The act of using CGI to recreate the likeness of iconic actors is trying to become a mainstream technology again. Much of this started already in the 1990s when Madison Avenue started using digital versions of famous people to sell products.
Anyone old enough to remember when Fred Astaire’s image was used to sell Dirt Devil vacuums on TV in 1997 will know this practice is nothing new. More recently, the news of a tech company soon recreating James Dean in a Vietnam War movie raised more eyebrows.
Tech giants who want to keep this going can’t seem to understand few want it done. Marvel is one company that could easily go this route if they wanted, but they’re sending the opposite message (so far).
Will the MCU ever resort to bringing back departed Avengers using CGI?
‘Star Wars’ started the trend of big franchises using CGI to resurrect actors
Despite CGI use in commercials and upcoming movies to resurrect departed stars, Star Wars is now one setting a new precedent. They’ve already done this bringing back Peter Cushing in Rogue One, not including recreating a young Princess Leia in the same film.
There were also digital touch-ups on the existing footage of Carrie Fisher playing Gen. Leia in The Rise of Skywalker. However, this kind of use of CGI isn’t necessarily the same, even if some might argue it is.
Considering it was still altering Fisher’s appearance to look older, it was still using her image in a way she didn’t personally consent to. Not that her brother, Todd Fisher (and her other family), didn’t give the go-ahead, making it mostly official.
Whether Lucasfilm uses this technology again to revive any human characters from past films is anyone’s guess. Just don’t expect Marvel to follow their lead, or at least according to their Executive Vice President of Production, Victoria Alonso.
Alonso says the MCU will never recreate dead actors with CGI
When Victoria Alonso was quoted recently saying Marvel won’t revive departed actors using digital technology, there was likely a sigh of relief from those against such practices.
Just because she says so, though, doesn’t mean it still won’t happen down the line once their bank of actors pass on. As Screen Rant notes above, it all comes down to a probable new contract placed in movies. This would ask actors if they consent to use of their likeness digitally after death.
Some might agree to such a thing, especially if the technology makes it realistic enough and the actor can leave a little bit of themselves (like their voices) to make it a more legit process.
For those long departed, it’s still a different story. One can only wonder how shocked icons like James Dean would be today seeing technology evolved to recreate them from scratch.
Even then, these CGI recreations still don’t look completely real. Only more tech advancements to make them look convincing would probably turn the tide on more companies like Marvel changing their minds.
Will CGI recreations of actors eventually look convincing or a little bit fake?
At the moment, deep fake videos are already a big problem, outside of astute viewers being able to scope them out. Digital technology can only do so much to make things look real from real humans, proving how complex real people are in their nuances, whether acting or being themselves.
Maybe in 20 years, the above comment will have to be retracted. At that point, it may come down to an ethical dilemma whether recreating an actor should be done if it looks too real. Such a scenario could lead to the lines of reality being blurred, something the MCU might not want to cross.
Before this ever happens, don’t expect many iconic actors of the past to be recreated…other than James Dean. Once everyone sees how bad it really is, the desire to keep it going may stop, until everybody forgets how it keeps recurring.