How John Wayne Ended Up In ‘Star Wars’ In A Hollywood, Far, Far Away
John Wayne's final film wasn't The Shootist. It was actually 'Star Wars.' I know, I couldn't believe it either.
John Wayne starred in over 70 films throughout his illustrious career. Mostly known for his western and military films, did you know he forayed into Sci-Fi? Well, he kind of did. His voice made a cameo appearance in Star Wars.
John Wayne “Voiced” An Alien Spy
An (unintelligible) clip of Wayne talking made it into the original Star Wars film. Which makes it the last movie he was in. Wayne voiced the Imperial spy Garindan. Here’s Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt discussing how The Duke ventured to a Galaxy Far, Far Away.
“We had that character that looked kind of like a mosquito from the first Star Wars [Garindan] that we found we needed a sound for. And I was wondering back a few months ago how I did it – because I keep notes and tapes – and I discovered it was an electronic buzzing which had come off of my synthesizer that was triggered by a human voice. And I listened to it and realized it was John Wayne – I had found some loop lines in the trash from the studio that had been thrown away. So the buzzing was triggered by some dialog like ‘All right, what are you doin’ in this town’ or something like that.”
Here is the voice of Wayne (heavily modified) here.
Now of course you can’t really tell it is John Wayne, but it is still funny that a random archival track ended up in Star Wars.
The John Wayne and Star Wars Connection Doesn’t End There
If you’re as obsessed with Star Wars as I am, you already know where this one is going. Despite what you may be thinking, Han Solo is not based on John Wayne. His galactic gunslinger takes more from Cary Grant and Clint Eastwood.
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No, the real connection comes from the John Wayne and John Ford epic, The Searchers.
Westerns heavily influenced George Lucas including the iconic movie The Searchers. A near shot-for-shot borrow is the scene of Luke Skywalker discovering his burned home and dead aunt and uncle.
‘The Searchers’ (1956, John Ford) / ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’ (1977, George Lucas) pic.twitter.com/mpJoH9pEWH
— Lost In Film (@LostInFilm) August 1, 2020
The Star Wars franchise is, at its core a “western space fantasy,” and while some of the films have strayed from it, there are still glimmers of key western themes here and there.
In the Mandalorian & Book of Boba Fett, the complicated relationships between “cowboys & indians” are played out as the leads of each series interact with Tattooine’s Tusken Raiders.
I really love the humanization of the Tusken Raiders, first in The Mandalorian and now in The Book of Boba Fett! pic.twitter.com/CdeguXLPob
— ajay (@AjayTheGOAT) January 3, 2022
There are also a lot of samurai elements to each, a genre that shares many elements with the western. But that’s for another post.
Are you a fan of John Wayne and Star Wars? Share your favorite memories in the comments below.
I need someone to change my title to “John Wayne Correspondent.” Because I cannot stop writing stories about The Duke. Don’t worry I got another coming tomorrow. #JohnWayneJanuary is rolling ahead!!!
Next, Read This: The Time John Wayne Almost Punched Robert Duvall (For Real)