‘Rogue One’: How Those Controversial CGI Characters Were Made

Spoiler alert, young padawan.
Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars
"A New Hope"

(Reader beware: “Rogue One” spoilers within.) If you’ve seen the latest “Star Wars” story, then you already know that two characters from the original trilogy appear in CGI form: Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing, who died in 1994) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher, who died late last year, after “Rogue One” was already in theaters). This latter appearance feels especially poignant in light of Fisher’s death, as she ends the film with a single word: “hope.” A new video details the process of bringing the two back in digital form.

READ MORE: ‘Star Wars’: Carrie Fisher Finished Filming ‘Episode VIII’ Before Her Death

The segment first aired on “Nightline” last night, with NBC’s Clayton Sandell touring Industrial Light and Magic — the special-effects company George Lucas first founded in 1975. John Knoll, ILM’s Chief Creative Officer, explains why both Tarkin and Leia were brought back and how it was done: The Imperial official is “central to the story of the Death Star — what it is, how it came to be,” he explains, while closing with the princess is meant to seamlessly bridge the gap between “Rogue One” and “A New Hope.”

READ MORE: ‘Rogue One’ Director Gareth Edwards Reveals How the Film’s Original Ending Was Much Different

These CGI scenes have generated much discussion since “Rogue One” was released, polarizing audiences and inspiring myriad thinkpieces. How the next “Star Wars” film will handle Princess Leia remains to be seen.

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