Should Hollywood use CGI to replace dead actors in movies?
via Courtesy of LucasFilm

Should Hollywood use CGI to replace dead actors in movies?

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"Rogue One" turned heads for using computer animation to resurrect the late Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin. Now Disney might be forced to recreate the late Carrie Fisher with CGI in future "Star Wars" installments. Some critics say it is disrespectful to the dead to use archival film and effects to manufacture a performance the original artist never agreed to. Others say this is just the natural progression of special effects and actors don't own characters. What do you think? 📽️

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The depiction of Peter Cushing in "Rogue One" resurrected a classic debate about the ethics of replacing dead actors with CGI in media. While ILM acknowledges that building computer generated characters is labor-intensive and financially indefensible unless there are significant story concerns, that won't be the case forever. We're nearing a new dawn of filmmaking.

Digital technology is clearly reaching a point where photo-realistic depictions are possible and we need to ask ourselves what the entertainment of the future will look like? Are we comfortable using the visages of dead celebrities as puppets in our future movies and commercials? Maybe we are.

Resurrecting Peter Cushing with CGI was a real "first" for Hollywood, as LucasFilm created a living and breathing character with more than just spare archival footage for a brief cameo. This was a fully fleshed-out character with a decent chunk of screen time... and people liked it!

Lo, though the effects wizards walk through the “uncanny valley,” Tarkin registers as quite alive — even if his facial proportions sometimes read as ever so slightly off from the original trilogy. We are nearing the reality of a fully fleshed-out, CGI-enhanced performance long after an actor has passed.

As Hollywood's addiction to tentpole movies consumes the entire industry, the need to keep franchises going long after actors have died is becoming a financial necessity. Imagine if Chris Evans died before the latest Avengers movie went into production, Disney could potentially lose hundreds of millions of dollars at the box-office.

The technology is here and as long as studios recreate deceased actors with the blessing of the actor's estate, and doesn't mock the actor's likeness, Hollywood should let the story live on.

The whole Peter Cushing character was still pretty creepy and fans are not cool with Disney replacing Carrie Fisher with some computer generated lookalike. It feels cheap and doesn't honor Fisher's legacy as the iconic character. Stories can be rewritten; there's no excuse to move forward with digitally recreating an actor when production hasn't even started yet. But beyond Carrie Fisher, Hollywood is swimming in murky water. The technology is here, but our sensibilities are not.

Even as technology improves to the point where humans and CGI creations are visually indistinguishable, something will still be missing. A computer character could never capture the spirit of a person who exuded life as completely and unabashedly as Carrie Fisher. That will forever be something the tech can’t touch.

No one wants to pay money to see a ghost.

Fans were pretty mixed about Peter Cushing being resurrected for "Rogue One"

But the possibility of Disney resurrecting the late Carrie Fisher through CGI struck a chord with fans, and responses are all over the maps. Is it ethical to digitally recreate dead actors? No one seems certain.

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