HomeEntertainment NewsThe Sound Of Star Wars' TIE Fighters Is A Mix Of Elephants...

The Sound Of Star Wars’ TIE Fighters Is A Mix Of Elephants And Cars

The whole idea for the sound of the TIE Fighters was inspired by an interesting bit of World War II trivia, according to Joe Johnston:

“In World War II the super dive-bombers had an artificially created siren wail created by air ducts. They didn’t serve any purpose except to create this noise, which would terrify people. It was intended that the TIE should achieve the same effect with just a menacing appearance.”

Johnston drew the storyboards for “Star Wars: A New Hope,” so he had a hand in the look of the TIE Fighters, and those descriptions of the terrifying super-bombers sent Ben Burtt looking for the perfect unsettling sound. He took audio of elephants from the 1958 John Huston adventure movie “The Roots of Heaven” and slowed it way down, creating the inhuman screams of the engines as they zipped about space. However, they still sounded like elephants, so he mixed the audio with recordings of cars driving on wet streets:

“Swoosh, the car would come by, and you heard this car plowing through the water. I took that sound still thinking that I was making a laser of some kind. I’d really put it in because I had no other alternative, but it got great reviews, so naturally it became the sound of the TIE Fighters.”

The creation of the perfect TIE Fighter sound was a bit of a happy accident caused by a bit of audio engineer ingenuity, and “Star Wars” fans are all the luckier for it.



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