2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a milestone movie for the Star Wars franchise, as it marked the first time in a galaxy far, far away that a live-action cinematic story unfolded that wasn’t part of the Skywalker Saga. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t any direct ties to the main Star Wars film series. Even just looking at the Imperial side of things, Grand Moff Tarkin was an important supporting character and Darth Vader popped up a few times to instill fear in those around him. However, these two, who spent quite a bit of time together in A New Hope, never crossed paths during the course of Rogue One.
However, it turns out there was a scene shot for Rogue One where Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader were side by side. After sharing a shot of Darth Vader from Rogue One that wasn’t in the movie, ILM animation supervisor Hal Hickel was asked on Twitter if that was for a scene meant to go into the final cut, or if it was just shot for the trailer. Hickel answered:
With the events of Rogue One leading straight into A New Hope, and Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader having worked closely together since the formation of the Empire, it’s not shocking to hear that these two would have conversed in the 2016 Star Wars movie. At this point time, Tarkin would still be “holding Vader’s leash,” and if that’s the same giant screen Tarkin intensely gazed at during A New Hope while aboard the Death Star, it stands to reason that Vader visited the destructive space station plenty of times before he brought Princess Leia Organa there. Alas, while James Earl Jones vocally reprised Darth Vader in Rogue One, Tarkin’s original actor, Peter Cushing, passed away in 1994, so Guy Henry voiced the character and had Cushing’s face digitally mapped over his own.
Regarding what the conversation between Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader would have unfolded during Rogue One, Hal Hickel couldn’t recall what was said. When he asked Gary Whitta if he remembered the dialogue, the writer responded:
For those unfamiliar with Rogue One’s production, Gary Whitta penned the movie’s original script, but he left the project in early 2015. Whitta was still given a ‘Story By’ credit alongside John Knoll, but Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy were given final screenplay credit. It’s still unclear if this Tarkin/Vader scene was shot during Rogue One’s original principal photography period under Gareth Edwards’ direction, or if it was part of the extensive reshoots that Gilroy supervised. Either way, with Disney+ now being a platform for Mouse House-related projects to showcase deleted scenes, maybe there will come a day when the Vader/Tarkin conversation will be throw onto the platform (which you can sign up for with the following link).
As for what the Star Wars franchise holds in store for these two characters, Hayden Christensen will reprise Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader for Obi-Wan Kenobi, while Tarkin is set to appear in The Bad Batch, with Stephen Stanton, who voiced him in The Clone Wars and Rebels, reprising the role. Both of these series will air on Disney+. Keep track of other forthcoming Star Wars projects with our detailed guide.