Many pieces make up the finished puzzle that is Star Wars, each of them key to making the saga the enduring story and pop culture phenomenon it is. The mythology, lightsabers, the characters–all of it plays a part. And so does the sound. The original trilogy introduced some of the most recognizable sounds in cinema between R2-D2’s beeps and boops, a lightsaber powering on or off, and Darth Vader’s respirator-aided breathing. These are sounds you can identify in a moment, and one man played an instrumental role in designing them: Ben Burtt.
Burtt took an innovative approach to creating the sounds, occasionally using his own vocal cords. For example, he developed Darth Vader’s iconic inhaling and exhaling by breathing into a scuba diving apparatus. You can hear that memorable noise and many others from the original trilogy in a supercut by Rishi Kaneria of Raging Cinema. Kaneria has edited everything from creatures, to blasters, to droids together in the two-minute video and it’s music to my ears. You can test your knowledge of the films by hitting play, closing your eyes, and seeing how many scenes you can identify just by the sound effect.
And if you need more Star Wars sounds, do yourself a favor and go play with the soundboard at StarWars.com. There are clips from the films and television series, and you can use quotes, music, and sound effects to mix your own tracks and then email them or share them on social media.
What’s your favorite sound in all of Star Wars? Tell me in the comments.