The 2022 Super Bowl halftime show may include a surprise appearance by the infamous "Tupac hologram" – a 3-D rendering of rapper Tupac Shakur on the stage. Rumors of this surprise have been growing over the last week according to a report by XXL Magazine, and now many fans are expecting to see it for themselves. The Super Bowl begins at 6:30 p.m. ET, so we will see for ourselves in just a few hours.
The Sun first reported that the Tupac hologram would appear at the Super Bowl on Tuesday, Feb. 9 based on an anonymous leak from the production team. The show is officially slated to include Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Mary J Blige, but insiders said that there was a "secret segment" to the performance that will include 2Pac performing "California Love." Fans noted that this would be significant since the Super Bowl falls on the 26th anniversary of his acclaimed album All Eyez on Me.
I think Sway just confirmed the Tupac hologram at the Super Bowl with his facial expressions 😂💀 pic.twitter.com/sWNbQNKs0z— peter parker’s webstrings (@imthisrandomguy) February 13, 2022
As the rumor gained traction, celebrities' answers to questions about it seemed to give it even more credibility. When radio host Sway Calloway was asked about the Tupac hologram fans took his conspicuous silence for confirmation, and when Access Online asked Shaquille O'Neal, he seemed to confirm the rumor.
"If the technology is anything like [the Michael Jackson hologram in Las Vegas], it's gonna be awesome. It really is," Shaq said.
The Tupac hologram was one of the first such depictions of a deceased star ever used in a live performance. It made a surprise debut on the stage at the 2012 Coachella festival, performing alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. Since then, other rappers have been made into holograms – both deceased and living stars. They include Eazy-E, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Chief Keef and Pop Smoke.
The Tupac hologram was created by the studio Digital Domain, and it won the Cannes Lions Titanium Award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity a few months after its debut. However, critics have always been wary of the hologram's potential for commercial or political exploitation. That controversy is sure to rear its head again this year – especially as it comes hot on the heels of a similar debate over the Star Wars series The Book of Boba Fett, which included a computer-generated image of a young Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker.
There is no confirmation of the Tupac hologram at the Super Bowl halftime show just yet, but fans are certainly talking about it like it's a given. To see for yourself, tune into NBC starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.