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Solo: A Star Wars Story composer reveals the origins of the movie's most bizarre track, from Childish Gambino to soup

Contributed by
Sep 10, 2018

Part of the Star Wars enjoyment experience is the incessant world-building we get in each movie and show. Even if you take your eyes off of the main characters, you're still rewarded with a colorful backdrop of strange-looking aliens, droids, and technology that inhabit the galaxy far, far away. 

One such moment arrives in Solo: A Star Wars Story, when Han, Chewie, and Beckett arrive on the party yacht of Dryden Vos. If you look around, you can spot all kinds of neat little Easter eggs among the guests and decor. Take, for instance, the musical duo of Luleo Primoc and Aurodia Ventafoli, who provide a laid back atmosphere with their strange Huttese tune that the film's composer John Powell titled "Chicken in the Pot." 

While speaking to StarWars.com about the making of the movie's soundtrack, Powell revealed that Primoc, who is basically just an alien in a floating jar of formaldehyde, reminded him of an uncooked chicken in a pot. Just add a galactic matzo ball and enjoy!

“It came from the original drawings that I was given over a year ago, before they shot that scene,” he said. “I had to try to come up with something to film to and all I saw was this kind of little drawing. It really looked like a chicken to me. In a pot. So I just wrote some words in English, which was basically about how the singer was going to eat the chicken and then we translated that into Huttese….It’s a very strange piece, but it’s a strange galaxy and, you know, it’s an odd group of people at that party."

According to the official Solo guide by Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablog Hidalgo, Luleo Primoc is a Gallusian, as well as a "recording legend" and "chart-topping singer," now past his prime. He (or it, rather) is quite old and was known for starring in a collection of "old holomovies while wearing a dashing humanoid exo-suit" in the time preceding the Clone Wars. 

His singing partner, Ventafoli, is described as "Chanteuse of the stars," a bestselling artist that is often in high demand. Thanks to his immense wealth made by his time with Crimson Dawn, Dryden Vos is able to pay her enough to play at his fancy yacht parties. 

Powell collaborated with longtime Star Wars composer John Williams for Solo's sound, with Williams writing the project's main theme. As such, Powell wanted to suffuse Williams' unique sound into the rest of the score. For example, the theme for Enfys Nest was inspired by the iconic and operatic "Duel of the Fates" from Episode I: The Phantom Menace

“I was trying to find something that was both exotic and unusual, that sounded like something else: another world had arrived, another style had arrived," Powell said. "This was my way of thinking, this could be the solution to this particular scene where I can establish this very different sounding choral sound, but it harkens back to John’s style….I was trying to basically get a ferocity of femininity. I was trying to find a very powerful female sound. It was a little dangerous because, obviously, we didn’t want to give away Enfys’s true nature.”

To accomplish this, Powell (whose musical tastes extend to the rap career of Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, aka young Lando Calrissian) hired the expertise of a women's choir all the way from Bulgaria. 

“Everything else in the orchestration was incredibly aggressive," he added. "I think if I just used a normal women’s choir, it wouldn’t have worked. It’s this particular sound that they have in Bulgaria where they don’t sing vibrato and it’s a real aggression."

While scoring the scene where Han, Chewie, Lando, Q'ira, Beckett, and L3 escape from Kessel and have a run-in with a tentacled space beast (known as a summa-verminoth), Powell was instructed by director Ron Howard and the producers to come up with a theme that would make the audience feel a wee bit sorry for the beast when it gets sucked into a swirling vortex. 

He struggled with finding the right sound until he gave the orchestra a bunch of vuvuzelas, made famous during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. 

"It’s a raucous noise, a very unpleasant raucous noise. And I just thought, I need to see what all these incredibly fine players who have hundreds of thousands of dollars-worth of instruments normally would sound like on a $3 big tube." 

This results in a “really horrible honking noise. That’s kind of a little bit of a signature sound for the space monster. It’s a mixture of a cry that is supposed to represent some kind of loneliness, fear and desperation.”


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