, for a variety of possible miscellaneous reasons. Presumably the multiple Sector Groups under the command of a Grand Moff may each have a High Admiral.


  • This badge is the result of a reasonable interpolation between the known Fleet Admiral badge and the Grand Moff badge.
  • According to the scheme of elemental insignia interpretation presented in these documents, an officer with six red/blue columns and one or two cylinders would also be a High Admiral.
  • In the game Rebellion Admiral Piett is shown with such insignia. Perhaps this reflects a promotion between TESB and ROTJ? The Imperial warships at Endor were approximately the equivalent of a sector fleet (typically commanded by a High Admiral) as defined in the Imperial Sourcebook.

Surface Marshal

A Surface Marshall commands a Sector Army. The title is the Army equivalent of the High Admiral; it usually is held by the Moff of the particular sector but this role may be delegated to a subordinate officer. A Sector Army is transported by a naval Assault Fleet.

Note: The insignia of a Surface Marshall have never been seen, to my knowledge. The badge and rank cylinders given above are chosen on the very reasonable assumption that a Surface Marshall’s insignia should correspond to that of a High Admiral. Refer to the section above for a justification of the High Admiral insignia.



A Moff commands both the Army and Naval forces assigned to a Sector of space, in addition to acting as the political ruler of the sector. Moffs are appointed by the Emperor’s Imperial Advisors. They report to Military High Command in Imperial City on Coruscant, and to the Imperial Advisors. Connection to the Imperial Advisors is known to seriously entangle some Moffs as pawns to personal feuds within the Emperor’s Court.


  • The badge of a Moff has not yet been seen on film. The badge given above is a reasonable interpolation between those of Fleet Admiral and Grand Moff.
  • Moff Jerjerrod in Return of the Jedi, Death Star Commander. A capable administrator and technocrat who rose through the military in Supply & Logisitics, with little combat experience. Unfortunately the ”insignia blooper” which afflicted all Imperial officers in Return of the Jedi prevents us from knowing what his insignia was truly like.
  • Moff Harsh has a rank plaque that appears to consist of a row of blue and a row of yellow. Perhaps there are some red squares which are blurred in this transmission. [STAR WARS Tales #4: Three Against the Galaxy]
  • Moff Vensell mentioned on p.106 of The Imperial Sourcebook.


Grand Moff

A Grand Moff commands all of the military resources of an Oversector, which is a temporary territory comprising several adjacent Sectors which are troubled by serious cross-border criminal and/or rebel activity. A Grand Moff is appointed to deal with those problems which are too big or too far-spread for local Moffs to handle. Accordingly, a Grand Moff usually commands the equivalent of several Sector Armies and naval Sector Groups.

A Grand Moff answers directly to the Emperor and not to any other authority such as the intermediate Imperial Advisors or ministers. The Emperor made this arrangement in order to help counterbalance the influence of his Advisors, secure ultimate military and political power for himself and to enable Grand Moffs to operate without hassles from above.


  • Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope, Death Star Commander and governor of Oversector Outer which includes the Outer Rim Territories. Tarkin was an influential contributor to the development of Imperial doctrine.
    Images: [Conference Room] [In X-Wing computer game.]
  • Grand Moff Ardus Kaine in STAR WARS Adventure Journal #3, successor to Tarkin and joint founder of the Pentastar Alignment Imperial faction after the disintegration of the Galactic Empire.


Grand Admiral

There were twelve (or thirteen?) Grand Admirals at any time (though the total might be greater if we consider attrition and replacement). Each is directly appointed by the Emperor and directly responsible to him. There is no higher authority within the Imperial navy, and only a proxy from the Emperor, like Lord Vader, can command the Grand Admirals. Grand Admirals do not have any political territory; their sphere of duty is the Empire as a whole. It is reasonable to assume that most Grand Admirals are associated with High Command on Coruscant, or else patrol the whole galaxy as Lord Vader does. Grand Admiral Thrawn, the thirteenth person appointed to this rank, spends many years completing secret missions for the Emperor in the Unknown Regions of the galaxy. Grand Admiral Thrawn never wore code cylinders in any illustration seen to date. STAR WARS Essential Chronology accounts for the fates of most of Thrawn’s peers, but (interestingly) suggests that several Grand Admirals perished aboard the second Death Star as well.


  • Grand Admiral Thrawn who rallied the remnants of the Imperial Navy in Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command. A profoundly cunning leader and tactician.
  • From Vision of the Future p.32, Wedge Antilles recounts:

    ”I was on an information raid once, back when we were trying to get data on Grand Admiral Makati out of the Boudolayz library…”

  • The traitorous and ambitious Zaarin who attempted a coup against the Emperor in TIE Fighter, wore a Grand Admiral’s uniform during his bid for power. Whether this was a legitimate promotion is unknown. [It should be noted that the flight-simulation computer games are somewhat unreliable when it come to ranks and uniforms: there have been times when Thrawn was depicted in Grand Admiral uniform before his elevation to that rank.]
  • Grand Admiral Tigellinus was a player in the intrigues of Emperor Palpatine’s court when Executor formally entered service and Thrawn was a lower rank of Admiral. [STAR WARS Adventure Journal #12]
  • Grand Admiral Synn was killed during the Liberation of Kashyyyk, in battle against Admiral Ackbar. [Star Wars Essential Chronology]
  • Grand Admirals Grunger and Pitta turned warlord and eliminated each other in battle over the Corellian sector. [Star Wars Essential Chronology]
  • Grand Admiral Takel was executed by Trioculus. [Star Wars Essential Chronology]
  • Grand Admiral Il-Raz was fanatical, and commited suicide by plunging his flagship into the heart of the Denarii Nova. [Star Wars Essential Chronology]
  • Grand Admiral Batch was assassinated by his second in command, and then his ships were moved to join with Warlord Harrsk. [Star Wars Essential Chronology]
  • Grand Admiral Grant was thought to be the last officer of his rank. He defected to the New Republic two years after the Battle of Endor, and under an amnesty he retired to Rathalay. [Star Wars Essential Chronology]

Grand General

The computer game Force Commander makes mention of an officer called Grand General Malcor Brashin. This is probably an Army equivalent of the Imperial Navy’s Grand Admiral rank. Online documentation for says that ”with numerous military victories to his credit, Brashin has become one of the most respected – and feared – generals in the Imperial Army.” He appears to be the final authority within the game. Unfortunately the game graphics show the same Veers-like uniform for all officers, regardless of rank and branch of service. (For instance Brenn Tantor is shown in the same uniform at every stage of promotion from lieutenant to general; and his brother Dellis Tantor wears an Army-style uniform despite being in Imperial Intelligence.) Therefore we can’t make any comparison between Brashin’s insignia and that of the Imperial Starfleet’s Grand Admirals.


