star wars the rise of skywalker score

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker marks the end of an era, not just for the Skywalker Saga, but for the franchise’s longtime composer, John Williams. The famed composer has composed the score for every main Star Wars film since 1977’s A New Hope, but will soon be retiring from the series that helped elevate him to the status of Hollywood legend. As his time in a galaxy far, far away comes to a close, Williams reflected how his compositions evolved with the revelations of Luke and Leia’s parentage, and how his Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker score brings about “the end of a sort of thematic flow” to the films.

In an extensive interview with CBS News, Williams revealed that he — like so many others — thought Luke and Leia would be lovers. That initial perception resulted in him composing Leia’s theme in a much more romantic light, something he had to go back to change once franchise creator George Lucas made the revelation that they were brother and sister.

“I saw them as two young people in the first film that I would never see again. And they seemed to be compatible. They had fun together. They did the action scenes together. And I figured, ‘Well, sooner or later, they will be lovers and they’ll have children and you know,’ so I wrote a love theme for Princess Leia, not knowing for, like, two or three years that they were brother and sister. I’m not even sure when George (laughs) told us. That was the second film, or the third (Return of the Jedi). So I had to go back and write different themes for (laughs) the various relationships that came into focus over time.”

As the main composer for the series over 42 years, Williams’s scores grew and evolved. He got to bring back those “relationships…over time” in his reprises of themes in the newer films The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the latter of which featured a heartwarming reprise of Luke and Leia’s theme from Return of the Jedi (less romantic, this time).

It’s these kind of reprises that feed into Williams’ declaration that his last score for Star Wars, in the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker, will bring about a thematic end to the Skywalker Saga.

“Well, certainly, I think it’s the end of the Skywalker story, as far as I understand it,” Williams told CBS News. “Disney, which is the company that owns Lucasfilm, may want to go on and produce more Lucas-inspired films. But this will put the bow on the package for me.” He added:

“And it’ll probably be the end of a sort of thematic flow, which started on the first movie and ended now. What’s wild for me as a composer of Star Wars is this has never happened – it’s my good fortune, the good fortune in the sense that I did the music for the first film. It was this, that, and the other theme. In the second film, I had this, that, and the other theme and two more themes. And so the glossary of things has expanded over all these years. We couldn’t play it all in one night. There’s too much of it.”

It’ll be hard to imagine Star Wars without John Williams, but there’s no better time for the 87-year-old composer to bow out than now. We’ll get to see — and hear — that thematic end once Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20, 2019.

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