Star Wars Deepfake Puts Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi Into A New Hope

Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan Kenobi

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.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.