You’d think that a huge company like ILM would bristle at a YouTuber “correcting” their work, but it turns out it’s quite the opposite. Instead of being angry at a content creator who deep-faked a better version of Luke Skywalker‘s surprise return at the end of Season 2 of The Mandalorian they hired them.
Shamook has made a name for himself for implementing deepfake technology in his videos, with the Luke glow-up being one of the bigger hits, racking up over 2 million views. Shamook let slip in the comments section that ILM came knocking and offered him a job, which Indiewire has now confirmed with Lucasfilm.
They quote a Lucasfilm representative with this:
“Over the past several years ILM has been investing in both machine learning and A.I. as a means to produce compelling visual effects work and it’s been terrific to see momentum building in this space as the technology advances.”
If you missed the first time we covered the deepfake tech in action…well, you’re forgiven, but make sure to check out the video below.
It’s a pretty stark difference in motion, although still not perfect. When I see this video the way the mouth moves still betrays the effect, but it’s still lightyears ahead of, say, Rogue One‘s Princess Leia.
Does This Mean What We Think It Means?
Yes. Without a doubt yes.
I think it’s a pretty safe bet ILM will be putting Shamook to work very soon. They now have two different shows taking place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens (Mandalorian Season 3 and The Book of Boba Fett) and Obi-Wan, which takes place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. That means there’s tons of room for more de-aged appearances and given the hubbub around Luke’s recent appearance you can bet your bottom dollar that we’ll be seeing some more familiar faces pop up.
And that’s just taking into account the streaming side of Star Wars storytelling. The movies will crank up again, too, no question. Patty Jenkins is working on her Rogue Squadron film but, eventually, that factory will kick into high gear, whether it’s a continuation of the Saga films or whole new cinematic adventures. Either way, we know how much Lucasfilm loves to throw nods to fans so Shamook will surely have his work cut out for him.
Which, according to the content creator, is already happening. When addressing his followers he said the reason he hasn’t uploaded any new videos in a few months is that he’s been so busy at ILM.
He’s been busy for a reason.
The Luke video he uploaded reportedly took him only 4 days of work. The potential for this tech is incredible and more than a little scary, but as long as he’s using his talents to make geeks’ heads explode instead of, say, making it look like a political figure is doing something scandalous then I’ll count that as a win.
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