Film studio Lucasfilm and Industrial Light and Magic have hired deepfake YouTuber Shamook, who literally gave Luke Skywalker a new face in The Mandalorian with his deepfake algorithm. The original was seen as mediocre by many fans.
Fans of The Mandalorian collectively raised their eyebrows the moment Luke Skywalker stepped into season two of the series. Without giving too many spoilers, it features a young Luke Skywalker, a computer-generated rejuvenated version of actor Mark Hamill. Many fans thought Skywalker looked fake.
YouTuber Shamook believed he could do better and deepfaked the scene based on old footage of Mark Hamill. The video has been viewed more than two million times at the time of writing and it landed Shamook a new job. He has been appointed as senior facial capture artist at Lucasfilm/ILM.
Commenting under a recent video, Shamook says he’s run out of time for his YouTube content because he’s taken a new job at the Star Wars studio and famed special-effects company Industrial Light and Magic.
IndieWire has been confirmed by ILM to bring in Shamook. A spokesperson said that ILM is always looking for talented artists and that the company has invested a lot of time in machine learning and artificial intelligence for special effects in recent years.
Shamook made Luke Skywalker’s deepfake in four days. He used open source deepfake tool DeepFaceLab for this. He trained the algorithm with old footage of Mark Hamill. He says he could do very little about improving the animation and synchronizing the mouth. For that, he would have to have the original image of the actor who played Skywalker in the new filming of The Mandalorian, before his head was replaced with CGI. And he had to make the video quickly for his Christmas break, so he wasn’t “100 percent happy with the quality” himself. Nevertheless, it landed him the job.
Shamook is one of the best deepfake YouTubers right now. He made a deepfake of Harrison Ford in the Solo movie, Mel Gibson in Mad Mad: Fury Road and an enhanced Tarkin and Leia in Rogue One. Shamook isn’t alone in taking on deepfake technology to improve Luke Skywalker’s scene. Filmmakers’ collective Corridor Digital also made an attempt. Those makers replaced Skywalker’s body double from the original with another actor, in order to solve the problem that Shamook ran into.
Note: This video is a spoiler for season 2 of The Mandalorian.