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Putting Young Harrison Ford in Solo: A Star Wars Story With AI Still Can’t Fix the Movie

Now if only we could invent an AI to fix plot holes.

A new, recut trailer from the Youtube channel derpfakes gives us something many fans have been waiting for: young Harrison Ford edited into Solo: A Star Wars Story.

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The effect is pretty good, especially in the more darkly lit scenes of the trailer. Fans have tried to digitally replace Ehrenreich with Ford before, with diminishing returns. It’s jarring to hear Ehrenreich’s voice instead of Ford’s signature growl, but so far this is the best version of Ford-in-Solo we’ve seen.

When Solo: A Star Wars Story was released last Spring, it left a lot of Star Wars fans cold. The embattled production famously struggled, with directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie) getting replaced halfway through production by Ron Howard.

The trailer was made possible through deep learning AI, which works by amassing a large database of photos of an actor, which is then used in an automatic face replacement. Derpfakes has utilized deep learning AI before, mainly as a way to insert Nicholas Cage into, well, pretty much anything. Here’s Nick Cage as Lois Lane in Man of Steel, which is guaranteed to haunt your dreams forever (I’m sorry).

For many fans, Alden Ehrenreich’s Han Solo just didn’t capture the magic and spirit of Harrison Ford. It’s an impossible and thankless task to try and live up to such an iconic role, which will always be compared its beloved predecessor, and while the effect of young Ford in the trailer is well done, it still doesn’t solve the larger problems inherent in Solo.

For me, Alden Ehrenreich’s performance was fine—not spectacular, not abysmal, just adequate. I struggled more with convoluted plotting and the lack of development of the female characters in the film. Donald Glover is delightful as Lando, but I could not deal with his unrequited love for L3-37. (She had forks for hands, y’all. FORKS. I will die on this stupid hill).

Overall, the experience of Solo for me was thoroughly “meh,” and while it’s fun to see young Ford in the movie, that was never the movie’s biggest problem.

(via io9, image: screengrab)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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