- "I reserve my trust for those who take action."
- ―Tarkin reprimanding Anakin Skywalker.
Captain Tarkin tended to think highly of himself, often degrading the decisions of others stating that his were superior. This made him a somewhat unlikable character towards the Jedi, though Anakin Skywalker seemed to show an understanding of his reasoning. Tarkin also had good relations with Chancellor Palpatine.
Tarkin was the commanding captain of Jedi master Even Piell's cruiser, in which's memory banks were the coordinates of an important hyperspace lane called the Nexus Route. When the separatists attacked the cruiser to get the coordinates, Piell erased them from the cruiser's memory and he and Tarkin both memorized half of it. As the separatists wanted the coordinates, they didn't kill Tarkin and Piell, but took them to the horrible separatist prison, the Citadel on the planet Lola Sayu to interrogate them.
However, an elite team of clone troopers and Jedi lead by Jedi Knights Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi broke into the Citadel to rescue Piell and Tarkin. After rescuing Piell from interrogation, the team broke into Tarkin's and the other officers' cell and freed the captain as well. With Piell and Tarkin freed, the team split in half to escape- Tarkin went with Anakin Skywalker and his padawan Ahsoka Tano, while Piell went with Obi-Wan. Their plan was- Obi-Wan's team gets to the shuttle they came with, picks up the other group. While trying to get to the rendezvous point, Tarkin talked with Anakin about his opinion that the Jedi shouldn't be leading the war, as their code prevents them from doing anything to win. Anakin admitted that the code does prevent them from many things. Tarkin also wasn't agreed with Ahsoka, who "was still a child" was part of the team. After climbing through a fuel line and battling some battle droids, Tarkin and his companions reached the rendezvous point, only to find Obi-Wan and Piell fighting for the shuttle. After a desperate battle, the shuttle was destroyed by a commando droid and Tarkin and the team were stranded on Lola Sayu.
But hope still remained - the Jedi Council sent a fleet to rescue them. It was planned that a gunship would land on the surface to pick them up. Their rendezvous point was on an island in the lava surrounding the prison. However, as they proceeded towards the island, the Citadel's warden, Osi Sobeck sent anooba's to find them, and an anooba killed Even Piell, who told the information to Ahsoka with his dying breaths. After giving Piell a noble funeral, Tarkin and the team reached the island, but were attacked by Sobeck and a squad of battle droids. In the ensuing fight, Tarkin tried to shoot Sobeck, but he was overpowered by the separatist commander, who, in his rage, grabbed Tarkin to throw him into the lava rather than let him get away with the information, but he was killed in the last moment by Ahsoka. As the squad of droids were defeated, dozens of crab droids appeared and attempted to finish of the team, but the gunship finally arrived and rescued them. With the team rescued, the gunship boarded a cruiser and the fleet turned to lightspeed and escaped the separatist planet.
Back on Coruscant, it was time for the Nexus Route information to be revealed. However, there was a problem- Ahsoka promised Master Piell that she will tell it to no one but the Jedi Council, while Tarkin was instructed to tell it to only the chancellor himself. Master Yoda said that he will talk about this with the chancellor. Tarkin then turned to Anakin and admitted that he is the first Jedi he met who has good military sensibility, and said that he wishes all Jedi would be like that too, before leaving in his Coruscant transport.
Point of No Return
Tarkin was present at the Republic Strategy Conference over the Carida system when the Venator-class Star Destroyer, the Renown, thanks to a separatist plot, exploded because of a huge amount of ryhdonium on board, and would have indeed destroyed the station in which the conference was if D-Squad wouldn't have detonated the bomb earlier than planned. By this time, Tarkin was an admiral.
The Wrong JediIn the latter half of the war, the Jedi Temple was bombed, killing many Jedi and people working in the temple. Later, it was revealed that Letta Turmond, a woman living in the lower levels of Coruscant was responsible. She was taken into custody, and wasn't dealt with by the Jedi Order, but the Republic, much to the frustration of Ahsoka Tano. A few days after being imprisoned, Letta summoned Ahsoka, saying she wants to tell her something. However, just as they were left alone in the cell, Letta was suddenly Force-choked to death, and, as Ahsoka was the only one with her at the time of her death, the padawan was arrested. Tarkin visited Ahsoka in her cell, and though Ahsoka insisted she wasn't responsible, Tarkin didn't believe her and told her that the evidence was all against her.
Ahsoka escaped from prison, but after a long chase, she was captured again and imprisoned. Shortly afterwards, Tarkin contacted the Jedi Council via hologram and requested that Ahsoka be expelled from the Jedi Order so that she could be put to a trial by the Republic military. The Council, though not in total agreement about it, decided to do as Tarkin asked, expelling Ahsoka from the Order and putting her to a Republic trial. During the trial, Tarkin acted as prosecution. Although Ahsoka once saved his life, he made it clear that he intended to ensure both her conviction and execution. However, just as the verdict was about to be announced, Anakin Skywalker entered with Jedi padawan Barriss Offee, who admitted that she was the real culprit. She was responsible for instructing Letta to sabotage the temple and for killing the woman. Barriss was arrested and Ahsoka was cleared. The Jedi Council asked her back, but, feeling that she couldn't trust the Council or herself anymore, refused and left the Jedi Order.
- It was originally planned that Wilhuff Tarkin would kill Osi Sobeck, but was changed.
- Fans spread rumors that Tarkin was attracted to Ahsoka. However, this is false and he only sees her as youngling, later as a killer