Home > Reviews > STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – John Williams


December 19, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton


With George Lucas’s prequel trilogy having received almost universal critical disdain in the decade that followed the release of Revenge of the Sith, it took the 2015 film The Force Awakens to re-ignite the Star Wars franchise and bring back the love that so many millions had for the original trilogy that began in 1977. Luxuriating in $2 billion worldwide grosses, and having introduced a cache of interesting new characters to sit alongside the story stalwarts, The Force Awakens allowed Lucasfilm and the Walt Disney company to push forward with their plans for new sequels, as well as several standalone side-stories, confident that people were happy to come back to the galaxy far, far away. The first side-story, Rogue One, premiered in 2016, and a second movie looking at the early years of Han Solo is scheduled for 2018. But before we get into that, 2017’s most anticipated film is Star Wars: The Last Jedi, written and directed by Rian Johnson, which is the second film of the third trilogy, and the eighth ‘main story’ Star Wars film overall.

The Last Jedi picks up almost immediately after the events of The Force Awakens. Despite having destroyed the First Order’s Starkiller Base, the fledgling New Republic government has been annihilated, and the military Resistance led by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) has been forced to abandon its outpost. They are pursued across the galaxy by starships commanded by Leia’s son, former Jedi Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and First Order General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). Massively outnumbered, and having suffered heavy casualties, hotshot Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and former stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) concoct a daring escape plan which requires Finn to travel to a distant pleasure planet in the company of an eager young military technician named Rose (Kelly-Marie Tran) to find someone who can crack military codes. Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has finally located Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), but he refuses to train her in using the Force or to join the Resistance, having been in self-imposed exile since his failure in training Leia’s son led to him becoming Kylo Ren; he is bitter and withdrawn, and believes that following the Jedi religion leads to failure. As Rey struggles with her emotions, she begins secretly communicating with Kylo in a series of ‘force visions,’ during which he attempts to lure her to the Dark Side…

More than any other previous Star Wars film, The Last Jedi feels like it will be the one which divides fans of the franchise the most. On the one hand, it’s clearly the most emotionally and intellectually ambitious Star Wars film to date. Writer-director Johnson explores some difficult and weighty ideas ranging from fate and destiny to the nature of heroism, injects some relevant political undertones into the Canto Bight sequence, and offers characters which inhabit those intriguing grey areas between good and evil where profit is a stronger motivation than idealism, or for whom personal ambition is more important than political power. On the other hand, these more nuanced ideas are likely to alienate more traditional Star Wars fans who like their stories drawn in clear black and white. Unlike in previous films, many characters you would expect to be allies are in clear conflict – Princess Leia and Poe, Luke Skywalker and Rey, Snoke and Kylo Ren – while others develop relationships that tug at the boundaries of the Light and the Dark sides of the Force, and ask whether both can coexist side-by-side in the same person. Furthermore, the story also seemingly abandons several plot points from The Force Awakens that were thought to be critical, which some feel add a broader and more inclusive world-view to a storyline focused on one family, but which might leave others feeling gypped of closure.

Some may also have issues with the multiple story beats that strongly recall elements of both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Just as The Force Awakens revisited multiple plot points from A New Hope, many of the scenes with Luke and Rey at the Jedi Temple mirror Luke and Yoda’s training scenes on Dagobah in Empire Strikes Back, and the entire final battle on the sodium planet Crait strongly resembles the Battle of Hoth, while the ‘throne room confrontation’ scenes between Snoke, Kylo, and Rey are almost identical to those between The Emperor, Darth Vader, and Luke in Return of the Jedi, right down to the dialogue and the camera angles.

For me, however, none of these issues affected by enjoyment of the film in the slightest. Of course, The Last Jedi has plot holes and writing contrivances, as any film does, but I was able to overlook them. Instead I found myself fascinated by the philosophical heart of the film regarding death and rebirth, amused by the broad humor – “I’m holding for General Hux” – and swept along by the emotional weight of the finale. Furthermore, the film is filled with spectacular action and battle sequences, including a thrilling bombing sequence, and especially a lightsaber battle between Rey, Kylo, and Snoke’s ninja-like praetorian guards. It’s also a visually beautiful film, often shot in spectacular shades of red, black, and white, and there are numerous fascinating and creative details, ranging from the ‘crystal critters’ on Crait to the mirror cave on Ahch-To, and of course the lovable Porgs.

