James Earl Jones steps back from voicing Darth Vader, signs off on using archived recordings to recreate voice with A.I.
According to Vanity Fair, the 91-year-old actor has signed off on archival voice recordings being used by young filmmakers, who plan to utilize artificial intelligence synthetic speech technology to recreate Jones’ younger voice from his previous films for future Lucasfilm projects.
“He had mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character,” Matthew Wood, a Lucasfilm veteran of 32 years, told the outlet. “So how do we move forward?”
The company has enlisted the assistance of Respeecher, a Ukrainian startup that uses AI technology to craft new conversations from revitalized old voice recordings.
Respeecher’s relationship with Lucasfilm began with the Disney+ series “The Book of Boba Fett,” for which they recreated the voice of young Luke Skywalker.
The two also teamed for the voice performance of Darth Vader on the series “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” which debuted on Disney’s streamer this summer.
Bogdan Belyaev, the 29-year-old speech artist, was tasked with delivering the new recordings to Lucasfilm, but tragedy struck on Feb. 24 when Russia invaded the country.
As air raid sirens powered through the city of Lviv, Belyaev hurried to finish the project and send his work back to Skywalker Sound in Northern California.