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SYFY WIRE Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker

Was that George Lucas’ scream in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker?

By Jacob Oller
C-3PO with George Lucas and Bob Iger at D23 Expo

Awards season may not have been overly kind to the end of the Star Wars saga, but The Rise of Skywalker still pulled out a few Oscar nominations. One of these (along with visual effects and score nods) was for sound editing. This category has been part of the franchise’s legacy, with the original film earning sound designer Ben Burtt a Special Achievement for Sound Effects Editing while the rest of George Lucas’ sound team took home the Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing. Now, 42 years and one giant company sale later, Lucas may still have made a sonic mark on his franchise’s finale. Effectively, Lucas may have been heard screaming during The Rise of Skywalker — but not because of its plot decisions.

No, Lucas’ yell had nothing to do with any potential “disappointment” he has with the series after he sold it to Disney or his fury that the finale had nothing to do with Midi-chlorians. It was a gag from a pair of sound guys that’ve been keeping a legacy alive. Speaking to Good Morning America, The Rise of Skywalker supervising sound editors David Acord and Matt Wood explained a lot about crafting the aural atmosphere of the Star Wars universe. But they also mentioned that a very special scream made its way into the film.

The duo, who were also nominated for the same category for their work on The Force Awakens (Wood received another nomination for The Last Jedi alongside Ren Klyce), had previously said that they’d retired the iconic Wilhelm scream — an over-the-top sound effect from The Charge at Feather River that made its way into every Star Wars and Indiana Jones film—for the new trilogy of films, but hadn’t explained who was behind the scream that they’d replaced it with.

Now GMA reports that the new scream, which has featured in Rogue One, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker, is from George Lucas himself. The clip is dubbed “The George” and hails from the movie he made right before Star Wars — American Graffiti. When that scream appears in the film is unconfirmed, but there are certainly some audio geeks out there that could figure it out — especially after being given the source material and two other films in which the cameo occurred.

So, if these reports are true, George Lucas not only cameoed in The Rise of Skywalker (and some of the other Disney Star Wars films) in some form, but appeared only as a disembodied scream. A truly spooky homage that is only one step removed from making the man behind Star Wars into a Force Ghost himself.