/Answers: Our Favorite ‘Star Wars’ Moments

Ben Pearson: The Legendary Wilhelm Scream

You probably know all about the Wilhelm scream, but just in case, a very brief refresher: first recorded for a movie in the early 1950s, the sound effect gained modern prominence when Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt discovered it in an archive and dropped it into A New Hope. Since then, the easily-identifiable noise of a man almost comically screaming in pain has been used in hundreds of other movies and television shows – including every Star Wars movie.

When I was in my early teens, I noticed during a viewing of A New Hope that the effect was something I’d heard elsewhere, and it made me curious enough to seek out more information about its origin; that was one of the first times I really thought about a sound designer’s job and took the time to consider aspects of production I hadn’t thought about before. So my favorite Star Wars moment has to be the first use of the Wilhelm scream in that movie, during Luke and Leia’s escape sequence in the Death Star. For me, it epitomizes a lot of what I love about Star Wars: excellent production design, heroic characters backed into a wall (figuratively and literally), and the thrill of wondering how they’re going to get out of the situation in tact. The image of Luke and Leia swinging across the chasm is ripped straight from the sci-fi serials that were such an inspiration to George Lucas, but the Wilhelm scream that precedes it never fails to put a grin on my face.

Jacob Hall: John Williams’ “The Asteroid Field” Kicks in

John Williams’ music for the original Star Wars trilogy is the greatest motion picture score of all time and The Empire Strikes Back features the greatest piece of music in all three movies. Does this mean that “The Asteroid Field” is the best piece of music ever recorded for a movie? Possibly. It certainly feels that way, doesn’t it?

You know the scene. The Millennium Falcon attempts to evade the clutches of the Empire by flying into an asteroid field, a suicidal move from a desperate crew of rebels. As C-3PO rambles on about statistics and their chances of death, Han Solo mutters “Never tell me the odds!” And then it happens – we cut to an exterior of the ship as it flies by the camera, TIE Fighters in hot pursuit and Williams’ score really kicks into overdrive with a melody that sums up Star Wars in every possible way. It’s playful, but not without a sense of danger and adventure. There’s a whimsy to it, as if the film is giving permission to smile and have a good time even as our heroes keep falling further and further into a pit of despair. I can’t hear those soaring opening notes and not feel chills all over my body. Everything I love about Star Wars, everything that I grew up adoring and everything I treasure now, is encapsulated right here, in that music.

last jedi

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