James Earl Jones has been voicing the iconic Darth decades. However, with news breaking about his recent retirement, many were worried his infamous voice would be replaced.
You shouldn’t expect replacement Darth Vader actor yet. In unsurprising news, Disney will be emulating Jones’ voice through AI from here on out. But will Jones will continue to get credit for his iconic voice in Star Wars for decades to come?
James Earl Jones’ Darth Vader voice immortalized through AI
An extensive report from Vanity Fair confirmed that James Earl Jones signed off to have an AI emulate his voice. While it was only announced recently, the AI Darth Vader voice was already used during the Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
Despite the shock and sadness, most fans aren’t too surprised by the news since the actor is now 91 years old. Matthew Wood, the supervising sound editor on Obi-Wan Kenobi confirmed that the actor was planning to finish his Vader stint.
“He had mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character,” says Wood. “So how do we move forward?” With AI, it seems.
Surviving war while working on Star Wars
Emulating James Earl Jones’ Darth Vader voice for Star Wars content wasn’t easy, as the work was done in Ukraine. Bogdan Baylaev is a 29-year-old synthetic-speech artist at the Ukrainian start-up Respeecher and he worked with LucasFilm on this.
“If everything went bad, we would never make these conversions delivered to Skywalker Sound,” he says. “So I decided to push this data right on the 24th of February.”
The fact that Baylaev was working on this while surviving in a war-torn country is the stuff of geek legends. Hopefully, the conflict will end one day so Batlaev can enjoy his work from the comforts of his home.