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One of the best Star Wars scenes used the sound of a toothbrush

The Star Wars team have all manner of tips and tricks to make the Star Wars movies as cool as possible, including stealing bizarre sounds from the bathroom.

Star Wars used a toothbrush for a scene in The Phantom Menace

Anybody who’s as nerdy as us lot knows exactly how much effort goes into getting the best Star Wars scenes just right. Star Wars has given us some of the most memorable big screen moments of all time, using all manner of jiggery-pokery and filmmaking tips and tricks across the best movies in the franchise.

And it turns out that a particularly unusual household item was deployed to make one of the best Star Wars scenes sound as exciting as possible – an electric toothbrush. Come to think of it, we’ve never seen anyone in the galaxy far, far away give their teeth a scrub. Filthy!

In a StarWars.com article looking back at The Phantom Menace – one of the most widely maligned Star Wars movies – sound designer Ben Burtt explained the hard work he put into the audioscape of the podracing sequence on Tatooine.

Burtt explained that he started with an array of audio samples from the world of cars, aircraft, and racing. But in order to make the Boonta Eve Classic sound different to your average lap of Silverstone, they had to gather more sounds. As it turns out, that included sounds from the bathroom.

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He said: “I would go out and record new vehicles, as would [sound designer] Matt Wood and a few others. We’d send them out to races to get drag strips, cars, we did some – everything from antique biplanes with wires humming on them to running an electric toothbrush up and down a harp string. It wasn’t just restricted to aircraft or anything. We did a lot of cars, a lot of aircraft of different types, and then manipulated other sound effects.”

George Lucas, just like us, has a lot of love for the sequence, which he says was born of his “lifelong fascination with racing”. And, presumably, with toothbrushes.

He added: “I thought it would be fun to build really intense race vehicles that were as much sort of chariots as they were anything else, like two horses and a chariot. I took that idea, and plot-wise, it was necessary to get them off the planet. Obviously, you could come up with a million different ways, but I have a tendency to always go toward the racetrack. It was very dynamic. And it’s fun. I love it.”

Jake Lloyd in the podrace scene from Star Wars The Phantom Menace

The Phantom Menace might not be peak Star Wars, but there’s no denying that the podrace is an exhilarating set piece that’s better than just about anything else in the movie. Except for Duel of the Fates, of course. That’s really special.

For more from the world of Star Wars, find out about the one lightsaber fight rule you definitely missed and why Alec Guinness got Obi-Wan killed for the funniest reason. We’ve also explained why George Lucas was right about Star Wars. Yep, seriously.

Meanwhile, find out how to watch the Star Wars movies in order and look ahead to what we know about the new Star Wars movies coming your way soon. We’ve also got guides to the Ahsoka release date and The Acolyte release date.