De-aging technology has become an increasingly common practice in big budget Hollywood productions, but Star Wars has been pushing things in a direction that the fanbase isn’t unanimously on board with.
Digitally recreating an actor who died in 1994 for a 2016 blockbuster didn’t sit well with some folks when Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin returned for Rogue One, while The Book of Boba Fett‘s most recent episode has reignited the debate after Luke Skywalker played a major supporting role.
Unlike The Mandalorian‘s second season finale, Mark Hamill wasn’t involved in “From the Desert Comes a Stranger” at all, although the actor would have obviously signed off on Lucasfilm using his likeness. Graham Hamilton filled in on set before having Hamill’s visage pasted on top of his own face, but it’s how the iconic character’s voice was created that elevates the extended cameo into creepy territory.
In a recent interview with Esquire, ILM’s Richard Bluff detailed how The Book of Boba Fett gave Luke so much dialogue without even having to get Hamill into the recording booth.
“It’s a neural network you feed information into and it learns. So I had archival material from Mark in that era. We had clean recorded ADR from the original films, a book on tape he’d done from those eras, and then also Star Wars radio plays he had done back in that time. I was able to get clean recordings of that, feed it into the system, and they were able to slice it up and feed their neural network to learn this data.”
One major point of contention among Star Wars supporters is that Hamill just so happens to be one of the most acclaimed voice actors in the business, so if ILM could splice together a Frankenstein version of the veteran star from prior recordings, then surely the technology was available to smooth out the 70 year-old’s naturally gravely tones into something more akin to a post-Return of the Jedi vintage.