In A New Hope and the other original trilogy movies, the Millennium Falcon would make a couple sounds as it jumped to light speed. First there was a kind of charging effect sound as the stars begin to distort and then there is a heavy whooshing-esque sound as the ship flies away.

Star Wars is noteworthy, among other factors, for all the specialized and repeating sound effects that occur throughout the series. Still those films were developed before digital sound effects processing and creation had really evolved. So the hyperspace sound effects, like Chewie's dog-like sounds, were probably produced from some combination of real-life sound effects. I wonder how they did it.

Han and Chewie jumping to light speed How were the original hyperspace sound effects in Star Wars created?

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    Frustratingly its quite easy to find interviews and video's of the foley artists generating the sound of the malfunctioning hyperdrive in The Empire Strikes back, but I can't find one about the basic hyperdrive sound.
    – iandotkelly
    Sep 11, 2016 at 19:23

2 Answers 2


Found on this page, the author states the origin of the hyperspace sounds (travel while in hyperspace) were created by:

Initially the sound of a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, jet, Burtt tinkered slightly with the recording to bring it to the galaxy far, far away. Taking two copies of the DC-9 sound and playing them slightly out of sync, the product is an oscillating version of the engine.

It doesn't, however, give the origin of going into hyperspace, as you've requested. It appears that this site, however does cover all of the noises of when the Millenium Falcon's hyperdrive conks out:

Eyes on Cinema has dug up an interview from 1980 featuring Ben Burtt – the sound designer for Star Wars, and in the video there is a breakdown of all the various noises that came together to create the clatter that occurs when the Millennium Falcon fails to go into hyperspace in The Empire Strikes Back. Apparently there were eight sounds that wound up being combined to create the effect, but the video only identifies five of them, namely:

  • The inertia starter of an old 1928 biplane
  • An air jet recorded in a dentist’s office
  • The sound of an arclight motor starting and stopping
  • The sound of a motor located in the turret of an armored tank
  • Pipes underneath a broken sink in the bathroom at the recording studio

Here's the interview which the information comes from:

And here's the clip where it fails with a little better resolution:

It appears that this site has the lock, though. There's an interview with a bunch of the sound people from Star Wars, including Richard Anderson, who I believe was the sound mixer for at least part of the series:

O'CONNELL: I've heard the Millennium Falcon in a hundred movies since Star Wars. How did you create those sounds, especially the hyperdrive?

ANDERSON: It was recorded from a 1929 Beech Travelaire plane, which used something called an inertia crank to start the engine. It was a spring-driven motor that the pilot would wind up outside the plane. Then he would get in he cockpit, release the spring and start the propeller. Treg Brown at Warner Bros. also used it as the sound for the Tasmanian Devil.


I've been told my entire life that the sound for jumping into hyperspace was the sound of the elevator at the Shasta Dam in California; I've heard this time and time again from my father, who is from California and has been to Shasta multiple times. Sadly, the elevator is no longer part of the dam's tour post-9/11, so I never got to hear it myself.

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