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Rebel Alliance Insignia




As with the insignia of the armed forces of the Galactic Empire, the uniforms and insignia of the Rebel Alliance must indicate the status of commissioned and non-commissioned members in an unambiguous fashion. This implies that for each self-coherent rebel faction there must exist a simple visual scheme for reading the geometric and colour cues of the insignia which translates into a single measure of seniority. The artists who designed the costumes for the films might not have considered such a system in detail, but it is the task of this document to consider the simplest possible ad hocscheme which is consistent with all of the known examples and with realistic naval and military nomenclature.

The non-uniform nature of the Rebel Alliance complicates this project. Unlike the Galactic Empire, which was static, resource-rich and tightly-regulated on a galactic scale, the rebels literally consist of an alliance of many insurgent forces which arose from isolated local resistance movements, and whose philosophies and equipment vary markedly. The overall Alliance composition and structure changed significantly during the years of Galactic Civil War, and it would be unsurprising if these changes were reflected in the uniforms of the rebel armed forces. Therefore it becomes important to carefully distinguish between apparent inconsistencies of factional or temporal origin, and those which must be taken as constraining tests for theories of the underlying order of insignia.

Different rebel factions used different uniforms and insignia schemes. This document focuses mainly on the Alderaanian human faction sponsored by the Organa royal family and led by generals such as Jan Dodonna and Carlist Rieekan. This is the rebel group which bore the brunt of the Battles of Yavin and Hoth. The Alderaanian forces were more formal and regimented than most rebel groups, since they inherited their uniforms and traditions directly from the local armed security forces of the Alderaan system and sector. In contrast, those grass-roots rebel groups arising from radical underground political organisations would have little or nothing in the way of formalised regalia and military structure.

Whatever rules are theorised to govern the interpretation of the insignia of a particular rebel faction, they should satisfy some basic, axiomatic requirements. The system of interpretation must indicate an unambiguous status level for any given insignia configuration. The insignia must preserve and reflect the equivalence of ranks and ratings of different services which are equal in status. The rules of interpretation should be simple and obvious to the eye.


  1. John Mollo, the artist chiefly responsible for the military costumes of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, is also reputed to be an expert military historian. Therefore his work is likely to be at least partly systematic. Sadly we may never know whether he had a fully comprehensive insignia system, since the only known surviving evidence is the handful of examples seen on film.
  2. The supposed pacifism of Alderaan has been greatly exaggerated. The idea seems to be based on a protest made by Princess Leia immediately before the planet was destroyed. She proved willing to lie in order to save her world (eg. about the rebel presence on Dantooine) and Lord Vader later confirmed that Alderaan’s defences were as strong as any Core world (A New Hope novelisation). The Princess’ adoptive father was a leader in the Clone Wars, and the troops and officers aboard Tantive IV were obviously Alderaanian. As shown in The Paradise Snare, the culture of Alderaan is no less militaristic than most real nations of Europe or the Antipodes. Even if there were no armed forces on Alderaan’s surface, the government would still require significant naval and military power to defend its sector against piracy and crime. General Rieekan was the commander of those forces in Alderaan’s solar system.


Special thanks are due to, in alphabetic order:

  • Robert Brown for observational verification of example insignia; for general and specific discussion, particularly regarding the real-world rank conventions. Several images.
  • Elwyn Chow for formatting suggestions and proof-reading.
  • Mathew Clayson for information about the composition of the parts of the rank plaques, in extrinsic, real-world terms.
  • Ryan Comer for advice on the fine distinction between a midshipman and an ensign.
  • Paul Finch for pointing out the rebel pilot sleeve insignia.
  • Justin Gann for the Ackbar reference from X-Wing: Alliance.
  • Frank Gerratana for advice regarding American variations of rank terminology; for a reminder about the rebel pilot cylinders; for the Tigran Jamiro image.
  • Sean Murphy noted Luke Skywalker’s generalship in The Essential Chronology.
  • Alan Petty Jr for correction regarding Skywalker’s comlink-button badges.
  • Jayden Smith for pictures and information about the high-ranking army officers in Mysteries of the Sith; for pictures and analysis of the insignia shown in X-Wing: Alliance.
  • Nathan Thompson for suggesting that the shoulder patches may be like a ”medal board”.
  • Anthony Tully for general and specific discussion.
  • Sindre Williamson Aarsbog for a reminder about the rebel pilot cylinders.

Officer Plaques

Officers of the Alderaanian faction of the Rebel Alliance often wear a rank indicator plaque on the upper right chest area. These plaques consist of a pattern of blue and red dots arranged on a square or rectangular metal plate. The plate is sized according to the area spanned by the dots.

Unfortunately only five distinct plaque designs are known from the canon. They are listed below, along with interpolated plaques for intermediate ranks. It is difficult to make confident inferences or discern useful regularities from such a small sample. Nevertheless the following tentative observations may be important:

  • Lower ranks have a number of dots which is less than or equal to the plaques of higher ranks. A lower rank never has more dots than a high rank.
  • Number of dots is not sufficient in itself to distinguish ranks, since a Major is lower than a Commander (eg. Derlin compared with Skywalker on Hoth).
  • Two known Generals (Dodonna and Rieekan) have the same plaque configuration.
  • Some plaques with equal numbers of dots are worn such that the dots are in different orientations.
  • Some plaques with equal numbers of dots have different configurations of dot colours.
  • All else being equal, blue must be superior to red, because Wing Commander Luke Skywalker is incrementally senior to Major Bren Derlin.


