A new Rogue One DeepFake video makes substantial improvements to the original special effects. Leia Organa and Grand Moff Tarkin look even better than they did when Lucasfilm and Disney originally released the movie in 2016. Peter Cushing portrayed Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope and passed away in 1994. Carrie Fisher portrayed Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy and then again in the sequel trilogy. Fisher passed away a few weeks after Rogue One opened in theaters.
For the most part, Rogue One has been embraced by Star Wars fans since its release. The special effects were state of the art at the time, but even 4 years later, it looks a bit dated. The DeepFake technology has flourished in the last few years, and Shamook, the DeepFake artist behind the new Tron: Legacy video, has greatly improved the look of Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia Organa in the movie. Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher look more natural in the DeepFake video, which may even have some viewers believing that it's the real deal.
John Knoll is the chief creative officer and senior visual effects guru for Lucasfilm. At the time of Rogue One's release, Knoll spoke about the challenges of creating a young version of Leia Organa and creating a digital version of Grand Moff Tarkin. "It's a lot a pressure, yeah. I mean, it's digital humans, it's the hardest thing in computer graphics," Knoll said in early 2017. "Well, we look at human faces all day, every day. So people are very attuned to, you know, seeing anything that -- that looks off."
Grand Moff Tarkin was brought back with the blessing of Peter Cushing's estate. Motion capture actor Guy Henry portrayed the character on the big screen, while the special effects team went through and worked their magic. It was a challenge, but John Knoll and crew pulled it off with the tools that they had available at the time. With that being said, the DeepFake technology is growing at a rapid rate, and it brings some more natural-looking characters to Rogue One, without detracting from the original footage.
As for Carrie Fisher, she had a bit of a hand in the digital recreation of her younger self. "She was involved in the process and, you know, she saw the final result and she loved it," John Knoll said. "She got to see the scene. [Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm] showed it to her. So, I got a call afterwards from Kathy saying, 'Well, Carrie loved it.'" Fans were caught off guard by the appearances from Grand Moff Tarkin, Leia Organa, and Darth Vader in Rogue One. Now, fans are looking forward to the Rogue One Prequel Series, which is currently in development. You can check out the latest DeepFake video above, thanks to Shamook's YouTube channel.