An AI-generated Zelda poster making the rounds on social media has convinced several fans that Tom Holland will be playing Link in a supposed Netflix-produced Zelda series. The photos have been shared over 30,000 times.
According to original post creator Dan Leveille, however, the poster is fake. Leveille chose A-list actors Tom Holland, Emma Watson and Idris Elba because of their association with action and fantasy projects. This was enough to trick social media users into thinking that the Netflix series was in production, despite a lack of any further evidence.
The post was shared along with the clarification: “JK. Made with #midjourney, inpainting with #dalle, some facial correction using Tencent ARC, and a bunch of Photoshop.” That hasn’t stopped countless hopeful fans from sharing and commenting on the post. Some have even accused Netflix of ruining the franchise with their casting choices, to which I say: “WHAT FRANCHISE!?”
No, I hate to break it to you, but at no point did Holland sit for a photograph in a Link costume. The poster was made using Midjounrey, an AI lab that creates photo-generating software. Unlike Photoshop, it doesn’t require training to become proficient at producing deepfakes, meaning that we’re likely to see many more fake posters in the future.
Speaking to Kotaku about how he made the poster, Dan Leveille said: “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.”
Leveille fixed the problem by using a facial correction tool and Dall-E to regenerate specific facial features.
Leveille even managed to fool a real film distribution company, which put the fake poster alongside those for upcoming productions like the third season of The Witcher, Black Adam and Constantine 2. If you’re in doubt about the future, remember that Google has a dedicated fact-checking tool.