My friends and I have had a ton of conversations about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at this point. We've all seen it more than once (I'm going for round 4 soon) and love it for the risks it takes and the cohesion with the original trilogy. That said, a frequent topic of discussion has been the CGI, and how it was used to bring some familiar faces back.
Certainly, the decision to bring back Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin and Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia through CGI has been a divisive one. I chuckled at it initially but upon further viewings found them less of a distraction. Neither is perfect, but they don't detract from the film. And I would say their inclusion adds considerably to the story. That's the defense taken by Lucasfilm's Kiri Hart when talking about the decision to The New York Times...
"If he’s not in the movie, we’re going to have to explain why he’s not in the movie. [The Death Star] is kind of his thing.”
Agreed. If Tarkin wasn't there we'd be asking why the one man most closely associated with the Death Star didn't have a part to play. That said, one could make the case that others might have been able to deliver Tarkin's commands. Or Tarkin could have been recreated a different way, and apparently there was some talk of maybe having him communicate via hologram. That seems to be a popular form of communication in the Star Wars universe.
As for the youthful version of Leia seen at the movie's end, Hart considers that seen to be integral to spreading the film's message of hope...
“To deliver on that moment of hopefulness, that is really underscored by the fact that you do get to see her face. That’s the best possible use of effects, to enhance the meaning and the emotion of the experience for the viewer.”
ILM's John Knoll adds that the decision to bring these characters back wasn't made lightly, and with all of the work that went into it we shouldn't expect to see it done very often...
“This was done for very solid and defendable story reasons. [Grand Moff Tarkin] is a character that is very important to telling this kind of story. It is extremely labor-intensive and expensive to do. I don’t imagine anybody engaging in this kind of thing in a casual manner.”
Do you think it was the right move? Let us know your thoughts!