the starwars franchise wowed fans with the digitally recreated young Luke Skywalker (complete with his signature look), who returned in The Book of Boba Fett following his previous cameo in Season 2 of The Mandalorian (to return that thrilled Mark Hamill and fans). Many likely were shocked to learn to Lucasfilm was able to craft both of the character’s appearances without recording any new dialogue with Hamill. Now, viewers have a better idea of exactly how the company responsible for reviving the Jedi managed to create his vocals from him, and it was quite a process.
Ukrainian company ReSpeecher spoke to Variety about creating the Jedi Knight iteration of Luke Skywalker without recording sessions, and it’s honestly astounding. The organization dug up archives containing old ADR sessions with Mark Hamill, as well as voice work he did for video games and audiobooks over the years. With all that in hand, the team fed much cleaner audio into their app and began smoothing it out in order to recreate Hamill’s voice artificially.
The process of uploading new audio of the actor’s voice and converting the data to a new voice apparently took about two weeks. Co-founder Alex Serdiuk explained that throughout that process, the voice was tweaked in order to convey emotion and fit the performance, which is likely a time-consuming bit. But ultimately, they got the job done and managed to craft something that truly sounds like the Luke Skywalker from the Return of the Jedi was of the starwars timeline. While some fans took issue with the recreation, many more seem to appreciate what the company was able to accomplish for the Disney+ shows.
ReSpeecher’s technology is impressive, but its work might give many actors and folks pause. After all, if someone can train an AI to sound like a famous celebrity, then it could (theoretically) give major studios the ability to record and do things without an actor’s given consent. While the chances of a major entertainment company doing such a thing are slim (given the legal ramifications), there’s definitely an ethical question to be asked regarding what is and what isn’t OK to do. And actors like Robert De Niro and others have a lot of opinions on it.
Despite any reservations stars have, Hollywood still seems interested in using the this and imitation tech for entertainment purposes. One YouTuber even landed a job at Lucasfilm for his deepfake work. One would think that the methods used by companies like ReSpeecher will only become more refined as time goes on. And in when it comes to the Star Wars franchise, this means more classic characters have the potential to pop up in future projects.
all starwars content is available to stream with a Disney+ subscription, multiple Luke Skywalkers and all. It’ll be interesting to see if or when we see young Luke again, especially given how things played out in The Book of Boba Fett.