Geek Trivia

What Animal Was Used To Make The Sound Of The Star Wars TIE Fighter?

Ant Eater
Where Were Books Once Worth Their Weight In Gold?
Tie Fighter
Lucasfilm Ltd.

Answer: Elephant

The Star Wars movies are full of memorable sound effects like the sound of lightsabers swooshing through the air, laser blasts shooting between angry cantina patrons, and, of course, the iconic screaming sound of TIE fighters zipping through space.

Those sounds are the work of American sound designer Ben Burtt, the man who remixed all manner of sounds to bring us the laser blasts, R2-D2’s beeps and bloops, and the heavy breathing of Darth Vader. In the case of TIE fighters, he remixed animal and machine sounds to create the terrifying sound of the Empire’s lightweight fighter craft. The sound of the fighters screaming by is the sound of an elephant’s call remixed with the sound of a car driving down a wet road—if you listen closely to the sound by itself, it’s easy to pick out the animal-like scream in the background with the sound of wet tires layered over top.

There are equally clever backstories to many of the iconic sounds in the series. The laser blasters were based on a recording of a heavy wrench slapping a radio tower support cable and the lightsaber sound was created with a combination of a running movie projector and the buzz from the back of a TV picture tube.