James Earl Jones is seemingly looking to step back from voicing Star Wars character Darth Vader after 45 years in the role.
As reported by Vanity Fair, the actor, 91, has signed off on archival voice recordings being used by young filmmakers, who plan to recreate Jones’ voice from his previous films for future Lucasfilm projects using artificial intelligence.
“He had mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character,” Matthew Wood, a veteran at Lucasfilm, said. “So how do we move forward?”
Lucasfilm first partnered with Respeecher, a Ukrainian start-up that uses AI technology to create new dialogue from old voice recordings, on Disney+ series The Book Of Boba Fett to replicate the voice of young Luke Skywalker.
Jones’ voice was artificially recreated for Darth Vader in recent series Obi Wan Kenobi, although Lucasfilm said the actor “guided” the performance. After the series premiered, Jones’ family told Wood that they were pleased with the result from the AI company.
The actor first voiced the classic villain in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, where the character was physically portrayed by David Prowse.
The latest Star Wars series to be released is Andor, a prequel set five years before events in 2016 film Rogue One. Diego Luna reprises his role as Cassian Andor, alongside Genevieve O’Reilly, Stellan Skarsgard, Forest Whitaker and Fiona Shaw.
In a five-star review, NME wrote: “Feeling far more revolutionary for the franchise than Rogue One ever did, Andor proves that Star Wars can grow up without growing old. The Lucasfilm universe is clearly big enough for all kinds of stories, and this might just be one of the best yet.”