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James Earl Jones Signs Over Darth Vader's Voice Rights

2017 Tony Awards - Show

Photo: Getty Images

James Earl Jones, the iconic voice of “Star Wars”' Darth Vader, has signed over the character's voice rights, thus retiring from the role.

The now-91-year-old actor has given Lucasfilm and its parent company, Disney, the go-ahead to use his voice in digital recreations of the iconic villain he has played for 45 years.

Ukrainian start-up Respeecher has been working with Lucasfilm for years to generate the memorable voice Jones used 45 years ago. His voice has altered with age, and he has largely stepped back from playing Vader.

Jones has been the voice of Darth Vader since the first film, later subtitled "A New Hope", was released in 1977. He has never worn the suit, helmet and cape, but has provided iconic lines like the sequel's reveal "I am your father" to Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker.

Respeecher uses archival recordings and an A.I. to create new dialogue using voices of performers from the past. Jones has been recorded "dozens of times."

Jones has signed off on the technology, but has still guided the performances used in recent "Star Wars" offerings — the latest being the Disney+ series "Obi-Wan Kenobi". 

Source: People.

Photo Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions.

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