James Earl Jones has been providing the iconic voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars movies since the ’70s, with A New Hope, up until the most recent releases. The actor’s voice could also be heard when Darth Vader returned to the screen via the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, though it was unclear exactly how much voice work the actor provided, and how much was created by AI voice tech Respeecher.
Now, almost half a century after he first lent his voice to the character, James Earl Jones is officially retiring. Vanity Fair has reported that the actor is “winding down this particular character”.
However, that doesn’t mean that we’ve seen the last of Darth Vader, or, even that we’ve heard the last of James Earl Jones’s magnificent voice. Despite his retirement, it’s also reported that the actor has signed over the rights to his voice because he wanted to “keep Vader alive”.
This means that his voice can continue to be used in dialogue through the implementation of the same AI technology that was used to generate lines for the Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Wars series.
Of course, that might be sooner than some audiences expect. There is the potential that the Sith lord could return in the upcoming Ahsoka series for streaming service Disney Plus. And, if Obi-Wan Kenobi ever does return for a second season, Darth Vader will undoubtedly be a part of that too.
Either way, whether its in the near future or the distant future, there is no doubt that Darth Vader will be returning to Star Wars. And, with him will be the voice of James Earl Jones – despite his retirement.