Technology is so good right now that it’s bad. By “bad” we mean that now more than ever it’s easier to trick people into believing something fake is real. Deepfakes? They’re really bad. DALL-E AI images? Less bad, but still worrying. A more lighthearted version of digital subterfuge can be seen in a series of posters, made in part with DALL-E, that were so good some people were convinced Netflix was making a Legend of Zelda movie with Tom Holland, Emma Watson, Idris Elba, and more. Spoiler: They’re not.I say this, but it’s easy to see how people would have been fooled. Leveille picked some major A-list actors like Tom Holland, Emma Watson, and Idris Elba. Their faces are so well-known that they help sell the fantasy, even if you don’t have any context for whether a movie or TV series is in production at all. And when fans want something to be true badly enough, they’re probably not thinking too hard before hitting that “Share” button. But seriously, y’all. Leveille says in his third line: “JK. Made with #midjourney, inpainting with #dalle, some facial correction using Tencent ARC, and a bunch of Photoshop.”

But the fakes were spot-on. They should be: In his post, their creator, one Dan Leveille, said they were made with such AI tools as Midjourney, in painting with DALL-E, Tencent ARC, and a “bunch of Photoshop.” Leveille even said as such, revealing that they were fakes.

That didn’t stop the post from getting almost 300,000 shares of this writing. The comments board was lit up, with some of the usual unwelcome suspects. There were fans complaining that Netflix was ruining their childhood. There were racists making jokes about how a Zelda movie in 2022 would have to be even more diverse.

So to reiterate: There is no Zelda movie with Tom Holland and Emma Watson and Idris Elba. There’s just some painstakingly designed fakes from someone with some real skills and some real time on their hands. Hopefully Holland didn’t catch wind of them, long as he’s still on his social media break.

However, that didn’t stop fans from sharing the post without comment, or tagging their friends in the repost. Many included eyes, heart eyes, or fire emojis. Others complained in the comments that Netflix was ruining their beloved franchise. Some racists snidely said that the casting was fake because Netflix would have used more actors of color.

Midjourney is an AI lab that creates photo-generating software, and Dall-E is the name of a software from another group that also creates images from text and art sourced from the internet (and without the original artists’ consent). So at no point did Holland ever sit for a photograph in Link cosplay. Even if they realize the images aren’t depicting reality, someone who isn’t terminally online might assume they’re the product of simple image-editing software like Photoshop. But unlike traditional image manipulation software, it doesn’t require much training to become proficient at generating deepfakes, so we’ll be seeing plenty more of these kinds of fakes in the future.

Poster creator Dan Leveille told Kotaku about his process over email. First, he created a prompt to feed into Midjourney. “In most cases, I ran the prompts well over a hundred times, so I would let them generate throughout the day,” he wrote. “The main challenge was to get the faces to look like the actors, and then also like the characters. 95% of the time, the face doesn’t look close enough to the actor.”

By Vikram

One thought on “Fake Zelda Netflix Posters Blow Up: No, Tom Holland, Emma Watson, And Idris Elba Aren’t Starring In A ‘Zelda’”
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