The Empire Strikes Back Was A Massive Undertaking For The Star Wars Sound Department

The second “Star Wars” film was such an enormous undertaking, Lucas handed off the directorial reins to Irvin Kershner, so he could oversee the production’s myriad technical complexities. With our heroes visiting a new set of planets (Hoth, Dagobah and Bespin), Burtt needed to find a diverse array of sounds that would make these places feel as real and lived-in as those in the previous movie. Per Burtt:

“I would say there were about one thousand different things that needed to be addressed in the movie in terms of projects for sound effects creation. I went back a few years ago and I counted ’em up. The organic nature of the sound is the defining basis for everything done in Star Wars. That was really George’s direction from the beginning, so we got used to that sort of thing and looked for it.”

With much more money to spend, Burtt found himself going anywhere he needed to go to capture unique audio. This resulted in the building up of the Lucasfilm sound library.

“[Producer] Gary Kurtz was onboard with that idea and made sure we had a budget to travel if we needed to. If we wanted to go to the state of Washington to record a bear, we could do it. If we wanted to go to Oklahoma to record a building demolition, well, we would send somebody or I would go. Lucasfilm looked at this as an investment for the future.”

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