It’s the end of an era for a voice we know and love. James Earl Jones who perhaps has the most recognized voice in all of film history has decidedly stepped down from his role as Darth Vadar after 40 years.
According to Vanity Fair, Jones has taken the first steps into retirement by signing over the rights to his voice to filmmakers using AI technology. Matthew Wood of Lucasfilm shared that the actor’s desire is to “keep Vadar alive.”
“He had mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character,” Wood told Vanity Fair. “So how do we move forward?”
Jones has carried the character since his 1977 debut in the Star Wars film, and has continued to voice Vadar on both the big and small screens. He has also most recently voiced the character on the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+.
David Prowse was the first to don the all Black ensemble for the character in the original film, but Jones added both depth and complexity to the character. And while his retirement may come as a shock to some, our forever King of Zamunda won’t be going out without his flowers.
The actor is a celebrated EGOT. In 2011, he received an honorary Academy Award, as he was nominated for his role in The Great White Hope in 1970.
In recent years, other stars from the franchise have made a return. Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen and Mark Hamill have all reprised their roles in different moments, but as for Jones, the end of the road is near.
Just this month, Broadway’s Cort Theater was renamed in honor of Jones. Many stars were in attendance for the ceremony including; Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Norm Lewis and director Kenny Leon. Although the 91 year old legend was not in attendance, he had been given a private tour of the newly named James Earl Jones Theater days prior.