James Earl Jones signals retirement from voicing Darth Vader after 45 years

For the past 45 years, actor James Earl Jones has lent his booming, villainous bass to the “Star Wars” franchise, embodying the Dark Side as the voice of Darth Vader.

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According to Vanity Fair, however, 91-year-old Jones has signed off on the use by young filmmakers of archival voice recordings to help maintain the character’s continuity as time passes.

Specifically, the archived recordings will allow next-gen “Star Wars” creators to use “artificial intelligence synthetic speech technology to recreate Jones’ younger voice from his previous films for future Lucasfilm projects,” Variety reported.

Meanwhile, the production company’s Matthew Wood told Vanity Fair that Jones “wished to keep Vader alive.”

(Note: Actor David Prowse appeared on-screen as the hulking, black-clad villain.)

In turn, the company has partnered with Respeecher, a Ukrainian startup that “uses AI technology to craft new conversations from revitalized old voice recordings,” Variety reported.

The collaboration’s first outing occurred during the making of the Disney+ series “The Book of Boba Fett,” when they recreated the voice of young Luke Skywalker, the entertainment news outlet reported.

According to Deadline, Jones debuted as the legendary Star Wars villain’s voice in the 1977 film and reprised the role on both the big and small screens through the recent “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series on Disney+.

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