Patrick Stewart replaces Tom Hardy in a new Deepfake video that actually improves Star Trek: Nemesis. Long before playing iconic characters like Bane, Mad Max and Eddie Brock, Hardy scored a major early career role as Jean-Luc Picard's clone Shinzon in Nemesis. Unfortunately, neither the film nor Hardy's performance were considered classics at the time, nor are they now.
In the 2002 film, the last of the Star Trek movies to star The Next Generation cast, it's explained that the Romulans created Hardy's Shinzon after obtaining Picard's DNA with the intention of using the clone as a spy embedded within the Federation. However, the scheme went awry and Shinzon ended up being placed in prison with another alien race called the Reman who worked as slave labor for the Romulans. Eventually, Shinzon would rise to lead the Reman in rebellion against the Romulans, ultimately wresting control away from the Romulan Senate and using his new-found power to plot an attack against Earth. As part of his plan, he lured the Enterprise and Picard into a trap, but became distracted by his connection to the Starfleet captain as well as his feelings for Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis).
In one pivotal Nemesis scene, Hardy's Shinzon finally met his clone "father" Picard and revealed the connection between them. Now thanks to Deepfake technology, the meeting between Shinzon and Picard becomes much eerier - and arguably more effective - as Hardy is replaced with Picard actor Stewart, allowing Stewart to confront a clone of himself that actually looks just like himself. See the video from YouTuber Deep Homage in the space below:
The reveal of Shinzon's face as he emerges from the shadows definitely has more impact when it's actually Stewart's face instead of Hardy's. Of course, Deepfake technology still only deals with visuals and has not yet moved on to altering audio, so Shinzon still has Hardy's unmistakable voice instead of Stewart's equally iconic tones. The new video is indeed one more example of how Deepfake technology can be used to alter video clips for entertainment purposes. Sometimes the results are truly amazing, as when Jim Carrey was inserted into The Shining in place of Jack Nicholson, and sometimes can be downright disturbing as when every character in Full House was replaced with Nick Offerman.
At this point, such tech is still being used for mostly fun purposes like improving Star Trek: Nemesis, so no one is too upset. However, ethical debates will no doubt heat up as the technology improves and filmmakers start using it to execute more radical alterations to movies and TV shows, swapping performers as if they were digital dolls with removable heads. And of course, there are also more sinister possibilities for Deepfake techniques, as the software can be used to alter real-life video of public figures for purposes of deception.
Source: Deep Homage