Actor James Earl Jones, 91, is in addition to award-winning appearances in Hollywood, the voice of the most iconic villain of all time, Darth Vader.
And his unmistakable tone and vocal timbre forever changed the conception of the Star Wars character.
That is why, when Jones announced that he will no longer voice Darth Vader, a Ukrainian startup took advantage of the momentum to agree with the actor to continue his legacy forever, thanks to Artificial Intelligence.
Respeecher uses sound bites to “clone” an actor’s voice, allowing a studio to record new lines without the actor present. Matthew Wood, supervising sound editor for Skywalker Sound, told Vanity Fair that presented Jones with the option once he “mentioned that he was looking to finish” the role of Darth Vader. After Jones gave Lucasfilm permission to use the AI-generated voice, Vanity Fair says the studio commissioned Respeecher to make Vader sound like Jones’ “dark side villain from 45 years ago” in Obi-Wan Kenobi from DisneyPlus.
This is also not the first time Respeecher has worked with Lucasfilms. The startup also spawned a voice for the younger version of Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian Y The Book of Boba Fett by DisneyPlus. In a press releaseRespeecher explains that he used clips from “a lot of the early years of radio broadcasts, interviews, ADR, and dubs” with Mark Hamill to digitally recreate Skywalker’s voice.