Darth Vader’s voice now generated by middleware intelligence
In the series Obi-Wan Kenobi the role of Darth Vader is taken over physically by Hayden Christenssen while the dubbing is provided by James Earl Jones, assisted by Respeecher.
Disney actor James Earl Jones, the iconic stamp of the villain of Star Wars wants to retire and gave LucasFilm the green light to recreate his voice.
This is information hidden in a fascinating article by Vanity Fair on the contribution of Ukrainian sound engineers and computer scientists who worked hard, despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to develop the Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney +. The voice of iconic Star Wars villain Darth Vader is now generated by artificial intelligence software.
Its original voice actor, baritone James Earl Jones, wanted to retire from the role he held for four decades. The comedian has licensed Star Wars franchise owner LucasFilm to recreate his voice using sound archives. At 91, the voice of the actor has changed a lot. With this blank check, Disney, who bought the rights to the saga, will be able to make his young man’s intonations resonate again.
The entertainment giant has entrusted this task to the Ukrainian company Respeecher which uses artificial intelligence to generate new conversations based on old recordings. Respeecher had already worked on the previous series Star Wars The Bobba Feet Book to resurrect the voice of young Luke Skywalker. It was this tour de force that convinced James Earl Jones to place his trust in Respeecher.
Disney passed on the lines and plot outlines to the comedian who offered advice for the most absolute verisimilitude. To recreate the 50 lines of dialogue that Darth Vader has in the six episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, more than 10,000 sound files were exchanged between production and Respeecher. Despite the war, the company insured all of LucasFilm’s claims refusing to be discharged. The team continues its activity and ensures to work on several projects, still confidential.
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