I began my 12.13 Rogue One review by saying “there are two aspects of Garth Edwards and Tony Gilroy‘s film that I was really and truly impressed by, and I can’t mention either of them. Well, I could but it would be shitty of me. The first weekend crowd is entitled to be surprised as much as I was last night.”

One of those admired elements, I can now say, is the film’s stunning digital reanimation of the late Peter Cushing, who “returns” as Grand Moff Tarkin, the highly mannered senior commander of the Death Star.

Why am I revealing this information on Friday afternoon with most Star Wars fans yet to see Rogue One? Partly because Variety‘s Kris Tapley and Peter Debruge have posted an article this afternoon (at 4:07 pm Pacific) about the Industrial Light and Magic CG that allowed for Cushing’s rebirth.

At least three fanboy sites (Cinema Blend, Screen Rant, Bustle) have also spilled the beans.

Hilarious graph from the Variety story: “A Lucasfilm rep tells Variety that the filmmakers will not be discussing the nuts and bolts of what went into Cushing’s reprise until January, in order for audiences to see the film and enjoy it without being spoiled by details. But the implications raised by the bold achievement, and others like it, are another thing entirely — and they’ve been ringing throughout the industry for decades.”

Posted by yours truly on 12.8.14: This life-size bust of Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Willhuff Tarkin, the governor of the Imperial Outland Regions and commander of the Death Star, sits just to the left of the first-floor reception desk at Bad Robot. The hair strands are amazing; ditto the slightly blemished, liver-spotted skin. Cushing passed in 1994 at age 81; he was around 63 when he shot Star Wars.

Wiki page: “George Lucas originally had Cushing in mind for the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, but Lucas believed that ‘his lean features’ would be better employed as an antagonist, so Cushing was given the role of Grand Moff Tarkin instead. Lucas commended Cushing’s performance, saying ‘[He] is a very good actor. Adored and idolized by young people and by people who go to see a certain kind of movie. I feel he will be fondly remembered for the next 350 years at least.'”