Stephen: James Earl Jones retires from voicing Darth Vader, will be done by AI in the future
Written by Stephen Lethbridge on September 26, 2022
WARNING: Spoilers for Rogue One and The Mandalorian below
James Earl Jones is leaving the Darth Vader voice to the machines. The 91-year-old actor has signed his voice over to Respeecher, a start-up which specializes in voice cloning. Respeecher generated Darth Vader’s voice for the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series in collaboration with Jones and Lucasfilm. Jones first voiced Darth Vader in 1977 in “Star Wars: A New Hope.” He has voiced the character for 45 years across a dozen projects spanning film, TV, and video games. Notably, the character was also portrayed physically by British actor David Prowse and, unmasked in Return of the Jedi, by Sebastian Shaw.
The Star Wars franchise has been known to employ some advanced technology in order to bring past characters into modern day productions. Motion capture was used to recreate the character Gran Moff Tarkin, first portrayed in the original 1977 Star Wars by veteran British actor Peter Cushing (who passed away in 1994) as well as a young Princess Leia, and similar technology was employed at the end of season two of the series The Mandalorian to include a Return of the Jedi-era version of Luke Skywalker.