The 25 most influential Star Wars characters

Composite: Dork Side of the Force.
Composite: Dork Side of the Force. /
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Grand Moff Tarkin
Grand Moff Tarkin (played by Peter Cushing) in Star Wars. Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm. /

8. Grand Moff Tarkin

If you’re important enough to have a doctrine named after you, it’s safe to say you hold some influence. That’s why Grand Off Tarkin makes this list, but it isn’t the sole reason. As portrayed by Peter Cushing in A New Hope, this character is iconic.

The Tarkin Doctrine is what bumped Tarkin up to Grand Moff status. It endorses “rul[ing] through the fear of force.” That mantra became crucial for the Empire to keep its hold on the galaxy; citizens of many worlds feared the Empire, particularly after learning what it had done to planets like Alderaan. Bending to the will of the Empire is better than dying or watching your loved ones die.

Like Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin is a fantastic Star Wars villain. He’s ruthless and can think strategically, useful when you’re in command of the Death Star. Without Tarkin, one could argue that the Empire wouldn’t have been as powerful and terrifying a force as it was.