One Of The Most Famous Star Wars Sounds Is Actually Just An Elephant

Star Wars Tie fighter scream is a mixture of an elephant call and a hydroplaning car.

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

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What do TIE fighters and Dumbo have in common? More than you would think. According to Mashable India the iconic scream associated with one of the most famous starfighters in Star Wars comes from an elephant call mixed with the sound of a car hydroplaning.

And that’s not the only elephant-based piece of Star Wars trivia. The Banthas in A New Hope were actually a single elephant in disguise. Mardji was an Asian elephant that the folks at Lucasfilm covered in palm fronds and yak hair to disguise her as an alien creature.

Speaking of alien creatures, the blue elephant-like alien Max Rebo, leader of The Max Rebo Band, has some trivia. Max first appears in Return of the Jedi, playing a keyboard during a musical sequence in Jabba’s palace. It was originally intended for Max to be playing the keyboard (or red ball jett organ if you want to get geeky) with his feet.

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Max Rebo

This didn’t come across well on screen, though, and for years, the elephantine Rebo has been portrayed as having arms and legs. Kenner, the original Star Wars toy manufacturer, started the trend when they made the first Max Rebo figure in 1983. Since then, the blue Ortolan has been shown various times, both with arms and without.

The next bit of Star Wars elephant trivia involves Ephant Mon. Mon was another member of the grotesque rogue’s gallery visible in 1983’s Return of the Jedi during the Jabba’s Palace sequence. Ephant Mon is a squat alien with a long face. The puppeteers at ILM called the character Elephant Man during the production, and the name just sort of stuck but had to be changed slightly to make it more Star Wars-y.

Ephant Mon is notable for being Jabba the Hutt’s only true friend. While most of the other creatures in the palace were employed by Jabba (or worse, slaves), Ephant Mon was the one person there by choice. The two Star Wars characters had a history together as arms dealers, and Jabba even saved Mon’s life once, something Ephan never forgot.

Another bit of Star Wars trivia doesn’t so much involve an elephant man as it does the director who made The Elephant Man. Famous surrealist director David Lynch was George Lucas’s original choice to direct Return of the Jedi. While Lynch was flattered and even took a meeting with Lucas at Skywalker Ranch, he ultimately decided to pass on the project.

David Lynch did, however, end up directing a space movie the year after Jedi came out. The Twin Peaks creator helmed 1984’s Dune, based on the book of the same name. Dune was neither a critical nor commercial success when it came out but has since garnered a cult following.

One final piece of Star Wars trivia involving pachyderms comes back around to Mardji. The elephant didn’t just play all the banthas in A New Hope but also played a critical role in the production of its sequel. Mardji’s movements were filmed and used as a reference for the AT-AT walkers in The Empire Strikes Back. The stop motion animators working on the film tried to animate the walkers to mimic Mardji in order to give their movement a slightly more organic look.

Who would have thought that Star Wars and elephants would be such a great combination? Like chocolate and peanut butter, they’re two great tastes that simply taste great together. Now Disney just has to make a Dumbo/Star Wars crossover…

This is the way.

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