WARNING: The following article contains slight spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. If you’ve not seen the Star Wars spin-off, then you should proceed with caution.
Rogue One features a tidal wave of cameos, Easter Eggs, and characters from the vast history of the Star Wars canon, all of which die-hard fans were ecstatic to see. One of the most surprising characters to see in Rogue One was Grand Moff Tarkin, who most famously appeared in Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, where he was played by Peter Cushing.
Tarkin, who also popped up at the end of Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge Of The Sith, too, in which he was played by Wayne Pygra, wasn’t expected to feature in Rogue One since Peter Cushing died in August, 1994, at the age of 81. But thanks to the superb special effects team over at Industrial Light & Magic, Peter Cushing was able to reprise his role as Grand Moff Tarkin over 20 years after he died.
Obviously, there was some trepidation regarding bringing back Grand Moff Tarkin, not just because of the history of the character but because of the popularity of Peter Cushing as a human being, too, and what it might do to his family.
Rogue One director Gareth Edwards revealed to the Radio Times, via Comic Book, that the individual who was tasked with playing Grand Moff Tarkin was the English actor Guy Henry, who is primarily known across the pond for his work on Holby City, and Edwards insisted he was “amazing” throughout the process. Gareth Edwards then went on to divulge the original discussions regarding the decision to use Grand Moff Tarkin, admitting the following.
“It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears from Industrial Light and Magic… [visual effects supervisor] John [Knoll] was always like ‘no we can do this, we can do it, we can do it. He was very confident, and we … you know, to be honest, a lot of people were nervous the whole time, like ‘is this gonna happen?’ And then we went all or nothing in.”
Gareth Edwards was just as candid when he discussed the use of Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One with IGN, once again insisting that everyone was “very nervous about it and kind of, ‘Can we do this? Is this crazy?’ Because we can’t get it wrong and it has to be spot on.”
Even after John Knoll of ILM had convinced Gareth Edwards that they could do this in a seamless fashion, the filmmaker found himself with the rather difficult situation of trying to convince Guy Henry to come onboard.
Gareth Edwards explained the following.
“It was a big ask to ask him to come onboard and say to him, ‘Right, you’re going to do this huge big massive role, we’re going to replace you completely digitally with someone else’s face, and you also have to keep it totally secret and not tell anyone.’ You can imagine the actors would be like, ‘What am I getting out of it?’”
But Gareth Edwards also revealed Guy Henry actually had a personal reason for trying to take on the role. Henry’s first big break as an actor came in The Young Sherlock Holmes television series, a role that Peter Cushing played throughout the 1960s. Guy Henry told Gareth Edwards that he had watched the Sherlock Holmes films for inspiration, and that these traits subsequently stuck with him throughout his career. To such an extent that people have actually brought up the similarities between Guy Henry’s acting style and Peter Cushing.
You can see how the two actors align in cinemas now, as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released last Friday and has already grossed the humungous amount of $290.5 million in just a handful of days.
[Featured Image by Lucasfilm]