Now that we’re only mere weeks away from Rogue One, the full force of the Star Wars marketing machine is upon us. We’ve got our tickets after some technical issues, Star Wars merchandise is everywhere (although maybe not as much as last year), and the TV promotions have arrived in full. And there are welcome surprises in store.
One of the latest 30-second promos to come from Star Wars’ official channels is titled “Breath” (a nod to the instantly recognizable sounds that accompany a visit from Darth Vader), but it’s a faceless character whose breath you don’t hear that is making fans perk up.
Zeroing in at around the 0:05 mark, Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican notes that the iconic costume and back of the head we see is almost definitely who we think it is: Grand Moff Tarkin is back.
Tarkin, played in A New Hope by the late Peter Cushing, made a formidable impression for Star Wars fans upon his debut. A ruthless commander who could (temporarily) stop Darth Vader’s targeted rage, he had command of the Death Star and questioned Princess Leia Organa—the Imperial Senator from Alderaan who was loyal to the Rebellion—after her capture in a scene that also showcased Leia’s courage.
He also ordered the destruction of Alderaan even after Leia gave him a location of the Rebel base, which turned out to be false. He died toward the end of the film along with most of the Death Star crew.
Coming back to Tarkin, who’s still in his prime before the destruction of the Death Star, makes total sense. He made a cameo appearance in Revenge of the Sith from Wayne Pygram, who was given Cushing’s distinctive look (Cushing died in 1994) as the Galactic Empire began to work on the Death Star and was voiced by Stephen Stanton in The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. The bigger question coming out of a Tarkin appearance in Rogue One is not whether he will be in it, but how big of a role he plays?
Will Rogue One put an actor in makeup to look like Cushing’s character, such was the case with Pygram’s brief appearance? Is it recasting the role completely? Or will it employ a revolutionary form of visual effects to bring Cushing back to life for this appearance?
We’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for Tarkin, no matter how he appears.