John Wayne had a role in Star Wars that hardly anyone knew about
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Featured Image Credit: Moviestore Collection Ltd / Atlaspix / Alamy
You might recognise John Wayne as the familiar face of many old school Western films. But did you know that he's technically a space cowboy?
And no, we're not talking about the 2000 film starring Clint Eastwood.
Wayne actually had a small role in Star Wars: A New Hope... sort of.
It's not hard to see the cowboy influence behind certain scenes in the Star Wars films, including the Wild West aura of planets like Tatooine.
Lots of scenes in Star Wars: A New Hope are actually modelled after clips from John Wayne's classic film The Searchers, like when Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) turns up at the Lars Homestead to find it up in flames.
Even the much later Attack of the Clones shows Anakin killing a Tusken Raider tribe in a way similar to the Comanche camp battle from the 1956 flick.
But Wayne's relationship with Star Wars doesn't stop there.
Wayne passed away in 1979, with Don Siegel's 1976 Western film The Shootist being noted as his final official credit. However, Wayne played a super secret role as the voice of one of the aliens on Tatooine in 1977's A New Hope.
Ben Burtt, sound designer for the much loved sci-fi film series, revealed the surprise cameo when he attended a Star Wars Celebration in 2007.
The discovery that Wayne's voice was used as one of the characters, a mosquito-looking creature called Garindan, was kind of an accident.
Burtt explained: “We had that character that looked kind of like a mosquito from the first Star Wars [Garindan] that we found we needed a sound for.
"I was wondering back a few months ago how I did it – because I keep notes and tapes – and I discovered it was an electronic buzzing which had come off of my synthesizer that was triggered by a human voice.
"And I listened to it and realized it was John Wayne.
“I had found some loop lines in the trash from the studio that had been thrown away. So the buzzing was triggered by some dialogue like ‘all right, what are you doin’ in this town?’ or something like that.”
So although Wayne didn't technically turn up to the set of Star Wars to be part of the film, his voice did lead a crucial part as one of the more memorable extra characters.
The more you know.