Expert fans are taking the missing Doctor Who episodes crisis very seriously. In fact, thanks to their talents, some of the lost stories are being given a whole new lease of life thanks to deepfake technology.
It’s scary to think that, in 2021, it’s now possible (and relatively easy) to swap faces around in photos and videos. Anyone who’s seen the Star Wars movie Rogue One will appreciate this, with the film uncannily recreating the deceased actor Peter Cushing, and even animating a convincing 1977 version of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. Digital technology is now so advanced that, today, lost actors – or even missing Doctor Who episodes – can be brought back from the dead. And you could even be fooled into thinking they’re the real thing.
Now, I won’t pretend to understand the exact process that people such as Kieran Highman are using to recreate missing Doctor Who episodes (or, at least, scenes from these episodes) but his recent upload of a section from ‘The Abominable Snowmen‘ got me rather excited…
This is a clip from ‘The Abominable Snowmen’ episode five, one of the currently missing Doctor Who episodes. In the Twitter thread, Highman explains that he remade the scene using the original soundtrack, telesnaps, and video footage of himself mouthing the dialogue. He was then able to apply his own facial movements onto the still photos of the actors, and effectively animate them.
He also applied some colourisation to the frames, for those people who appreciate a more modern take, although personally I like my missing Doctor Who episodes in their original, moody black and white. But that’s just me.
It’s certainly a great time to be a fan of the First and Second Doctors. With a whole host of missing Doctor Who episodes coming to DVD in animated form – such as ‘The Power of the Daleks‘ and ‘Fury from the Deep‘ – we’re finally able to enjoy stories that have been lost for decades. And the recreated scenes that we’re seeing from artists such as Kieran Highman give us a tantalising glimpse into what could be possible in the near future.
How do you feel about missing Doctor Who episodes being recreated using deepfake technology? Would you prefer to see more traditional cartoon animations? Or even for the lost episodes to be re-filmed from scratch, like with 2019’s ‘Mission to the Unknown‘? Let me know in the comments below.
For more on this topic, take a look at our other article: Where to find the missing Doctor Who episodes.
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