Grand Toff Markin is an antagonist in the Star Wars franchise and the worst civil servant ever in history, as well as being the biggest toff. He is a textbook example of the weaknesses of the civil servant administrative system, who amassed great power after excitable Chancellor Palpitation renamed the British Empire the Galactic Empire.
"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away," back-benchers carped about the Parliament, much as they do today, complaining that the House of Lords was a bit less than lordly, as well as being a bit less than awake. They had comparable complaints about the House of Commons, that the size was unwieldy — this even before it went multi-storey and began using floating pallet-jacks to move speakers to the podium. They said it was too long a drive for the Scots and a cumbersome ferry ride for distant constituencies such as Tatooine.
In the resulting upheaval, the influence of the Parliament was lost entirely, except at ribbon-cutting ceremonies; and civil servants came to power. Unfortunately, unlike elected politicians, who have to at least pretend to pretend to care about the concerns of the people, civil servants can do whatever they please, which usually boils down to business-as-usual until they collect cushy pensions at the end of decades of claiming to be out-to-lunch, sending applicants to the dreaded Next Window Over, and sending subordinates' memos back for complete rewrite.
No other government administrator personified this disdain for the electorate more than the Grand Toff Markin. He drove a fast set of wheels, in fact completely spherical, and it ate planets for breakfast. He implemented the notorious Markin Doctrine, in which the elevator to the Complaints Department of the Imperial Administrative Office was secretly converted into a giant cannon that ejected anyone who arrived to "have a stern word with Lord Vader" into space.
Top 40 hits
In addition to his political career, Markin also dabbled briefly in the world of music. He recorded an album of baroque pop and showtunes, You May Dance When Ready, which went Platinum. Its singles "Burn, Rebel, Burn" and "The Emperor's New Weapon of Galactic Mass Destruction", had long runs on the Top 40 charts.
Markin suffered from a nervous complex, and would frequently bite his nails instead of using a clipper, as a proper fellow should. This eventually was his undoing, as he was infected with staph by nibbling away during a rebel attack, which could never destroy his vessel, as they are just a bunch of womp-rat-shooting kids who would never figure out the secret vulnerability, unless, unless....
Shortly after he ordered women, children, and Darths to evacuate the building, he opted to include Toffs in the directive, boarding an escape pod himself just before his entire former Executive Suite spontaneously exploded.
Markin actually saved himself the time-wasting bother of dying by leaving early. Perishing under ambiguous circumstances was a rite of passage in the Galactic Empire, as all subjects understood the need to set up the sequel.
Legacy and cinematic portrayal
Markin served as the archetype for generations of future toffs in Her Majesty's Government. He also inspired the popular British sitcom Yes, Grand Toff where, week after week, government ministers thwarted the will of Members of Parliament by procrastination, hair-splitting use of the English language, and hanging out with a guy in a black Halloween costume who can make them choke with a simple hand gesture.
In 1977, George Lucas brought a documentary of this "galaxy far, far away" to the cinema with Star Wars, which gave a behind-the-scenes look at toff-based government. Markin was portrayed in the cinema by actor Peter Cushing. Unfortunately, Cushing made the mistake of dying in 1994, unconcerned that Hollywood executives would keep the franchise on life support for over two more decades.
In 2005 and again in 2016, Markin was portrayed by a droid, enhanced through CGI to look just like Cushing did at his funeral, including his Mona Lisa "smile." Family members fought back tears to ensure that animators got Cushing's nervous tic just right. Given his many witty script lines, there was a real risk that Cushing's wraith would win an Emmy and that Cushing would have to be exhumed and fitted with a tuxedo while an answering machine gave the acceptance speech.
- Grand Pope Tarkin
- Grand Theft Tarkin
- Tarquinius Superbus (Tarquin the Superb)
- Why?:Do all the evil people in Star Wars have a British accent?
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