After 45 years, EGOT winner James Earl Jones, who has one of the most recognizable voices in the history of film, is officially hanging up his cape and mask as the voice of Darth Vader, reports Deadline.
The legendary actor has signed over the rights to his voice to Lucasfilm, which will use new AI technology for upcoming projects featuring Darth Vader. Jones said he “wished to keep Vader alive.”
“He had mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character,” Matthew Wood of Lucasfilm said. “So how do we move forward?”
Jones made his debut as the iconic villain in Star Wars: Episode IV-A New Hope in 1977, and has voiced the character on both the big and small screen. Most recently, he voiced Vader for the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+.
According to Woods, Jones was involved throughout the process of perfecting Vader’s voice for the series and has stayed up to date on Lucasfilm’s plans for Vader in the future.
While Jones may be ending his long run as Darth Vader, he is still being honored for his remarkable career as an actor. Earlier this month, Broadway’s Cort Theatre was renamed in honor of Jones with a dedication ceremony that was attended by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Courtney B. Vance, Debbie Allen, Lee Daniels and Phylicia Rashad
Although he did not attend the event, the 91-year-old Jones was given a private tour of the theatre days prior.
In 2018, Darth Vader was voted the greatest movie villain of all time.