Warning: Spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Finally, I was fortunate enough to catch a screening of the highly anticipated movie #RogueOne last Thursday at my local AMC movie theater with a group of friends and overall, I thought the movie was fantastic! As a huge #StarWars fan, I really appreciated the numerous easter eggs and fan service pasted throughout the film.
Also, I thought the story was amazing, especially since I have read parts of Catalyst, a prequel novel to the film, which enhanced the movie immensely. The characters had depth to them and were really intriguing, funny, and even sometimes relatable while the action was impeccable and some of the best we have seen in any Star Wars movie thus far.
Lastly, I have to say that the movie ended perfectly. Bravo to Lucasfilm, Gareth Edwards, and everyone else who worked on this fantastic movie because in the end, it's a fantastic war movie but an even better Star Wars movie.
The film presented a few surprises that we as viewers did not expect to se. One of the biggest shockers was seeing an Original Trilogy character return in full CGI form as a supporting character. While many fans have complained how "bad" he looked, I disagree completely and even further, including this character in the movie as it wasn't just fun, but absolutely necessary.
Tarkin Was Critical To Rogue One
Grand Moff Tarkin played an important role in A New Hope as he was practically Darth Vader's right hand man — or, maybe, it was the other way around. For a movie that revolved around the Death Star, it was extremely important to include the commander of the battle station himself into Rogue One. Tarkin was the one who took charge of the Death Star and Rogue One showed us how he stole the position right out of Orson Krennic's hands, who had a big impact on the giant Imperial battle station's completion.
In the end, Tarkin made some very risky decisions such as blowing up the Imperial base on Scarif to attempt to stop Jyn Erso and the Rebels from stealing the Death Star plans. He was a major player in the Galactic Civil War and if Gareth Edwards and the rest of Lucasfilm decided to exclude him from the movie, it would feel like all of the pieces weren't in place.
The Digital Resurrection Of Peter Cushing Will Change Special Effects
Not only was the placement of Wilhuff Tarkin important from a story perspective, but it was also important for the industry. A handful of Star Wars fans complained about how "fake" Tarkin's character looked in Rogue One — or even how his recreation is ethically dubious. However, even though some movements looked a little shaky, I have to give major props to the special effects team as Tarkin looked exactly like a resurrected Peter Cushing grabbed right off the set of A New Hope in 1977.
There have been a handful actors in the past that have been re-created digitally — either due to their death or to portray their younger selves — such as Paul Walker in Furious 7, Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America: Civil War, and Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy. However, Peter Cushing's case was vastly different as he actually had a good amount of screen time.
Also, the digital Peter Cushing looks almost identical to the actual Cushing from 1977. When you saw a digital Paul Walker or a young version of Robert Downey Jr. or Jeff Bridges, it looks awesome but you can tell it was definitely fake.
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A source from Lucasfilm told Variety that we will not be able to hear specific details on how exactly they brought Peter Cushing "back to life" decades after his death until January, but nevertheless, it was still an outstanding accomplishment that only a movie with a budget such as Star Wars with a fantastic special effects team such as Industrial Light & Magic.
Even though the special effects used in Rogue One on Tarkin may not hold up in 10 years, it has pushed technology to a whole new level. However, while Lucasfilm managed to re-create an actor digitally, many other studios will either use their method moving forward or invest money into finding better and more efficient way.
We saw a very familiar situation with the prequel trilogy where the CGI may not look polished as it does in a 2016 movie such as Rogue One, but those three movies (specifically The Phantom Menace) were the first movies to really dive into computer-generated imagery and animation in cinema.
If you view the clip above from The Phantom Menace, you can see how impressive the CGI really was for a film made all the way back in 1999 where CGI was a rarity compared to now. Granted, a lot of it really doesn't compare to today's large blockbuster movies. To us, it's almost laughable how bad the AAT's look moving down the battlefields on Naboo. However, without the newfound and groundbreaking computer animation portrayed in the prequel trilogy, CGI effects would not be where they are today. Looks like the prequel trilogy is a lot better than you suspected!
Grand Moff Tarkin's digital appearance in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is necessary. He is an essential Star Wars character that some fans might take for granted that has a huge impact on the events of the Galactic Civil War — and Rogue One proved that it his role was even bigger than we anticipated!
Also, the technology used to re-invent the character digitally will be used in future movies. While I don't believe every character will become digital in blockbuster movies, it will be a lot easier to add in a character when need be — all thanks to Star Wars!
What do YOU guys think? Was Grand Moff Tarkin's digital appearance in Rogue One necessary? Sound off below!