The first appearance of Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin in 1977's Star Wars only briefly hinted at the interesting dynamic between the two high-ranking members of the Galactic Empire, with Vader clearly being the more physically powerful and Tarkin seemingly being the better tactician. In the 40 years since that film's release, a variety of novels and comic books have shed more light on the duo's dynamic, with a recent issue of Darth Vader hinting that the rivals were willing to make massive sacrifices to ensure the other's demise.
WARNING: Spoilers below for Darth Vader Annual #2
Throughout writer Charles Soule and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli's run on Darth Vader, readers have seen that Emperor Palpatine doesn't so much consider Vader his most esteemed student but rather his most vicious attack dog, willing to go to more savage lengths to accomplish objectives than anyone else.
Issue #18 of the series saw Tarkin and Vader tasked with destroying one another, ultimately as a means for the two to find each other's weakness to keep one another in check.
In Darth Vader Annual #2, Tarkin orders Vader to investigate a series of setbacks in the construction of the Death Star, with the events of the series taking place before the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Vader ultimately finds the source of the problem, while also learning more details about the extent of the Death Star's power.
Upon learning of the immense power of the battle station, Vader confronts Tarkin, detailing that investing so much time and resources into such a project is for naught, as the power of the Force, and Vader's mastery of it, should be all the power the Empire needs to take down any threat in their way.
During the encounter, Tarkin points out that, given the extent of Vader's injuries, the only reason the Sith Lord still exists is due to technology. The Imperial then points out that Vader merely feels threatened that his technology will now be outdated, leading Vader to taunt Tarkin about the effectiveness of the battle station.
While this might seem like the foreshadowing of Tarkin's demise on the Death Star, the comic then immediately cuts to Lyra
A message from an anonymous droid explains to Lyra the destructive power of the Death Star, though the origins of the droid are unknown. The message results in Lyra frantically contacting an ally to confirm she had an important message for Galen.
While the story doesn't explicitly state that Vader sent the droid, it's not unreasonable to draw that connection, especially given the tension between the Sith Lord and Tarkin, in addition to Vader's comments about the Death Star becoming Tarkin's tomb.
Darth Vader Annual #2 is on sale now.
Do you think this means Vader tipped off the Rebels on how to destroy Tarkin? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!