Disney Replaces Dozens of Actors With Artificial Intelligence: How AI Technology Is Changing the Studio

Credit: Disney, Canva

AI, or artificial intelligence, has been a massive topic of discussion in recent months, and for good reason.

As the technology around us continues to develop at a rapid pace, Hollywood’s major film studios are left to grapple with the decision of how these new leaps in innovation can be used in the entertainment industry.

Disney, one of the world’s largest and most influential entertainment conglomerates, has been at the forefront of utilizing artificial intelligence in their operations. With its commitment to embracing technological innovation, Disney has been exploring various applications of AI throughout its many divisions and subsidiaries. However, these implementations have not come without controversy.

Hologram of walt disney

Credit: Disney

Artificial Intelligence: How it can be Used for Good and for Evil

In the realm of filmmaking, Disney has recognized the potential of AI to revolutionize the creative process. By harnessing the power of machine learning and deep learning algorithms, Disney’s film studios have been able to enhance the visual effects and overall cinematic experience in their movies. These AI-driven technologies allow filmmakers to create realistic computer-generated imagery (CGI) and seamlessly integrate it with live-action footage.

But Disney’s use of AI hasn’t stopped there. This year, Walt Disney Studios has found itself entrenched in numerous scandals revolving around the use of AI to replace background actors in their films and television series.

AI Used to Replace Background Actors

When the Disney+ film Prom Pact premiered earlier this year, most of the focus was on the film’s computer-generated background actors. In one of the film’s scenes, background actors in a basketball gym have terrifying facial features and look very fake. Not only were fans creeped out by these characters but they were also frustrated that Disney took acting opportunities from background actors.

The set of the Prom Pact film wasn’t the only one where background actors came face to face with AI. On set at WandaVision, numerous background actors claim that they were body scanned by Disney so that their likenesses can be used on future projects.

Related: ‘WandaVision’ Actor EXPOSES Disney for “AI Scanning” Actors Without Consent or Payment

Prom Pact

Credit: Disney


Bringing the Dead Back to Life With AI

However, artificial intelligence goes way beyond just the background actors. In fact, new technology has been used to reprise the roles of leading actors after they died. Carrie Fisher was one such actor who gave a posthumous performance in a Star Wars film after she had already passed away. Disney even has used AI to bring Walt Disney back to life as part of their new touring exposition.

While some fans find this to be beautiful, the concept does bring up some tough moral questions. Many argue that Disney’s use of AI on dead actors or public figures is denying that person their right to a peaceful passing. Why not just let them rest in peace?

Carrie Fisher Princess Leia Organa evolution Star Wars

Credit: Lucasfilm

Breaking Down the Ethics of AI

Disney’s use of artificial intelligence raises thought-provoking questions about the ethical boundaries of reviving deceased actors. While some may argue that resurrecting actors through AI crosses a moral line, others see it as a testament to technological innovation and a unique way to celebrate the legacies of beloved performers.

At the heart of this debate is the notion of consent. When it comes to reviving deceased actors, their opinions on such a use of their likeness or performances may no longer be obtainable. This raises dilemmas regarding posthumous rights and the potential exploitation of an actor’s image without their explicit consent.

Disney’s use of AI to bring back dead actors aims to not undermine the importance of living performers. On the contrary, it serves as an enhancement rather than a replacement for the talented actors of today. By incorporating the performances of deceased actors in new projects, Disney is effectively bridging the gap between the past and the present, creating a harmonious blend of talent across generations. Whether or not Disney accomplishes this goal is up to interpretation.

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in Marvel Studios WandaVision

Credit: Marvel Studios

Earlier this year, Hollywood’s SAG-AFTRA actors launched a strike, taking a stand against the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the entertainment industry. This bold step highlighted the growing concern among actors regarding the potential impact of AI on their profession and the future of storytelling.

As the entertainment industry continues to evolve and embrace cutting-edge technologies, the use of AI has become a topic of heated debate. While there are undoubtedly incredible advancements in AI and its potential applications, actors worry about its effect on their job security and creative expression.

AI technologies, such as deep learning and generative AI, have the ability to automate various tasks that are typically performed by actors and writers. While Disney and other major film studios experiment with these kinds of technology, actors hope to remain a part of the discussion.

It is important for the entertainment industry as a whole to navigate this evolving landscape carefully. While AI offers unprecedented opportunities for innovation and storytelling, it is crucial to find a harmonious coexistence between AI and human talent. By addressing the concerns raised by SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild, Disney, and other major studios can shape the future of AI in a way that honors the legacy of storytelling while embracing technological advancements.

About Eva Miller

Eva was born and raised in the beautiful state of Oregon but has since relocated and lives in New York City. Since she was young, Eva has loved to perform in musicals, especially Disney ones! Through performing, Disney’s music became the soundtrack of her childhood. Today, Eva loves to write about all the exciting happenings for the Walt Disney Company. In her free time, Eva loves to travel, spend time in nature, and go to Broadway shows. Her favorite Disney movie is 'Lilo and Stitch,' and her favorite Park is Disney's Animal Kingdom.