Obi-Wan Kenobi’s description of Darth Vader being “more machine now than man” is coming true.
According to an article in Vanity Fair, James Earl Jones has signed off on Lucasfilm using the AI tech from a company called Respeecher to imitate his menacing voice for the black helmeted Dark Lord of the Sith from now on.
It’s the same company that provided the voice for a 30-something Luke Skywalker, digitally de-aging 71-year-old Mark Hamill‘s voice for Luke’s appearances in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.
Jones, 91, reportedly gave his blessing to the Ukrainian company’s team up with Lucasfilm’s Emmy-winning sound designer Matthew Wood, with the former using “machine learning” to recreate Jones’ Vader voice for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series for Disney+.
“He had mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character. So how do we move forward?” Wood commented to the magazine.
Likening the legendary actor to a “benevolent godfather,” Jones guided Wood and his team as a very serious deadline fast approached: Respeecher is based in Ukraine, and the collaboration happened feverishly between its designers and Wood, even as the threat of Russian shelling grew.
Wood explained to Vanity Fair, the Respeecher team’s attitude was: “Let’s work, let’s work in the face of this adversity, let’s persevere.'”
Jones and his family were reportedly pleased with the results.
Lucasfilm is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.