Star Wars: The Last Jedi sound designer Ren Klyce recently spoke to CinemaBlend about the process of creating the porgs’ library of alien-bird sounds, from the cry in the trailer to the cooing sounds the toys make to all the little pips and squeaks we hear throughout the movie.
“At Skywalker Sound there’s a chicken coop with these little chickens, and Coya Elliott, our first assistant, went down and recorded those chickens,” said Klyce. “And then we took that sound and slowed it down and stretched it out and found little chirps. We found this man who releases doves at weddings, and we asked him to come down so we could record them…So we have a little snippet of that [turkey call], a little bit of chicken, a little dove, and cut it all together.”
I just love that the porgs are a combination of slow-mo chickens, turkeys, and wedding doves. What a beautifully twee and nonsensical soundscape.
While we at The Mary Sue are firmly #porgnation, the little creatures have stirred some controversy. Some fans pointed to their obvious merchandising potential, complaining that they were a money-grubbing mandate from the Disney Corporation. Others worried that they might prove as annoying as the infamous Jar-Jar Binks from the prequels. But although I am personally biased from wanting to hug them forever, I was pleasantly surprised by the easy way they were integrated into the Ahch-To scenes, just like nesting seabirds.
Given that the porgs are supposedly based on the puffins who actually live on Skellig Michael, the Irish island that served as the filming location for Ahch-To, I was initially surprised that puffins didn’t play a role in the porgs’ soundscape. Then I remembered what a puffin call actually sounds like. I’m glad that, rather than sounding like a moo mixed with a revving engine, the porgs had a more high-pitched, traditionally birdlike sound.
(Though, if someone wanted to re-cut that trailer moment with a long puffin moo, I’d definitely click to watch it.)
(Via CinemaBlend; image: Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Studios)
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