Lightsabers will buzz and hum. Spaceships will whoosh and vroom. Blasters will go “pew pew.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is strewn with the sounds conceived and concocted 40 years ago by sound designer Ben Burtt. Now 69 and working in Lucas Valley, California, at a company named for Luke Skywalker, Burtt spends his days holed up in his dimly lit office, surrounded by movie memorabilia, mostly souvenirs of his years behind the scenes of the Star Wars films.
But his name is nowhere to be found in the credits for The Last Jedi. Like George Lucas, the Star Wars visionary who sold his company and faded from view, Burtt is both omnipresent in the new Star Wars and conspicuously absent from it.
In an August conversation, I mentioned that I had been advised to steer clear of speaking about the new movies. “You can talk about the new movies,” he said with a smile, a shrug, and then a pause. “I haven’t seen the new movies, so . . .”
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