Some diehard Star Wars fans have been fearful of this news for some time. In an interview with ABC, supervising sound editor for Lucasfilm Matthew Wood revealed that the Wilhelm scream has officially been retired. Say it ain’t so! But it’s true, all of it. With the scream coming up as a no-show in Rogue One and last year’s The Last Jedi, this news isn’t a full shock, but one that feels just a little bittersweet.

First heard in 1951’s Distant Drums, the sound effect gained notoriety when sound designer Ben Burtt incorporated it into the first Star Wars film. It had been a staple in the films since. Not only used in all Star Wars films, but it’s been used in Indiana Jones films and used in 372 movies and television series. It’s kind of a big deal. The famous scream has become a sort of film audio easter egg. But it appears the sound team at Lucasfilm has moved on.

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“In this movie, we decided to move from the Wilhelm scream. We’re letting the past die, as Kylo Ren says,” Wood said of sound bit. But apparently fans have a new scream to look out for. “We’ve started another scream that we like. It’s actually been in this film and Rogue One, and some other films that are not Star Wars-related. But it’s our own little calling card.” You know what that means? Audio geeks! Find the new scream! As for those of us who love Wilhelm, it had a good run. Wilhelm will always be in our hearts and in our other Star Wars media. 

What do you think of them retiring the scream? Is it bittersweet for you? Let us know! Be sure to come back to Geek Girl Authority for more Star Wars fun. As a bonus, enjoy this compilation of the scream we’ve all come to know and love.



Erin Lynch