Menu

Disney Confirms Darth Vader Will Be Played By AI From Now On

A new AI program developed by Respeecher will provide the voice of Darth Vader, the infamous main antagonist from the original Star Wars films. As actor James Earl Jones, who originally voiced the foreboding Sith general, will soon retire, Disney has been looking for a suitable replacement for the distinctive baritone.

Of course, Star Wars fans will recall that Jones first voiced the fallen Skywalker 45 years ago in 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope, up until his final role, a single line in The Rise of Skywalker (2019).

Watch Darth Vader | Disney+

Credit: Disney Plus

RELATED: “Mando Sets the Record Straight” When Guest Calls the Wrong Name In This Viral Video

However, Matthew Wood, Lucasfilm’s supervising sound editor, said in a Vanity Fair interview that the 91 year old Jones “mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character,” forcing the Studios to look into vocal alternatives.

Enter Respeecher’s vocal-modulating technology. Unbelievably, the program’s voice cloner uses deep learning to modify audio inputs and near-indistinguishably replicate human speech.

James Earl Jones Retires From Voicing Darth Vader | Smart News| Smithsonian  Magazine

Credit: Smithsonian Magazine

As a matter of fact, Disney used the same effect to provide Mark Hamill’s dialogue as Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian. However, it was so convincing, you might not even have noticed.

So, with Jones and Disney’s permission, the Ukranian-based company transformed archival recordings of his dialogue into a digital model that can realistically disguise the voice of another actor. In fact, Jones had already signed off on the use of Respeecher’s voice-cloning software for use in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+.

Darth Vader | StarWars.com

Credit: Star Wars

RELATED: Here’s How the Disney Research Studios ‘Re-Aging’ AI Works

This performance has set the precedent for all future projects released by the Walt Disney Studios and Lucasfilm, in lieu of casting a new voice actor.

What’s more, it even works for singing, as shown in the video above, which opens up a new realm of possibility for future sequels to popular Disney animated musicals.

 

Additionally, it provides new opportunities for the character appearances at Disney Parks worldwide as well, from attractions to character performers and even entertainment productions, which could now all use original dialogue instead of previous recordings.

What do you think about Disney’s decision to utilize a Darth Vader AI?

About Spencer Beck

Spencer is a lifelong lover of theme parks, princesses, and Disney history that recently relocated to Northern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she was the founder and first president of the campus Disney Club. A former Cast Member still mourning the loss of the Disney Store, she now haunts the halls of the Walt Disney Family Museum, and shares her opinions with anyone who will listen @pinknpurble everywhere.