The big reveal of last year's finale on The Mandalorian was Luke Skywalker riding off into the sunset with Baby Yoda after one of the coolest lightsaber fights in Star Wars history. But while everyone was marveling over how it all looked, they should have been talking about how it sounded.
In a new Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian(which you can watch on Disney+), Jon Favreau gave us some big news.
"Something people didn't realize is that his voice isn't real," he said. "His voice, the young Luke Skywalker voice, is completely synthesized using an application called Respeecher."
Whoa. "Respeacher" sounds like a long-lost character, but it's really cutting-edge technology.
Now, your voice changes over the years, but someone like Mark Hamill, a seasoned voice actor, should have been able to closely recreate his sound. But this is Star Wars. Disney opted for futuristic tech.
Credit: DisneySupervising sound editor Matthew Wood explained how the tech works.
"It's a neural network you feed information into and it learns," he said. "So I had archival material from Mark in that era. We had clean recorded ADR from the original films, a book on tape he'd done from those eras, and then also Star Wars radio plays he had done back in that time. I was able to get clean recordings of that, feed it into the system, and they were able to slice it up and feed their neural network to learn this data."
Executive producer Dave Filoni added, "The computer is sampling sounds and tones from younger Mark Hamill, and creating a performance that sounds like that Luke Skywalker."
This is actually a pretty cool thing. And it opens Hollywood up to lots of different capabilities, especially with ADR. Imagine not having to bring actors in, just renting their voices for the project. Although I think that would become a little dangerous if you made them say things they hated. Technology is the ultimate Pandora's box.
Do you think this was used well in The Mandalorian? Tell us in the comments.