In the book Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno, we find this passage (emphasis mine):

THE DOOR TO TARKIN’S QUARTERS whooshed open, disappearing into the partition, and out he marched, dressed in worn trousers and ill-fitting boots, with a lightweight gray-green duster draped over his shoulders.

This amused me, because when Peter Cushing was filming his role as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope, his costume boots were too small. He reached an agreement with George Lucas that he should be filmed almost exclusively from the waist up so he could wear his carpet slippers on set rather than the painfully tight boots.

enter image description here enter image description here
Behind the scenes photos from the set of A New Hope, showing Cushing in his slippers

enter image description here
Quote from Peter Cushing1, describing the problem with his boots in A New Hope; taken from a fansite devoted to the actor.

enter image description here
From the site "The Cushing Collection", this picture is captioned: "Peter Cushing’s carpet slippers on display in the Whitstable Museum in 2013. When Cushing played Grand Moff Tarkin in STAR WARS, the boots they got for him were far too small, and so he asked George Lucas to just film the upper half of his body most of the time, while he was shuffling around in his slippers. He joked afterwards that there’s no wonder that Tarkin is such a nasty fellow - “his boots are killing him!”"

I suspect2 that this is more than mere coincidence, but I'd like some confirmation one way or the other.

Is the novel Tarkin's mention of "ill-fitting boots" an obscure reference to Cushing's problems with the boots he was supposed to wear in his role as Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope?

1 The quote is apparently taken from his memoir, 'Past Forgetting’: Memoirs of the Hammer Years, by Peter Cushing.

2I'm not the only person who made this connection:

Tarkin: It's James Luceno writing a book about Tarkin like Darth Plagueis.... Again, lots of small EU references that made me happy. And I actually laughed out loud at a line that described Tarkin's boots as being "ill-fitting", because it's so meta. (The boots that were part of Tarkin's costume in ANH were too small for Peter Cushing, so he actually filmed the entire movie in bedroom slippers. There aren't any shots of Tarkin's feet in the movie. :D)
- Source

  • @DVK - it is a good start, but not an answer in itself. You can use the Cushing-related parts of this interview to flesh it out, but it still wouldn't quite answer the question - I don't know what would, except an answer from Luceno himself.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jan 17, 2016 at 1:29
  • heh great minds think alike. I had that interview as the next tab open for researching this. Added but still deleted. Jan 18, 2016 at 13:43
  • 1
    Voted to undelete
    – Valorum
    Jan 18, 2016 at 13:50
  • What I want to know is, did Wayne Pygram wear slippers when he briefly played the role in Episode III! Mar 7, 2016 at 20:50

1 Answer 1

  • "Tarkin" overall was heavily inspired by Cushing's performance:

    From Luceno interview with SciFiNow

    Q: Did you find yourself revisiting earlier Cushing performances to capture his mannerisms?

    JL: Absolutely, yeah. I grew up watching... those were Hammer movies if I’m not mistaken, those great old horror movies that I remember him in. Everything from Revenge Of Frankenstein and Hound Of The Baskervilles – he was even in [an Amicus] Dr Who film, at one point! So all of my early filmgoing, he was a regular person who I saw on screen.

    I did try and make use of that in terms of helping flesh out his personality, his mannerisms, his general style.

  • Luceno in general seems to be very detail oriented when it comes to continuity:

    Q: You weave a lot of continuity into your stories. Is that easy or hard? Do you spend a lot of time on Wookieepedia or the Holocron?

    Luceno: When I first became involved with the franchise thirteen years ago, I made it a goal to catch up on everything that had been written up to that point and to stay current on every book that came out. Plus I have one of those brains that is capable of keeping a lot of stories in place. So the continuity references were already there. I just felt like I inhabited this big world where all these events have taken place. It’s the history of the Star Wars galaxy. And I enjoy emphasizing continuity. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea to find all those references in a book, but for me they make the world a bit more realistic.


  • You post a nice answer and then delete it before going into exile? Seriously. :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 12, 2016 at 12:11
  • @Randal'Thor - IMHO it was not very useful as far as answering the question. I think OP agrees. I don't mind it being undeleted but personally don't think it's worth staying around. Apr 12, 2016 at 13:20
  • Looks to me like one of those "not a complete answer, but probably the best we're ever going to get" answers. Note that I was the third vote to undelete (and a third non-mod had flagged for undeletion), so no mod abuse occurred! ;-) And of course you can delete it again if you really want.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 12, 2016 at 13:28
  • @Randal'Thor - I'll let the OP decide. If he wants to flag it for deletion I'm fine. If not, let it stay. Apr 12, 2016 at 13:29
  • 1
    While it's not a direct answer, this does heavily imply that the reference was intended based on the caricature of the author being detailed-oriented and very familiar with the nuances of Cushing's performances. Worth keeping around IMO, even if only to serve as a base for a thorough answer later if more information becomes known.
    – Ellesedil
    Apr 12, 2016 at 17:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.