All the Wilhelm Screams in Star Wars: Original Trilogy

Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt found a stock sound effect recording titled “Man being eaten by alligator.” He decided to use the fourth take of the blood-curdling scream for a brief scene in Star Wars: A New Hope™. Since then, it’s been a staple of not only Star Wars but the sci-fi and action genres as a whole. The clip has been used in over 400 films, even including fan favorites like The Lord of the Rings.

What just started as an inside joke became an extra Easter egg for mega-geeks like us. In honor of the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi™, let’s find every single time the Wilhelm Scream is used in the original trilogy.

Death Star Stormtrooper

Film: A New Hope

Character: Unnamed stormtrooper™

Luke Skywalker™ has pretty good aim, especially for someone who’s not seen a lot of battle. Perhaps there’s more to playing with collectible figures than you’d expect! Or perhaps he’s quite attuned to the Force. Regardless, aboard the Death Star™, we hear the first instance of the Wilhelm scream when a stormtrooper gets shot by our hero.

Rebel Soldier

Film: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Character: Rebel Soldier

The rebels are fighting desperately against the Empire. The AT-ATs™ can hardly be kept back, and as a soldier turns on his turret, he’s hit. As the turret explodes, he lets out that perfectly satisfying scream. Wilhelm strikes again!

Weequay’s Last Fall

Film: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Character: Unnamed Weequay™

Han Solo™ was in dire straits. Naturally, it’s not easy going up against Jabba the Hutt™. He’s one of the most feared crime bosses in the galaxy! However, when Princess Leia™, R2-D2™, Chewbacca™, and even Lando Calrissian™ team up together, nothing than stop them. One poor Weequay working for Jabba gets tossed into the sarlacc pit™.

Skiff Guard’s Last Fall

Film: Return of the Jedi

Character: Skiff Guard

In all the commotion, it might be hard to notice. Still, Luke Skywalker takes a swing with his lightsaber™ at one of the skiff guards. The guard falls into the sarlacc pit. Naturally, he screams an incredible scream.

Colonel Dyer Consquences

Film: Return of the Jedi

Character: Colonel Dyer™

Now, this particular scream is an important one. First of all, Colonel Dyer was played by Ben Burtt. After finding the original clip, and including it in so many of the films, he finally got to do his own impersonation. When Han Solo knocks him off a catwalk in the Endor™ shield bunker, Colonel Dyer lets out his best Wilhelm impersonation.

Coruscant Stormtrooper

Film: Return of the Jedi

Character: Stormtrooper

It’s quiet as can be, especially compared to the first sarlacc pit scream, but we get one more Wilhelm scream before we’re through. As we get to see the celebration on Coruscant (a new scene from the 1997 Special Edition ROTJ release), we see a stormtrooper crowdsurfing. Or perhaps he’s being lifted up and tossed by everyone around him. Regardless, he lets out one final scream.

Which Wilhelm scream is your favorite? Do you love finding new ones in Star Wars shows, or even other properties? Let us know your thoughts, and definitely share your favorite screams on all of Sideshow’s social media platforms.

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