An ambitious, ruthless proponent of military power, Wilhuff Tarkin became a favorite of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and rose rapidly through the Imperial ranks. Shortly after the Empire's creation, he was put in charge of the construction of the Death Star. Tarkin saw the Death Star as a way to crush all dissent to the Empire's rule -- fear of the station's planet-killing superlaser would keep the galaxy's star systems in line. He demonstrated the station's power by destroying Alderaan, but died soon afterwards when the Death Star itself was destroyed.
Once a heroic Jedi Knight, Darth Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force, became a Sith Lord, and led the Empire’s eradication of the Jedi Order. He remained in service of the Emperor -- the evil Darth Sidious -- for decades, enforcing his Master’s will and seeking to crush the fledgling Rebel Alliance. But there was still good in him…
Princess Leia Organa was one of the Rebel Alliance’s greatest leaders, fearless on the battlefield and dedicated to ending the tyranny of the Empire. Daughter of Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker, sister of Luke Skywalker, and with a soft spot for scoundrels, Leia ranks among the galaxy’s great heroes. But life under the New Republic has not been easy for Leia. Sidelined by a new generation of political leaders, and struck out on her own to oppose the First Order as founder of the Resistance. These setbacks in her political career have been accompanied by more personal losses.
If ever one needed an example of the irredeemable evil that was the Empire, turn to the shattered remains of Alderaan. An influential world, Alderaan was represented in the waning days of the Republic by such venerated politicians as Bail Antilles and Bail Organa. A peaceful world, Alderaan was bereft of weaponry in an era of galactic strife. It was not without spirit, however. Alderaan was one of the earliest supporters of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, though its officials prudently kept all ties to the Rebellion secret. Despite such discretion, the Empire knew it to be a haven of Rebel activity, and Grand Moff Tarkin targeted the beautiful world for reprisal as soon as the Death Star was operational. The massive primary weapon of the battle station obliterated Alderaan, leaving only a lifeless asteroid field behind.