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Star Wars’ Sound Designers Talk Creating Sounds For A Galaxy Far, Far Away

By Diana Samson | Feb 21, 2018 06:34 AM EST

A new ABC documentary pulls back the curtain to reveal the everyday objects used to create the sounds in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The much-debated movie directed by Rian Johnson is set to come out on Blu-Ray next month, but before its home release, Matthew Wood, the supervising sound editor of the movie, talks about how they created the distinct sounds of Porgs, Vulptex, and others.

Alien Sounds

The people behind the Star Wars universe only need objects typically found in nature to create alien noises. For the infamous Porgs, sound editor Coya Elliot recorded the chickens found in George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch and threw the audio under an Alvin and the Chipmunks filter. The result is the shrieking sounds of the puffin-like natives of Ahch-To.

For the fox-like Vulptex, Margie O'Malley and Ronni Brown used wind chimes to create the sound the ice creatures emit whenever they move.

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In the documentary titled The Force of Sound: Creating Sounds in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, Wood also discusses how they framed the "Force connection" between the movie's leads. Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

"We have multiple moments in the film when we really try to take it down into almost this vacuum, to this isolated moment of vulnerability and intimacy," he said.

The idea was from Johnson himself who had to figure out how to make the two characters seem like they are in the same space even if they are actually a galaxy apart.

"What's the simplest way that we can make the world go away so that these two are just separated by a few feet," he asked. "And my mind immediately went to, 'OK, what if then the sound vanishes?'"

Of course, the documentary also had to talk about that one brilliant scene in Star Wars: The Last Jedi which confused a lot of people. Johnson calls it the "Holdo maneuver," the scene in which Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern) rams the rebel ship across the First Order's Star Destroyer to save the fleeing Resistance. Instead of deafening explosions, the scene and the entire movie theater was engulfed in silence.

"This Holdo maneuver is something that has arguably never been done in this world," the director explained. "This whole thing takes place in like a fraction of a second, communicating that it's outside of time, this moment. The sound going away for that, and then only catching up with us once we cut to that big wide shot, seemed really enticing."

The Last Jedi Home Release

Episode VIII will be the first movie from the Star Wars universe to be released in Ultra HD. Neither Star Wars: The Force Awakens nor Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released in the format even if 4K Blu-Ray has been around since early 2016.

Polygon mentioned that Disney first used the format when they released James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on Blu-Ray in August 2017.

In addition, the movie will offer support for Dolby Atmos audio and high-dynamic range (HDR) color via Dolby Vision.

The Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blu-Ray and 4K Ultra HD will also include two hours of bonus footage and 14 deleted scenes.

The digital version of the movie will come out on March 13. Meanwhile, the disc versions will be available for purchase beginning March 27.

 

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