Star Wars #7 reveals Grand Moff Tarkin’s lasting impact on the galaxy

Star Wars (2020) #7Published: October 07, 2020. Writer:Charles Soule. Penciler:Ramon Rosanas. Cover Artist: Carlo Pagulayan. Photo courtesy of Marvel Comics.
Star Wars (2020) #7Published: October 07, 2020. Writer:Charles Soule. Penciler:Ramon Rosanas. Cover Artist: Carlo Pagulayan. Photo courtesy of Marvel Comics. /

In Star Wars #7, Charles Soule reminds us that Grand Moff Tarkin’s impact on the Skywalker saga didn’t end with his death in A New Hope.

In Star Wars #1, Charles Soule, who’s written the Marvel Comics Star Wars series The Rise of Kylo Ren and Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, among others, introduced a new Imperial villain named Commander Zahra. Taking place immediately after the events of The Empire Strikes Back, Soule’s Star Wars comic has explored the aftermath of Luke’s discovery about his father’s identity, as well as his continued pursuit of becoming a Jedi. But in that first issue, as the rebellion is scrambling to recover after the Battle of Hoth and the main characters’ escape from Cloud City, Commander Zahra poses a grave threat to the struggling rebel alliance, who are desperate to reunite their numbers when all seems lost.

A personal vendetta for a new enemy

In the latest issue, Star Wars #7,  Soule reveals that Zahra’s pursuit of the rebels and Leia in particular is personal. And Soule brilliantly reveals her backstory through flashback to a time when Grand Moff Tarkin was still alive. Zahra, it turns out, was a promising student under Tarkin, and Tarkin was a respected mentor. To impress a cold man like Tarkin, Zahra was willing to do what is necessary to achieve her goals, even at the high cost of someone else’s life. Zahra, we learn, rose quickly through the Imperial ranks by being the kind of ruthless leader we see demonstrated by her mentor.

Tarkin’s disappointment and Zahra’s commitment

Tarkin grows to trust Zahra and assigns her a special task to kill and retrieve the head of a mysterious warlord who has been using the name of a supposedly long-dead enemy called the Nihil, an enemy Soule elsewhere revealed will play a major role in The High Republic. But when Zahra returns to Tarkin, who is stationed on the Death Star, having only partially fulfilled Tarkin’s wishes, Tarkin’s disappointment in her drives her to rectify the situation to place herself back in her mentor’s good graces. Little does she know the devastating disappointment in store for her as she heads back toward the Death Star with her prize for Tarkin.

Tarkin’s lasting impact

With Star Wars #7, Soule tells a compelling story of a character-driven by revenge and sets up the conflict between Leia and Zahra that will take place over the next several issues. While Luke and Leia appear only briefly in this issue, the chance to see Tarkin’s lasting impact on the war between the rebel alliance and the Empire is a refreshing step backward before moving forward. Soule and other Star Wars creators have been consistently filling in story gaps and recontextualizing important elements of the franchise through comics and books, and this issue is no exception.

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