A Navajo language version of Star Wars could be getting a release fairly soon as work has begun on the project. The 1977 fan favorite is adding the language to a list of about a dozen others that it is or has been dubbed into.
The project began by getting five translators who spoke the Native American language to go over the script and rewrite it in this tongue. Now they will begin finding voice actors who will actually sync up the dubbing with the film.
Episode IV: A New Hope (which was once the first and only film) will have casting calls for the voice work on Monday in Burbank, California and then next Friday and the Navajo National Museum.
The Navajo dubbed version of Star Wars doesn’t need to have voice actors that sound exactly like the characters from the original movie but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. Apparently the most important aspect of getting this job is being able to deliver the lines with panache and character.
Manuelito Wheeler, the director of the Navajo Nation Museum first approached LucasFilms about the idea. Wheeler believes that the project is a way to educate and entertain, but also a way to preserve his beloved language for decades to come.
The tongue is spoken by Native Americans more than any other Native language (170,000) but there are signs that the younger generations are beginning to turn their backs on it. Getting its words into characters that are as popular as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and even Darth Vader is a way to spark that interest back up.
Native languages are a rarity on the big screen but there are some precedents. Bambi was dubbed into the Arapaho language and the The Berenstain Bears cartoon series was translated into the Dakota and Lakota languages.
At the moment there is no word on whether Navajo versions of the newStar Wars films might be getting a look as well.