The Animals Behind the Sounds of Star Wars

posted: 12/18/15
by: Cody Barr for AnimalPlanet.com

In 1977, George Lucas created an entire universe from scratch. The birth of the Star Wars franchise was also the birth of Ben Burtt's legendary career as a sound engineer. Burtt, who has contributed to every Star Wars movie and subsequent video game and TV show since the beginning, capitalized on the plethora of sounds that the natural world offers to bring Star Wars to life.

Check out some of the iconic Star Wars sounds and the curious animals behind them.


According to Burtt, the infamous voice of everyone's favorite Wookiee was created using "mostly bears, with a dash of walrus, dog, and lion thrown in". Star Wars fans insist, however, that Burtt got more creative than he cared to admit. They argue Burtt also enlisted the help of camels, badgers, tigers and even rabbits.

TIE Fighters:

Compare to:

Quite similar, no? In fact, the TIE fighter sounds were created using the howls and yells of elephants. All Burtt did was stretch them out and slow them down.

Tusken Raiders:

Compare to:

Burtt and his crew made minimal manipulations to the donkey bray to create the desired sound -- just a bit of deepening and speed adjustment.

The Sarlacc:

While the Sarlacc noise is mainly an orchestra of the sound crew's growling stomachs, the base effect used was an alligator's hiss.


Compare to:

This one may be harder to hear, but the sounds of the Tauntauns were created by manipulating the vocal stylings of an Asian sea otter named Moda.

Acklay Screech:

Compare to:

To create the screech of one of the most terrifying monsters from The Battle of Geonosis, Burtt called upon sounds from pigs and dolphins.

This post originally appeared on AnimalPlanet.com. Don't miss 10 Pets That Look Like They Belong in Star Wars and Star Wars Actress Poses with Her Dog.


About the blog:
DSCOVRD: The best of the web, covering space, technology, wildlife and more!
More on