Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. Star in ‘Back to the Future,’ Courtesy of Deepfake

Chris Lindahl

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In an era of endless reboots, remakes, and sequels — “Ghostbusters,” “Saw,” “Oceans 8,” the list goes on — some of the most beloved film franchises have yet to be milked for their IP. Chief among them is the “Back to the Future” trilogy, Robert Zemeckis’ ’80s classic featuring a time-traveling teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and his wacky scientist companion Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd).

But if you have been lusting after the opportunity to see what “Back to the Future” would look like today, your chance has arrived courtesy of YouTube user EZRyderX47. The account recently posted a deepfake featuring Fox’s face convincingly replaced with Tom Holland’s and Lloyd’s replaced with Robert Downey Jr.’s.

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To the casual observer, it’s tough to tell the actors in the scene are the subjects of digital plastic surgery. They look and move naturally enough, but their voices are still those of Fox and Lloyd’s.

The YouTube video has over 1.8 million views and 23,000 likes. The user said he created the deepfake using only free software: DeepFaceLab and Hitfilm Express 13.

Another one of EZRyderX47’s recent videos offers another “Back to the Future”/”Spider-Man” twist: Holland’s Spidey is replaced by a “Back to the Future”-era Fox.

In June, the House Intelligence Committee held a hearing about the risks posed by deepfakes.Many deepfakes offer fun and entertaining scenarios like these, but the technology has raised concerns about their potential for use in revenge porn, fake news, and fraud.

The original “Back to the Future” was the highest-grossing film of 1985 and won an Oscar for Best Sound Effects Editing. In 2007, the Library of Congress added it to the National Film Registry.

A documentary about the trilogy was released in 2015 to mark the 30th anniversary of the original film’s release. Jason Aron’s “Back in Time” features interviews with Fox, writer Bob Gale, director and co-writer Zemeckis, co-star Lea Thompson, and a noteworthy cameo from Steven Spielberg. It was released on “Future Day,” October 21, 2015, a notable date in the movie that had become the subject of memes.

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