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James Earl Jones Retires As The Voice of Star Wars' Darth Vader

James Earl Jones Retires As The Voice of Star Wars' Darth Vader

It looks like James Earl Jones will no longer be providing the voice of Darth Vader.

In a new report, Vanity Fair says that the 91-year-old actor has retired from the Star Wars job and signed over the voice rights to the character to Lucasfilm and Respeecher.

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Respeecher is a Ukranian company that uses archival recordings and an A.I. program to create new dialogue with the voices of performers who have either aged out of their roles or have passed away.

The method was recently used to recreate the voice of a young Luke Skywalker for The Book of Boba Fett and to mimic Vader’s voice, which James has now aged out of, for his scenes in Obi-Wan Kenobi.

James‘ retirement was effected by the conflict in Ukraine, where employees had been working on the programs all while war raged on from outside their windows.

“Dmytro Bielievtsov, the company‚Äôs cofounder and CTO, got online in a theater where tabletops, books, and more had been stacked in front of windows in case of blasts,” the outlet writes, before adding that one employee “took refuge in an ancient brick ‘basement’ no bigger than a crawl space.”

Matthew Wood, a sound editor at Lucasfilm, who has worked with James for the most of his Star Wars tenure, showed Respeecher’s capabilities and the actor agreed to sign over the rights to his voice to keep Vader alive.

“[James] had mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character,” Matthew said. “So how do we move forward?”

However, there is an end note saying that James will be kept in the know for plans for the character.

James has voiced Darth Vader since 1977′s A New Hope.

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: James Earl Jones, Star Wars

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