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The Stormtrooper Whose Gay Love Affair Secretly Changed Star Wars Forever

In “Star Wars: A New Hope,” TK-421 and one of his Stormtrooper colleagues are ambushed by Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) while guarding the Millenium Falcon on the Death Star. Their suits are then stolen so that Han and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) can sneak onto the Galactic Empire’s space station undetected and carry out their heroic mission to destroy it. But why was TK-421 guarding this spot in the first place?

In Glen Weldon’s short story “Of MSE-6 and Men,” from the anthology collection “Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View,” it’s revealed that TK-421 is tired of his current gig on the Death Star and wants to move to Coruscant. Until that materializes, though, he’s given a new role guarding the captured Millennium Falcon by his new Imperial lover, seemingly under the assumption that the gig will be drama-free, while setting up the scenario we see in the movie. Of course, “A New Hope” proves that his new role is worse than his previous one, as TK-421 is one of many Stormtroopers who ultimately perish on the space station after the Rebels destroy it.

The Imperial officer isn’t mentioned by name in the story. However, it’s heavily implied that he’s Wilhuff Tarkin, the Eriaduan who was most famously portrayed by Peter Cushing on the screen. The topic of who the high-ranking officer is has been debated at length by fans on Reddit, with many concluding that Tarkin is the one who stole TK-421’s heart. If that’s the case, it would seem that the cold-hearted baddie isn’t as heartless as most “Star Wars” media makes him out to be.

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