'Last Jedi' Sound Designers Explain Why Luke's Lightsaber Makes Noise
There were a lot of clues that Luke Skywalker wasn’t exactly himself in the final big fight of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but there was some concern with the sound designers about exactly how much noise Luke’s living ghost should actually make. In other words, how does a projected spirit of someone make a lightsaber noise if the lightsaber isn’t real?
Spoilers ahead for *The Last Jedi.
On Friday, Variety published an interview with Ren Klyce, one of the sound editors on The Last Jedi. Though the interview mostly focused on the decision to make the now-infamous “Holdo Maneuver” totally devoid of any sound, another pivotal decision about sound, or the lack thereof, also made a huge impact on the plot of the film.
Even though Luke Skywalker’s Force-image of himself doesn’t make any sounds with his body, should his lightsaber make noise? If the entire visage of “Luke” which duels with Kylo Ren on the planet Crait is soundless — save for his voice — why does his lightsaber make noise?
“We had some deep conversations about what sounds should and shouldn’t be heard for Luke’s Force projection,” Klyce revealed. “And ultimately made the jump and said the lightsaber is going to make sounds.” Which makes sense. If, for some reason, Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber didn’t make any noise, it probably would have been a dead give-away to Kylo Ren that something was amiss, thus ruining Luke’s entire plan to fool Ren into thinking he was really there.
It’s also possible that it’s just literally inconceivable to have a lightsaber in a Star Wars movie and not have it make its iconic noises. Original Star Was sound designer Ben Burtt has said on multiple occasions, that when he created the original lightsaber sound, and it was put into a rough cut of the original film, very few people commented upon it. The sound was based on the real-life sound of interlocking idling motors on old film projectors, and Burtt later took the lack of comment upon the sounds a compliment. If the sound effect was that convincing, and organic, no one would have reason to comment on it.
And the success of that sound means that forty years later, people would have definitely noticed if it was gone.
The Last Jedi is sit out in theaters world wide.