If you listen closely during Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, you'll hear a lot of voices that you recognize (and some you don't but are equally notable) throughout the film. The voices of stormtroopers, off-camera officers, pilots, and PA announcers aren't something the average moviegoer thinks about overly much, but to Star Wars fans, it's another fun Easter egg to spot (or to listen for in this case).
For supervising sound editor Matthew Wood, it's fun, too, but it's also a process and a lot of work. Wood, who has been working on Star Wars movies with Skywalker Sound since the special editions, through the prequels, and now into yearly films plus his previous work on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and current work on Star Wars Rebels and LEGO Freemaker Adventures (yeah, it's exhausting just thinking about it), has two offices separated by several time zones and several thousand miles, in London's Pinewood Studios and San Francisco's Skywalker Ranch.
"Our base of operations for Lucasfilm during production is Pinewood so depending on what production is in progress I'll go over there and grab actors whenever I can to get loops for them," Wood told Comicbook.com in an interview. He pulls principal actors for ADR takes sometimes directly after scenes, making sure their audio is ready to go for the editors. That same-day ADR is rare in film, and something that makes Star Wars a unique experience.
"Then, yeah, a lot of those little Easter egg things I like to do is just because I like to pay respect to what's come before. We do it with the sound effects so why not try to do it with the dialogue," Wood said. He tries to hire the vast majority of his voice talent with "some pedigree in Star Wars either in the video games, the TV shows, the prequels or even the original trilogy."
For example, David Collins and Sam Witwer are two of his "go-to guys," and both voiced stormtroopers in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and again in Rogue One. Both have done voices in animation and video games, and Collins used to do a job similar to Wood's on the video game side of things.
"There was a little cameo we put in there where the two stormtroopers are walking in and talking about a particular piece of technology that's referenced in A New Hope. I revved the number to be one less than the number that's in New Hope," he said. "They're talking about the TC-15s [being decommissioned] and the TC-16s are just about to come out." They did a similar nod in The Force Awakens, and he jokes that those are these troopers grand kids. "Those kinds of little things, just fun fan things, are because I know people are going to watch the movie so many times."
For other major voices, David Ankrum, the original voice of Wedge Antilles during pilot sequences (Denis Lawson played the character on camera), returned to Star Wars to be a PA announcer on Yavin-4, telling everyone to get to their ships.
"Our logic there was that Wedge couldn't be in the Battle of Scarif because he mentions the Death Star with 'look at the size of that thing' in A New Hope," meaning he couldn't have already seen it at Scarif. So that was a way to still get Ankrum's voice in there. Likewise, Angus McInnis, who played Gold Leader in A New Hope, came back for new dialogue - but he got to voice his original character, thanks to some found cut footage from that film.
"That was fantastic. That was great to work with him. He was in Edinburgh and we recorded him. He was just thrilled to be back. He matched right into his performance from 40 years ago. Not many actors can do that," Wood said of McInnis' performance.
But actors aren't the only ones who get in on the fun. Film Editor John Gilroy, who came into the project after the reshoots to help them re-cut the first and third acts (the second remained largely unaffected by the reshoots), after joking that he "did all the Kaytoo lines" actually voiced by Alan Tudyk, told Comicbook.com he merely voiced "one of the Rebel pilots." His brother Tony, who helped on the script for the revised scenes, got a more pivotal role, though.
"Tony was the one that reprimands Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) when they're trying to commandeer the freighter when they're going to Scarif," Gilroy revealed. That means he sets up the use of "Rogue One" as a codename, and it's fun because the Gilroys worked with Ahmed on Nightcrawler too.
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, directed by Gareth Edwards, is in theaters now.