Whatever your view on the Star Wars prequels as a whole, most people agree that Ewan McGregor's performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi was one of the high points. McGregor was positively compared to Sir Alec Guinness, who had originated the role in Star Wars: A New Hope, and now, the two great actors have been brought together thanks to deepfake technology.
Deepfakes, which transform the face of one person to make it look like another, are more than a little disconcerting, but they can be equally impressive at taking one actor and putting him in a different movie. So check out what Star Wars: A New Hope would have looked like if Ewan McGregor had been playing Obi-Wan Kenobi from the beginning.
Deepfake technology sends basically any image it creates straight to the uncanny valley. On the one hand, it's remarkable just how realistic the work from Shamook looks. This is clearly Ewan McGregor in these images and not Alec Guinness. And yet, there's enough that's wrong with the image that the whole thing is slightly unsettling.
Part of it is that, while the image looks like Ewan McGregor, it still sounds like Alec Guinness, and while McGregor did a great job sounding like the original Obi-Wan, he didn't do that good a job. They still clearly sound like different people. There's also an odd smoothness to the new Obi-Wan's face. Part of that is because Ewan McGregor simply isn't as old as Alec Guinness was in 1977, but that smoothness is often a strange artifact of deepfakes which prevents any of them from looking quite right.
Also, there's the beard. Something about the facial hair doesn't look right on Ewan McGregor's face. His face is just shaped differently so even if he wore the beard identically to the way Alec Guinness does, it just wouldn't look exactly the same, so it throws off the whole look. Also, because McGregor looks so smooth the white hair makes it unclear whether this character is supposed to be younger or older.
But for all the ways it doesn't work, it still looks oddly impressive. It's recognizable as Ewan McGregor which is a feat in itself.
For those who want to know what a modern Ewan McGregor would actually look like as Obi-Wan Kenobi, we'll get that chance...eventually. The rumored Obi-Wan spinoff movie is now a confirmed Disney+ series, though the show is apparently having trouble finding the right scripts. And if the show was planning to start production anytime soon, that certainly won't be happening now, with Hollywood essentially shut down due to the coronavirus.
Still, I suppose you can watch lots of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+ while you sit around and wait for the chance to do much of anything else.
What do you think of this deepfake? Is it awesome or just weird as hell? Let us know in the comments.