By: Mike Audette
What is it about the Star Wars saga that makes it's numerous villains somewhat, likeable? For me it's the way they are created. Recently I've come to have a new favorite character. Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. Only second behind Obi-Wan Kenobi, Tarkin's status as a favorite character largely came to realization after reading James Luceno's brilliant new novel, Tarkin.
In the novel we learn of young Tarkin's upbringing on the Outer Rim planet of Eriadu. Born into a wealthy, ruling class family, Tarkin grew up a life of privilege. What he had yet to learn was how to live like a "beast."
One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from a line said by Tarkin's Grand-Uncle Jova:
"Never try to live decently, boy—not unless you're willing to open your life to tragedy and sadness. Live like a beast, and no event, no matter how harrowing, will ever be able to move you."
From this quote alone you can see how the Tarkin we see onscreen in A New Hope, The Clone Wars, and Rebels, came to be. There is a rite of passage that every Tarkin needs to complete before they are considered to be a man.
Led by his Grand-Uncle Jova and a group of other guides, Young Wilhuff is taken out to the Carrion Plateau where him and the others go through numerous trials, fighting beasts, and doing whatever it takes to survive. I won't go into details to spoil the book but I highly recommend picking it up.
Tarkin's coldness, cunning, and sheer determination of will are just some of the attributes that make him such an intriguing character. In a Galaxy full of Jedi, Sith, Bounty Hunters, and more, Tarkin's power as just being an ordinary human being make him that much more special.
The performances of Peter Cushing and Stephen Stanton in, A New Hope and The Clone Wars and Rebels respectively, do an absolutely wonderful job capturing the characters heir of judgement, superiority, and ruthlessness.
So what do you think? Do you have an affinity for the Grand Moff as I do, or do you hate him as much as Princess Leia when shes in his clutches on the Death Star? Let me know on Twitter or comment below!