Disney’s six-part Obi-Wan Kenobi series came to an end this week. Suffice to say, if he’s not completely caught up in the show, there are some mild spoilers ahead for the ending of him. Obi-Wan has become perhaps the best Star Wars project under Disney’s supervision thus far. His connection to the first six films has been great and several iconic characters have returned. However, it turns out that one, or maybe even two of those characters’ voices, aren’t necessarily the ones they have now.
That’s thanks to Respeecher, a Ukraine-based company that specializes in AI-powered voice cloning. Respeecher CEO Alex Serdiuk spoke to Polygon about his work on the latest Disney+ show, and while he confirmed that at least one of the returning stars we’ve seen over the course of the series is voiced by his AI technology. , Lucasfilm has given strict orders not to reveal who they are.
Disney and Lucasfilm have used Respeecher’s services before, and it perfectly explains why an AI tool like this can be so useful. Although Mark Hamill voiced young Luke Skywalker when he returned in The Mandalorian, and then again in The Book of Boba Fett, the younger version of his voice you’ve heard was created by Respeecher’s AI.
“With our technology and services, we can create a digital copy of a particular voice and allow another person to speak with that voice,” explains Serdiuk. “Therefore, we allow [studios] scale voices, age voices, and even resurrect voices for some projects.” In Hamill’s case, the AI was used to make her voice sound younger to fit the younger version of her character in the aforementioned Disney+ shows.
Thus begins the quest to try to find out who exactly the AI on Obi-Wan was used for. Fans have marveled at the fact that James Earl Jones returned to voice Darth Vader, especially at the age of 91. It is very possible that Jones was helped by Respeecher’s AI. Younger versions of Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor have also been shown, with Qui Gon Jin making a brief cameo right at the end of the finale. Not to mention that Palpatine showed up right before that. All possible Respeecher candidates, but we may never know for sure, as until Disney revealed that Luke’s voice had been altered in The Mandalorian, no one noticed.
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