In musical terms, fans may also be somewhat split based on their expectations of what a Star Wars score should be. In each of the seven previous John Williams scores, Williams has introduced a plethora of new material to encompass the characters, planets, and situations the films introduce. However, in The Last Jedi, this does not really happen, as there are only two significant new themes. The first is the theme for Rose, the spunky and heroic Resistance tech who offers a new perspective on the galactic conflict from the point of view of someone outside the Skywalker lineage. It first appears in “Fun with Finn and Rose” as a warm, inviting, wholesome-sounding melody for oboe and strings that for some reason reminds me of a slowed-down and melodically romantic version of Short Round’s theme from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. As the score develops it receives several notable recapitulations, including a couple where it is used in an action setting. However, as lovely as it is, I fear it won’t have the same immediate connection or memorability as Rey’s theme did, and I think that it will eventually be overlooked in the bigger Star Wars thematic canon.

The second new theme is one which I am calling the ‘Last Jedi’ theme as it relates to Luke’s secluded life on the island of Ahch-To. This theme is introduced in the second half of the second cue, “Ahch-To Island,” and is usually rendered for either brass or strings. It has a 3-note A-phrase (first heard at 2:56 of that cue), and a more dramatic 5-note B-phrase (first heard at 3:34), and to me it has some tonal similarities to the Jedi Steps theme from The Force Awakens in terms of the chord progressions. Conceptually, it speaks to the stubbornness of Skywalker in the face of Rey’s dramatically urgent and increasingly desperate pleas, and it accompanies them as she follows him around the island observing his life in exile at the edge of the universe. But, more than this, it also feels slightly wild, at times almost primal, mirroring not only the rugged wave-battered coastline and sheer cliffs of Luke’s island, but also the sense that this island is where it all began: life, religion, the Force, all emanating from this ancient and powerful place. The album contains just one concert arrangement of these themes, titled “The Rebellion is Reborn.” Initially Rose’s theme is lush, melodic, and warmly appealing, but the frequent interjections from both phrases of the Last Jedi theme give it a sense of dramatic energy and purpose that is very appealing. The contrapuntal performance of the two themes at 1:03 is excellent, and it builds to a resounding conclusion.

However, with the exception of one minor theme for Laura Dern’s character Admiral Holdo, a military leader in the Resistance who clashes with Poe, and a few new textures and minor motifs in some of the battle music, that’s pretty much it. Instead, Williams relies heavily on the vast array of themes from the rest of the saga, which results in a score which sometimes feels like a patchwork of ideas dating back 40 years. This is, of course, the very nature of leitmotif scoring. If you intend to stick to it religiously, as Williams has tended to do throughout the Star Wars saga, then your hand is forced to play certain music at certain times, simply because those are the rules you have established for yourself. You see Princess Leia, you hear Princess Leia’s theme. You see Rey, you hear Rey’s theme. You see Kylo Ren, you hear Kylo Ren’s theme. You talk about the Force, you hear the Force theme. That’s how it works. It’s how the films maintain musical consistency, it’s how characters’ musical identities are established, and it offers the composer an opportunity to create interesting contrapuntal variations on existing ideas, when they are placed in new situations, or face off against new opponents.

On the other hand, this also potentially gives rise to accusations of a lack of inspiration or, worst of all, laziness in a composer, which couldn’t be further from the truth. In a leitmotif scenario, you can only write new music for something which is new, and in a film like The Last Jedi where 90% of the film focuses on existing characters and concepts, what room does Williams have to change things? The main drawback of the leitmotif approach is that sometimes it forces a composer into a creative corner, bound by precedent to write things a certain way. But, even then, it’s not like it’s easy to hit all the thematic beat points and still have the score flow like a natural, organic piece of music. It’s as much of a math problem as it is a musical one, finding something interesting to say between the pre-determined thematic statements, but Williams is as consummate now at the age of 85 as he ever was. As a result, The Last Jedi manages to be warmly nostalgic, emotionally powerful, and daring and thrilling, all at the same time, and often in the same cue.

