Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘Star Wars’: John Wayne’s Secret Cameo in the Iconic Franchise

‘Star Wars’: John Wayne’s Secret Cameo in the Iconic Franchise

John Wayne left quite an indelible mark on the vast movie world, yet would you believe he’s part of Star Wars? The franchise of these movies and shows has taken a little bit from Wayne’s work. The Western style of work and life he represented in stellar movies like The Searchers remains alive.

Of course, Wayne himself was not part of the cast. You’re not seeing things if you don’t remember him showing up and making a scene. Nope, according to Collider, Wayne actually appears in it through the power of his voice.

It all happens in A New Hope. Sound engineer Ben Burtt happened to be working on some things for the movie. He’s the man behind noises like Chewbacca’s howling or R2-D2’s beeps. Burtt remembered that he was working on Attack of the Clones. He happened to be looking for some things around the voice of Poggle the Lesser, who is an insectoid.

Guess what? Garindan is an insectoid who happens to be a Kubaz spy in Tatooine’s Docking Bay 94. That’s the animal that has Wayne’s voice. What it happens to really look like is a hooded mosquito. Garindan happens to be working for the Empire. It tips them off about the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, C-3PO, and R2-D2.

‘Star Wars’ Sound Man Discovers Buzzing Noise

“I discovered it was an electronic buzzing which had come off of my synthesizer that was triggered by a human voice,” Burtt said. “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 doing in this town’ or something like that.”

Ironically, that’s how Wayne’s voice ends up as part of the Star Wars franchise. It probably would come as a pleasant shock to The Duke that his very own voice plays a role.

Meanwhile, Burtt came out with this information in 2007. Star Wars made its entry into the world of movie history back in 1977. Wayne died in 1979, not really knowing the type of impact he would have on this movie.

Yet there are telltale signs through some of the characters like Han Solo that reflect Wayne’s tendencies. The swagger, the moves, the voice inflections. When they pop up in this movie, some people can sit back and look for similarities with Wayne.

After all, Star Wars, at its most basic, is a movie about good and bad, right and wrong. That type of premise appears in pretty much any Western movie or TV show you see. The one constant, though, has to be who plays who in the story. As long as those lines are drawn, viewers should have no problem following along.