Watch: AI program digitally inserts a young Harrison Ford in Solo: A Star Wars Story

Ford AI
Not actually Harrison Ford

Alden Ehrenreich had an impossible job: pretend to be Harrison Ford while making us forget you’re not Harrison Ford. As the star of “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” Ehrenreich did a pretty darn good Ford impression. But that still wasn’t enough to save the movie from a disappointing box office that (temporarily) iced all future stand-alone “Star Wars” flicks.

There was a lot to like about “Solo,” but it never quite broke into lightspeed for us. While Donald Glover proved to be an excellent variation on the Lando we all know and love, there’s only one Harrison Ford. And even if Ehrenreich was 85% Ford, that final 15% was magic you can’t quantify.

Would “Solo” have worked better if ILM had de-aged Ford and had the original actor reprise his classic character? To find out, the YouTube channel Derpfakes used AI to replace Ehrenreich with a young Harrison Ford. And, well, you’ve got to see this to believe it:

You’re not alone if watching that clip made you alternately nostalgic, frightened, delighted, and nauseated. For every moment you lean forward and smile, there’s a weird facial twitch that makes you want to throw your phone into the garbage disposal.

Let’s remember that ILM previously created a young Carrie Fisher to reprise her role as Princess Leia in “Rogue One.” (It didn’t really work there, either.) And Fisher is somehow appearing in “Star Wars: Episode IX,” despite her death.

Resurrecting dead/old actors for new films seems like the future. But the audience is smart. You can show us a picture of Harrison Ford, and you can even animate his face on another person’s body. But there’s no computer in the world that can perfectly mimic the unpredictability and charm of the real deal. I mean, you can’t replicate this:

But hey, cool experiment anyway!

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