Lucasfilm hires amateur Star Wars deepfaker after impressive Luke Skywalker work

They have also re-imagined how movies would look if other casting decisions had been made.
They have also re-imagined how movies would look if other casting decisions had been made. Photo credit: YouTube

Deepfakes of celebrities have been causing identity issues on the internet for years, from Scarlett Johansson's head being superimposed into pornographic movies to Tom Cruise practising his golf swing.

But one deepfake artist has used their skills to land a role with Lucasfilm, the company behind the Star Wars franchise, after creating a deepfake of Luke Skywalker in Disney's The Mandalorian television series.

Deepfaking is the act of convincingly replacing a person in an image or video by the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology.

YouTuber Shamook was praised by Star Wars fans after their video of Mark Hamill's character in the season two finale seemed to do a better job of de-aging the star than Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), the division of Lucasfilm responsible for visual effects.

The video was released in December last year and took the video creator just four days to make. It has racked up nearly three million views since its release.

Shamook has been creating deepfakes since 2018, Gizmodo reported.

"[ILM is] always on the lookout for talented artists and have in fact hired the artist that goes by the online persona 'Shamook'," a Lucasfilm representative told IndieWire in a statement. 

"Over the past several years ILM has been investing in both machine learning and AI 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."

Luke Skywalker hasn't been Shamook's only Star Wars video - they also added original Han Solo, Harrison Ford, to scenes from the standalone movie Solo.

"As some of you may already know, I joined ILM/Lucasfilm a few months ago and haven't had the time to work on any new YouTube content," Shamook wrote in a YouTube comment earlier this month.

"Now I've settled into my job, uploads should start increasing again. They'll still be slow, but hopefully not months apart. Enjoy!"

Shamook's work hasn't been limited to the Star Wars universe. They also reimagined how movies would look if some of those who turned down or were overlooked for major roles had landed the gig.

That includes Will Smith as Neo in The Matrix, Burt Reynolds as James Bond and Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones.