14. Grand Moff Tarkin
Tarkin is not a particularly impactful character. He doesn’t do anything cool in A New Hope, and mostly he just issues commands to his people and then does nothing. So why is he high on this list?
The big thing is his role in the movie. We know nothing about who he is or where he comes from. All we know is that he seems to be able to control Darth Vader. Think about this in the context of the first movie, seeing it for the first time. There is this evil looking guy with magical powers and a scary voice, who suggests that his power is so immense that it is hard to fathom.
This military man, who seems like a normal person, has the ability to command that power. That’s…really freaking cool, and it adds to the mystery of Vader and the Force. Again, for a series that relies a lot on guys with superpowers and futuristic weapons, the role of money and politics in villains makes those characters very interesting.
Peter Cushing also plays the part very well. He has a very hollow face and bland look. He’s quiet and calculating, on top of being just as merciless and cruel as those more powerful villains.
Very few characters in the Star Wars universe make an impact through subtlety. Tarkin is one person who is quietly very interesting, and that gives him a boost on the list.
Next: 13. The Original Clone Trooper