Star Wars: A New Hope Will Get A Navajo Language Dub

By Nick Venable | 7 years ago

swAlderaan, Leia’s native land, was completely destroyed by Darth Vader and his Death Star. Not entirely unlike the way the White Man destroyed the land of the Native Americans, turning their home (eventually) into a Starbucks-laden cesspool. Also, it’s common knowledge that George Lucas‘ first script for Star Wars featured dozens of scalping incidents.

The first entry – and fourth episode – in Lucas’ space saga will be the first Hollywood film to ever be dubbed in the native Navajo language, bridging the massive cultural gap between tribal cinema and science fiction. Manuelito Wheeler, director of the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, AR, has spent part of the last three years translating Star Wars, in collaboration with Lucasfilm and Deluxe. This will be the 40th official translation of the film, and believe it or not, the Navajo language – or Diné – is not equipped with words like “stormtrooper” and “holographic droid message,” so some liberties have been taken.

Because there are generally more English words involved in the translations, there will be probably be some overlay. Being conscious of this Wheeler hopes for something far different from “what people saw in the old Kung Fu movies when the lip movements didn’t coincide with what was said. I don’t want to disparage the Kung Fu movies because I loved watching them.” He continued, “But this can become very distracting and we don’t want to see that happen here.”

Voice auditions for this landmark undertaking will be held on May 3-4, and will cover most of the leading roles. While I generally have no need to ever see a movie dubbed in any language, this one could definitely be worth the Tchin’dih. Wait, that means “evil spirit.”

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