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Lucasfilm hires deepfake YouTuber who de-aged Luke Skywalker in viral video

The Mandalorian
(Image credit: Disney)

Lucasfilm has confirmed that the company hired a viral deepfake YouTuber to work in its Industrial Light and Magic department, IndieWire reports.

After a de-aged version of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker appeared in The Mandalorian season 2 finale, not all viewers were impressed with the VFX – and some took matters into their own hands. One such viewer was the YouTuber known as Shamook, who created a deepfake with his own version of de-aged Luke Skywalker (one that is, arguably, more accurate to Hamill's likeness). 

"[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 Lucasfilm representative said in a statement. "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."

Shamook's video has been viewed nearly two million times, but he hasn't been uploading content to his YouTube channel as frequently in recent months. He addressed his lack of uploads in a comment: "As some of you may already know, I joined ILM/Lucasfilm a few months ago and haven’t had the time to work on any new YouTube content," Shamook wrote on YouTube earlier this month. "Now I've settled into my job, uploads should start increasing again. They'll still be slow, but hopefully not months apart. Enjoy!"

As for which Lucasfilm movies or TV shows Shamook might be working on, that's anyone's guess. The Mandalorian season 3 is due to start filming sometime in late 2021 or early 2022, so there's a chance that he may get to flex his de-aging muscles in the Mando-verse again. Another possible project could be the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, starring Ewan McGregor, as filming is currently underway.

The next Lucasfilm project to arrive on our screens will be the series The Book of Boba Fett on Disney Plus, which is set for release later this year. While we wait, check out our list of all the new Star Wars movies to look forward to over the next few years.

I’m an Entertainment Writer at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections – I help bring you all the latest news and the occasional feature, too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.