Darth Vader’s voice to be cloned by Respeecher, a Ukrainian startup

The Ukrainian startup Respeecher has received the rights to generate one of the most recognizable voices in the movie industry — actor James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader. Vanity Fair reports on this.

  • Respeecher is a Ukrainian project, which we covered previously. Its artificial intelligence technologies, in particular neural networks, help to copy and generate the voice of any famous (or not so) person.
  • The startup has already collaborated with the Star Wars franchise earlier. In particular, it cloned the voice of young Luke Skywalker for the latest episode of Disney’s The Mandalorian series using old recordings.
  • 91-year-old actor James Earl Jones passed the rights to the voice of Darth Vader due to age-related changes in his voice. For the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series, the studio needed the dark side villain’s voice from 45 years ago. This was the task for the Ukrainian team.
  • So far, the Ukrainian startup has been working on this task since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. Sometimes even from basements and shelters.
  • Matthew Wood, the sound editor of Californian Skywalker Sound, for whom the startup undertakes the task, comments in the article that his company wanted to hire exactly Respeecher. After all, the voices generated by the startup sound “human”, which is so difficult to achieve.
  • But, according to him, the studio had alternatives in case the Ukrainians wouldn’t be able to take the task.

“There are always alternatives that we could pursue that wouldn’t be as good as what they would give us. We never wanted to put them in any kind of additional danger to stay in the office to do something,”

Matthew Wood says.
  • According to the startup’s CEO Alex Serdiuk, the team is proud of its contribution to the series. And they would like the whole world to know that Ukrainians helped make that particular trip to the galaxy far, far away possible, even under horrible circumstances.

“We create places to work for people, we create jobs, we pay them money, we contribute to the Ukrainian economy, and that’s quite meaningful. But also, hopefully more people will hear about Ukraine — about our tech community, about our startups — because of it,”

Alex Serdiuk says.