James Earl Jones giving up voice of Darth Vader to a computer, reports say

James Earl Jones

The man who lent his voice to one of the greatest movie villains of all-time has apparently retired.

Multiple news outlets report James Earl Jones has allowed his voice to be re-created by artificial intelligence going forward so that his iconic character, Darth Vader, can continue to sound like Jones’ younger self.

“Star Wars” fans could tell that the Vader from 2016’s “Rogue One” sounded much older than in the original trilogy, even though the film was set immediately prior to the original film “A New Hope” from 1977. At the time, Jones was in his mid-80s.

However, in the recently-released Disney+ series “Obi-Wan Kenobi” — which is set after the prequel trilogy but before “A New Hope” — Vader again sounded like his younger self.

NBC News reports Jones, now 91, has signed off on allowing archival recordings to be used in conjunction with AI to keep Vader’s iconic voice alive as the “Star Wars” franchise continues to create new shows for Disney+ and more films going forward.

Vanity Fair reports Lucasfilm worked with a Ukrainian startup called Respeecher to create new content from voice recordings. The company provided the voice of the young Luke Skywalker in the Disney+ series “The Book of Boba Fett” and for Vader in “Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

Vanity Fair also reports that the 29-year-old speech artist behind the work had to quickly finish his project and send it to Skywalker Sound in California as Russia invaded his country in February.


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