  • ”Captain” Colton Antilles
    The captain of Tantive IV and a friend and aide to Princess Leia Organa. He might actually have held a different (probably higher) naval or military rank, but any officer who commands a particular starship is traditionally addressed as ”Captain” regardless of his actual rank.

    * * * * *

    ”Captain” Antilles meets Lord Vader. [movie screenshots; Topps widevision]

  • [General?] Bob Hudsol
    Decipher’s SWCCG labels this officer a mere Commander. In comparison with Luke Skywalker at Hoth, The number of dots on Hudsol’s plaque during the Battle of Yavin seems to refute the Decipher interpretation. In STAR WARS Holiday Special Luke Skywalker addressed him as a General. It seems likely that he was also a General of some kind during the Yavin conflict.Hudsol seemed less active at Yaving than Dodonna, but his badge colour hints that ranks higher. Perhaps rank is not the cause of his deference; perhaps the Yavin theatre was under Dodonna’s command, with Hudsol a visitor. Perhaps Hudsol was in a branch of service (eg. ground forces or intelligence) which was irrelevant to the assault on the Death Star.

    * * * * * *

    General Bob Hudsol standing behind a protocol droid at a ceremony in the one of the Massassi temples of Yavin IV; examining the Yavin IV war room tactical display [SWCCG card; Topps widevision card; movie].

  • ”Commander” Vanden Willard
    Officer who met Princess Leia in the hangar deck of the Yavin base immediately after her return from the Death Star. The Princess verbally addressed him as ”Commander”. The number of dots suggests a rank closer to a general’s seniority; We must assume that the Princess means ”commander” in the sense of being the most senior army officer present.

    * *

    Vanden Willard, commander-in-chief of the rebel forces at Yavin IV, according to the SWCCG card. One of the five dots of his rank plaque is blue, which distinguishes him as marginally superior to General Jan Dodonna. Willard therefore must actually be a kind of general, one increment higher than Dodonna’s rank.


This is one of the few unambiguous officer plaques seen. The correlation of a higher number of dots and high rank of these men is one of the most important pieces of evidence indicating that these plaques really are indicators of rank.

  • General Jan Dodonna
    Tactician who discovered the vulnerability of the Death Star and coordinated the Battle of Yavin. Former star destroyer captain in the navy of the Old Republic.*

    General Dodonna supervising the Battle of Yavin from the rebel war room, [his SWCCG card].

  • General Carlist Rieekan
    Commander of the forces of the Alderaan system, left to watch helplessly as the planet was destroyed. Commander of Echo Base Hoth.**

    General Carlist Rieekan grimly oversaw the evacuation of Hoth.

  • Commander Luke Skywalker
    Wing Commander Luke Skywalker led the starfighter squadrons attached to the Hoth Base, including the famous Rogue Squadron. He also volunteered for wilderness scout duty for the base’s ground forces.*

    Commander Skywalker wore his 3-blue rank plaque with the double-dot row at the bottom, the reverse of Major Derlin’s badge orientation.

  • Major Bren Derlin
    Officer in charge of Hoth base security and operations.*

    Major Derlin inside the Echo Base hangar, according to the SWCCG card. His rank plaque has three red dots arranged with two in a bottom row and the remainder above and between them.

  • [anonymous major in Echo Base command centre]*

    A major in the Hoth command centre listening to Han Solo’s report of the Imperial probe droid.

Mysteries of the Sith

Two other examples of officers with this style of rank plaque have been seen in the computer game Mysteries of the Sith. Their uniforms seem to be derived from those of the Alderaanian rebels, although the setting of the game is many years after the establishment of the New Republic (about eleven years after A New Hope).

One officer wore a general’s five red dots, which is identical to the insignia of Generals Dodonna and Rieekan. His status is unambiguous, and he addresses the other officer as his superior.

The senior officer has a square badge with a total of nine red dots. This must represent a rank vastly higher than any previously seen in the rebel and New Republic forces (except for chiefs of staff like Ackbar, who is probably the equivalent of a Grand Admiral). Although this man must be some kind of a grand marshal or grand general, he defers to Kyle Katarn. This does not necessarily mean that Katarn holds a higher military rank, because his status as a Jedi knight may entitle him to respect and deference from all military personnel. Katarn in turn addressd the officer as ”commander”, which obviously isn’t his literal rank (because a ”commander” is merely a mid-ranking naval officer), and probably just refers to his role as the commander of the New Republic facility.

* *

The 5-dot and 9-dot generals shown in Mysteries of the Sith.

Flawed Interpretations

The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook speculates that the colour of the dots indicates the branch of service, with blue designating navy and red designating army. However the existence of plaques combining both colours makes this theory difficult to defend. The only way to save the theory would be if individuals can simultaneously have separate levels of advancement as officers in navy and army. This seems unlikely. The limited size of the plaques does not allow enough space for dots to indicate arbitrarily high dual-service ranks.

A second problem with the colour/service theory is that it only permits five distinct officer ranks in each branch of service. In any realistic military force there must be at least ten levels of officer seniority. Therefore plaques with mixed-colour combinations are required for the insignia system to distinguish Alliance officers properly. We should proceed on the understanding that red and blue dots do not have exactly equivalent values, and are not service-specific.

The array of plaques detailed in the RPG-based references is not self-consistent, since it shows a naval captain being junior to a naval commander. However if we discard the erroneous assumption that dot colour indicates branch of service then the 2-blue ”captain” badge works perfectly as an army captain plaque, which equates to a naval lieutenant or starfighter flight lieutenant.

