Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors
It'a always best to have backup copies of your most important computer stuff, and Disney is a true believer in this rule.
“We will always [digitally] scan all the lead actors in the film...We don’t know if we’re going to need them. We don’t intentionally scan them as an archive process. It’s for reference later.”
The digital replacement is often needed in the post-production editing of a Star Wars movie. The latest example is in The Last Jedi, when Leia majestically flies through space, thanks to a combination of practical and digital effects.
Last Jedi digital animator Stephen Alpin explains how this went down: Filming that scene entirely in-camera would have been “cost-prohibitive,” he says. This statement might be the biggest understatement about digital visual effects. It’s would be just too damn expensive to shoot Carrie Fisher in the actual vacuum of space. And don’t even think about practical effects.
Fans of the wonderful Black Mirror series recall the episode USS Callister in which a video game developer makes digital copies of co-workers to work his evil will upon them.
SF writer William Gibson included the idea of synthespians in his 1996 novel Idoru:
"What did Blackwell mean, last night, about Rez wanting to marry a Japanese girl who isn't real?"
"Idoru," Yamazaki said... "'Idol-singer.' She is Rei Toei. She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents, the creation of information-designers. She is akin to what I believe they call a 'synthespian,' in Hollywood."
(Read more about Gibson's synthespian)