The Rise of Skywalker or the Rise of the Robots?
The release of the ‘final’ Star Wars films marks the end of trilogy of trilogies that began back in 1977 over 40 years ago. Star Wars was the second film I’d ever seen at the cinema courtesy of a school trip (the first was Grease, with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, which might explain my leather jacket and the quiff I sported in my early 20s, back in the day when I could).
Before you read on rest assured this is Spoiler Free.
The world of work has changed much since a farm boy, a princess, a lovable rogue, a Wookie, a warrior hermit, 2 droids and a man dressed in black leather with breathing challenges first graced the big screens changing the film industry forever.
How I squealed with delight to see Han and Chewie in the Force Awakens and to see Luke in the Last Jedi but was saddened with the real world loss of Carrie Fisher, our Princess Leia. That loss is made easier knowing we will see her again in the last installment 'The Rise of Skywalker'.
However the film industry has changed a lot since 1977 where films were very dependent on actors and on their stunt doubles for those out of shot moments. Rogue One beautifully dove tailed with Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope, and gave us a young Carrie Fisher on screen with a resurrected Peter Cushing playing Grand Moff Tarkin.
Rogue One was released in 2016 but de-aging is not new necessarily with Sir Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart both de-aged in 2006’s X Men film: The Last Stand. Advances in computer technology have come much further and faster with a deluge of films from Captain Marvel and a de-aged Samuel L Jackson to Arnold Schwarzenegger de-aged for his latest Terminator movie; Dark Fate.
Resurrecting dead actors using CGI traces back to 2000 with Oliver Reed in Gladiator and Paul Walker in Furious Seven in 2015 both ‘recreated to complete filming due their untimely deaths. The film industry has also placed dead actors in movie such as Marlon Brando for Superman Returns in 2006. The advertising industry has followed suit with Hollywood legends - Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich for Dior, Audrey Hepburn in the Galaxy advert, Fred Astaire for Dirt Devil and Bruce Lee for Johnnie Walker. Last month it was announced that Hollywood icon, James Dean is due to be resurrected to take a leading role in ‘Finding Jack’, 64 years after his death.
Advances in CGI has led to what is known as Deep Fakes which enables anyone to be literally anyone and YouTube is littered with examples of actors faces placed on other actors faces recreating scenes for example from the Matrix with Will Smith or Leonardo Di Caprio into the world of Star Wars playing Anakin Skywalker in the prequels.
Has Carrie Fisher been resurrected and re-created to feature in the last installment of the franchise or are they using shots already filmed? I have no idea. What I do know is that an actors likeness is up for grabs so potentially these films can live on until the end of time telling stories, expanding the Star Wars universe forever.
Star Wars began with ‘A New Hope’ and ends with ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ The Star Wars story began with 2 men pretending to be robots and now we have arrived at a point where ‘robots’ are pretending to be people. Interesting times ahead. Is it it right? Ethical? That’s another article in itself. The future is already here. The robots are not coming for our jobs. They have already taken them but many of just don’t know it yet. Perhaps the Rise of the Machines would be more apt?
Shakil (FCIPD, FCCA, DChA) is a values driven, accomplished, award winning HR professional, with over 20 years of experience leading an award winning global HR team in a multi faith, multi ethnic and multi cultural environment . Now an independent consultant, Shakil is able to add value engaging with organisations and individuals with their HR...