(Warning: the following contains mild SPOILERS for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens—but then again, you've already seen it, right? If not—and that's actually pretty impressive at this point—then proceed with caution and such...)
Now, one of the more unusual traits of cinematic Easter Eggs—the hidden secrets filmmakers throw into movies for us to hide—is that we tend to think of them as being inherently visual things. We look for them, spot them, see them, but we don't necessarily listen for them. Which, as it turns out, might just be a pretty big mistake on all of our parts, since...
It Turns Out That 'Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens' Is Full Of Audio Easter Eggs
Several of which the movie's supervising sound designer, Matthew Wood (who's worked for Lucasfilm for 26 years, and on a whole lot of Star Wars projects), recently revealed in an interview with TheDailyDot's Eric Geller.
Among the most intriguing?
(Note - this is where those aforementioned SPOILERS kick in...)
Poe's Proton Torpedo's Are Mirroring History
As Wood puts it:
"There are sounds [from A New Hope] that I tried to get into [The Force Awakens]. There was one sound—when Poe is flying around on the inside of the oscillator trying to blow it up from the inside out, I tried to find the proton torpedo [sound for] when he’s blowing up [Starkiller Base], to have this [imitates proton torpedo] kind of sound. I really wanted to make sure those got in, because that was something from my childhood. I remember when Luke does that run, where he tries to take out as much as he can in the trench run, that was that sound that I always loved. So we tried to get that in there."
Meaning that those proton torpedo noises we heard? They were straight out of Episode IV...
A Lot Of Chewbacca's Vocals Were Older Than You Think
Indeed, according to Wood, a whole lot of the Wookiee's vocal part in Episode VII was actually pulled from audio generated for the original trilogy:
"A lot of that was based on an original recording of this bear that Ben [Burtt, original Star Wars sound designer] had recorded. He actually found some recordings that never got put into the library, that we used for Chewbacca in Force Awakens."
Which is awesome. Similarly:
"When Ello Asty gets blown up in the trench, we used a few of the elements of when Porkins gets blown up. It was just little things in there."
Which is much more depressing... but still awesome.
A Whole Lot Of The Background Dialog Was A Reference To The Original Trilogy
As Wood notes:
"...even when we recorded a lot of the dialog for the background players, I went ahead and gave notes to people [to be] very similar to [the original film]. Obviously, we had a couple of stormtroopers, when Rey is sneaking around [Starkiller Base], we had them say something about the T-17s, because in A New Hope they were targeting the T-16s. So just little things like that, for fans and also for us to have fun with, just to keep that thread back to the past that everyone seemed to love."
Which is both a classy touch, and something I personally managed to completely miss.
Perhaps the greatest—and geekiest—sound-based Easter Egg that Wood just revealed, though?
An Expanded Universe Phrase Got Thrown Into 'Episode VII' For the Fans
Specifically, as Geller points out:
"...when Rey is sneaking around [Starkiller Base], the P.A. system announcer says something like, “Re synchronize all clocks to Galactic Standard Time.” That’s a term that originated in the Expanded Universe, and fans loved hearing it resurface in canon. They felt like someone was paying attention to the old material and looking for ways to give it new life."
Which, as Wood argues, is very much intentional:
"It’s funny, because that was one of the things, coming into this film, that I knew—because I had done the prequels—how many times the movie is watched, and how scrutinized it is. But in a loving way, too. You just want to understand. There’s something about the film that you just want to see a million times. I know, like, 'Okay, if I even put one line of dialog here that may seem insignificant, it’s going to be watched a thousand times. So let’s make sure it’s something that’s connected.'"
Which, if you ask me, was a pretty major part of what made the movie just so goddamned excellent.
And finally, one last one:
An Indiana Jones audio reference was snuck into 'The Force Awakens'
You know that iconic Raiders of the Ark scene in which the boulder chases Indiana Jones and he barely escapes? David Acord, the supervising sound editor and sound designer for The Force Awakens borrowed that particular sound and decided to add it to spice a scene up.
“When the rathtar is rolling down the hallway after Han and Chewie, I put in the sound of Ben Burtt’s boulder roll sound from Raiders of the Lost Ark when the boulder is chasing Indy.
Nicely played, guys. Nicely played...It's like music to our ears.