Audio Architect Ben Burtt Explains the Strategic Sound Design Behind ‘Star Wars: Return of the Jedi’

Mike James Gallagher of INDEPTH Sound Design (previously) compiled audio footage of legendary Star Wars audio architect Ben Burtt explaining the strategy behind the sound design of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Burtt talks about the origins of the different alien languages, his own cameos in the filt, and how they used a tiny dachshund to create the giant roar of the Rancor Beast.

The growls and the roars of the rancor beast were derived from a very small animal it was actually a pet dachshund owned by a neighbor of mine and despite the fact that it was a cute little dog, it had a certain vicious streak in it. I went over one day and recorded this doxie that growled and hissed and got angry, and we took that sound and pitched it down much lower. He was a dangerous little guy, but he made a good Rancor Beast

Here’s the videos for Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back that Gallagher put together as part of his compilation trilogy. This last video is the final of Gallagher’s audio project.

Additionally, this completes my deep dive into the sound design of the entire Star Wars original trilogy.