A YouTuber who improved upon The Mandalorian‘s CGI’d (and highly scrutinized) Luke Skywalker cameo wound up with a job at Lucasfilm.
An artisan in “the latest and best in Deep Fake technology,” the YouTuber known as Shamook shared the news in a comment on their latest deepfake (of Robert Pattinson as The Batman), saying that Lucasfilm recruited them months ago, not long after the YouTube channel published a side-by-side upgrade of The Mandalorian Season 2 finale’s closing sequence (embedded below).
Lucasfilm has now confirmed the tapping of talent, in a statement to our sister site IndieWire.
“[Industrial Light and Magic is] always on the lookout for talented artists and have in fact hired the artist that goes by the online persona ‘Shamook,’” a rep for the film studio said. “Over the past several years ILM has been investing in both machine learning and A.I. as a means to produce compelling visual effects work and it’s been terrific to see momentum building in this space as the technology advances.”
As The Mandalorian‘s sophomore run came to an end, Mando, Grogu et al found themselves cornered on the bridge of Moff Gideon’s seized cruiser, with rows of Dark Troopers about to breach the door. A familiar X-wing fighter was then spied arriving outside, its cloaked pilot proceeding to board the ship and easily mow down the troopers with a lightsaber. When Mando allowed this Jedi hero to enter the bridge, we realized it was in fact a post-Return of the Jedi Luke, in the form of a digitally de-aged Mark Hamill.
Better as Shamook’s take on Luke may be, the YouTuber admits it could be better, if they had access to native elements and not just the Disney+ series’ final VFX.
“Unfortunately there isn’t much I can do to improve the animation/mouth syncing,” Shamook has said. “If I had access to the body double footage before they applied the CGI, deep fake would be a definite improvement. Hopefully they release some behind the scenes footage eventually so I can give that.”