How an AI neural network brought Luke Skywalker's voice to The Book of Boba Fett

Originally published at: How an AI neural network brought Luke Skywalker's voice to The Book of Boba Fett | Boing Boing


Disney apparently decided that it wasn’t worth their time to hire noted VoiceOver artist Mark Hamill to voice a character played by Mark Hamill ,

I got the impression that Hamill knew about it, but I haven’t heard it confirmed either way.

I understand their decision because 1983 Hamill and 2021 Hamill don’t sound the same. I am ok with it in limited uses. Though at some point, are we just going to need to accept the fact that if we want to keep telling stories of old characters, we will have to start using different actors?


I think it was a test for future use - Lucas had been saying for years about using the characters likenesses in perpetuity but of course ageing (and given time dead) actors can’t fill that desire so they wanted to see how far they could push this.

I would hardly be surprised if some future decade they make a new trilogy entirely CGI with all the original characters passed off in the style of a live action film. This is an experiment on the viability of that even though Hammil is very much still with us and very much still entertaining

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I hope that Mark Hamill had to give his approval, and that he also get residuals, all thanks to Crispin Glover?

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According to Respeecher’s web site, the first step in their 5 step process is that they require all clients to get permission from the target voice before starting a project.

Of course it’s only a matter of time before tools like this are too widely available to enforce that proviso, but good on them for requiring it, even if it is just to make sure they don’t get sued à la Universal Pictures et al.


That’ll last as long as an ethical CEO, meaning not long at all…

Or the threat of viable lawsuits, which I’m more inclined to credit for the policy than a CEO concerned with ethics. But perhaps I’m too cynical.

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The problem with mapping one actor’s voice and appearance over another’s performance is that you still inevitably end up with an actor doing an impression of another actor playing a character, which is bound to be a less immersive and engaging performance than that of an actor throwing everything they have into the character itself.

This worked out mostly OK with Luke because he was trying to do the “I’m a stoic Jedi now” thing. But Grand Moff Tarkin’s presence in Rogue One would have felt like a shadow of Peter Cushing’s original performance even if he hadn’t looked like he’d been lifted out of a video game cutscene.


“AI” is the new word for “computer”


Reminds me of this:

One potential good use I can think of for this technology is artificial voices for those that have lost their own. My father in law had ALS and eventually had to use an eye-tracking tablet and text-to-speech system to communicate, similar to Stephen Hawking. This was about 14 years ago and at the time there was a free program that some university group had come up with for “voice banking” where people who knew that they would loose their voice could train a system to make a custom computer voice that was similar to their own. Unfortunately it took a lot of time and effort to train the system, at a time in life when the folks who needed it didn’t have a lot of energy or stamina to spare. A system that trains itself from old recordings is far more preferable, even if the result is imperfect.


This. And with projects like Disney Star Wars stuff, it isn’t like they can’t pay a royalty to Mark Hamill or who ever for the use of their voice and likeness.

Hamill has been engaging with the fandom for awhile now. They would absolutely go apeshit on Disney if they screwed him over by doing something with out permission.


I recall hearing that roger ebert did something like that. In his case taking audio of his voice from dvd commentary tracks. Although I didn’t hear any examples of how it actually sounded…

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