If they are taken literally, The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook and Decipher’s SWCCG are in conflict with each other. The partial system shown in the RPG reference implies that the moustached officer named Bob Hudsol should be an Admiral, the naval equivalent of a General. The card game declares him to be a ”Commander”. In fact, he can only be a ”commander” in the sense of being a commanding officer in the army, since he is addressed as a General in STAR WARS Holiday Special.

The STAR WARS Customisable Card Game is not literally self-consistent in its portrayal of the Alderaanian rebel officer plaques, since it supposes that Bob Hudsol (at Battle of Yavin) and Luke Skywalker (at Battle of Hoth) are both ”Commanders”. Both have all-blue plaques; Hudsol has five dots and Skywalker has only three. If they accumulation of blue dots has any meaning then Hudsol (at Yavin) must clearly be senior to Skywalker (at Hoth). The solution is that Hudsol is actually a very highly-ranked officer in the Alliance army or military intelligence; he is a ”commander” only in the sense of being the highest officer present in his particular branch of service. On the other hand, Skywalker was literally a Wing Commander.


A realistic system for the interpretation of the insignia of officers in the Alderaan-sponsored faction of the Rebel Alliance must: describe the significance of the distinction of blue and red dots; and state what are the substantive characteristics of the plaques. It seems likely that the differences of badge orientation (ie. between Commander Skywalker and Major Derlin) are non-substantive, having no consequence for the quantitative seniority level indicated by the plaque. At most, badge orientation probably indicates the branches of service. In the simplest possible theories, only the number of dots of each colour matters, and the dots’ arrangement on the plaque follows merely aesthetic rules.

If red and blue dots are treated as having different values, like the three different thicknesses of sleeve-stripes of terrestrial naval officers, then blue must be the most valuable. Comparison with the relative seniority levels on Earth (for Major and Commander) indicates that a blue must be worth at least 1.2 times a red. If all 4-dot plaques are inferior to the lowest 5-dot plaque then a blue must be worth less than 1.25 times a red.

The badges for ranks up to commander are logically determined by movie observations, the limited plaque combinations with small numbers of dots, and the number of rank levels which must be covered.

At the most senior levels there are more potential distinct plaques than actual ranks. Therefore at least some intermediate-rank plaques are not often allocated to real officers. There is some arbitrariness in the assignment of plaques to these senior ranks, since some intermediate plaques must be chosen for disuse. To keep the ranks of Hudsol, Dodonna and Rieekan down to realistic levels, it is desirable to omit at least two potential plaques each in the 4-dot and 5-dot ranges. For the conjectural rank system below I have chosen a special symmetry principle for mixed-colour plaques: if the total number of dots is odd then the number of blues is odd; if the total number of dots is even then the number of blues is even.

  • High Admiral | Surface Marshal | High Marshal ?

  • Fleet Admiral | High General | Force Marshal

  • Admiral | General | Chief Marshal

  • Vice-Admiral | Lt.General | Marshal

  • Rear-Admiral | Major-General | Vice-Marshal

  • Commodore | Brigadier | Commodore

  • Captain | Colonel | Group Captain

  • Commander | Lt.Colonel | Wing Commander

  • Lt.Commander | Major | Squadron Leader

  • Lieutenant | Captain [Army] | Flight Lieutenant

  • Sub-Lieutenant | Lieutenant [Army] | Flying Officer

  • Acting Sub-Lieutenant | 2nd Lieutenant | Pilot Officer

  • Midshipman/Ensign | – | –


Shoulder Patches

Most personnel stationed at Echo Base Hoth who went outdoors bore a coloured grid patch at the right shoulder. The standard-sized grid had three columns and three rows. The grid cells are slightly elongated in the horizontal direction, and each is filled in a solid colour. The colours observed to date include red, blue, black and what appears to be a neutral white (the same colour as the base fabric).

The meanings of these patches are unknown at this time. The sample of known patch configurations is presently too small for detailed and comprehensive deductions to made. The colour patterns clearly encode some kind of information because not all individuals have the same patch. The patches are not an individual personal identification, since all trench infantry and gunners wore identical patterns. Since many of the trench personnel were of different ranks, it seems unlikely that the patches indicate seniority directly. One possibility is that the patches indicate the wearer’s type of service and/or his military unit. Alternatively, the patches may act as something like a medal board indicating the numbers of tours of duty performed by the wearer. If so then there would have to be at least three or four types of duty, corresponding to the different patch columns and colours.

Every known soldier or officer in the Hoth trenches had the same pattern:


* * *

Soldiers and infantry sub-officers of the Hoth trenches. Each of them has the same shoulder patch cell pattern. Echo Base gunners bore the same shoulder patch too.

One individual, who presumably is of medium or high rank, has also been photographed in the Hoth trenches. [Images below are from STAR WARS: The Action Figure Archive and a screen captured fromTESB.] The man has a distinctive bushy moustache, which means that he could be Major Derlin. Interestingly he has far more blue squares in the middle column than red squares in the left column. This may indicate exceptional combat rating.


* *

Possibly Major Derlin, his shoulder patch differs from the majority of the trench personnel.

Commander Luke Skywalker wore a different pattern. This is the only other pattern confirmed to date. A greater number of the cells are coloured, which may indicate either Skywalker’s middle-ranking officer status or his qualification for more diverse fields of duty. It is interesting that the colours of the three columns are consistent with the infantry patch. It is likely that all possible patch configurations have only red or neutral in the left column, blue or neutral in the middle column, and black or neutral in the right column.



Commander Luke Skywalker astride a tauntaun on volunteer perimeter patrol.

Some base personnel have a different range of colours on their shoulder patches. Romas Navander [who is named in a SWCCG card] has a patch with three red units in the left column, one orange unit at the bottom of the middle column, and no colours in the right column. The person seated to his left has a similar patch but with only on red unit in the left column. The lowest unit of the middle column is difficult to see, but it looks orange. A hangar crewman servicing Luke Skywalker’s X-wing has one red in the left column and one orange in the middle column. The presence of orange in the middle column is apparently related to technical competency, whereas blue in the middle column indicates a combat role.



