By: Jocelyn Buhlman
Have you ever caught yourself swinging a pen or pencil around while making lightsaber noises quietly to yourself? Do you secretly slip into a Wookiee impression just to see if you can channel your inner Chewbacca? Are you making the noises to yourself right now as you read this article?
Star Wars would not be the same without its iconic sound effects, which is why Star Wars: The Last Jedi was nominated for an Oscar® for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. From the chirps of a Porg to the screech of a TIE fighter, the Jedi Masters of sound behind Star Wars films create noises that bring out the fan in us all. We’ve rounded up our favorite sound effects from each Star Wars movie to celebrate The Last Jedi’s sound-sational Oscar nominations. Get ready to read (and listen!) on, and let us know on Facebook and Twitter which sound effect is your favorite.
Battle Droid( Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
“Roger, roger!” These droids might not be strategic enough to outwit a Jedi, but their job isn’t to be smart—it’s to overwhelm members of the Republic through sheer numbers. Their quirky personality is exemplified in their call of affirmation.
Slave I Seismic Charges (Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones)
Slave I is the infamous ship of the Fett family, although a variety of space pirates and bounty hunters have tried to retain custody of the weapon-packed craft. No one knows the ins and outs of the laser cannons, projectile launchers, and the like better than Jango Fett. The most recognizable sound from his weapons would probably come from deadly seismic charges, the iconic “boom” ringing out as each cuts a wave of destruction across its target.
Darth Vader’s Breathing (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith)
Darth Vader’s famous breathing is one of the most oft-imitated sounds from the franchise. While one may try to imitate the noise by cupping a hand over his or her mouth or by talking into a fan, sound designer Ben Burtt actually made the now-iconic breathing sound effects by placing a microphone into a regulator on a scuba breathing apparatus.
Chewbacca’s growl (Solo: A Star Wars Story)
We may not know exactly how Chewie will sound in the latest installment of Star Wars stories, but we can’t wait to find out how this Wookiee will wail. Chewbacca’s famous growl is actually an amalgamation of a variety of animal sounds, such as bears, badgers, and walruses.
Klaxon Siren (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)
Do you ever start panicking and hear a familiar siren in your head? If you’ve watched Rogue One: A Star Wars Story one too many times (although, is there such a thing?), you may find yourself preparing for an attack from the Empire.
Tusken Raider Yell (Star Wars: A New Hope)
If you hear this sound, watch out! Tusken Raiders attack with very little provocation, and if you hear their famous yell, you know many will be nearby brandishing their gaderffii. From a safe distance, however (such as watching a Star Wars film on your TV, perhaps), you can enjoy hearing this braying howl without the threat of attack.
TIE Fighter (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)
If you’re part of the Rebel Alliance, the ominous screech of a TIE fighter passing overhead is enough to send chills down your spine. If you’re a Star Wars fan watching at home, you might instead be tempted to try and imitate the screech yourself. It turns out the effect is actually part organic in nature—Burtt originally created the sound as a combination of an elephant call and a car driving on wet pavement.
Lightsaber (Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)
How must Luke have felt when he finished constructing his new, green-bladed lightsaber and heard it ignite for the first time? Sound Designer Burtt might know. The famous ignition sound was one of the first effects he ever created for the films, inspired by the hum of an old projector motor at the USC Cinema Department. The whirr of the worn-down machine soon evolved into the famous sound that countless kids (and adults) wielding plastic sabers of their own have tried to imitate.
BB-8 (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Even though we don’t understand what he’s saying, there’s just something so relatable about the charming beeps and boops of this orange BB unit. To help give the droid some of his unique personality, actors Bill Hader and Ben Schwartz actually provided “voice consultant” services for The Force Awakens, speaking voice lines for the droid initially until his final, lovable beeps and boops were created. You can watch the actors in action in this short featurette from the official Star Wars Twitter.
Porgs (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
These little avian aliens stole our hearts at the very first chirp—but in real life, these adorable little creatures are a combination of three bird calls: chicken, dove, and turkey. To learn more about how the Porgs found their voices, check out our feature on the sounds of the creatures of The Last Jedi.
While these are just a sampling of our favorite sounds from the world of Star Wars, there are so many more sound effects that prove why these films frequently find themselves nominated for their out-of-this-world sounds. To learn about even more classic Star Wars sounds, be sure to check out StarWars.com’s feature on the movies’ most famous sounds.