Ahsoka_sound-01 Asbjoern Andersen


Skywalker Sound supervising sound editors Matthew Wood and Bonnie Wild discuss the details of their sound work on the Disney+ series Ahsoka, S1:E4 'Fallen Jedi,' which has been submitted for 2024 Emmy consideration for 'Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited or Anthology Series, Movie or Special.' Here, Wood and Wild talk about designing sound of the star map dome, how they handled the droid vocal processing, what went into the sound of Shin's force choke ability, and more!
Interview by Jennifer Walden, photos courtesy of Disney+
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Disney+ series Ahsoka is set after the fall of the Empire, and follows former Jedi knight Ahsoka Tano as she investigates an emerging threat to a vulnerable galaxy.

Ahsoka S1:E4 “Fallen Jedi” has been submitted for 2024 Emmy consideration for “Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited or Anthology Series, Movie or Special.” Here, supervising sound editors Matthew Wood and Bonnie Wild – at Skywalker Sound – discuss the details of creating some of the episode’s key sounds, like the lightsaber battles between Ahsoka and Marrok, the star map dome, the Jedi droid vocal processing, Shin’s force choke ability, and more!

Wild has previously won three Emmy Awards for sound editing and mixing on The Mandalorian and another Emmy Award for sound editing on Moon Knight. She’s also earned five Emmy nominations for her sound mixing on Obi-Wan Kenobi, sound editing on The Book of Boba Fett, sound mixing on Moon Knight, sound editing on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series, and sound editing on Star Wars: Rebels.

Wood has won a 2020 Emmy Award for sound editing on The Mandalorian, and earned seven Emmy nominations for sound editing on Obi-Wan Kenobi, sound editing on The Mandalorian, sound editing on Loki, sound editing on The Book of Boba Fett, sound editing on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series, and sound editing Star Wars: Rebels.



Ahsoka | Teaser Trailer | Disney+


Ahsoka | Teaser Trailer | Disney+

In Ahsoka S1:E4 “Fallen Jedi,” Ahsoka and Sabine are stranded on the planet of Seatos. How did you use sound to make their location feel more isolated and their situation more dire?

Bonnie Wild (BW): We worked hard to fill the forest on Seatos with wildlife, this puts them far away from any civilization, truly stranding them. The ship is dead, the communications are down, and they are alone. The sounds of wildlife stop only when the enemy arrives.

 

Ahsoka_sound-02

What went into the sound of the fight between Morgan Elsbeth’s HK-87 Assassin Droids and Jedi droid Huyang, Ahsoka, and Sabine?

BW: This was a real mix of some classic rebels and new sounds from Dave Acord. It’s fun bringing these characters born in animation into live action and revisiting the sounds. Sabine’s blaster and Ahsoka’s sabers are all born of the original Rebels sounds and worked to serve in the live action. Huyang puts up a good fight and the sounds reflect him standing his ground but has to call for help. The sounds are clean, fast like Ahsoka and Sabine’s fighting and reflect how they are starting to work together.

 

Ahsoka_sound-03

What did you do for Huyang’s vocal processing/treatment? And for after the fight when he’s taken a few blows to the head?

BW: We keep his treatment very close to the Clone Wars treatment, really letting David Tenant’s performance shine through. We warped his voice and stuttered him up as he gathered himself after the head blow. We also muffled his, “help, help!” when the HK-series assassin droid puts his hand over his mouth, just for fun!

 

What was your approach to the vocal processing on the other droids? Is it tough to come up with so many unique vocal processes?

Matthew Wood (MW): It’s certainly a challenge to make unique vocal processes when there are so many in the Star Wars universe already. As with any process, the main challenge is to preserve the actor’s performance. You don’t want to overdo the processing to the point of sacrificing performance and intelligibility for the sake of a cool sounding voice. So it’s a fine line, really.

 

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Ahsoka and Sabine take on Marrok and Shin Hati – what were some of your opportunities for sound here?

MW: I think my favorite moment in this episode is (spoiler) Ahsoka defeating Marrok with a single slash. Then Marrok sort of explodes this screaming gaseous, ghostly form from his wound. That was pretty fun, it’s sort of a moment to showcase horror with sound.

 

Ahsoka_sound-05

There are so many cool sounds for Morgan’s star map and the machines that analyze it! Can you talk about how you created some of those?

MW: The star map “dome” is a blend of synthetic sounds (musical and non-musical tones created from synths), alongside mechanical elements. Dave Filoni wanted the dome to have a grounded feel to differentiate these holographic machines from the witch’s powers.

 


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Ahsoka_sound-07

What went into the sound of Shin’s Force Choke ability?

MW: For Shin’s force choke, the first sound you hear is actually a sound I made for Ventress in the Clone Wars. I was always happy with that effect and I’d wanted to reuse it. After that, we witness Shin turning up the heat a little, making slow work of Sabine. For this, I used a new force rumble mixed with some of the Kylo Ren force sounds I made for Rise of Skywalker.

 

 

Ahsoka_sound-09

Of all the episodes in Season 1 to choose for Emmy consideration, why did you pick Ep. 4 “Fallen Jedi”? What do you feel makes this episode stand out sonically?

BW: This episode really leant itself to some great sound moments. The action totally led the character development and it was fun to tell that story sonically in the lightsaber battles. We had outstanding sound effects moments, Ahsoka and Baylan meeting surrounded by the star map, the hyper ring charge up, and the X-wing carnage post hyperspace ring jump. The mix really became a fun dance where music and effects got to hand off in the most satisfying way; we were all truly proud of this episode and it really represents how Dave Filoni has a real collaborative approach to these projects. Baylan’s power is so evident in this episode, every sound reflects how intentional he is, with his words and his actions. All the characters get their moment and it’s so fun to play with that! And obviously, at the end of the episode where we visit the World Between Worlds, we got to toy with the viewer before the big Anakin reveal, playing in that space to not immediately give away he’s there. It was just a delight bringing this episode together – the best fun!

 

A big thanks to Matthew Wood and Bonnie Wild for giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the sound of Ahsoka and to Jennifer Walden for the interview!

 

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