Wilhuff Tarkin was a human male who served the Galactic Republic and later the Galactic Empire. During the Clone Wars, Tarkin served as a Republic captain under Jedi Master Even Piell and was taken prisoner by the Confederacy of Independent Systems, before escaping with the help of a Jedi and clone trooper strike team. During the incident Piell was killed and Tarkin was later promoted to Admiral and served as prosecutor in the trial of Ahsoka Tano, who was framed for the bombing of the Jedi Temple hangar.
After Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire, Tarkin became the Empire's first Grand Moff, and regional Governor of the Outer Rim. With this responsibility, he was also given oversight of the Death Star which he took command over after removing Orson Krennic from the position once it was operational. He believed that fear of the battle station would keep the local systems loyal to the Empire, and used it to destroy Alderaan to showcase the station's power. The Rebel Alliance squad Rogue One, however, stole the plans to the Death Star from Scarif, and Luke Skywalker was able to destroy it during the Battle of Yavin, killing all those on board, including Tarkin.