Star Wars canon infamously leaves no stone left unturned, and the galaxy just got a little bit less mysterious. It turns out George Lucas had a lore reason for why the confederacy uses battle droids that have better comedic timing than aiming, and a voice actor from Clone Wars just revealed why that is.
Matthew Wood took the stage at New York Comic Con this weekend alongside Dee Bradley Baker. Together, the duo make up the majority of voice acting in The Clone Wars animated series. Wood voices the battle droids — all of them — while Baker voices the eponymous clones: Rex, Cody, the Bad Batch, 99, etc.
Wood, who got his start in Star Wars working QA at Lucasfilm Games, worked on the prequel trilogy as a sound engineer at Skywalker Ranch. Wood and Baker were brought together during The Clone Wars where Wood took on voicing General Grievous and his armies more competent commando droids as well.
Responding to an audience question about the series’ slapstick humor, the voice of the battle droids themselves said:
The idea that George had was that the CPUs they were putting in the battle droids were very expensive, so in order to mass produce all those droids they had to kind of tone down some of the intelligence. So they would do really well against clones sometimes, but against jedi they were…destroyed by all the jedi becuase they didn’t have it in their programming.
In the iconic voice of the droids, Wood repeated ‘in their programming’ to laughs from the audience
But Wood was also on the sound team at the time, and he shared how some of the characteristic humor made its way into production. Since neither droids nor clones wearing helmets have lip movements, the sound team had more freedom to add lines during mixing, Wood recounted. So, Wood added in his own lines as the droids after animation and recording were completed. Series director Dave Filoni only saw the additions during the final cut (with no warning from Wood), where he would pick which jokes could stay or had to go.
Despite the shenanigans, Wood has since moved up to a supervisor role at Lucasfilm Studios. He holds an Emmy and several more nominations for his teams work on sound design in The Mandalorian, Winter Solider, and Loki. Wood and Baker have since shared the screen in The Bad Batch, and both have small roles in The Mandalorian’s second season. Wood voiced Jabba’s right-hand man, Bib Fortuna, while Baker brought the popular “Frog Lady” to life with throaty croaks (demonstrated on stage, of course)