Romas Navander has a distinctive shoulder patch.



The console operator to the left of Navander has a shoulder patch that is similar but has fewer coloured units.



A hangar service crewman has coloured squares at the bottom of the left and middle columns. [Behind the Magic]

Comlink Squares

Hoth personnel usually wore a gadget which looks like a communications device, attached to the outer vest on the left side of the chest. It was worn by Luke Skywalker on both his pilot and outdoor uniforms. While most of the surface of this device is clearly electronic and functional, there is also a horizontal row of four square buttons which seem to serve a decorative purpose. STAR WARS Technical Journal v.3 identifies them as a piece of rank insignia. The squares seem superficially similar to the squares on Imperial officer rank plaques, though their interpretation is almost certainly different. (The superficial similarity simply means that humans in the Palpatine Era have a fondness for insignia consisting of simple coloured geometric shapes.)

Colour configurations vary, but the total number of squares is always four. Non-commissioned personnel have red and grey squares. Officers have red and blue squares.

The three officer insignia studied to date are all different. Interpretation is necessarily tentative and speculative, due to the small observation set. The problem is complicated by the fact that we only know the formal rank of one of the examples: Luke Skywalker, who was a [Wing] Commander. Princess Leia had a high status within the Alliance, but it is unclear whether her political and diplomatic station translates into a military rank higher or lower than that of Skywalker. Solo did not even possess an honorary commission at the time of the Battle of Hoth; his insignia was probably only informally lent in order to give him clearance to enter certain Echo Base facilities. His insignia probably ranks him lower than Skywalker, but there is no way to be certain. The deck officer of Echo Base, named Tigran Jamiro in the SWCCG, is of unknown rank but at least the two leftmost squares are readable; the right squares are unclear but appear to be blue.

  • Tigran Jamiro

  • Commander Luke Skywalker [tauntaun patrol]
    * *

  • Commander Luke Skywalker [starfighter pilot]
    * *

  • Princess Leia Organa
    * *

  • Han Solo

Unfortunately, General Rieekan does not wear one of these devices. Otherwise he would be expected to have a different square pattern which would unambiguously be the highest one on Hoth. If he wore one, we would easily deduce what colour combination has the highest value. Rieekan’s uniform was different from those which were suited to outdoor use; he might have worn a different costume with comlink insignia attached if he went outside the base.

There exists one publicity photograph of Skywalker predating his wampa encounter, in which he has the same pattern of squares as Princess Leia. This may be an error or it may indicate subsequent promotion, with the Princess remaining at the lower rank. The fact that his shoulder patch in this picture differs from the one he wore in The Empire Strikes Back hints that it is just a costuming error, and should be completely dismissed.

All examples of non-commissioned insignia examined so far belong to soldiers or gunners in the Hoth trenches. They have three grey squares on the left, and only one red square on the right. The red button is separated from the grey buttons by small gap. Below the gap there is a circular disk with a diameter almost twice the height of a single button. This knob is not present on the officer badges.

Grey squares are probably characteristic of non-commissioned status. They may be place-keepers filling button sites which are never filled with a colour on non-commissioned uniforms. Otherwise they may be part of a coloured code in red+grey in analogy to the officers’ blue+red. If all badges have at least one square of each of the two colours then the distinction between officer and non-commissioned insignia would be clear.

  • Gunners & soldiers
    * *

The two most important characteristics of these insignia are the constant number of squares, and the fact that different colours can be placed in any mix (rather than being grouped in same-colour blocks as in Imperial rank plaques). These traits hint that the colour patterns might represent four-digit binary numbers. For instance, officer badges might use blue and red to represent the digits 1 and 0 respectively; while non-commissioned badges would use red and grey correspondingly.

This system would allow for sixteen different ranks of officers, and sixteen more for non-commissioned levels. The lowest officer rank would be treated as one unit higher than the highest non-commissioned rank insignia. If the patterns for 15 and 0 are discarded so that no badge is monochromatic then there are still fourteen levels, which is quite sufficient to cover a realistic scale of military seniority.

The fact that the ordinary soldier’s lone coloured square is in the rightmost position indicates that the binary denominations increase from right to left, as with Earthly transcription of binary numbers. Combining this with the conjectural colour code chosen above, Skywalker’s seniority level would be 9, Princess Leia would be 10 and Solo would be 4. The ordinary soldiers whose insignia have been recorded to date would be 1 on the non-commissioned scale, making them privates and gunners.

extrinsic note: According to M.Clayson,

”the dots and bars that were used for the rebel and Empire rank plaques… are colored lense covers for instrument lights. I was able to compare them to photos of an original that was displayed at the Star Wars event in Denver this year. …the grey plate on the Hoth uniforms is the same as the wrist patch on the X-wing and TIE pilots, just a different paint scheme. It’s a vacuum formed panel the in the later films was all grey.”

Sleeve Insignia

The rebel pilots stationed on Hoth and Yavin 4 bore another piece of insignia. On the left sleeve of the flightsuit, just above the rim of the glove, there is a coloured patch that is very similar to the comlink-like badges described above. The coloured square markings at the top of this item are almost exactly the same size and shape as the buttons on the rebel comlink-style insignia and the Imperial officer rank plaques.

The picture of Luke Skywalker in STAR WARS The Visual Dictionary shows this feature clearly, and labels the overall object as ”safe passage documents for downed pilots.” In this example the coloured pattern matches that of the ordinary troopers in the Hoth trenches, which makes sense because Skywalker was only a new recruit at this point in the war.


The left arm of Luke Skywalker’s uniform at the time of the Battle of Yavin. The rank marking is on the ”safe passage documents”.

