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The Force of Sound – ABC News Heads to Skywalker Ranch

Around the Galaxy: Star Wars News & Notes - Feb. 17, 2018

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So I just couldn’t sleep.

Knowing I had some fun stuff to discuss, my brain was creaking loudly here in the wee hours of a cold Saturday morning in New England.

Current mood:

But it will all be worth it once I get the details out into the ether…

The Force of Sound

So, recently I mentioned that ABC’s Clayton Sandell is one of the best “low key” follows in Star Wars twitterdom. Not to pat myself on the back, but pat, pat… Kids, look what we have in store:

“You know, I saw Star Wars when I was four. And when Return of the Jedi was released, I thought, like many people, that Star Wars was done. So I dove into every behind-the-scenes book, magazine or (rare) TV show I could find.  (I’ve still got most of them.)  I absolutely loved learning how all these creative people created our favorite galaxy far, far away,” began Sandell when I asked, so what’s the pitch? Why should readers watch this particular streaming show?

“Examining all things behind-the-scenes sort of became where my fandom lived. And that extended to sound. Watching those old clips of Ben Burtt strike a wire with a wrench to create a blaster sound, or waving a microphone around to make a lightsaber—I could not get enough.”

Sound Design is Underappreciated

Clearly. Star Wars is now one of Sandell’s favorite beats for ABC.

“Last year we did a big feature for Nightline on the visual effects of Rogue One. But sound design—in any movie, not just Star Wars—often plays second fiddle to the CGI,” continued Clayton via email. “It’s underappreciated. And it’s 50 percent of the movie!

“As Rian Johnson told me, sound is “not just a layer that’s put on top of the storytelling. It IS the storytelling.”

Which explains Mr. Johnson’s tweet:

“Sound conveys so much feeling and emotion that visuals can’t, and if done right, it works its way into our brains and feelings without us even noticing. It was something I really wanted to explore,” wrote Sandell. “So we decided to take viewers inside the hallways and mixing rooms of Skywalker Sound to really pull back the curtain on how the team works.

“They have a lot of passion, and put an incredible amount of thought, creativity and passion into everything they do.”

Lack of sound speaks volumes, too

This is clearly a passion-project for Clayton, as well.

“One of the highlights of ‘The Force of Sound’ is getting to hear from Matt Wood, Ren Klyce and Rian Johnson. They all have some really great stories about the discussions they had about how to convey the right feeling for each scene. And they were geeking out too! One of my favorite stories is how Ren was mixing the opening fanfare and it made him feel like he was 13 years old.

“There’s a great back and forth about the power of the LACK of sound in the Force Connection and Holdo sacrifice scenes, and how Rian and Ren finally agreed on what a ‘vacuum of sound’ was supposed to sound like,” he added. “Rian, by the way, told me that the idea to have near-silence in that scene came when he was first writing the script. He knew he wanted that moment to really resonate, and the unique way to do it was to delay the giant explosion.”

And thankfully there’s only a short delay between this morning and the Tuesday premiere of “The Force of Sound.”

Breaking down The Last Jedi Soundtrack

Speaking of sound, earlier this morning @sleemo_ tweeted:

The podcast Sleemo referred to is this:

It’s a pretty fantastic breakdown and discussion of John Williams’ work. Thanks to them, and, of course, to Sleemo — one of the best Star Wars reporters around — for tracking down all of this stuff.

Interesting Solo Details in Last Shot?

Possible Solo: A Star Wars Story spoilers ahead…

On the topic of tracking stuff down (that is a professional transition folks), good tweep @dragondebby shot me a note about Amazon’s official synopsis for the upcoming Star Wars book, Last Shot. She mentioned that plot points to the book might deliver spoilers for the forthcoming film, Solo: A Star Wars Story.

My thought: I have no clue! But here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

Even the fastest ship in the galaxy can’t outrun the past….


It’s one of the galaxy’s most dangerous secrets: a mysterious transmitter with unknown power and a reward for its discovery that most could only dream of claiming. But those who fly the Millennium Falcon throughout its infamous history aren’t your average scoundrels. Not once, but twice, the crew of the Falcon tries to claim the elusive prize – first, Lando Calrissian and the droid L3-37 at the dawn of an ambitious career, and later, a young and hungry Han Solo with the help of his copilot, Chewbacca. But the device’s creator, the volatile criminal Fyzen Gor, isn’t interested in sharing. And Gor knows how to hold a grudge….


It’s been 10 years since the rebel hero Han Solo last encountered Fyzen Gor. After mounting a successful rebellion against the Empire and starting a family with an Alderaanian princess, Han hasn’t given much thought to the mad inventor. But when Lando turns up at Han’s doorstep in the middle of the night, it’s Fyzen’s assassins that he’s running from. And without Han’s help, Lando – and all life on Cloud City – will be annihilated.

With the assistance of a young hotshot pilot, an Ewok slicer prodigy, the woman who might be the love of Lando’s life, and Han’s best and furriest friend, the two most notorious scoundrels in the New Republic are working together once more. They’ll have to journey across the stars – and into the past – before Gor uses the device’s power to reshape the galaxy.

What do you think?

Okay, that’s it for 5:55 AM. I might be back on a little later… JB





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John Bishop

A graduate of Boston and Northeastern universities, John Bishop became the beat reporter for prior to the B’s 2006-07 hockey season. While with the Bruins, “Bish” traveled North America and Europe to cover the Black & Gold’s every move via laptop, blog, and smart phone. The co-author of two books, Bygone Boston and Full 60 to History: The Inside Story of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, John covered the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010 and the B’s 2011 championship run and banner raising before taking a faculty/communications position at a prep school outside Boston in 2013. He lives with his wife Andrea and sons Jack, Scott, and Luke in central Massachusetts.
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