James Earl Jones: “Star Wars” villain Darth Vader retires

James Earl Jones
“Star Wars” villain Darth Vader is retiring

James Earl Jones has voiced villain Darth Vader since 1977’s Star Wars.

© imago images/United Archives

James Earl Jones has resigned from his role as Darth Vader. The villain’s lines of dialogue are now coming from the computer.

As has only just become known, US actor James Earl Jones (91) has withdrawn from his iconic Darth Vader role in the “Star Wars” universe. The 91-year-old has been speaking the legendary villain Darth Vader since “Star Wars” from 1977 – and is with sentences like “No… I’m your father [Luke]” went down in cinema history. Vanity Fair reportsthat Jones last narrated a line of Vader’s dialogue for the movie “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” in 2019. Since then, the characteristic goosebump-inducing voice has come from the computer.

James Earl Jones retires from legendary speaking role

In 2019, Jones expressed his desire to step down from the Vader role. Ukrainian tech company Respeecher stepped in for the series “Obi-Wan Kenobi” (2022), in which the voice cast features Jones as Vader. Modern technology was used to create Darth Vader’s voice from Jones’ old archive recordings, to which the narrator agreed.

The same deepfake technology was used in the galaxy far, far away for Mark Hamill’s (71) voice in the series “The Mandalorian” (since 2019) and “The Book of Boba Fett” (2021-2022). Because the characteristic voice of an actor changes over the years, the old sound familiar to fans from the late 1970s should be recreated for the “Star Wars” projects mentioned here. In the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series mentioned at the beginning, Darth Vader spokesman Jones then merely assumed the role of a “benevolent godfather” and “steered” the efforts of the Ukrainian technicians, according to “Vanity Fair”.


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