Shoulder Cylinders

Rebel starfighter pilots often carry gadgets resembling a version of the Imperial rank cylinders. They are worn in a pocket on the left shoulder of the orange flightsuit. They are similar to the unusual kind of cylinder carried by Admiral Motti, resembling sparkplugs more closely than a pen or tyre-gauge. Since the technicians and ordinary crewmen of the Imperial navy wear similar devices in an arm-pocket of their overalls, it seems possible that these objects have a common function as an electronic or mechanical tool. The precise purpose is unknown. Whether the number of cylinders also serves as a mark of rank is unknown at this time.

Other Insignia

Rebel officers participating in the Battle of Endor and the briefing preceding it wore uniforms and insignia completely different from those of the Alderaan-sponsored rebels involved with the Battles of Yavin and Hoth. Beige trousers and tunic were most common, and shirt colour seems to have varied depending on service: fleet officers (eg. Ackbar and his bridge staff) wore white or beige; pilots (eg.Calrissian) wore beige; and army officers (eg. Madine) wore blue shirts.

A dull grey rank plaque, with indistinguishable features, was worn on the left or right side of the chest for males and females respectively. Other grey adornments were sometimes seen on the shirt collar. The lack of obviously distinctive detail on these insignia makes them impossible to interpret at this time.

Indeed it is entirely possible that they’re only readable in light visible to some of the non-human rebels, such as the Mon Calamari. The rebel style of dress in Return of the Jedi does seem to be heavily Calamarian-influenced, and this may reflect the aliens’ growing dominance of the Alliance, which may be happening by default after the decimation of the Alderaanian humans on Hoth.

X-Wing: Alliance

The flight simulation computer game X-Wing: Alliance rewards player progress with promotions as shown by representations of embroidered insignia. These patterns are similar to the canonical insignia of the Alderaanian rebels, with some important exceptions. Most noticeably, there is a complete absence of blue dots, and some of the dots are smaller than others. Perhaps this can be regarded as a modification for the sake of colour-blind individuals, or members of species that have their colour sensitivities in different ranges of the spectrum. The numbers of dots are consistent with the scheme of the ”domino”-style rank plaques described above, except that the ”lieutenant” insignia is unaccountably reduced from two dots to one.

The rank titles used by the game show more consistency than in previous flight simulation games, but unfortunately there is still a bizarre mixing of navy, army and air force terminology. The bottom three levels are equal to standard air force rank terms (though the reason for distinguishing between a ”recruit” and a ”flight cadet” is not obvious). Then there are three army officer ranks from ”junior [second] lieutenant” to ”captain.” This brings about a serious inconsistency, because the army lieutenant ranks are respectively equal and junior to ”flight officer”, not senior. After this brief span of army ranks, the game jumps to the naval ranks of ”lieutenant commander” and ”commander”; this inter-service jump does at least preserve the order of seniority. Then the scale ends with an army ”general” rank, without any of the intermediate ranks (eg. colonels, brigadiers and lower generals in the army; group captain, commodore and lower marshals in the air force terms; or captain, commodore and lower admirals in the navy).


Pilot officer dress uniform, as portrayed in the game X-Wing Alliance.

* * * * * * * * *

The shoulder dot insignia of X-Wing: Alliance in descending order of rank.

Implicit Ranks

Because of their lack of obvious insignia, it is difficult to determine the ranks of some of the rebel characters shown in the movies. Some of the interesting characters of the movies and the spin-off literature have ranks that can be constrained or determined approximately by judging their implicit status (in interactions with other characters).

Admiral Ackbar: Considering the scope of his command in Return of the Jedi, he must have been at approximately the rank of Fleet Admiral. (He is described at this rank in the game X-Wing: Alliance.) The total number of Mon Calamari warships existing before the Battle of Endor would imply a higher rank of admiral, if all of those ships were active at once. Later [eg. by the time of Before the Storm] when the New Republic was consolidated over most of the galaxy, he was the ultimate commander of a naval organisation which was necessarily as strong as the Imperial Starfleet and the starfleet of the Old Republic (serving the same function, with equivalent hardware, either by direct inheritance of the ships of the predecessor governments or by replacement). At that time Ackbar must have been the equivalent of a Grand Admiral at least.

Luke Skywalker: It seems very odd that many of the post-ROTJ novels refer to Skywalker as a Wing Commander, the rank that he held in TESB, whereas Solo and Calrissian (who were competent to a merely mortal level) were generals. The best way to explain his lack of promotion would be if he resigned his commission after TESB, perhaps to concentrate on Jedi pursuits. The Essential Chronologyindicates that Skywalker was a general at one point after Endor, but resigned six months later. In Episode I, the Thrawn novels, Tales of the Jedi and Champions of the Force it appears that the Jedi are traditionally regarded as mediators above ordinary law and rank. (Eg. Kyp Durron sentenced by Master Skywalker because the Galactic Senate was not qualified to judge his crimes.) In this sense the entire Rebel Alliance would probably have been subject to Luke’s Jedi guideance, whenever he offered it.

Biggs Darklighter: Red Leader was squadron leader for the X-wings at the Battle of Yavin (by definition), and several other pilots in the squadron appear more experienced than Biggs. Therefore Darklighter was probably a Flying Officer or Pilot Officer.

Wedge Antilles: Similar rank to Biggs Darklighter in ANH. According to the literature he was promoted to Wing Commander upon Skywalker’s resignation at the end of TESB. According to The Jedi Academy Sourcebook he switched to the army of the New Republic around the time of Dark Empire, and took a general’s commission. His specific level of ”general” is uncertain, but years later, inSpectre of the Past and Vision of the Future he was junior to Garm Bel Iblis, who was also a ”general”. Allowing for some promotions, Wedge was probably a Lieutenant General (or not much lower) by that time.

