Tarkin is widely featured in the film. The filmmakers could have obscured the character strategically, perhaps by having him communicate through holographic projection. Instead, they opt to double-down on the character, including long shots of him speaking and interacting with living, breathing actors. The general consensus seems to be that it was the right choice to include the character of Tarkin in the film, but whether or not the method employed was the right one is up for debate.
The ever more impressive technology behind photorealistic facial animation and alteration (such as the de-aging of actors for flashback scenes) opens up countless possibilities for the future of filmmaking. If an actor’s likeness can be convincingly recreated, then actors – both living and dead – are able to star in upcoming films. In the years to come, the legal and moral implications of using a person’s likeness (living or deceased) in a film may become a hot topic in Hollywood. Already audiences are divided over whether the resurrection of Cushing’s likeness for the role was a touching tribute, or morbid and potentially unethical.
Star Wars films have always been on the cutting edge of visual effects, and George Lucas was passionate in both the original and prequel trilogy to incorporate technology that had never previously been used. Lucas, too, was accused by critics of utilizing technology prematurely and to limited success in the prequel trilogy. If nothing else, Gareth Edwards’ prequel film continues in that tradition of visual innocation, and only time will tell how Rogue One‘s Tarkin ages.
Did you think Rogue One‘s Tarkin was successful or missed the mark? Let us know in the comments.