Two icons within the Star Wars universe were digitally re-created in the franchise’s first standalone film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Grand Moff Tarkin, who was portrayed by actor Peter Cushing was brought back to the big screen with Guy Henry donning Cushing’s likeness as seen in 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Also, Rogue One concluded with an appearance by Princess Leia with actress Ingvild Deila donning Carrie Fisher’s likeness from 1977.
CGI continues to make major leaps within the entertainment industry. And after Rogue One featured re-creations of two now-deceased performers, discussions about how actors’/actresses’ can allow their likeness be digitally re-created following their death have occurred.
An article published by The Hollywood Reporter discussed some of the legal implications to be found when an actor and/or actress are willing to allow their likeness to be used in future films after their deaths. Attorney Daniel Scott spoke to THR:
Celebrities need to be thinking about legacy planning, which is different from estate planning. It’s the planning around that celebrity’s public persona.
THR explains that the law has not caught up to this new technology. But in the future, it is possible that it will eventually cover the potential CGI re-creation of deceased actors and actresses.
When speaking to THR, attorney Laura Zwicker explained:
A star’s name and likeness is a potentially valuable but extremely illiquid asset. If the name and likeness rights go to charity, there’s no tax on that. Robin Williams did that.
Because of the untimely passing of Carrie Fisher, fans have speculated whether or not LucasFilm had plans to digitally re-create her likeness as General Leia Organa in future films such as Star Wars: Episode IX. LucasFilm went on to deny those rumors.
Although Fisher’s brother Todd Fisher stated that she may still make an appearance in Episode IX, LucasFilm President Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that no unused footage of the actress would be re-purposed.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. Meanwhile, Star Wars: The Last Jedi will arrive in our galaxy on December 15, 2017.