Warning! This article contains spoilers for Andor episode 4.Andor episode 4 has laid the groundwork for Grand Moff Tarkin’s return to the Star Wars franchise. The fourth episode of the Star Wars prequel series heads to Coruscant, where it introduces the Imperial Security Bureau, or ISB for short. One of the many departments that comes under the ISB umbrella is the Imperial Military Department of Military Advanced Weapons Research. It was that department in which Grand Moff Tarkin’s secret think tank, the Tarkin Initiative, conceived of the Death Star.
Originally played by Peter Cushing in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Tarkin was killed in the attack on the first Death Star, thanks to the plans stolen by, among others, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Given Cushing’s death in 1994, it was surprising when the character returned for Rogue One, recreated with CGI and played by Guy Henry. It’s confirmed that several Rogue One characters will return for Andor, but Tarkin isn’t among them. Now that Andor has introduced the ISB, it’s entirely possible that the show will explore the bureau’s internal departments, allowing for Tarkin to make a surprise return once more.
Andor will firmly bridge the gap between the rise of Palpatine’s empire at the close of the Star Wars prequel trilogy and the daring Death Star heist in Rogue One. Grand Moff Tarkin is a crucial figure in that story, working covertly to design the Empire’s most powerful weapon. Given that Andor will explore the strengthening of the Rebel Alliance across the galaxy, it makes perfect sense that the events of Andor will hasten the Tarkin Initiative’s work on the Death Star to quell the Rebellion. As Andor episode 4 arrives on Coruscant, it introduces Dedra Meero, whose rivalry with Blevin (Ben Bailey Smith) is rooted in a jurisdictional dispute over her own investigations into a pattern of rebellious behavior. It’s likely then that Meero’s investigations will attract the attention of both the returning Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) and Grand Moff Tarkin, setting up the latter’s return.
At this point in the Star Wars timeline, Andor, like Star Wars: Rebels is set roughly five years before Grand Moff Tarkin died during the Battle of Yavin 4, and the attack on the Death Star in A New Hope. Rebels runs parallel to Andor, depicting another Rebel faction’s uprising on the planet Lothal. The show doesn’t explicitly converge with Tarkin’s Star Wars timeline until roughly four years before the Battle of Yavin 4, however, Tarkin’s activities prior to Rebels were explored elsewhere in Star Wars spinoff media.
It’s revealed in the Star Wars comic book series Thrawn that Tarkin agreed to install the Imperial collaborator Aridhna Pryce as the Governor of Lothal. He also promoted the Chiss strategist Thrawn to Commodore in an attempt to quell the burgeoning rebellion on Lothal that instigates the events of Rebels, taking place around the same point in Andor’s timeline. Audiences have previously seen the rebellion being founded in Solo: A Star Wars Story and solidifying via Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Roken, but Andor will depict it becoming a formidable, and organized Rebel Alliance.
As depicted in Thrawn, Tarkin is determined to make an example of every insurgent, and he’ll put the right people in the right positions to achieve this goal. From her first appearance, Dedra Meero is shown to be a competitive and driven Imperial officer. Her investigations into the burgeoning insurrection, and her interest in the events on Ferrix could bring her into contact with Tarkin in a future episode, giving her a promotion, and more power as an Andor antagonist in the process.
New episodes of Andor release on Wednesdays on Disney+.