George Lucas Tried To Infuse Star Wars With Hip-Hop In The Clone Wars [Exclusive]

"Star Wars" fans are very familiar with Emmy nominated composer Kevin Kiner's work. He scored all seven season of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," as well as recently adding "The Bad Batch" to his repertoire. Our own Jack Giroux chatted with Kiner about his score for the new HBO series "Peacemaker," and spoke to him about working with George Lucas, who apparently wanted to get some hip-hop into "The Clone Wars."

Kiner told Giroux that Lucas "hates doing something that's been done before." That led Lucas to try to shake things up in the music department. Kiner said: 

You could see that when he made the prequels, he tried to stretch things. He did that with me musically a ton of times. He would throw me a CD like, "Here, my son's listening to this, let's put this in this Obi-Wan space battle early on in season 1 in 'Clone Wars.'" The CD is all hip-hop music, and I'm like, "I can't put hip-hop in it." And then everybody, they're telling me, "No, don't do this." They're not saying that to George's face but everybody, the producers, everybody's like no.

'I Saw That He Wanted to Experiment'

It's kind of lovely that space dad wants to keep up with the times, whether or not it worked. It didn't, as we know from what we actually saw in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." Kiner did give it a shot though. He continued:

I had to figure out what he was all about. I saw that he wanted to experiment. I actually did one version of that cue that was pretty straight ahead hip-hop and didn't work at all. And then another version that had some of the electronic elements and some of the beats, but also had the orchestra in there and even had a little bit of the John Williams sound. But more of a hybrid kind of thing than the John Williams sound.

Look, fans get mad no matter what you do, but in the end, it's nicer to see experiments and know that someone who has been in the industry for a very long time isn't just resting on his laurels, saying, it worked last time, so let's do it again. 

So I brought both of those different versions of that scene. I gave it to the editor. I brought it up to Skywalker Ranch when I met with George and 12, 14 people in the room. Everyone is telling me, "No, we can't do it." Everybody shuts up as soon as George comes into the room. It's on me to have to tell him this, right? I'm the one. And so, we played the hip-hop thing for him and he's bopping his head and he goes to me after it's over, and he goes, "Well, what do you think?" I hadn't thought of these words, but they just came to me. I'm like, "Man, I think it makes 'Star Wars' like 'Power Rangers.'" He is like, "Whoa."

It's good to try things out, but of course, no one wants "Star Wars: The Power Ranger Saga." It's a good thing someone was there to reroute things. 

'It's Cool That He Likes to Experiment Like That'

Even better than experimenting is knowing when to listen to someone with more expertise in an area than you. It's good to know that Lucas is listening. Kiner continued:

And then I said, "Here, listen to this, I did this other version that's a hybrid." He listened to that and he was like, "Oh, okay. That's cool." So what you get from George is that he does like to experiment, but he knows when to back off. He knew when to not have a third of "Star Wars" be in Japanese with subtitles, even though that was an idea he'd had, but he knew to pull back. It's the same with the music, he knew when it wasn't working, even though he was trying to think outside the box and be new. Yeah, sometimes you can't. Sometimes too new is not good, but it's cool that he likes to experiment like that. It was cool to be pushed in those different directions, too.

Don't miss the rest of Giroux's interview with composer Kevin Kiner!