The Star Wars sequel trilogy featured lots of hidden cameos from some pretty big names. James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, secretly played a stormtrooper in The Force Awakens. Musician Ed Sheeran covertly donned the white armor in The Rise of Skywalker. The film also featured Lin-Manuel Miranda as a Resistance fighter. And those are just a few examples. But it turns out one very important person from the galaxy far, far away also contributed on screen in his own unexpected way. And he’s apparently been doing it for years without any of us knowing. George Lucas‘s voice was used in The Rise of Skywalker as the franchise’s updated answer to the Wilhelm Scream. It wasn’t his first “appearance” either.
Sources told ABC News (which we first heard about at IGN) The Rise of Skywalker was the latest Star Wars film to use an old recording of George Lucas screaming. Known as “The George,” it wasn’t something he did specifically for the movie. Lucas’s yell was recorded for the director’s 1973 film American Graffiti. This wasn’t his scream’s big screen debut though. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and The Last Jedi apparently both used it previously too.
The film’s sound designers, David Acord and Matt Wood, would not actually admit they used Lucas’s voice though. The Oscar-nominated pair (Sound Editing) did tell ABC they used a “special scream” in the film. They describe it as their “calling card.” They also wouldn’t say exactly where and when it appears in any of the films either. You might say this mystery is a real scream. (Well, you might if you’re a dad).
With millions of diehard Star Wars fans around the globe though, we doubt it will be for very long. We expect soon we will see fan-made videos highlighting matching screams that might be “The George.”
This fun nugget is one of the best kinds of Easter Eggs. It doesn’t fundamentally change the films in any way. And even when we discover which screams are really George Lucas, it won’t distract from the story. It will just be a fun inside factoid with more meaning then most.
And yet, this is also a bittersweet revelation, because this might mark the end of franchise’s use of the iconic “Wilhelm Scream.” That memorable yell has been a movie staple and a part of the franchise since it was first used in 1977’s A New Hope. Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt plucked it out of obscurity from the 1951 film Distant Drums. It was originally recorded for a man being pulled underwater by an alligator. Fans of the galaxy far, far away first heard it when a stromtrooper fell down a shaft inside the Death Star. Since then it has become a true movie staple, appearing so often in hundreds of films its not even an inside Hollywood joke anymore.
Will “The George” prove to have that kind of shelf life as a sound effect too? We don’t know, but we’ll be listening for it.
Featured Image: Lucasfilm