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Artist uses AI to reimagine ‘Star Wars’ characters as creepy monsters

By Malavika Pradeep

May 13, 2022

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Ah, Star Wars: a franchise inspired by George Lucas’s love for Flash Gordon and science fiction author Edgar Rice Burroughs, and a lingering tale of space adventures that would change cinema forever following its debut in 1977. In a galaxy far, far away, I used to binge Star Wars as a kid—until it took some dark turns away from its (somewhat borderline) family-friendly nature. For me, Anakin’s massacre of those poor defenceless younglings at the Jedi Temple in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was the final straw. Well, I guess it was rated PG-13 for a reason, huh?

Though the franchise features some of the most disturbing characters, like the disfigured Emperor Palpatine, Jabba the Hutt (depending on who you ask) and the Nightsisters, Star Wars continues to thematically appease a PG audience by never straying too far into the dark side. However, digital artist Rob Sheridan is here to change that, once and for all.

On 4 May 2022, Sheridan uploaded a series of images generated by AI that reimagine several Star Wars characters as a “cosmic body horror film” taking place in “an unholy nether realm far, far away.” Humorously titled ‘Episode 666: A New Flesh’, the artist’s intention was to merely celebrate Star Wars Day—but the results are nightmarish, to say the least.

May the Force be with you while scrolling through these terrifying yet exciting creations that will make you look twice under your bed tonight!

1. Han Solo

Let’s start with the iconic duo in the entire franchise, shall we? Cruising across galaxies with his hairy BFF—who’s up next, don’t you worry—Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford) is the captain of the Millennium Falcon, a character well known for being rude to women until they fall in love with him. While his cowboy-hipster outfit and lop-sided grin have broken millions of hearts across the galaxy, I wonder how many dreams this horrific AI art will break into nightmares.

2. Chewbacca

If it isn’t our lovely seven-foot walking carpet! As the co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca (portrayed by late British-American actor Peter Mayhew) is a loyal Wookiee with a crossbow who’s known to give the best hugs in the universe. But erm, what exactly did you chew here, Chewie?

3. Junk droids

In Star Wars, junk droids refer to self-made droids that are created with spare parts. Given their mashed up programming, they were considered a threat by civilians as they could go on a rampage, defy orders or even start building more of their own kind with enough junk. Now imagine Sheridan’s AI version of junk droids roaming around on the streets for a change:

Dubbing the series ‘Necromechanical Junk Droids’ Sheridan explained that the droids are “built from rusted scraps and re-animated corpses” and are “undying slaves to their creators.” Guess I’m not sleeping tonight, cool cool cool.

4. Sand People

Sand People, popularly known as Tusken Raiders or simply Tuskens, are the natives of planet Tatooine. Portrayed as a culture of sentients who are hostile towards local settlers, they are decked head to toe in desert-coloured rags and robes—leaving no skin exposed to the harsh terrain. “Those Tuskens walk like men, but they’re vicious, mindless monsters,” Anakin’s step-dad Cliegg Lars once stated in Episode II: Attack of the Clones. We couldn’t agree more, Mister Lars.

“Raiders and Traders of the Sand Realm, salvagers of the dead adorned in old skin,” Sheridan went on to describe the AI’s disturbing take on Sand People. Here are some blurry pics captured at the local dance club in Tatooine last night:

5. Emperor Palpatine

If the real Senator Sheev Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious, is capable of provoking wars, convincing his colleagues to build him a clone army, getting himself named Supreme Chancellor, and forging an entire empire legally, just imagine what this version of the character could do:

6. C-3PO

Your parts are showing, C-3PO

7. R2-D2

Bleep-bloop-bleep! In comes the real hero of Star Wars, a cheeky astromech droid who saves the day every time he’s around. Heck, R2-D2 can even be outfitted to serve drinks! The only con is that he’s easily tipped over. Or so I thought, until I stumbled across Sheridan’s AI art of the loyal droid:

Image courtesy of @rob_sheridan from Twitter

8. Stormtrooper

Close your eyes and visualise an army of these stormtroopers marching towards you. This is not a drill!

9. Jabba the Hutt

As if the real Jabba wasn’t terrifying enough.

10. Salacious B. Crumb

If Jabba still hasn’t managed to crawl into your dreams yet, the crime lord’s minions have got you covered. Here’s Salacious B. Crumb, the Kowakian monkey-lizard who’s known for stealing food and mimicking the Hutt. Now imagine this version of Crumb emitting shrill-turned-demonic laughter:

11. Bib Fortuna

New fear unlocked.

12. Jabba's rancor

When a Twitter user asked Sheridan if he had touched up the images after they were created, the artist replied, “No editing, these are straight out of the AI! It’s really incredible the textures it pulls in and the way it blends them together. The way I affect it is by continuing to refine the language (‘made of torn skin and scars stitched into rusted copper’ etc).” I wonder what terms Sheridan used for the AI to whip up this terrifying take on Jabba’s rancor though.

