Last year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a big deal for Lucasfilm and for the Star Wars universe as a whole. Sure, the franchise has been around since 1977, and in the time since then, there have been books, comics, games, and everything in between that explores this vast world. However, on the film front, things had focused exclusively on the Skywalkers. Rogue One was the first feature film to venture outside of that formula (no, the Ewok movies don’t count), and it worked wonders.
The film was also pretty groundbreaking for another reason. We got to see the likes of Grand Moff Tarkin pre-Episode IV. In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, we got to see a glimpse of Tarkin, but in Rogue One, he was a fully-fledged CG character. That was impressive enough as it is, but right before the closing credits, viewers also got to see a young Princess Leia grace the silver screen.
Sure, it may have been a moment that crosses into the uncanny valley for some, but there were a good number of people out there who didn’t question her presence for a moment, likely thinking it was a similar likeness from another actress. One of those people who bought the shot was Carrie Fisher herself, who went so far to as to think it was old, unused footage of her, as revealed by the film’s director Gareth Edwards to Fandango.
“"Kathy [Kennedy] is really good friends with her. We knew it was a really important moment and we wanted Carrie to be happy, so Kathy went to her house with her laptop when we felt the shot was close, if not finished. We had about two weeks left, and Kathy went around her house and everyone was waiting to hear. [Kathy] said she showed it to her and [Carrie] thought it was footage. She didn’t realize it was CGI. She thought we had some footage. She didn’t remember the take and thought we had manipulated a take from the original film. But they told her it was all computer generated and she was really impressed. We were all just so pleased she approved it.”
Regardless of whether or not you bought the shot, however, it is a massive achievement in technology that we can not only have such realistic characters in the background shots, but actually take front and center in a live-action film. While Leia may have had a single line to deliver, Tarkin was a living and breathing entity who brought real consequences to the plot.
So good was this effect that following Carrie Fisher’s passing last year, there were rumors aplenty about Lucasfilm looking to recast her with a CG version of herself, but those rumors have since been quashed by the studio.
What did you think of this shot when you first saw it? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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