We rank the 50 most memorable Star Wars deaths ever

21 of 51

31. Governor/Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin

When Did They Die? Episode IV: A New Hope

Who Were They: An influential military governor of the Empire’s Outer Rim systems

How Did They Die: Exploded along with the rest of the Death Star by Luke Skywalker’s well-aimed proton torpedoes

The punishment of hubris is a fairly common trope is almost all storytelling. In the Star Wars universe, there is perhaps no better example of it than Governor Tarkin.

Confident and merciless, Tarkin went about his business as commander of the first Death Star as effectively as Palpatine could have hoped for. The destruction he ordered reaped on Leia’s home planet of Alderaan was due to be just the beginning. Tarkin and the Death Star were to control the galaxy through sheer force of will. To repurpose Teddy Roosevelt’s line, Tarkin was to talk loudly while carrying that big stick.

He talked so loudly, it turned out, that he immediately dismissed the possibility of the Rebel Alliance using stunt fighters to take down his battle station. Even as Luke, Wedge Antilles and the Millennium Falcon raced down the trench to the exhaust port, he still didn’t order an evacuations. Only in the instant before Luke’s proton torpedoes reached the Death Star’s center did he perhaps regret his confidence.

Next: 30. Wampa