A New Hope served as the film that started a lot of things within the Star Wars universe. One of those objectives is fan debates, and the one we’ll answer today is whether Grand Moff Tarkin knew that Anakin Skywalker was Sith Lord Darth Vader.
In Star Wars, there was no love lost between Sith Lord Darth Vader and Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. The pair’s first interaction came during the Clone Wars, which had their working partnership end on a sour note.
What was that event you might ask? Well, the then-Admiral of the Republic Navy almost had Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, executed for something she didn’t do.
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While all this is dandy, did Tarkin, a loyal supporter of Palpatine, know Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader to be the same person?
[Please note this article only contains information from Canon material]
The conflict that started it all
Anakin Skywalker and Wilhuff Tarkin were two very different men. One was a celebrated Jedi Knight and dubbed ‘the Chosen One’ as he would bring balance to the Force. The other served the Republic Navy as a vocal supporter of Chancellor Sheev Palpatine.
Skywalker and Tarkin go head-to-head when Ahsoka is framed by Barriss Offee for the murder of Letta Turmond and the bombing of the Jedi Temple hangar. The man who once served with Jedi Master Even Piell became the prosecutor that almost had the teenager executed.
Tarkin’s treatment of the Padawan rubbed Skywalker the wrong way. The Hero without Fear never forgot what happened. When he became Vader, the hate he had for the Palpatine supporter festered into his relationship he forged with the Moff.
What clues did Tarkin piece together?
A passage in the Canon novel, Tarkin, reveals the Grand Moff suspected Darth Vader was Anakin through the way he interacted with the Stormtroopers he commanded and how he wielded his lightsaber. He used the power of observation to get the answer he required. It’s not like he’d ask him outright.
Tarkin wasn’t a fool. He saw the similarities between both Vader and Anakin. He ultimately chose not to reveal what he’d pieced together as it didn’t concern him. It should also be noted that while he put the pieces together, he puzzled how a great Jedi like Skywalker would become a Sith. Again, he became curious. Also, he held an appreciation for the former war hero.
Did Tarkin understand why Vader disliked him?
It’s likely Tarkin was aware Vader hated him and if he’d pieced together who he’d been, then he’d probably worked out why too. The Dark Lord of the Sith became known for holding a grudge and killed those whom dissatisfied him.
Anakin would’ve held Tarkin somewhat accountable for what happened with Ahsoka. Also, it should be noted that the future Moff wanted to see how far he could push the Jedi Knight. Pushing for Tano’s execution would’ve been one way of keeping him in check.
What’s your take? Did Tarkin know more or is it just a coincidence that he pieced together Vader’s true identity? Tell us below!