In 1977, in a galaxy very close to home, Star Wars changed the way movies are made and released, ushering in the age of the Big Sound blockbuster and spawning a legion of imitators. Now, 22 years later, George Lucas has returned to the director’s chair for Episode I-The Phantom Menace, a film so hotly anticipated that fans camped out for a chance to view the trailers. In this rare behind-the-scenes walk through Skywalker Ranch, Mix film sound editor Larry Blake takes you into the editing rooms and mix stages for an exclusive look at the post-production for the first Star Wars prequel. Also, longtime Mix contributor Larry the O provides an insider’s view of the scoring sessions at Abbey Road. John Williams is back. Ben Burtt is back. The Force has returned!
George’s passionate interest in sound, and his uncanny knack for combining disparate sound textures in the service of story, were obvious right from the start in his earliest films at USC, as well as his first two features, THX-1138 and American Graffiti, on which it was my privilege to collaborate. I vividly remember being completely bowled over by his fusion of Bach organ music and sideband-distorted voices in the student version of THX, way back in 1967. So much so that I can even remember where I was when I heard it. It was like being served up chocolate and avocado, and finding against all expectations that it was absolutely delicious.