At first glance, the biggest news regarding the newest “Rogue One” trailer would seem to be what sits underneath it on YouTube: an announcement that “Star Wars” fans can finally start ordering advanced tickets for the fast-approaching movie as of midnight.
But around six seconds into the ad, which was released Sunday, we see an old man staring out at the Death Star for a moment so brief that you probably missed it. Here’s a screengrab for you to inspect.
That blurry outline right there has “Star Wars” fans giddy, and that’s because we have good reason to believe the man standing there is Grand Moff Tarkin, the wonderfully villainous commander of the Death Star in the original “Star Wars” film, 1977’s “Episode IV ― A New Hope.”
Remember when the bad guys destroyed Princess Leia’s home planet of Alderaan? Yeah, that was Grand Moff Tarkin.
Grand Moff Tarkin ended up dying at the end of a “Episode IV” when Luke Skywalker blew up the Death Star, but that’s no issue here. “Rogue One” takes place between the events of “Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” and “Episode IV.” In fact, in “Rogue One,” the Rebels try to steal the design schematics of the Death Star, so it only makes sense that the weapon’s commander would be back.
The question then becomes, how? Peter Cushing, the man who played Grand Moff Tarkin, died in 1994. But last year, The Daily Mail reported that the Star Wars franchise might digitally recreate the late actor for the film. It seemed far-fetched at the time. But now? Much less so.