Hollywood With Rogue One Resurrects Peter Cushing. Would It Be Right To Create A Human Digital Replica Of A Deceased?

Guy Henry’s face and performance for digital Tarkin.

I find the development filmmaking of #RogueOne incredibly intriguing. Despite I’ve yet to view the film.

And just recently I came across material on YouTube, exciting I must express, a treat for moviegoers but also equally, a bold new technological step in the history of Hollywood cinema. Who surprisingly got to witness the likeness of Grand Moff Tarkin (played brilliantly and intimidatingly ominous by Sir Peter Cushing) — the eventual Death Star Commander — replicated through VFX. Resurrected by animation studio Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). Actor Guy Henry did the motion capture. Which I find extremely impressive.

As much as it would be thrilling for moviegoers, and for myself a film cinephile, it seemed to gather unpleasant criticism, especially with critics that felt to question whether it was right — ethics or morals — to revive the deceased legend. Some may feel it’s done out of making money, and some on religious grounds, playing God. That in itself is a dilemma.

But anyway, I wanted to express Grand Moff Tarkin, Sir Peter Cushing add such powerful intensity to such a character I believe it’s indeed one of his finest. A few years back it would be considered harshly wrong to revive computer-generated replica of a human. But now, it’s a far mature audience out there. Years back in films, when an actor or actress had passed away, be it during making of a film, or a TV show, at times the reasonable choice was that either apply some CGI, re-edit previous scenes or just omit a character out entirely.

But is it necessary? Being a part of a filmmaking I feel technology is crucial. Since many superhero, and animated films (take the live-adapation The Jungle Book) heavily rely on VFX. I find it acceptable to revive/resurrect digital replicas, absolutely on the foundation of paying respect and doing great justice to them.

In the universe of books and films characters live in a medium, be it from the words in a page or digitally through cinema. I find it significant to stretch out or explore the possibilities of VFX. Especially when working with prequel stories. You simply have to go back in time and explore characters again. This is evidently necessary.

The advancement in technology is ever growing with endless possibilities. And to see the dedication of Director Gareth Edwards and efforts of ILM to go ahead with digital replica through VFX is remarkably genius and daringly bold. If they hadn’t you would put it out due to technological limitations but they made it possible. It deserves to be praised globally.

With this, it struck me that when Skyfall was released to global acclaim crossing 1 billion both commercially and financially, it was expressed that the filmmakers, felt they would have wanted to write a cameo where the blonde Bond Danial Craig would get to share screen with original Bond (Sir Sean Connery). But this wasn’t possible with the retirement of the latter.

And the character of spy boss M, played by Dame Judi Dench who simply wasn’t pleased about it when the character was killed off. Which could have been due to the veteran actress was diagnosed with macular degeneration which can lead to blindness.

In the context of the extremely difficult and yet extraordinary achievement of resurrecting Grand Moff Tarkin, I feel even a retired actor/actress could still continue to be presented as a digital replica with VFX and that instead of taking the physical challenges which could be complicated due to health reasons, they could simply, as like in animated films, dub voices.

As we also know, Carrie Fisher has completed her work on Star Wars: Episode 8, with an expected possible return via CGI (digital replica) for Star Wars: Episode IX. It seems this new bold step could help achieve a similar result. The only possible way for Carrie to now exist and continue to a part of the Star Wars universe through a digital replica.

I see far greater possibilities by making this bold technological step believable. In the world of cinema, challenges of any kind must be considered.