‘Star Wars’ Won’t Reveal Who’s Really Voicing Darth Vader
One of the most exciting parts of the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series is the return of Darth Vader, AKA Anakin Skywalker, AKA that kid who somehow built the world’s most annoying protocol droid from scratch. Weirdly, though, we don’t know exactly how Darth Vader was brought back to life. We do know that it’s a post-Little Italy Hayden Christensen in the suit, but what about the voice? The credits suggest that the legendary James Earl Jones is reprising his role “as the voice of Darth Vader.”
Which is weird because Jones is 91, and sounded noticeably older, understandably so, when doing Vader back in 2016’s Rogue One.
Eagle-eyed fans (who didn’t immediately switch over to Netflix to watch Stranger Things) noticed that the same episode to first feature Darth Vader also credited Respeecher, the “voice cloning” company that created the A.I.-powered voice of young Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett – making it seem as though Vader’s voice, though simply credited to Jones, was likely cobbled together by a computer using old Star Wars clips and CNN ad breaks.
But weirdly, the folks at Respeecher won’t confirm or deny this, recently telling Inverse that they “can’t say yes or no on James Earl Jones,” adding that there are “lots of secrets still with Obi-Wan Kenobi.” And, to be fair, Respeecher has a lot on its plate; they’re based in Ukraine and were reportedly still “uploading data packets … to Skywalker Sound” for Obi-Wan Kenobi “when the invasion began.”
Ultimately, though, this is kind of disappointing because Star Wars, historically, has been pretty transparent about how its various effects were accomplished. For young movie fans, learning the films’ behind-the-scenes tricks was arguably part of the appeal. But now Lucasfilm is being weirdly protective about certain pieces of information, like Vader’s voice – probably because they know that a lot of people will find it super-creepy.
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Top Image: Lucasfilm