After years of live-action Star Wars being strictly reserved for the big-screen, Lucasfilm broke new ground with The Mandalorian as it took the galaxy far, far away to Disney+. While television projects are generally much less visually impressive than theatrical releases, the blockbuster series perfectly matched the visual spectacles of the sci-fi franchise.
Following two critically acclaimed seasons, The Mandalorian has been praised by the Star Wars fandom for fulling characters from many forms of media to tell its original story. From bringing animated heroes to live-action for the first time to reintroducing iconic Legends characters, the series truly has done it all.
The bounty hunter-centric show made its biggest connection to the wider universe yet in the Season 2 finale, “The Rescue,” as Luke Skywalker arrived to take Grogu away to train him in the ways of the force.
While many were overjoyed by the shock cameo of Luke Skywalker in the season two finale of The Mandalorian, others were far less pleased. Following the release of the episode, Lucasfilm received intense criticism for its poor digital de-aging of the legendary Mark Hamill.
One particular deepfake artist even took the opportunity to improve the CGI himself in a viral video that seems to have led to big things from him in the film industry.
VIRAL MANDALORIAN DEEPFAKER HIRED BY LUCASFILM
Reddit user Gandamack recently took to the platform to share the news that the talented deepfake artist Shamook has been hired as a Senior Facial Capture Artist at Lucasfilm. The popular YouTuber attracted notoriety last December after his improved version of Mark Hamill's Mandalorian de-aging went viral.
Shamook revealed the news in the comments section of his most recent upload, in which he digitally replaced Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne with Robert Pattinson in several clips from The Dark Knight trilogy.
The artist confirmed he “joined ILM/Lucasfilm a few months ago” in a role that has clearly been keeping him busy as he “[hasn't] had the time to work on any new YouTube content” until now. Although Shamook did confirm that he has now “settled into [his] job” and will be uploading content more frequently going forward:
“As some of you may already know, I joined ILM/Lucasfilms a few months ago and haven't had the time to work on any new YouTube content. Now I've settled into my job, uploads should start increasing again. They'll still be slow, but hopefully not months apart.”
Prior to two weeks ago, Shamook's last upload was in mid-March, indicating he was probably hired by Lucasfilm around that time as he was previously releasing multiple deep fake videos a month.
In a reply to a fan's question in the comments section of the video, the viral deepfaker confirmed his role as a Senior Facial Capture Artist. Online listings for similar jobs at the Industrial Light and Magic division of Lucasfilm describe the primary focus of the role as “[successfully retargeting] an actor’s facial performance onto a CG character.”
DISNEY RECOGNIZES TALENT IN THE FANDOM
Whether Shamook applied for the role himself or Lucasfilm reached out to him directly, it's exciting to see Disney recognizing some top talent within the fandom.
While the digital de-aging of Luke Skywalker is one example of the work a Facial Capture Artist would do, the role is significantly more expansive than that. Nonetheless, Shamook's impressive history of deepfaking will translate well into his new role as he transforms world-famous actors into CGI characters.
The Industrial Light and Magic division that the deepfaker was recruited to is often used to develop visuals for other studios and franchises outside of Lucasfilm. In recent years, the visual effects company has collaborated on many Marvel Cinematic Universe projects, several DC blockbusters, and James Bond's latest outing No Time to Die.
The Mandalorian is streaming now, exclusively on Disney+.