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Obviously David Prowse isn't around to reprise Darth Vader (now played by Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker in the prequels)

But there were two actors whose presence it wasn't clear on (spoilers if you've not watched it yet)

Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and the voice of Darth Vader (James Earl Jones)

Were these purely digital effects or did they reprise their roles for this limited series?

2 Answers 2

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Liam Neeson was directly employed as an actor on the show.

“I certainly didn’t want anyone else playing Qui-Gon Jinn, and I wanted to show my respect for George [Lucas] and that mythical world that he created,” Neeson told THR. “Plus, Ewan [McGregor] is a pal, and I loved working with him during The Phantom Menace 25 years ago.”

‘Star Wars’ Favorite Discusses Surprise Return for ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’


James Earl Jones did not directly work as a voice actor on the show, but his previous audio recordings were used instead.

Jones' voice on the show was a mixture of archival audio footage and AI 'voice deepfake' technology. He apparently 'signed off' on the use of this tech to dub his character in Kenobi and future Lucasfilm productions.

What Respeecher could do better than anyone was re-create the unforgettably menacing way that Jones, now 91, sounded half a lifetime ago. Wood estimates that he’s recorded the actor at least a dozen times over the decades, the last time being a brief line of dialogue in 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker. “He had mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character,” says Wood. “So how do we move forward?” When he ultimately presented Jones with Respeecher’s work, the actor signed off on using his archival voice recordings to keep Vader alive and vital even by artificial means — appropriate, perhaps, for a character who is half mechanical. Jones is credited for guiding the performance on Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Wood describes his contribution as “a benevolent godfather.” They inform the actor about their plans for Vader and heed his advice on how to stay on the right course.

Darth Vader’s Voice Emanated From War-Torn Ukraine

And

In a recent interview with Inverse, audio producer and Ukrainian tech company Respeecher founder, Alex Serdiuk, discussed how their AI speech synthesizing technology was used in Obi-Wan Kenobi. In the credits of episode 3, Respeecher is listed among the credits. Coincidentally, that episode is the first in which Darth Vader properly appears in the show. When asked about what work the Ukrainian company did on the show, the Serdiuk remained coy about their involvement. Read what the audio producer said below.

"I can’t say yes or no on James Earl Jones."

"[There are] lots of secrets still with Obi-Wan Kenobi. But we were uploading data packets [for Obi-Wan Kenobi] to Skywalker Sound when the invasion began." Does James Earl Jones Voice Obi-Wan’s Vader? AI Audio Producer Responds

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  • 1
    "Voice Conversion Services provided by Respeecher" it says in the episode 3 credits, along with James Earl Jones as a voice actor
    – Valorum
    Aug 29, 2022 at 19:01
  • Yeah, that's what's been confusing. IMDB credits Jones but it didn't sound like him entirely
    – Machavity
    Aug 29, 2022 at 19:05
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    Much like the question of how much Hayden Christensen was there, or how much of Luke's voice was Mark Hammill in The Mandalorean, they probably had him speak the lines and then it was heavily processed.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Aug 29, 2022 at 19:10
  • @FuzzyBoots - Or they just used b-roll or audio from interviews.
    – Valorum
    Aug 29, 2022 at 20:59
  • Wikipedia includes "Obi-Wan Kenobi 2022" in James Earl Jones' filmography listing, with a link to a "deadline.com" article(?) as a source Aug 30, 2022 at 5:44
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A definitive answer to James Earl Jones is he is no longer voicing Darth Vader. Disney used a service called Respeecher to synthesize Jones' Vader voice

During the creation of the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series, James Earl Jones signed off on allowing Disney to replicate his vocal performance as Darth Vader in future projects using an AI voice-modeling tool called Respeecher, according to a Vanity Fair report published Friday.

Jones, who is 91, has voiced the iconic Star Wars villain for 45 years, starting with Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope in 1977 and concluding with a brief line of dialog in 2019's The Rise of Skywalker. "He had mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character,” said Matthew Wood, a supervising sound editor at Lucasfilm, during an interview with Vanity Fair. “So how do we move forward?”

The answer was Respeecher, a voice cloning product from a company in Ukraine that uses deep learning to model and replicate human voices in a way that is nearly indistinguishable from the real thing.

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  • I'd assume they also used archival footage and b-roll too.
    – Valorum
    Sep 27, 2022 at 4:34

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