A long-standing Star Wars tradition is being retired. The famous Wilhelm scream wasn’t featured in The Last Jedi and it sounds like it won’t be used in Solo: A Star Wars Story, nor can we expect to hear this staple of the franchise anymore in the future. Love it or hate it, the Wilhelm scream has been a part of the Star Wars franchise since the very beginning, so this is at the very least a relatively significant change when it comes to tradition.
The news comes to us courtesy of Star Wars supervising sound editor Matthew Wood who revealed that the famous sound effect was not used in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which marks the first time in the history of the beloved sci-fi series that we haven’t heard someone belt out the distinctive scream. So why the change? According to Wood, it’s like Kylo Ren says; “It’s time to let the past die.” Here’s what Wood had to say about it.
“In this movie, we decided to move from the Wilhelm scream. We’re letting the past die, as Kylo Ren says.”
For those unfamiliar, the Wilhelm scream has been used in nearly 400 movies over the years, including every Star Wars movie through 2015’s The Force Awakens. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, like The Last Jedi, is Wilhelm-free. The effect made its debut in 1951’s Distant Drums, in which, a character is eaten by a crocodile and lets out the now famous scream as it’s happening. However, the scream really took off two years later when it was re-used in The Charge at Feather River. A character by the name of Wilhelm takes an arrow to the leg and lets out the scream. Hence, the name.
Original Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt took note of the scream after seeing The Charge at Feather River and decided to find the clip and use it in Star Wars: A New Hope. The sound appears when Luke Skywalker shoots a Stormtrooper, who then belts out the infamous scream while falling down one of the seemingly endless pits within the Death Star. The rest is history, as they say. Matthew Wood reveals that the Star Wars movies actually have found a new scream that fans can be on the lookout for.
“We’ve started another scream that we like. It’s actually been in [The Last Jedi] and Rogue One, and some other films that are not Star Wars-related. But it’s our own little calling card.”
He won’t reveal what this new scream is but says, “in due time, it will be revealed. I’ll let it gestate in a few more films before we start talking about what it is.” It sounds like hardcore Star Wars fans have their homework cut out for them once The Last Jedi Blu-ray comes out, if they want to figure out what this new signature Star Wars scream may be. Just for fun, you can check out a video below that showcases every use of the Wilhelm scream in the Star Wars saga movies. This was first reported by ABC News.