Fans of Star Wars were very pleased to see the prodigal son return… but what new process did the special effects team use to bring youth to the actor?
At this point it is hard to avoid the surprise appearance of multi-talented actor, Mark Hamill, reprising his role of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series The Mandalorian.
This was something speculated by fans ever since the appearances of other Star Wars characters popping up in the series. In fact, Hamill appeared to be just excited for his role as anyone else.
This cameo left fans in complete shock and awe as their childhood hero makes a dashing rescue to the show’s main cast of characters, but what is unknown is how they made the character look exactly how we left him back in 1983.
The obvious answer is that CGI (computer-generated imagery) was used, but a newer process was brought to the table in order to achieve a more convincing look.
The Mandalorian is known for using groundbreaking, new techniques to incorporate into their show. It is no surprise that the team could have used an effect that has not been utilized in many TV shows or movies yet, called Deepfakes.
Deepfake software is a relatively new practice that allows one actor’s face to be plastered onto another. A great breakdown of the process was done by the Corridor Crew on YouTube, as they attempted to recreate the special effect
The YouTube channel does a great job of explaining what goes into this practice, as it is not just the usual CGI effect that has been done in some movies from the past.
Deepfakes started out as just an internet trend that found its way into meme culture, sometimes having a celebrity’s face on another’s body just for a funny bit. Now, the process has been taken more seriously, as the effect can look pretty convincing at times.
Because Deepfakes are still a new concept, the outcome can look a bit awkward and unrealistic at times. Some fans were more concerned with the quality of the effect rather than the appearance itself.
I finished the Mandalorian and my main thought is that after more than 40 yrs and with CGI, they still couldn't give Luke Skywalker a decent haircut 😭— Mauttarella (@MVMNerd) April 25, 2021
Throughout all of the opinions about the quality, there were still the die-hard Star Wars fans on Twitter that were unfazed by this and were just excited to see their favorite Jedi back on the screen.
Either way, the unanimous opinion of the fandom is that they were pleased to see Hamill back in Star Wars. Now the fans are awaiting the return of another familiar character in the new Star Wars spinoff, Kenobi.
Technology is evolving, and so are special effects in movies and TV shows.
Sometimes these effects can be a hit or miss, and it is hard to ignore the ones that do not quite hit the mark. Eventually, technology will be so advanced that it will be hard to define practical effects versus computer-generated ones.
Until then, we will have a mixture of really great CGI moments, and then not-so-great special effects.