A ‘Star Wars’ Tradition Dating Back To The Original Movie Has Been Retired

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“I have a bad feeling about this” (or thereabouts).

Lucky number 1138.

“May the Force be with you.”

These are the phrases and easter eggs that have been in every Star Wars movie, catnip for the hardcore fans. That was the case for the infamous Wilhelm scream, too, until the two most recent films. And now it’s been officially retired.

The “Wilhelm scream” sound effect dates back to the otherwise forgotten 1951 film Distant Drums, when a solider is dragged underwater by an alligator in the Everglades. The painful noise he makes was re-used two years later in The Charge at Feather River, which is where the connection to Star Wars begins. While watching the movie, sound designer Ben Burtt took note of the distinctive yell, tracked down the studio reel (which was labeled “man being eaten by alligator”), and added the “Wilhelm scream” (named after a character in Feather River) in the scene from Star Wars where a clumsy stormtrooper gets shot by Luke Skywalker and falls off a Death Star ledge. You know it by sound.

The unique scream appeared in every Star Wars (and Indiana Jones) movie until Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It also wasn’t in The Last Jedi. “In this movie, we decided to move from the Wilhelm scream,” supervising sound editor Matthew Wood told ABC News. “We’re letting the past die, as Kylo Ren says.”

But don’t worry, Star Wars isn’t screamless. “We’ve started another scream that we like,” Wood said. “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 wouldn’t spoil what it sounds like, “but in due time, it will be revealed,” Wood teased. “I’ll let it gestate in a few more films before we start talking about what it is.” This time, it’s the sound of a man getting eaten by a crocodile?

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(Via ABC News)

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