A secret message hidden in Rogue One promotional media may contain proof that the menacing Grand Moff Tarkin could make his return to the Star Wars film universe.
Recently, the final wave of Rogue One’s in-movie theater promotion included cardboard stand-ups of the film’s characters. Surrounding Jyn Erso, K-2SO, and other Rebel heroes are various letters in “Aurebesh” the official language of Star Wars, which a few select people here on Earth can read. One such person was Star Wars superfan YakFace who posted the translations of the messages on Twitter. And the results were surprisingly pro-Empire.
Here’s all the decoded/translated phrases:
- “BEAT BACK THE REBELS”
- “JOIN THE EMPIRE”
- “SUBMIT TO OUR WILL”
- “ALL POWER TO THE EMPIRE”
- “CRUSH THE REBELLION IN ONE SWIFT STROKE”
- “THIS STATION IS THE ULTIMATE POWER IN THE UNIVERSE”
- “THERE WILL BE NO ONE TO STOP US THIS TIME.”
Now, even though these Aurebesh phrases are positioned next to the faces of good guys, all the sentiments here are all coming across like Imperial propaganda. And at least one of these statements — “crush the Rebellion in one swift stroke” — is a direct quote from Grand Moff Tarkin, the commander of the Death Star in A New Hope. Leia mentions she should have “expected to find him holding Vader’s leash” in A New Hope. And maybe we should be expecting the same with Rogue One. If Vader’s in it, then his BFF Tarkin should be, too!
The phrase “this station is now the ultimate power in the universe” comes from a minor character named Admiral Motti in A New Hope, moments before he is Force-choked by Darth Vader. But, Admiral Motti was hanging out in a conference room with Tarkin, a place where Tarkin mentioned that “fear of this battle station” would keep “the local systems in line.”
Could all this pro-Empire stuff — and at least one direct shout-out to Tarkin — be an advance message that the Grand Moff is coming back? Of all the rumored character cameos in Rogue One, this one easily makes the most sense. Tarkin was in charge of the Death Star in A New Hope. When Revenge of the Sith depicted the Death Star’s initial construction, a younger Tarkin was seen lurking on the sidelines next to Vader and the Emperor. He shows up a lot in Rebels these days, which is also completely in-canon. Since this movie is supposed to lead right-up into the opening moments of A New Hope, Tarkin in Rogue One suddenly seems not only likely, but essential.
The only question now, is if Tarkin is in Rogue One, who would play him? Peter Cushing is obviously no longer with us, but Wayne Pygram played the younger version of Cushing’s iconic role in the Revenge of the Sith cameo. Would something similar happen here?
It seems possible. Though the character of Mon Mothma was played by Caroline Blakiston in Return of the Jedi in 1983, her young self was played by Genevieve O’Reilly in deleted scenes for Revenge of the Sith. Now, O’Reilly is back as Mon Mothma for Rogue One. Could the same thing happen with Wayne Pygram playing Tarkin?
Rogue One’s December 18 release date can’t come fast enough.