Coming as a surprise to everyone, especially members of the Navajo Tribe, Obi-Wan Kenobi will soon say, “May the Force be with you” in the Diné language.
Navajo members will soon be able to hear the beloved character from the Star Wars Saga say this and more as the Navajo Nation Museum, Navajo Parks and Recreation, and Lucasfilm, Ltd. have joined forces to dub Episode IV of the classic space fantasy film, Star Wars into the Diné language. This marks the first time that a mainstream movie will be dubbed into the Navajo language.
Manuelito Wheeler, the director of the Navajo Nation Museum, said he’s been working on the idea of getting a popular film dubbed into Navajo for more than three years as a way to preserve the Navajo language.
“By preserving the Navajo language and encouraging Navajo youth to learn their language, we will also be preserving Navajo culture,” Wheeler said.
He said when he approached Lucasfilm officials with the idea, he found that they were excited about the project.
“Since its inception, the Star Wars Saga has been experienced and shared all over the world. Its timeless themes of good versus evil have resonated with cultures far and wide. The movies have been translated across multiple languages and Lucasfilm Ltd. is proud to have Navajo as its most recent addition.”
The first hurdle, Wheeler said, was to come up with the funding it would take to do the dubbing but with the generous help of the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department that has finally been done.
“Navajo Parks and Recreation Department is proud and honored to be a part of this innovative and entertaining approach to helping preserve our Navajo language,” said Martin Begaye, department director.
The Navajo Nation Museum is now working with Deluxe Studio and plans are underway to dub the movie into the Navajo language using a group of Navajo-speaking members, who will be going over each spoken word in the movie and translating it into the Diné language.
Shana Priesz, senior director of Localization at Deluxe said, “While we have dubbed many films in the past into a variety of languages, this project ranks among the most significant. Every time we dub a film, we recognize the fact that we are helping to bridge cultural and communications gaps among societies. In this case, however, we have the unique privilege of contributing to the preservation of a storied and noble culture, the Navajo.