Let’s face it; CGI these days is pretty darn good. More and more it’s being used for human characters, as well. From posthumous Paul Walker scenes in the Fast and Furious franchise to de-aging actors for flashback scenes, digital character imaging is a mainstay of modern cinema. Yes it’s good… but many times it could be better. Enter the “Deepfake.” YouTubers has been utilizing alternative technology to improve upon some scenes that they thought were lacking. A prime example is Luke Skywalker’s appearance in The Mandalorian Season 2 finale. The re-do on that was so good, in fact, that Lucasfilm has now hired the man responsible to work on Star Wars.
Mark Hamill shocked the Star Wars fandom when he “returned” to reprise his role of Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian. He of course only voiced the character; his appearance came courtesy of CGI. When he lifted the hood of his cloak, however, something just didn’t feel quite right. That’s why YouTuber “Shamook” stepped in and decided to improve upon the original. Improve upon it, he did. The scene’s Deepfake version looked far more realistic than what we saw on screen. Lucasfilm took notice.
Lucasfilm hires Deepfake YouTuber to work on Star Wars
Shamook announced the hiring on his YouTube channel:
“As some of you may already know, I joined ILM/Lucasfilm a few months ago and haven’t had the time to work on any new YouTube content. Now I’ve settled into my job, uploads should start increasing again. They’ll still be slow, but hopefully not months apart. Enjoy!”
As Indiewire notes, Lucasfilm has even confirmed the Deepfake hiring, too:
“[Industrial Light and Magic is] always on the lookout for talented artists and have in fact hired the artist that goes by the online persona ‘Shamook.’” Over the past several years ILM has been investing in both machine learning and A.I. as a means to produce compelling visual effects work and it’s been terrific to see momentum building in this space as the technology advances.”
What Lucasfilm’s Deepfake hiring means for Star Wars and The Mandalorian remains unclear. Still, if they’ve hired the one responsible for improving on a de-aged Luke Skywalker, one can’t help but assume that we haven’t seen the last of the son of Vader in the show.