James Earl Jones, the iconic voice of Darth Vader in “Star Wars”, will no longer double the character. The actor is retiring, but thanks to artificial intelligence, new dialogues can be generated.
James Earl Jones, the original version of Darth Vader
There is in Star Wars many elements that symbolize the famous saga created by George Lucas. One of them is obviously the unique voice of Darth Vader. A serious and threatening tone that we owe, in the original version, to James Earl Jones. It’s hard to imagine one without the other. And this, although the actor had an important career. At each of his appearances, we inevitably think of the Sith Lord, of whom he has been the voice since 1977.
He who, in 1980, took part in one of the greatest reversals of the situation by pronouncing in The Empire Strikes Back this famous phrase: “Luke I am your father“. And even if Vader was never more present than in the original trilogyJames Earl Jones had been able to make us vibrate again with each of the appearances of the character, as in RogueOne (2016) or more recently thanks to the series Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022).
The actor stops, but his voice remains
However, a page is turned. Because James Earl Jones has decided to take a well-deserved retiremente. The 91-year-old actor will put the character aside and take some rest, announced Vanity Fair. However, rest assured, this does not mean that Vader will no longer appear on screen in the future, or that his voice will be different. The American media indeed gave this information in the middle of a more global article on Respeecha Ukrainian company commissioned by Disney to generate, by artificial intelligence, new dialogues using old recordings. It was this same company that made it possible to hear the voice of young Mark Hamill for Boba Fett’s Book.
Moreover, this technique has already been used for Obi-Wan Kenobi. Thus, in order to recreate the 50 lines of dialogue that Vader has in the series, 10,000 sound files were used and James Earl Jones gave many tips to get the best result. The article of Vanity Fair specifies that the company being in Ukraine, the war had an obvious impact but employees continued to workwhile being “curled up“or refugees in”an old brick basement no bigger than a crawl space“.