We rank the 50 best Star Wars characters of all-time

28 of 51

24. Grand Moff Tarkin

Major Appearances

  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
  • Tarkin (Book)

Best Moment

His greatest moment wasn’t real a moment as much as it was a form of control. As we learned throughout the Star Wars story, Darth Vader is a king badass, but Tarkin had him on a leash like no one else other than the Emperor did. Vader strangled admirals and killed children, but Tarkin had him whipped as whipped can be. That’s OG respect, right there.

Worst Moment

Tarkin wasn’t the only victim of hubris in the Star Wars universe, but he certainly didn’t learn from any of the past instances of this playing a role in the deaths of some powerful people. Tarkin wasn’t drunk on power, but he also believed too blindly in the Death Star as a tool to control the galaxy. You don’t leave an exhaust port the size of a proton torpedo exposed and consider yourself competent.


Like a lot of Star Wars villains, Tarkin was a one-off who didn’t make it through the movie he was in.

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But beyond the cool factor he had in A New Hope, Peter Cushing and his connection to the Hammer horror films of the 50s and 60s helped bring credibility to his role and added longevity to it long after he was killed off and long after he died in real life.

Next: 23. Admiral Thrawn