New Documentary Shows How Sound Designers Create the Star Wars Universe

Lucasfilm / Lucasfilm

When you’re creating a movie about alien creatures in a galaxy far, far away, you need to be creative when it comes to sound. You might need to head to a chicken farm, for instance, as one sound engineer did to capture some of the custom porg sounds for 2017's Star Wars: The Last Jedi. A new documentary from ABC News explores how sound designers bring aspects of the Star Wars universe to life, coming up with interpretations for experiences that don’t exist on Earth.

The 26-minute documentary (Warning: it contains Last Jedi spoilers) goes inside Skywalker Sounds's editing booths with the sound designers that help make Star Wars characters and settings feel real, making floating rocks, blasting lasers, and chirping robots seem perfectly at home.

“When it’s done right … people just accept that what they’re seeing is making that sound,” Star Wars sound designer Ren Klyce says. “If your work’s invisible, that means you’re actually doing your job properly and that it’s actually working.”

Foley artists Margie O'Malley and Ronni Brown make sounds for The Last Jedi's fathiers.
Foley artists Margie O'Malley and Ronni Brown make sounds for The Last Jedi's fathiers. / Connor Burton/ABC News

Sound design can influence the emotion of a scene, make a setting feel bigger than it looks, and convey that BB-8 is a friendly droid. ABC News’s film dives into the unexpected props Foley artists use to create sounds for creatures like the crystal foxes (vulptices) and horse-like fathiers, technology like space ships, and droids like BB-8. The documentary contains interviews with sound designers, editors, Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, and others who work together to create the audio of the Star Wars universe.

Watch it below.