WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for director Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in theaters now.
The Whispering Tree seen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi was inspired by the Star Wars Legends stories (or the Expanded Universe as diehard fans call it) that played up the mystical aspect of the Force. In the film, while Rey was training with Luke on Ahch-To, she was drawn to this ancient tree and the library of Jedi texts held within by a chorus of whispers.
According to the movie’s sound editors, Matt Wood and Ren Klyce, they wanted an ethereal soundscape to build this supernatural interaction with Rey and the Force.
“We thought, why don’t we use something there that’s a call, but also a chant,” Wood said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “So we worked with the story group, Leland Chee and Pablo Hidalgo, to come up with something from Star Wars Legends stories that had a Force connection.”
The duo revealed that they used 20 actors in a vocal “loop group” to create crowd noises and other haunting effects. One of the voices who actually led the chant was none other than Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino — the man who scored Rogue One.
“He [Giacchino] directed us doing this chant,” Klyce said.
“Then Ren took it and designed it in a way that would pull Rey to the tree. It’s all obfuscated now, and there’s reverse reverb that changed it up, but what they’re saying is a Force sort of mantra,” Wood added.
This chant helped paint an ominous picture for Rey, given that Luke warned her of the power within and the potential she held to succumb to the Dark Side.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars: The Last Jedi stars Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux and Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma.
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