Grand Moff Scorpius

May 9, 2014

When Star Wars, Episode III was being made (I incidentally predicted the correct Episode III subtitle around the time Episode I came out), I was still holding out hope that George Lucas might manage to pull off a successful end to his six (down from nine) film cycle. That did not happen. When I saw the film, I arrived in the theater a little late. I missed the opening scroll, but the rest of the film was so bad that I will probably never go back and see it again. (For reference, I am such a fan of the original trilogy that I went through a phase where I watched all three every weekend.)

However, one specific thing I was hoping to see in Episode III did appear. I wanted to see Grand Moff Tarkin. Tarkin was clearly one of the emperor’s most important lieutenants, so it would make sense from a plot standpoint. Moreover, I thought it would be a nice tribute to the actor, Peter Cushing, who had such an illustrious career in British science fiction and horror films before Star Wars. (It should be said, however, that many of those films are really bad, in spite of Cushing’s talents as a actor. The first Doctor Who dalek movie is terrible, much worse than the original, lower-budget television version. I haven’t watched the second Doctor Who movie he made, since the television serial it was based on, “The Dalek Invasion of Earth,” is already terrible.) Of course, Peter Cushing being dead, I had hoped they would use some computer wizardry and old footage to put together the appearance.

In reality, they used a lookalike actor, which I still appreciated. I was also hoping they would have Tarkin posed so that his feet could not be seen—alluding to the fact that in Episode IV, the character’s feet are never on camera. (The reason, apparently, was the boots for the costume hurt Cushing’s feet, and so he did not wear them.) That was not how the scene was shot, but it was still nice to see the Grand Moff (or whatever his title was then) on screen.


This is all old news. What I had not previously noticed (in case you’ve forgotten the post title after reading this far) was that the minor role of Tarkin was played by Wayne Pygram—Scorpius himself, from Farscape.

Naturally, I was not the first person to notice this.


3 Responses to “Grand Moff Scorpius”

  1. I’d always assumed they used CG to create (or heavily modify the actor who played Tarkin) to create that shot. Seems I was wrong. Great for Pygram, though he still looks…I was going to say CG, but I guess he just looks very made-up. Whatever. It’s a nice find.

  2. PS – a partial response to both the image at top and the post: the film was not that bad. I mean, it’s completely non-canonical, but for all that, it was fairly entertaining, if silly.

    Second, given the time-frames involved, there’s no way The (secret) Death Star was being constructed in plain sight of the fleet at that point. It’s far, far too early. Doesn’t make sense. I guess the point was to show Pygram as Tarkin, so whatever.

  3. Impressed you managed to maintain hope for that long. My favorite idea for episode III was that Darth Vader appears and kills Anakin. Would have made the prequels SO much better on several levels. This seems a pretty close second, though.

    Must say, I don’t quite get the interest in the boots.

    It’s still ridiculous that the death star is being publicly constructed 15 years too early.

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