James Earl Jones is reportedly no longer the voice of Star Wars' most iconic villain.
The actor, 91, has given Lucasfilm and its parent company, Disney, the go-ahead to use his voice in digital recreations of the iconic villain he has played for more than 40 years.
In a piece by Vanity Fair, it was revealed that Ukrainian start-up Respeecher has been working with Lucasfilm for years to generate the memorable voice Jones used 45 years ago. The actor's voice has altered with age, and he has largely stepped back from playing Vader.
Jones has been the voice of the formidable Darth Vader since the first film, later subtitled A New Hope, was released in 1977. He has never worn the suit, helmet and cape, but has provided iconic lines like the sequel's reveal "I am your father" to Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker.
Respeecher uses archival recordings and an A.I. to create new dialogue using voices of performers from the past. Jones has been recorded "dozens of times," Matthew Wood of Skywalker Sound told Vanity Fair.
"He had mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character," Wood said. "So how do we move forward?"
Jones has signed off on the technology, but has still guided the performances used in recent Star Wars offerings — the latest being the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi. Wood refers to Jones as "a benevolent godfather."
Reps for Jones did not immediately respond to PEOPLE to clarify whether the actor would be stepping away from the role entirely, or continue on in this consulting capacity.
In June, Jones returned as the voice of Darth Vader for episode 3 of the Disney+ limited series, which is set 10 years after the events of the 2005 film Revenge of the Sith.
The latest episode was the first time audiences were reintroduced to Darth Vader when he comes head to head with the titular Jedi Master (Ewan McGregor).
While Hayden Christensen made his long-awaited return to the Sith Lord's legendary black garb in the series, playing the younger Anakin Skywalker after he's crossed over to the Dark Side, Jones famously voiced the older Vader in the first three Star Wars films.
Up next for Jones is the honor of having his name grace an iconic Broadway theater in New York City.
In March, the Shubert Organization announced in a news release that the 110-year-old Cort Theatre will be renamed after the legendary actor in celebration of his lifetime contributions to Broadway and the entertainment community.
"For me standing in this very building 64 years ago at the start of my Broadway career, it would have been inconceivable that my name would be on the building today," Jones said in the statement shared by Shubert. "Let my journey from then to now be an inspiration for all aspiring actors."
Jones got his Broadway start in 1957, making his Cort Theatre debut in the 1958 play Sunrise at Campobello. In the successful six-and-a-half-decade career that followed, he has starred in 21 Broadway shows, become an EGOT (an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) winner and received the Kennedy Center Honor.
Jones scored his Tony awards — twice winning best actor in a play — with The Great White Hope in 1969 and Fences in 1987, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.
Through his illustrious career, Jones has also been awarded the National Medal of Arts and seven Drama Desk Awards.