13. Princess Leia

Björk’s next album cover:

14. Wood Sprites

I’ll wait here while you go and meet the “Ursidaen Wood Sprites who lure unsuspecting victims deep into the Forest Realm before roasting them over an open flame.”

15. Yoda

Doomed beyond recovery, we all are.

16. Luke Skywalker

Our hard-working, elders-respecting and sister-kissing American boy is back. While Luke (played by Mark Hamill) is the ultimate family-friendly hero who’s good at fighting and flying spaceships—while preaching kindness to animals and droids—I wonder what the universe thinks about this Peter Dinklage-looking version of the character.

17. Boba Fett

Next up is the original bounty hunter of the Star Wars universe. Created as an unaltered clone of his ‘father’, Jango Fett, Boba learns survival skills and is trained in combat from a very young age. Growing up, he’s the first hunter who helps Darth Vader locate the Millennium Falcon in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and also the one to deliver a carbonite-frozen Han Solo to Jabba after he fails to pay off his debt.

18. Amanaman

Crediting the technology behind the horrific creations, Sheridan wrote, “These upcoming text-to-image AI tools are shockingly easy to use, you just have to imagine things in an interesting, detailed way and the results it produces are stunning. When I got it to start doing this stuff, it wasn’t like anything I’d seen either, I had to make more.” Well, among all of the creepy AI renderings SCREENSHOT has covered in the past, this series might just take the cake.

19. IG-11

Okay, so when is the new Star Wars instalment featuring all of these characters coming out?

20. Darth Vader

His appearance is terrifying, his voice is bone-chilling and his words are pure evil. Yes, I’ve saved the most iconic villain in the franchise for last. And let’s just say I find Sheridan’s faith in the AI software a bit disturbing.

18 cartoon characters reimagined as creepy humans, with the help of 3D art

By Malavika Pradeep

Mar 14, 2022

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Remember the simpler times when we used to binge-watch Cartoon Network on a school night? “I wish SpongeBob was real!” most of us would holler at the playground, while day-dreaming about visiting the cartoon character in his cute little pineapple house under the sea. Several years later, your childhood visions may have motivated you to check out artworks that reimagine Disney princesses as modern women or even hotdogs—all in the guise of nostalgia.

Well, buckle up fellow cartoon lovers, it’s time to kiss your nostalgic desires—along with your peaceful sleep schedules—goodbye forever. Enter Miguel Vasquez, a 3D artist obsessed with making hyper-realistic versions of our favourite cartoon characters. The catch? The entire purpose of his art is “to disturb people.” Here are 18 of Vasquez’s most popular creations—guaranteed to make you pat the artist on the back and say “mission accomplished.”

1. Sid the Sloth from ‘Ice Age’

I bet you’ve only known the wholesome yet goofy Sid who flails his arms around and manages to screw up every mission the Ice Age crew embarks on. But have you ever wondered what the iconic sloth would look like as an actual human being living among us? Hint: think someone with saggy skin, oddly-defined pectoral muscles, crusty eyes bulging out of their sockets and snotty nose dripping onto a set of misaligned and mouldy teeth. Vasquez did Sid dirty. Period. But we’re all here for it.

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2. SpongeBob from ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’

I’m pretty sure this is not what our 7-year-old selves had in mind while wishing upon a shooting star to meet SpongeBob in real life. Yet here we are, presented with an unsettling 3D illustration of the popular sea sponge—who looks eerily similar to Donald Trump. Scratch that, maybe Howie Mendel in his cosplaying era back in his school years?

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A post shared by Miguel Vasquez (@marvelous_mikee)

3. Scooby from ‘Scooby-Doo’

Okay, this may just be Vasquez’s least cursed creation to date—and that’s saying something. Based on the character and protagonist of the animated television franchise under the same name, Scooby-Doo looks like the Scooby snack Shaggy would often feed him. Apart from his low-key resemblance to Steve Harvey, that is. “When you’re doing the dishes and touch soggy food,” Vasquez went on to caption the 3D artwork. Meme culture, here’s your new “What the dog doin’.”

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4. Bugs Bunny from ‘Looney Tunes’

Iconically munching on a carrot with gloved hands, Looney Tunes’ favourite anthropomorphic grey hare looks like he gulps psychedelic mushrooms for breakfast. Eh, what’s up, doc?

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5. Mr. Krabs from ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’

“Ahoy Spongebob! I’m suffering from nicotine withdrawal, gimme a pod me boi,” rightly sums up this artwork of Mr. Krabs from SpongeBob SquarePants. “It’s all about shock value,” Vasquez said in an interview with The i. “I put a lot of work into the details. A character’s bloodshot eyes can make them that much creepier, or menacing look.” Well, mission accomplished, mister Vasquez.

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6. Charlie Brown and Snoopy from ‘Peanuts’

Sleep paralysis demons, where you at? Based on the famous characters from the long-running comic strip—written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz—Charlie Brown and Snoopy look baked in their hyper-realistic version like Bugs Bunny. The best part? The more you look at Charlie, the more he looks like Michael Cera. Potential cast if The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show ever makes a live action of the iconic duo, I guess?

