Rogue One: A Star Wars Story scored an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects, and a new video from the George Lucas–founded visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic makes a compelling case for why the film should take home the prize. Actor Peter Cushing died in 1994, but he was able to reprise his role as Grand Moff Tarkin in the 2016 movie, with ILM digitally recreating the character on screen. The VFX reel shows Guy Henry stepping into the role on set, providing Tarkin’s voice and a motion capture performance onto which ILM painstakingly superimposed Cushing’s likeness.
While Cushing’s estate consented to Disney using the late actor’s likeness in Rogue One, the move has raised certain legal and ethical questions about digitally resurrecting dead performers. The late Robin Williams, for instance, left his likeness to a trust with a condition that protects his image for 25 years after his death, effectively preventing him from being digitally recreated for movies or advertisements. Rogue One also recreated a young Princess Leia, but Disney has said that the studio has no plans to replace Carrie Fisher using computer-generated imagery in future Star Wars films, even after her death late last year.
ILM also released a VFX reel showing off the studio’s methods for creating a space battle above Scarif: