Of all the aspects of Tarkin that Peter Cushing established, there’s one essential trait about him that any successor to the role must embody: He can stand toe-to-toe with Darth Vader.
This is important if the rumors are true that the Dark Lord of the Sith will be making an appearance in Rogue One. Tarin and Vader’s relationship was always one built on mutual respect for each other’s cunning and intellect, and it was expanded upon on James Luceno’s novel Tarkin that came out last year.
The only actor on this list who could effortlessly sell Tarkin’s resilience is Tywin Lannister. Spoiler alert if you’re not caught up on Game of Thrones.
Charles Dance turned in a legendary performance as essentially the show’s main antagonist through its first four seasons. His Tywin is ruthlessly intelligent and brimming with a reserved fury. Dance also can summon that smug, holier-than-thou grimace that Cushing practiced on Princess Leia a few times in Episode IV.
Depending on the size and importance of Tarkin’s role in Rogue One, I’d hazard that Dance could even put out a better performance than Cushing. The former has such a commanding presence that he could lift Tarkin from a snide, strict dictator into a legitimately terrifying foe.
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