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7. Patrick Star from ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’

Of course, Patrick is on the list. If you’ve been wondering what the pink sea star would look like as a Chuck E. Cheese employee, this is it. With ice cream dropped splat on his forehead (bonus points if you scroll to see it dripping into his mouth), single-toothed Patrick believes mayonnaise is an instrument and you cannot, in fact, “stop the unstoppable.”

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8. Spongebob and Patrick Star

Brb, Googling how to delete my childhood.

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9. Dora from ‘Dora the Explorer’

Remember how we used to tirelessly yell “behind you, Dora!” whenever the characters from Dora the Explorer asked for directions or urged us to spot something on our TV screens? I don’t know about you guys but watching the animated series now gives me anxiety. How many times do I have to repeat myself? Or worse yet, in the age where we pull down our masks to hear better, am I actually annoying the local supermarket worker by asking them where the chips are—multiple times? Well, this time, Dora ain’t playing around. And Swiper, you better stop swiping.

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10. Squidward from ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’

In the interview with The i, Vasquez admitted how he was initially an art school student at Chaffey College but got really frustrated with the curriculum. “I felt like I could learn more at home but didn’t know what to do at first,” he said. “I suppose you could say I dropped out, but it doesn’t feel like the right word. I wanted to leave to dedicate more time to my art, and felt like I was learning more at home.”

After leaving college, he started spending time sketching out the characters he had been previously drafting absent-mindedly. “I had started drawing these characters at school when I got bored, because it seemed like no-one had quite got the dimensions for what these cartoons would look like in real life,” the artist said. “I wanted to show how strangely disproportionate and creepy they would actually look.” Well, all Squidward needs in this artwork is a shower cap and bubbles.

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11. Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith from ‘Rick and Morty’

Who knew Michael J. Fox and Willem Dafoe could make such a good intergalactic duo? Armed with a bottle, portal and laser guns, Vasquez captures Rick and Morty in their true elements in this article. Perfectly disturbing, just like the animated sitcom in question.

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12. Finn and Jake from ‘Adventure Time’

You’ll never binge Adventure Time the same way again. With missing teeth and a balaclava, here’s what Finn the Human would look like in his yearbook photo. His death grip on Jake the Dog (with well-defined pecs, yet again) is worth noting here.

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13. Plankton from ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’

This is what Plankton from SpongeBob SquarePants would look like if he was one of the odd monsters Will Smith fights in Men in Black. Pecs? Check. Bloodshot eyes? Nailed them. The secret formula for Krabby Patties? Got it. At the end of the day, however, I’d be absolutely terrified to meet mildly-ripped Plankton out on the streets.

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14. Squidward… but make him a GigaChad thirst trap

In an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, Squidward is rushed to the hospital when SpongeBob accidentally slams the door on him. He undergoes surgery to have his face fixed but things don’t go as planned. Instead of looking like his old self again, the surgery makes him—drum roll—incredibly handsome! Enter ‘Handsome Squidward’, whose dazzling beauty makes everyone in Bikini Bottom fall head over heels for the hunk. With five different versions of Handsome Squidward, Vasquez has got everyone thirsting in the comment section. I never thought I’d say this in my life, but have you ever seen a sea cucumber packing a sea cucumber before?

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In case you’re looking for a video of Handsome Squidward checking you out, Vasquez has got you covered. PS: I can’t wait for the anthropomorphic fanfiction of the character on Wattpad now.

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15. Homer and Marge from ‘The Simpsons’

At the time Vasquez gave the interview for The i, he was yet to create female characters. “I have a really good idea for Marge Simpson in the pipeline,” he told the outlet. Well, who’d have thought how The Simpsons character would turn out? Now the question is, when will Vasquez add Lisa and Bart to this unsettling family portrait? Also, I can’t help but see Bruce Willis the more I look at Homer. What do you think?

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16. Nintendo’s Kirby

For Vasquez, his inspiration to create creepy characters was triggered after his artwork of Nintendo’s Luigi went viral on Instagram. “I realised that these characters were getting a lot of attention,” he said. “I started focusing a week at a time on perfecting them. They do look like something that lives and roams in this world.” I never thought Kirby could haunt my dreams with single nail bed for hands and legs.

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17. Toad from ‘Super Mario’

Ever wondered what old video game characters would look like if they were recreated with realistic graphics? Let’s just agree that if we played Super Mario with this Toad, our childhood memories would’ve been nightmare-filled rather than nostalgic. As for Vasquez, this is exactly what he aims for with his artwork. “I love seeing the reactions,” he shared. True, even if you love or loathe them, you’d definitely share these images with a friend at the end of the day. “It’s just bringing to life what the original creators gave to the cartoon characters,” he added. Wonder what Princess Peach thinks about this Toad though…

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18. Patrick Star… again

Just going to leave this blursed image here.

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