Some thoughts on Star Wars & John Williams

So as the whole world knows Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens came out at the end of last year.

Now it’s safe to say that I am more than your average Star Wars fan, a regular reader of the wonderful Wookiepedia I have, since the age of about 7 (I’m now 29) been Star Wars mad.

As I got older and I started to develop my love of music and explore the myriad of different genres out there, I started to take real notice of the music in my favourite films and Star Wars was top of the list. Who was it who wrote the doom laden Imperial March, the giant fanfare of the Main Titles and developed instantly recognisable character themes? It was of course the maestro himself, John Williams.

To those who love film and film music John Williams needs no introduction. He is with out doubt one of the most prolific composers of the modern age with a catalogue of work that is astounding; E.T, Indian Jones, Jaws, Superman to name a few as well as a recent favourite of mine The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of The Unicorn. John Williams is a personal hero of mine and even though he is now in his 83rd year he still manages to be at the top of his game (I hope to be the same at that age).

So onto his latest work. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is in my view a brilliant body of music that captures the essence of the original movies, creates a wonderful new theme in Rey’s Theme and injects some fun into proceedings by reworking the main theme into something we haven’t heard before on the Scherzo for X-Wings.

Many people have said that the new film is a rehash of the original 1977 and yes there are some striking similarities but, musically while it sounds like a John Williams Star Wars score it doesn’t feel like a repeat of earlier works. Granted the theme for Supreme Leader Snoke is sung by a low choir invoking memories of the Emperors theme in Return Of The Jedi, but hey, he a Dark Lord of the Sith!

The track Torn Apart is a track that I find difficult to listen to, not because I don’t like it but because (as any excellent film music should do) it features a passage of music that signifies a pretty big moment in the film and it stirs those feelings of shock and sadness. This I think is the sign of a great film score, does the music have the power to move you without the images? If yes then you’re onto a winner, and let’s face it John Williams has been on a winning streak for over 40 years.

More information on John Williams:

John Williams on Wikipedia

3 thoughts on “Some thoughts on Star Wars & John Williams

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  1. I loved the score of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I noticed that the theme for the First Order is a fragmented rehash of a section of the “Imperial March” but it’s very VERY muted, a perfect commentary on how these guys act like the old Empire, but they’re really not. Speaking of Supreme Leader Snoke, he actually reminded me very much of the late Emperor Palpatine, which makes me wonder who this guy is…great post about John Williams, he is my favorite film composer by far.

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    1. Thank you, he is a musical hero of mine and I just can’t believe he is still writing music of this caliber it’s pretty amazing. I agree with you on Supreme Leader Snoke, I will be interested to see who they reveal him to be. If he isn’t a totally new character I wonder if he could be the Emperors master Darth Plagueis. Now you’ve brought it my attention you’re absolutely spot on about the muted Imperial March fragments, great spot!

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      1. I don’t think he’s Darth Plagueis. I doubt they’d do this, but I wonder if, based on the similarity, if he isn’t a reborn Palpatine in disguise, I’m almost certain Snoke is someone we’ve seen before. It’s always exciting to spot a familiar theme that’s been reworked into another film, I loved James Horner’s scores because of that (I’m still not over his passing)

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