STAR WARS: James Earl Jones Steps Back From Darth Vader Role After A.I. Was Used In OBI-WAN KENOBI

Respeecher technology has allowed Lucasfilm to use archival recordings to create voices with A.I., and it's now been confirmed that Obi-Wan Kenobi didn't technically star the human James Earl Jones...

Respeecher is a relatively new technology that was created by a start-up company of the same name by Bogdan Belyaev. The Star Wars franchise has so far made good use of it to generate the voice of a young Luke Skywalker in The Book of Boba Fett and, as suspected, they did the same for Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi.

For those of you wondering how it works, they essentially take archival recordings of an actor's voice, feed it through their proprietary A.I. algorithm, and then create new dialogue with voices that sound as they did decades ago. Voices do change over time, and neither Mark Hamill nor James Earl Jones sounds exactly as they did when they first played these characters.

That was evident from how different Obi-Wan Kenobi's Vader sounded compared to what we heard in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Vanity Fair (via SFFGazette.com) reveals that Jones has indeed stepped away from the role at 91, with his last actual performance a line of dialogue recorded for 2019's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The legendary actor signed off on his archival recordings being used to keep Vader alive, even if it is by artificial means. He is said to have provided some input, but the version of the Sith Lord in Obi-Wan Kenobi was indeed created solely with the use of a clever computer programme. Presumably, this now means Vader can continue returning for the foreseeable future.

Jones' family are said to be extremely pleased with what the Disney+ TV series delivered, and despite having to work on the show in the midst of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Belyaev remains understandably proud of what they were able to come up with. 

"Why did I do it? It’s a big honor to work with Lucasfilm, and I’ve been a fan of Star Wars since I was a kid," he explains in a lengthy interview with the site. "Even if it’s war, there’s no excuse for you to be the troublemaker of what you loved from childhood."

This is a very clever, almost scary technology that means the voices of characters in movies and TV shows can now live on long after the actors are done playing them. 

However, with the thumbs up from Jones, this hopefully means we'll be seeing (and hearing) a lot more Vader on our screens in future.

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