Laura Dern Couldn’t Stop Saying “Pew Pew” Whenever She Fired Her Blaster in Star Wars
To the point that director Rian Johnson was forced to let her habit make the final cut.
When the first trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released, it was met with plenty of excitement—as well as outbursts. Previously disparate corners of the internet, from sci-fi to Big Little Lies fans, were outraged that while there were the expected appearances of stars like Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and John Boyega, they’d been robbed of seeing even a single shot of the series’ newcomer, Laura Dern, who’d been cast as the lavender-haired Vice Admiral Holdo.
Thankfully, Dern more than made up for the trailer editor’s oversight by proving over and over again in the lead-up to the film that she was the best cast member to keep up with, from scratching BB-8’s belly to gleefully posing with stormtroopers on the premiere’s red carpet. She also admitted to, even after four decades of working in the industry, getting starstruck on set, and so excited that she thought she was going to pass out.
Three months later, we’re learning the full extent of just how much delight Dern took in playing the part—at least according to avid fans who’ve been listening to the film’s commentary, where director Rian Johnson reportedly shares this wonderful anecdote: “You can see Laura Dern say ‘pew’ when she fires the gun, which she could never not do every time she shot it.” (Dern backed up this factoid herself when she told Stephen Colbert back in August that she’d unwittingly make “pew pew” sound effects as if she were “back in my bedroom at eight years old” because she was “so excited.”)
As IndieWire notes, Dern isn’t the first Star Wars alum who couldn’t help but get a little too into it: Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor have both admitted to being unable to stop themselves from making “whoom, whoom” noises aloud while wielding their lightsabers—a far more egregious mistake in ruining footage, seeing as they had the starring roles of Anakin Skywalker and Christensen and Obi-Wan Kenobi, respectively. They got so overly into it, in fact, that George Lucas had to ask Christensen to stop moving his mouth, and repeatedly remind McGregor that special effects would take care of making the sounds for him.
“It was a difficult habit to break,” Christensen later said, whereas McGregor admitted that he “kept getting carried away.” No such apologies are necessary from Dern—though after her initial omission from the trailer, it seems only fair that we get to see some more of that scrapped “pew pew” footage.
Laura Dern Remembers the Legendary Sundae She Got on Her Favorite Birthday:
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Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, 1983. Image courtesy of ©20th Century-Fox Film Corp. / Everett Collection.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Director Rian Johnson and Carrie Fisher, on set, 2017. Photo by David James/ © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd. /Image courtesy of Everett Collection.
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Carrie Fisher, 1980, Image courtesy of ©Lucasfilms / Everett Collection.
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Carrie Fisher and a medical droid, 1980. Image courtesy of ©Lucasfilm Ltd. / Everett Collection.
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Billy Dee Williams, Chewbacca, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford, 1980. Image courtesy of Everett Collection. =
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, C-3PO and Carrie Fisher, 1983. Image courtesy of Everett Collection.
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Carrie Fisher, 1983. Image courtesy of Everett Collection.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, 1977. Photo courtesy of Everett Collection.
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Carrie Fisher, 1983
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, 1983. Image courtesy of ©Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. / Everett Collection
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, 1980. Image courtesy of ©20th Century Fox/Everett Collection.
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Harrison Ford, 1980. Image courtesy of Everett Collection.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Carrie Fisher, 1977. Image courtesy of Lucas Films/Courtesy Everett Collection.
Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega & Carrie Fisher promoting “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on Jimmy Kimmel Live, November 23, 2016. Image courtesy of Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images.
Carrie Fisher and her daughter Billie Lourd attend the Premiere of Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on December 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California. Image courtesy of Todd Williamson/Getty Images.