Indiana Jones 5 De-Aged Harrison Ford With The Work Of Over 100 Special Effect Artists

By Douglas Helm | Published

Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

De-aging visual effects have gradually gotten better over the years, but it still takes a ton of work. According to Variety, it took over 100 special effects artists and a hyper-collaborative process to do the de-aging effects on Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. The end result is quite impressive, which makes sense considering Industrial Light and Magic spent three years on the film’s visual effects.

Harrison Ford was de-aged in Indiana Jones and the Dail of Destiny using brand new technology devleoped by LucasFilm.

To de-age Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Industrial Light and Magic, a division of the Disney-owned LucasFilm, developed the ILM FaceSwap technology. VFX supervisor Andrew Whitehurst and ILM VFX supervisor Robert Weaver, along with a team of ILM artists, developed ILM FaceSwap to blend full a full CGI head, elements from on-set photography, and reference material from previous Indy films pulled with machine learning technology.

This gave the team a good amount of reference material, but they also needed Harrison Ford to record a wide variety of facial expressions to further enhance the effect and allow them to build a full 3D CG asset.

harrison ford
Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Finally, they had to include extra cameras on set while shooting the prologue sequence of a young Indy in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. This helped give them additional references for the scene, but they also needed to capture lighting references for every setup so they could properly light the scene in post-production.

They also said that director James Mangold played an integral part in the process, as he was able to lay out the direction of the scene and the action beats beforehand.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny pulled off Harrison Ford’s de-aging thanks to hundreds of trained artists working for over three years on the film’s special effects.

Clearly, a lot of time and love went into the visual effects for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. It’s obviously a very involved process to de-age an actor, with over 100 VFX artists, the actor, the director, and advanced technology all working together to create a realistic shot. It’s impressive how far LucasFilm and Industrial Light & Magic have come with their de-aging effects.

Of course, it obviously helps immensely when you have an actor who can record various facial animations, as Ford did in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

Indiana Jones Isn’t The First LucasFilm Movie With De-Aging

ILM didn’t have that luxury when they had to create a CG model of Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin and deep fake a young Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While these effects were admirable, they had a bit of uncanny valley going on, and it clearly helps sell the effect more when you’re able to get as much reference as possible.

However, it’s no surprise that ILM was able to pull off this de-aging in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, as they proved that they had improved greatly on their technique in The Mandalorian. Not only did they end a season with a brief cameo of Mark Hamill as a young Luke Skywalker, but they were able to have the de-aged Hamill be front and center during an entire episode of The Book of Boba Fett as Luke trained Grogu. It’ll be interesting to see how this technology continues to progress in the future.