” The Mandalorian ” takes place after ” The Return of the Jedi Knights ” and thus in a “Star Wars” universe that is still densely populated with characters from the original trilogy. Nevertheless, the Disney + series almost exclusively relies on new figures or characters who have appeared in ” The Clone Wars ” but never before in real form.
The reasons for this can be seen in the finale of the second season. Luke Skywalker’s surprising appearance made fans cheer, but his appearance was received less euphorically. Since Luke actor Mark Hamill is now too old to play Luke at this point in the story, Hamill’s face has been digitally rejuvenated.
Wrinkle-free thanks to CGI
In recent years Hollywood has tried again and again to make actors younger through CGI tricks, such as Jeff Bridges in “Tron: Legacy”, Robert Downey Jr. in ” Civil War ” or Robert De Niro in ” The Irishman “.
While technology is always evolving, the rejuvenated faces from the computer have mostly been criticized. They looked too smooth, like wax figures with dead shark eyes.
Director George Miller, therefore, decided to replace Charlize Theron in the “Mad Max: Fury Road” prequel “Furiosa” with Anya Taylor-Joy (” The Queen’s Gambit “). In his opinion, digital rejuvenation just isn’t mature enough yet.
Disney has heard the critical voices but does not want to forego showing older actors younger in the future. The YouTuber Shamook has now been hired by the Lucasfilm company Industrial Light and Magic.
Disney relies on deepfakes
Shamook released its own version of the Luke scene in December 2020, shortly after the season 2 finale was released, but rejuvenated Mark Hamill using deep fake technology. He relied on real recordings of the young Hamill, which were adapted to the new scene using artificial intelligence.
The result is impressive. Although the deepfake hatch cannot completely escape the Uncanny Valley, his face looks more real, his eyes more lively. In the future, Shamook will support Lucasfilm in making digital rejuvenation appear more realistic.
But Han and Leia could now also appear in season 3. The timing fits, although “The Mandalorian” would have to explain its appearance well, of course. In addition, Disney should use this technology sparingly and not get lost in a nostalgic overkill. Just because you can do something, you shouldn’t do it, as “Jurassic Park” taught us.