By now, most hardcore Star Wars fans have gotten a chance to see the first ever spin-off Rogue One, and they've experienced what could be considered a spoiler, the revival of Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin in what is a pretty substantial role. It's not just bringing back an iconic character, it is also resurrecting a legendary actor from the grave. And as you can believe, that came with some trepidation from the cast and crew.
Perhaps most nervous about pulling this off was director Gareth Edwards. In a recent interview with IGN, the guy, who's previously worked with such legends as Godzilla, admitted that bringing back Tarkin was a daunting task. But they went for it anyway. He explains.
"We were all very nervous about it. And kind of, 'Can we do this? Is this crazy' Cause we can't get it wrong. It has to be spot on. John Knoll pitched the original idea to Kathy, one of the geniuses at ILM said, 'No, No, No, we can do this. It will be a milestone.' So they spent a long time doing that. And Guy Henry, it was a big ask to ask him to come on board, and say to him, 'You are going to do this whole big massive role. But we're going to replace you digitally with someone else's face. And you have to keep it completely secret, and never tell anyone.'"
Grand Moff Tarkin does appear in the movie. And it's not a small cameo either. He gets some substantial screen time as he competes with Director Krennic for control of the massive space station known as the Death Star. John Knoll, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's visual effects supervisor, most wanted Tarkin in the movie, even though some warned against his inclusion. Thankfully they pulled it off with much success thanks to some new technological innovations.
The character is rebooted as a purely digital creation. Industrial Light and Magic went through a painstaking process to resurrect the Hammer horror star, using entirely CGI. Peter Chushing does live again with the classic character not only appearing in the movie, but interacting amongst his flesh and blood counterparts flawlessly. About pulling it off, director Gareth Edwards says this.
"It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears from Industrial Light and Magic... we went all or nothing in."
Harry Potter actor Guy Henry stood in for Star Wars villain Grand Moff Tarkin to capture the movements and to have something for other actors to respond to. The voice was provided by Stephen Stanton in a massive group effort to bring the character back to life. Some have questioned this controversial move. Peter Cushing died in 1994, though his estate allowed for his likeness to be used on screen. The whole process is impressive, though some find it can also be distracting while watching the movie.
Without Tarkin's presence, the movie wouldn't be what it is. In Star Wars: A New Hope, he arrived as the highest ranking Imperial officer on the Death Star. Even above Darth Vader. And he was in charge of the planet destroying weapon. He is the one that gives the order to destroy Alderaan, no less distraught over killing a billion people. In the novel Catalyst, which takes place before the events of Rogue One, it is further explained that Grand Moff Tarkin and Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) are bitter rivals trying to gain favor with the Emperor. The events in the new movie lead directly into the events of Star Wars: A New Hope
The way in which Grand Moff Tarkin is brought to life is already dividing some Star Wars fans, but he needed to be in the movie. Star Wars movies have always been known for advancing VFX and technology. This was another way to do that. Despite anyone's personal feelings on the matter, it's hard not to be impressed with the amount of work that went into bringing Grand Moff Tarkin back to the Star Wars universe one last time.