James Earl Jones Returns as Darth Vader’s Voice… or Has He?
Obi-Wan Kenobi pumped the suspense and energy to eleven in episode three, but the most significant part of the episode had to be the return of Darth Vader.
For years, we’ve known that Hayden Christensen would be reprising the role of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, but it was still up in the air as to whether James Earl Jones would be returning to voice Darth Vader.
With the launch of the third episode this week, we finally got the confirmation that many of us wanted: James Earl Jones indeed returned to voice Anakin’s life-support suit.
Or did he…?
Since the release of the episode, a sort of conspiracy theory has begun to spread online, and while we wouldn’t typically pay conspiracies any attention, this one might be true.
Jones is credited as the voice of Darth Vader, and at face value, it would seem that he returned as he did in Star Wars Rebels and Rogue One. But if you wait a little longer, you will see a credit to RESPEECHER for providing Voice Conversion Services.
Respeecher is a tool used by sound editors to create high-fidelity recreations of voices. It’s the same technology used for Luke Skywalker’s appearance in Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett.
This has led many to assume that Jones did not return to record any lines and that his work was that of an AI system recreating his voice, with the credit being more of a legally required credit for using a tool to clone his voice. It should be noted that Mark Hamill was also credited in The Book of Boba Fett, but he did physically film new scenes, which were recorded to help the creatives de-age Luke’s appearance.
There is also speculation that Jones did return to record lines and that Respeecher was used to clean up his performance and make it more in line with his vocal performances in the Original Trilogy. Jones’ off-screen appearance in Rogue One was widely praised, but many complained that his age affected his performance.
There has been no official word from Lucasfilm as to whether Respeecher was used to clean up or completely clone Jones’ voice, but we’ll update this page if any news is released.