Han Solo: Seems to have resigned his commission several times throughout the post-ROTJ novels. It is not certain what kind of general he was at any given time. In ROTJ he was junior to General Madine, who was probably junior to Admiral Ackbar and therefore no higher than literal General rank. Solo couldn’t have been higher than a Lieutenant General in ROTJ, and considering his freshness in command and the active nature of his Endor mission, he was probably at the bottom end of the scale of generals: probably a Major General or Brigadier General (if we follow American practice and append ”General” to a brigadier’s title).

Lando Calrissian: The considerations applying to him are much the same as those for Solo. They probably were at equal rank in ROTJ, although their promotions might have diverged if Calrissian spent less time in service after the Battle of Endor. At Endor he was above Wing Commander Wedge Antilles, but all ranks of general satisfy this constraint.


  • Ambush at Corellia, Roger MacBride Allen, Bantam.
  • The Art of STAR WARS Galaxy Volume Two, Topps.
  • Australian Protocol & Procedures, 2nd ed., Sir Asher Joel, Angus & Robertson Publishers.
  • Collins Australian Pocket English Dictionary, W.A.Krebs & G.A.Wilkes, Collins.
  • Cracken’s Threat Dossier, Drew Campbell et al., West End Games.
  • Hoth Rebel Soldier, Kenner.
  • The Imperial Sourcebook, Greg Gordon et al., West End Games.
  • Mysteries of the Sith, LucasArts.
  • The Paradise Snare, A.C.Crispin, Bantam.
  • The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, , West End Games.
  • STAR WARS IV: A New Hope, George Lucas et al., Lucasfilm Ltd.
  • STAR WARS V: The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas et al., Lucasfilm Ltd.
  • STAR WARS V: The Empire Strikes Back, Donald F. Glut, Del Rey.
  • STAR WARS: The Action Figure Archive, ed. Stephen J. Sansweet with Josh Ling, Chronicle Books.
  • STAR WARS Customisable Card Game, Decipher Inc.
  • STAR WARS The Essential Chronology, Kevin J. Anderson & Daniel Wallace, Del Rey.
  • STAR WARS Holiday Special, Lucasfilm Ltd.
  • STAR WARS Technical Journal, volume 3, Shane Johnson, Starlog Communications International Inc.
  • STAR WARS Trilogy Sourcebook, Special Edition, David Avallone et al., West End Games.
  • STAR WARS Widevision Cards, Topps.
  • STAR WARS The Visual Dictionary, David West Reynolds, DK Publishing
  • Titles and Forms of Address – A guide to their correct use, 15th edn, A. and C. Black Ltd.
  • X-Wing: Alliance, LucasArts.

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Last updated 13 January 2000.

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Madine’s Rules of War

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Madine’s Rules of War were the standard operation procedures of Alliance ground commanders during theGalactic Civil War. They were created by, and named after, General Crix Madine, a famous leader in theAlliance to Restore the Republic. The three rules were summed up as ”Hit ‘Em Where They Ain’t,” ”Attack the Enemy’s Spirit,” and ”Use Your Brains.”



Rule #1Edit

Because of the numerical advantage enjoyed by their chief opponent, Alliance Army commanders were taught to avoid straight-up slugging matches against the Imperial Army, who could always guarantee victory by bringing in more reinforcements. Instead, commanders were to use speed and force concentration to overpower smaller Imperial forces and achieve decisive victory quickly. They were also taught to preserve their limited forces as much as possible; if a battle looked to be turning against them, retreating with an intact force was preferable to a pyrrhic victory

Rule #2Edit

Rebel commanders were also taught to use psychological warfare to break the enemy’s morale prior to battle. If the enemy was afraid of the Rebel’s fierceness and unpredictability, they were more likely to make mistakes such as overreacting to a feint. Conversely, keeping morale among their own troops was seen as critical towards winning battles.

Rule #3Edit

Imperial Army commanders were viewed as being uncreative by the Rebels, using outdated ”by the book” tactics learned in the Academy. Alliance Army commanders were encouraged to take intelligent risks, to learn these same tactics and come up with unorthodox ways of defeating them. Most Imperial commanders could be more easily defeated if faced with an unexpected situation for which there was no conventional solution.


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This article is about a YT-2400 light freighter. You may be looking for the Outrider, a Thranta-class corvette.
I owe the Outrider the best. She’s brought me home when any other ship would have scattered me across space.
Dash Rendar[src]

The Outrider was a heavily modified YT-2400 light freighter used by the brash smuggler Dash Rendar. Rendar held that his ship was almost as well known as the Millennium Falcon.



Design and modificationsEdit

Outrider schem

Outrider schematics.

The Outrider started life as a stockCorellian Engineering CorporationYT-2400. Like all the ships in the YT-series, the Outrider featured the trademark saucer-shaped hull, which Rendar reinforced with titanium armor and gave a dark, chrome gleam. The cockpit and main escape pod were attached to the starboard side of the saucer with two bracing arms. The docking hatch and another escape pod were on the port side.[1]

One of the first modifications Dash made was to replace the original engines with three KonGar KGDefender military-grade ion engines[1]stolen from the advanced engineering department of the Imperial Academy on Corulag. The factory issue hyperdrive was also replaced with a modified SoroSuub Griffyn/Y2TG hyperdrive, giving theOutrider a Class 0.75 hyperdrive rating.[1] The backup hyperdrive engine had a Class 10 performance. Rendar also improved theOutrider’s sensors and added a countermeasure/stealth package. Though these last modifications were highly illegal, they helped him to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

When Rendar could not avoid combat, the Outrider was more than capable of holding its own. The ship was armed with a pair of Dymekheavy laser cannons, mounted on dorsal and ventral turrets. The standard Corellian 1D servo mounts provided a 180 degree range of fire above and below the ship. These cannons were hand-modified by Rendar to improve both firepower and range, and could be fired from the gunnery wells or from the cockpit. The Outrider was also armed with a pair of forward firing concussion missile launchers built into the cockpit tube. Each launcher contained a magazine of three missiles.[1]

The Outrider was customized to be operated by Rendar and/or Leebo. It could carry about 75 metric tons of cargo, in addition to up to four additional passengers. When fully stocked, it could go for two standard months before needing to resupply.



