This Unsettlingly Accurate Deepfake Casts Tom Holland and Robert Downey, Jr. in Back to the Future

“That hat looks good on you, Mr. Stark.”
“That hat looks good on you, Mr. Stark.”
Screenshot: Screencap via YouTube

Deepfake technology continues to weird me out. It seems just a matter of time until it changes how we experience visual media. These just look so damn persuasive, and I have to imagine they’re only going to get better. Or worse, depending on how you look at it.


Like this, from YouTube EZRyderX47: a compelling deepfake recasting of Back to the Future, featuring Tom Holland as Marty and Robert Downey, Jr. as Doc Brown. And it works, persuasively, for almost every frame. The voices are, of course, still Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, but those faces are 100% Spider-Man and Iron Man. I’d be impressed if I wasn’t so creeped out.

As fancasting, this is a pretty compelling argument for these two in a Back to the Future remake that we undoubtedly don’t need. But it’s also an argument in favor of the idea that, eventually, we might not even need official remakes—just algorithmically generated mashups of stuff that already exists. I honestly can’t decide if that’s going to be better or worse than what we have now.

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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.



You’re missing the bigger picture here. Forget the ability to remake movies....

These deepfakes are going to be so good one day (very soon) that people will begin rewriting history. I’m telling you and anyone else that thinks social media and technology aren’t “that big an issue”....we are heading toward a time in which nobody can discern what is real and what isn’t. And that includes scholars.

Events are going to be deepfaked to the point that the truth of what happened in the event will forever be doubted by more and more people. I think we’re heading toward a time in which facts are no longer a part of the human experience. It’ll just be nothing but the experience of perception.