PHOENIX - For the first time in the Valley, "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" was shown to an audience Sunday dubbed entirely in the Navajo language at the Heard Museum.
For those who speak the language, it marks and important milestone in the growth and preservation of their linguistic heritage.
"This marks the first major motion picture dubbed in the Navajo language and for that we’re very proud," said Manuelito Wheeler, director of the Navajo Nation Museum.
The museum helped with both fundraising and working with Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox and Deluxe in the production of the film.
"It’s a gigantic step in preserving our language and making sure that it continues into the future," Wheeler said.
When writing the movie back in the mid-70s, writer-director George Lucas studied cultural archetypes from around the world to make a more culturally universal film.
"The story of good versus evil, that’s something that transitions across many cultures and definitely it does that for Navajo as well," Wheeler said.
Open auditions were held earlier this year and recording was done in Gallup, New Mexico.
Terry Teller, who was chosen to dub the part of main hero Luke Skywalker, said a combination of both formal and informal Navajo made for more humorous and emotional dialogue.
"Navajo is very descriptive," Teller said. "At times I read the lines I was like this part is so funny, this part is so humorous."
He also said for the first time ever he was able to take his grandmother to the film and she was able to enjoy it without him having to explain anything to her.
"Being involved with this movie the way it was; is amazing," he added.
"Star Wars" will be shown in select cities across the country.
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