Deepfakes have been all the rage lately, and it seems that Star Wars has been attracting a fair few of them. Replacements like Harrison Ford in Solo: A Star Wars Story have really gone to show how advanced the technology is, and now another challenger has entered the ring to demonstrate just how eerily accurate computers can be.
This time, it’s Sebastian Stan, virtually trading in his silver Winter Soldier arm for a lightsaber as fans put his face onto old footage of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. Various scenes from Star Wars‘ arguably perfect ending, The Return of the Jedi, feature a surprisingly well-done face replacement that, if nothing else, proves how much Stan looks like a young Hamill. Of course, the effect isn’t perfect, but it works well enough to fool a passing glance and possibly even heavy scrutiny at certain times.
Stan’s resemblance to Hamill seems to serve this particular technological feat well, as there are parts of the video where the Deepfake simply looks like a slightly smoother version of the original. Shots of Luke confronting Jabba the Hutt and struggling with his destiny look nearly equally plausible with both versions of the young Jedi. Even certain expressions are matched almost perfectly. Though that’s not to say the effect is perfect, of course.
Certain moments seem oddly stiff and not quite synced to the dialogue, similar to a particular scene from the season finale of The Mandalorian. But while a certain VFX team was able to arguably improve the scene with a Luke Deepfake of their own, it seems that the mind or minds behind this particular effort may not have had access to quite as many face samples as the Corridor Crew. Still, given the likely limited resources that fan projects tend to have, the result is still uniquely impressive.
Some may argue that this technology represents a slippery slope, where likenesses could end up replacing real actors. There have even been concerns about the idea of resurrecting deceased actors against their own wishes. The tech certainly seems to be nearly at that point and those sorts of worries are always bound to pop up when science breaks barriers formerly thought to be indestructible (either physically or morally).
But there’s no denying that Deepfakes are a useful tool. Assuming proper thought is put into the ethics behind such things, the idea of safely inserting actors into situations where they might not have been able to perform otherwise may end up revolutionizing the art of moviemaking. That’s not to mention the possibility of putting real actors into video games like Marvel’s The Avengers. But until then, it’s still a neat little trick.
The Star Wars saga is now available on Disney Plus.