The actor who plays Darth Vader may be retired, but the distinctive raspy voice of one of Hollywood’s greatest villains can survive thanks to AI technology pioneered by a company in Ukraine.
ames Earl Jones, now 91, is responsible for some of the most famous lines in cinema, including “I am your father” from the 1980s Star Wars movie The Empire Strikes Back.
But after pointing out that the latest Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+ would be his last, the producers from LucasFilm tried to “keep Vader alive” and agreed with Mr. Jones uses artificial intelligence and archived recordings to recreate his voice.
Matthew Wood, a senior sound editor for Lucasfilm, told Vanity Fair: “He mentioned he’s looking to take down this particular character, so how do we move forward?”
Mr. Jones has been a part of the franchise since 1977, but his voice has changed in the decades since. To make it sound like it used to, he licensed a Ukrainian company to recreate it for the Disney+ series.
Respeecher uses archival recordings and AI to create new dialogue with the voices of old performers.
Bogdan Belyaev (29 years old), a general speaker at the Ukrainian startup, joined the project when Russian forces were massing on the border with Ukraine.
“If things went badly, we would never have made these conversions to Skywalker Sound,” he said. Vanity Fair.
“So I decided to publish this data as soon as February 24th,” he added, referring to the date Russia launched its illegal invasion of its neighbour.
While some have donned the Sith Lord’s signature black uniform over the years, it’s always been Mr Jones’ voice when it comes to dialogue.
Mr Jones was described by Mr Wood as “a benevolent godfather” who would consult the voice actor about the character’s future direction.
Coveted EGOT Winner – Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony – Mr Jones is also the voice of Mufasa in Lion King.
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https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/voice-of-darth-vader-will-be-kept-alive-by-ai-technology-pioneered-in-ukraine-42018801.html Darth Vader’s voice will be ‘continued’ by pioneering AI technology in Ukraine