Star Wars
Shamook: Star Wars effects company ILM hires Mandalorian deepfaker

A YouTube artist so impressed the company behind the Star Wars franchise with their “deepfake” alterations of their work that they gave them a job.

The artist, who uses the online alias Shamook, was hired by ILM (Industrial Light and Magic), LucasFilm’s effects division, earlier this year.

One of Shamook’s videos changed how Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker appeared in The Mandalorian’s season two finale.

Many Star Wars fans felt Shamook’s work was animprovement on ILM’s.

Shamook’s real name and gender is not public knowledge, though they have been posting videos on YouTube since 2019.

In a YouTube message published earlier this month, Shamook revealed they had joined ILM “a few months ago” as a “Senior Facial Capture Artist”.

ILM subsequently confirmed they had been hired, saying it was “always on the lookout for talented artists”.

One of the artist’s videos imagines how Mad Max: Fury Road might have looked had Mel Gibson, the original star of the franchise, played Max instead of Tom Hardy.

In the season two finale of The Mandalorian, a TV series set five years after the events of 1983’s Return of the Jedi, Luke is seen taking away the show’s Baby Yoda character.

The scene was created by digitally animating a computer-generated version of Hamill’s de-aged likeness over a body double with the use of motion capture technology.

Hamill was 32 when Return of the Jedi was released. Now 69, he was seen as an older Luke in the recent trilogy of films that began with Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015.

De-aging technology was also used on the 2016 spin-off Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to recreate Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia character from the original 1977 Star Wars film.

Deepfake technology can be used to create convincing yet entirely fictional video content, and is often used to spread misinformation.

Channel 4 used the technology last year to create an alternative Christmas message delivered by a computer-generated facsimile of the Queen.

The message attracted 354 complaints about decency after it aired on Christmas Day, though media watchdog Ofcom chose not to pursue them.

The Mandalorian has received 24 nominations ahead of this year’s Emmy awards, which are due to be presented on 19 September.

The Disney+ series tells of a bounty hunter tasked with protecting a young creature of the same species as Yoda, the wizened guru first seen in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back.

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