James Earl Jones retires from voicing Darth Vader

James Earl Jones, who voiced Darth Vader in Star Wars films for almost 40 years, appears to be retiring from the role.

Corresponding vanity fairThe 91-year-old actor has approved archived voice recordings being used by young filmmakers who plan to use artificial intelligence synthetic voice technology to recreate Jones’ younger voice from his previous films for future Lucasfilm projects.

“He had mentioned that he wanted to wind up that particular character,” Matthew Wood, a 32-year Lucasfilm veteran, told the outlet. “So how are we getting on?”

The company has enlisted the help of Respeecher, a Ukrainian startup that uses AI technology to create new conversations from revived old voice recordings. Respeecher’s relationship with Lucasfilm began with the Disney+ series The Book of Boba Fett, for which they emulated the voice of young Luke Skywalker. The two also teamed up to sing Darth Vader in the series Obi-Wan Kenobi, which debuted on Disney’s streamer this summer.

Bogdan Belyaev, the 29-year-old voice artist, was hired to deliver the new footage to Lucasfilm, but tragedy struck on February 24 when Russia invaded the country. With air raid sirens blaring through the city of Lviv, Belyaev rushed to complete the project and ship his work back to Skywalker Sound in Northern California.

“If things went badly, we would never have these conversions shipped to Skywalker Sound,” he says.

After the debut of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jones Wood’s family said they were pleased with the result of the synthesis between the actor’s voice and Respeecher’s technical work. Jones is credited with “directing the performance” of Darth Vader on the Disney+ series, with Wood calling the actor a “benevolent godfather.”

Jones voiced the famous movie villain for the first time in the original 1977 Star Wars, while David Prowse appeared on screen in the infamous black mask. Jones voiced the character on both the big and small screens up to this point.

https://variety.com/2022/digital/news/james-earl-jones-darth-vader-retiring-star-wars-ai-1235382827/ James Earl Jones retires from voicing Darth Vader

Charles Jones

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