By taking the classic legend of King Arthur into the underwater Atlantis, fans might assume that Aquaman most pays tribute to fantasy movies, and classic adventures. But that’s only if you miss the unique Star Wars Easter Egg helping to bring Atlantis to life.
The DCEU has been a trustworthy source of comic book Easter Eggs and nerd-focused callbacks, and director James Wan didn’t disappoint with Aquaman.
So if you’re looking to seize every secret hidden by the filmmakers, this classic nod to Star Wars shouldn’t be missed. Which it nearly definitely will be, except fans know where to look– well, where to listen.
When it comes to the most adored films paid homage to by generations of filmmakers, the Star Wars and the Indiana Jones films get much of the love. But it’s the audio Easter Eggs that are harder to grab by common audiences.
And no, we’re not referring to the ‘Wilhelm Scream,’ which even Star Wars has given up. We’re referring to the sound effect formed for the galaxy far, far away which came to define the Millennium Falcon.
The sound effect is the ‘Hyperdrive Failure,’ with its most well-known aspect being the mechanical winding up/down sound of the inertia starter from a 1928 U.S. Army biplane. The sound effect (first slow, then faster) has found its way into dozens of movies and TV shows formally, and likely innumerable more unofficially.
It’s used in the airplane escape of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, right up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And thanks to the sound department that brought Aquaman’s underwater surroundings to life, the origin story of Arthur Curry can be added to the list.
To catch the aural homage, fans require only pay close concentration to the sequence following Arthur and Orm’s gladiator match, as Mera attempts to run faster than the Atlantean pursuit vehicles in a race to the limits of Atlantis.
It’s a storm of visual and audio effects, with the water-based vehicles, their engines, and weapons, and Arthur’s panicked screeching. In case any have problem calling the sound to mind, look at Empire Strikes Back sound designer Ben Burtt breaking it down below:
But when Mera at last handles to evade incoming attacks – and see them seriously harm other Atlantean ships, instead – the sound of the ships’s engines failing and falling off from the chase are obvious. The similar sound effect seems to be buried in the blast that cripple Mera’s ship too; however, it’s most identifiable the first time around.