Star Wars‘ Grand Moff Tarkin thought he’d scored a pretty sweet deal when he was awarded the honor of being the Death Star commander. He was the perfect man for the job, having been involved in its construction from an early stage, with its planet-destroying laser the perfect representation of his belief that the galaxy needed to be ruled by fear and terrified into submission.

All of which meant he was right to be supremely confident that no Rebel attack could possibly threaten it. After all, the Rebels are a ragtag group of misfits going up against a fully-armed station with a huge number of TIE Fighters, bristling with turbolasers, and gearing up to fire its ultimate weapon at the base on Yavin IV. How could they possibly triumph?

Tarkin wasn’t to know about the Death Star’s secret flaw, though, so there was likely a lot of egg on his face in the half-second between Luke’s proton torpedoes striking the core and his complete vaporization. But could Tarkin have theoretically survived if he’d made a beeline to the escape pods? Star Wars fans think he was always going to go down with the ship:

Replies point out that Tarkin should have been right. By all logic, Luke shouldn’t have been able to make that shot, though the villain hadn’t reckoned with the Force:

It’s notable that by the first moment he learned there was a theoretical danger, it was already too late:

He was never, ever going to head to the escape pods:

Not even Darth Vader saw this coming:

So yeah, Tarkin’s fate was directly tied to that of the Death Star, and he was always going to go down with the ship. Ah hubris, the killer of so many ruthless and apparently invincible villains.

Star Wars: A New Hope is available to stream on Disney Plus.

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