Indiana Jones 5 Takes AI-Powered De-Aging Technology to the Next Level

ODSC - Open Data Science
3 min readFeb 15, 2023

Indiana Jones 5, the latest installment in the classic film franchise, has made headlines for its innovative use of AI to de-age its lead actor, Harrison Ford. The film’s production team utilized AI technology to manipulate previously unreleased footage of Ford from past Indiana Jones movies, giving him a more youthful appearance and allowing him to reprise his iconic role as cinema’s best-known archaeologist as reported by Variety.

The process of de-aging an actor through AI involves using machine learning algorithms to analyze and manipulate the actor’s facial features, skin texture, and other visual elements. This allows filmmakers to digitally rejuvenate the actor and create a more convincing illusion of youth on screen. The results of which are quite impressive. For Lucas Films, this seems to be a more common tool being used for their IPs.

Indiana Jones 5 is not the first Lucas film studio project to use AI de-aging technology. As you’ll see in the video below, the Star Wars franchise, which is produced under Lucas Films, has been heavily invested in AI technology such as voice replication and de-aging for some time now:

But what makes this use of AI in Indiana Jones 5 interesting, is that this is a greater application of AI technology that focuses on de-aging actors. Though used a bit for television or briefly onscreen in film, the fifth installment of Indiana Jones will be taking it a step further. By bringing star Harrison Ford back to his prime and continuing the legacy of the Indiana Jones franchise, it closely follows Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker return in The Mandalorian. This saw the actor also de-aged back to appear decades younger.

As you can imagine, the success of the AI de-aging technology in Indiana Jones 5 can have major implications for the film industry. That’s because it opens up new possibilities for bringing back beloved characters and actors from the past; dead or alive. It also provides a solution for preserving the careers of older actors and allowing them to continue to work and captivate audiences, even as they age. Though the jury is still out if audiences will welcome heavier use of AI technology as a means to cheat time.

Either way, Indiana Jones 5’s use of AI de-aging technology is a major milestone in the film industry, showcasing the incredible potential of this cutting-edge technology. It’s also another milestone for AI in filmmaking. The film’s success has sparked a new conversation about the role of AI in the film industry and its ability to bring back beloved characters and actors from the past. Now the question is, what will movies look like moving forward if actors are able to return looking decades younger on screen?

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