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“Star Wars” villain Darth Vader is retiring

James Earl Jones (91) has been the voice of the “Star Wars” villain Darth Vader since the 1970s. He has since retired from his speaking role.

James Earl Jones has voiced villain Darth Vader since 1977’s Star Wars. – imago images/United Archives

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the essentials in brief

  • James Earl Jones (91) announced that he retired from his Star Wars role in 2019.
  • Since then, Darth Vader’s voice has been created from Jones’ recordings using modern technology.

US actor James Earl Jones (91) announced that he has retired from his iconic Darth Vader role in the “Star Wars” universe. The 91-year-old voiced the legendary villain Darth Vader since “Star Wars” from 1977. With well-known sentences like «No… I am your father [Luke]» he went down in cinema history.

Vanity Fair reports that Jones last voiced a line of Vader’s 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 has been used for other films in a galaxy far, far away. Examples include Mark Hamill’s voice in the series The Mandalorian (2019) and The Book of Boba Fett (2021-2022). A performer’s signature voice changes over the years. However, for the “Star Wars” projects mentioned here, the old, familiar sound should be recreated.

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