Does a new Rogue One TV spot hint at the return of another Star Wars villain?

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May 5, 2017, 2:21 PM EDT (Updated)

We already know that Darth Vader shows up in Rogue One. But is another classic Star Wars bad guy also going to pop up?

If you watch the newest (at least as I write this -- there could be another one already, for all I know) TV spot for Rogue One, Vader is all over it, from his iconic breathing throughout the entire spot to the use of the Imperial March to a couple of shots of him toward the end. But about five seconds into the ad, we see the back of another familiar-looking figure staring out at the Death Star. Check it out:

Could that be Grand Moff Tarkin, the Imperial governor and commander of the Death Star originally played by legendary British actor Peter Cushing in  Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope? It certainly looks like him from behind, and it makes sense that he would somehow be involved in the events of Rogue One, being that it's all about the construction of the Death Star and the plot to steal its blueprints. Tarkin also shows up in a Rogue One prequel novel, called Catalyst, in which he's involved in somewhat of a power struggle with Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), the main villain of the piece.

As for who is playing Tarkin in the film if that is in fact him, that's another story. Cushing, a genre favorite also known for playing Dr. Frankenstein, Van Helsing and many others for Hammer Films, became one with the Force back in 1994. Since Tarkin would be more or less the same age in Rogue One as he is in A New Hope, the role couldn't really be recast with, say, a younger actor (a de-aged version of Tarkin was glimpsed briefly at the end of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, but he had no dialogue or any real presence). Is his appearance, if it's actually happening, brief enough to warrant the use of a CG image of Cushing? Or could his time onscreen -- and the effects used to bring him back to life -- be even more extensive?

We'll find out when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on Dec. 16. Would you like to recognize Governor Tarkin's foul stench one more time in this film?

(via Slashfilm)