James Earl Jones, the voice behind Star Wars’ Darth Vader, is stepping away from the role at 91-years-old – and has reportedly granted permission for Disney and Lucasfilm to use artificial intelligence and archival recordings to recreate his voice for future films and series.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Star Wars sound supervising editor Matthew Wood said Jones “was looking into winding down this… character”.
Read more Artificial intelligence in broadcasting
Future Disney and Lucasfilm Star Wars projects will use artificial intelligence synthetic speech technology to recreate Jones’ younger voice from his previous films.
Ukrainian-based voice cloning company Respeecher will combine archival recordings and a proprietary A.I. algorithm to create new dialogue.
Respeecher previously remastered his voice from the original Star Wars films for the recent Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi, and some of his archival voice recordings were also used.
Jones voiced Darth Vader in the original Star Wars film which came out in 1977 and follow-ups The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
He has since reprised the role in films such as the first instalment of the Star Wars anthology series, Rogue One, and the third instalment of the sequel trilogy, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.