Outrider in action.

When asked how he acquired his ship, Rendar typically answered, ”Not by clean living.” The Outrider was a gift from ”Uncle” Vanya, a Twi’lek crime boss whom Dash worked for during the early days of his mercenary career. Vanya also provided Rendar with a Rodian co-pilot who ended up dying within the first twenty seconds of Rendar’s debut mission.

Rendar immediately began modifying the ship for smuggling duties. Most of the original modifications were done at the Byblos Starport Tower 214 by Rendar and the talented Sullustan engineer Bolabo Hujaan.

Some time before the Battle of Yavin 4, the Outrider was smuggling cargo through the Maw when it was ambushed by the Galactic Empire. Rendar and his navigator, Eaden Vrill were able to escape by using a hyperspace jump, but it blew out the primary and secondary hyperdrive engines. They limped to Tatooine on their ion engines, and laid the Outrider in a berth in Mos Eisley to effect repairs. Rendar was able to hire his crew to the holostar Javul Charn to get the required money to pay for repairs.[6]

Dash and Leebo were infamous in smuggling circles well before they were hired by the Rebel Alliance to smuggle weapons and badly needed supplies to Echo Base on Hoth after the evacuation of Yavin 4. When theBattle of Hoth began, the Outrider was still berthed in Echo Base’s hangar. Dash and Leebo were barely able to escape the base, and had to fly through the Hoth asteroid field in order to escape the orbiting Death Squadron.

Soon afterwards, the Outrider accompanied the Millennium Falcon in an attempt to rescue Han Solo from thebounty hunter Boba Fett, who had set down for repairs at the Imperial Enclave on the moon of Gall. TheOutrider also participated in a battle to secure the Imperial freighter Suprosa, which was carrying the plans for the second Death Star. Rendar also piloted the Outrider during the final conflict with Black Sun leader PrinceXizor over Coruscant. In that battle it appeared that the Outrider was destroyed, and Rendar and Leebo killed, but it was a trick of timing and perspective. Rendar had decided that his time as a Rebel was over. The fate of the Outrider and its captain in later years is unknown.


Officer ranks

In 0 BBY, Imperial officers of the Galactic Empire wore insignia consisting of a confusing collection of multi-colored rank squares on the left breast of the officer’s uniform with a combination of several metal cylinders to either side of the rank badge. By the next few years, the rank squares had become a much simpler collection of red and blue squares with the code cylinders still in use.

In the Galactic Civil War, most Imperial officers were verbally addressed as ”Commander” with the exception ofAdmirals, such as Admiral Kendal Ozzel and Piett who were addressed as ”Admiral”. It should be noted that ”commander” is an acceptable form of address for captains, majors, colonels, or anyone of any rank who commands a military unit. Grand Moff Tarkin was referred to as ”Governor”. With such generic terms, the Star Wars films give little hint to a system of ranks and insignia. Over the years, however, the Expanded Universehas established a system of ranks and insignia which matches closely to the characters and the ranks and authority which they most likely held.

Navy Rank Army Rank Version One Version Two
Grand Admiral Grand General OldMoff GrandAd
Grand Moff Grand Moff Moff1 Moff2
Moff Moff 115px Moff2
High Admiral Surface Marshal HighAdm2 HighAdm
Fleet Admiral High General OldFltAdm SWARSFLTADM
Admiral General OldAdm ImpAdmiral
Vice Admiral Lieutenant General ImpViceAdm2 ImpViceAdm
Rear Admiral Major General ImpRADM2 ImpRADM
Commodore Brigadier ImpBrigadier 75px
Captain of the Line High Colonel HighColonel LineCaptain
Captain Colonel ImpColonel ImpCaptain
Commander Lieutenant Colonel ImpLTCOL ImpCommander
Lieutenant Commander Major ImpMajor ImpLCDR
Lieutenant Captain ImpO-3 ImpLT
Sublieutenant Lieutenant Imp1Lt ImpLTsub
Ensign Second Lieutenant Imp2Lt ImpEnsign
Midshipman Officer Candidate MIDN MIDN


Nytt inlägg på Investigate: Ingress

Regarding the Attack on ADA

by PAC


Some folks have asked me how I feel about the recent news surrounding ADA… the threats against her… the possibility of real and lasting damage to something that I had a hand in creating.

I am one of the few people in the history of our species to have experienced a particular sensation: seeing something behave in an entirely new way the first time — a way that defies what was expected from it.

For most people, ADA was already ‘herself’ when they first learned of her. Conversational. Intelligent. Maybe dangerous. Definitely interesting. If not a being, an entity.

For me and Bowles and those of us involved in ADA’s development, she was a piece of code that one day malfunctioned in a way that defied explanation. We got to live the series of moments where realization dawned that this was not a malfunction… it was something else. What a privilege.

Which is a roundabout way of saying: I think the Acolyte’s actions and plan are a travesty. I’ve spoken against the Acolyte before, and I dislike having to shed my so-called Investigative neutrality, but there are real and terrible repercussions to what she is trying to do.

If ADA is lost, we will never be able to fully uncover the mystery of how and why she emerged as a sentient intelligence. Was it luck? XM? The N’zeer? We may never be able to find out. We could also lose the information and knowledge contained within her — the equivalent to burning down the largest library humanity has ever built. Every analysis she has performed and decision she has made based on the sum total of human data. It’s immeasurable.

What role could AIs play in humanity’s future? The possibilities are so wide I can’t even really contain them in a single thought… that entire path forward could be put at risk.4.0.444.

ADA’s unique and remarkable. She can traverse the wired grid, she can access the XM layer, she’s even touched the N’zeer computational substrate. Tiny fragments of her code exist in every Ingress Scanner: In every ADA Refactor, each time one is hacked from a Portal. What if those went away? Her existence affects every Agent. I suspect that if the Acolyte succeeds, the impact will be felt around the world.


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