Lucasfilm has enlisted the assistance of fans before when it comes to getting new droid designs made for The Force Awakens and recruiting Stormtrooper cosplayers for The Mandalorian, and now it looks like one fan has received a pretty huge promotion. The YouTuber Shamook, who is best known for adjusting the CGI on Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian‘s second season finale to look more realistic, is now working at Lucasfilm to supervise the de-aging process of certain characters.
The Luke Skywalker cameo was one of Lucasfilm’s best-kept secrets since the introduction of Grogu in the series premiere, particularly since Mark Hamill had publicly stated that The Rise of Skywalker was the last time he’d planned to play Luke, but at the time he pointed it out, he’d already agreed to play the character again in The Mandalorian at least once for the sequence where Din Djarin places the care of Grogu into the hands of a Jedi Knight. Hal Hickel explained it to us on an episode of our podcast, The Resistance Broadcast:
“It was always important for everyone involved to have Mark involved. So it’s not just like ‘Well, we are recasting and we’ll deep-fake over him.’ Mark had to be involved with crafting the performance and he was. He was there on set when the scene was shot… he was totally involved all the way through. Also, Peyton Reed, who directed the episode, he’d done some previous de-aging work with Michael Douglas in Ant-Man, so he had work with some folks in the process and everything for that, so that played a part into what we were doing and how we did that work.”
So Hamill was involved in the scene, meaning that the performance is authentically his. However, some have criticized the visual effects of the scene itself, noting that it wasn’t quite up to the same standard that Lucasfilm’s sister company Marvel Studios has used for several of their films. So some fans have taken to using deepfakes to “adjust” an existing digital performance in an attempt to make it look more photorealistic, using the original scenes as a baseline but deepfaking it to look closer to the original.
Enter Shamook, who has made a hobby out of those sorts of adjustments. Shamook’s most popular “CGI fix” video is an edit of Luke Skywalker’s surprise cameo in “The Rescue”, the last episode of The Mandalorian Season 2. The digital facial model he utilized more closely resembles Mark Hamill’s appearance at the end of Return of the Jedi compared to the model that Lucasfilm created. In addition, he also did edits adjusting the CGI on Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia in Rogue One. Check out both below:
Shamook took an unexplained hiatus from making videos, but recently he returned for a video editing Robert Pattinson into The Dark Knight. To explain his absence, he left the following comment indicating that he got a job at Lucasfilm (hat tip Gandamack on Reddit):
“As some of you may already know, I joined 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. Enjoy!”
Shamook has stated that the position that he’s been hired for is to be the Senior Facial Capture Artist, which is quite a promotion and perhaps the biggest one of its kind. Considering that the deepfake videos that he has made made here have only used conventional computers, one wonders what he could accomplish using the power of ILM’s own technology.
Aside from “fixing” CGI, he has also made videos superimposing actors over other actors. His most popular video of this kind adds Harrison Ford over Alden Ehrenreich, with other videos featuring Ewan McGregor over Alec Guiness, and Sebastian Stan over Mark Hamill. You can check them out below:
Does this mean that we’ll be getting more of Luke Skywalker in upcoming seasons of The Mandalorian? Maybe, but it’s just as likely that we could see other characters with adjusted appearances. That door has been opened and it’s probably not getting shut anytime soon. Meanwhile, it’s also entirely possible that the position may not specifically involve de-aging at all times, but for creating characters that are purely digital, such as aliens. It’s also likely that this job isn’t strictly for Star Wars productions, either. We know from set leaks that Indiana Jones 5 is going to feature at least one flashback sequence involving Indy breaking into a Nazi camp, while the main story of the film will be set in the late 1960s, and he would’ve been hired around the time that production on that movie would have begun. Either way, it’s great to see that Lucasfilm are drawing from the talents of people who are so committed to the franchise that they make stuff like this as a hobby, and we can only hope that Shamook is paid well for his efforts going forward.
Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian – The Making of the Season 2 Finale will air on August 25, showcasing more secrets on the process of bringing a young Luke Skywalker into the picture.