People are afraid of AI stealing jobs but in this case, AI voices help a famous actor retire and relax.
James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader, is stepping away almost five decades in the iconic role and gives his blessing for an AI Darth Vader to continue the fight.
A new Vanity Fair piece called “Darth Vader’s Voice Emanated From War-Torn Ukraine” covers how, as the 91-year-old James Earl Jones was looking to wind down from his Darth Vader duties, AI stepped in to help replace him.
With the help of Respeecher, an Ukrainian startup dedicated to recreating famous voices using AI, the Obi-Wan Kenobi series from Disney Plus benefitted from the actor’s voice thanks to a hefty contribution from AI.
The article recounts how James Earl Jones “guided the performance” of Darth Vader in that series, while a 29-year-old speech artist from Ukraine was rushing to finish the performance, right as Russia’s invasion of his country began.
Once James Earl Jones heard the results, he signed off on archival records of his voice being used to create new dialogue using AI. Going forward, it’s unlikely he will return to the role and all future Darth Vader appearances will have an AI-enabled voice.
*Image of James Earl Jones by Eva Rinaldi