One other thing I noticed about the score is how often, in its structure, it has a sense of duality. The film is all about balance in conflict; light side of the Force against the dark side of the Force, life against death, hope against despair. As I mentioned earlier, many of the characters find themselves paired off with another strong character, either as a partnership or as a conflict: Luke and Rey, Rey and Kylo, Luke and Kylo, Finn and Rose, Leia and Poe. This manifests itself in terms of how many of Williams’s cues are structured in halves: cues which begin softly often end with great strength, cues which begin with dissonance end with consonance, cues which begin by prominently showcasing one theme end up showcasing another. It would be fascinating to know how much of this was by design through conversations between Johnson and Williams, or how much was driven by the editing.

The much more interesting Japanese CD cover.

The score itself begins with “Main Title and Escape,” which opens with the familiar main Star Wars theme, before segueing into the first of several thrilling action pieces that underscore the opening sequence of the Resistance fleet desperately trying to escape from the First Order flagship and its terrifying Dreadnaught. The music is frantic, busy, densely orchestrated, full of flashing brass triplets, trilling woodwinds, and sparkling string runs, and is wonderfully exciting, as all Williams’s action music has been over the past decade or so. It features regular thematic acknowledgements – there are hits for the Dark Force theme, Kylo Ren’s theme, and the Rebel Fanfare, as well as the tiniest allusion to Poe’s theme at 3:35, a brief statement of Finn’s theme at 4:21 (although, here, it breaks from leitmotivic consistency and is used to acknowledge a heroic action by the droid BB-8), and several heroic blasts the Resistance March, including one underpinned by a rich trumpet countermelody. The finale scales some broad emotional heights and uses often the Force theme to underscore the ultimate sacrifices made by the members of the Resistance – notably that of Rose’s sister Paige, whose death gives that character the impetus to step into the forefront – although, oddly, there is what sounds like a quote of the ‘Battle of the Heroes’ theme from Revenge of the Sith at 6:16 which doesn’t appear to make sense in that context, as it is heard when Paige catches the falling remote control and uses it to release her bombardier’s payload onto the Dreadnaught.

The second cue is the lush and sweeping “Ahch-To Island,” and is essentially a continuation of the music from the finale of The Force Awakens, in which Rey’s finally comes face to face with the long-lost Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker. The second reprise of the Jedi Steps theme appears to be phrased slightly differently, being underpinned with darker tones and a sense of uncertainty, and as the cue progresses soft, emotional, world-weary statements of the Force theme oscillate back and forth with sweeping statements of Rey’s theme. As I mentioned earlier, the two-part Last Jedi theme is introduced in the cue’s second half, but this won’t be the last time we hear this music.

In “Revisiting Snoke,” Williams presents a bed of dark string textures, bleating low bassoons, and growling vocal ideas, which provide intentional aural similarities between the ghoulish Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi. Even here, Williams interjects several thematic nuggets: the Dark Force motif, Kylo Ren’s theme, even a flash of the Imperial March, while the four notes at 2:00 sound like the middle four notes of Yoda’s theme, and may be a clever hat-tip to the concept of Force Training, as the conversation in the scene at that point relates to how Snoke took over the training of Kylo Ren from Luke, who was himself trained by Yoda.

The subsequent “The Supremacy” underscores the space-based action sequence in which Leia’s flagship is attacked by Kylo Ren and his First Order TIE fighter squadron. There is some excellent back-and-forth action writing here, with both Kylo Ren’s theme and the Resistance March appearing frequently throughout, in opposition to each other; the action setting of Kylo Ren’s theme at 1:41 is especially excellent. However, the second half of the cue is much more emotional, and features several outstanding statements of Princess Leia’s theme which offer a range of tonal variations; the statement for solo harp and ghostly choir at 2:33 is solemnly intense, but the swell of heroism at 3:06, accompanied by rolling timpani, is magical, even though it accompanies the unintentionally funny ‘Leia Poppins’ moment, which I found to be one of the movie’s few missteps.

At this point in the film the main plot strands split into three directions: one strand deals with Luke and Rey on Ahch-To, one strand deals with Rose and Finn’s journey to Canto Bight, and one deals with the increasingly disruptive leadership battle within the Resistance, as Poe and Admiral Holdo clash over how best to deal with the First Order threat. Frustratingly, most of the music relating to Admiral Holdo and Poe is absent from the album; Holdo actually has a determined-sounding brass theme which appears in the film itself on several occasions, most notably during her heroic light-speed sacrifice to stop Hux’s flagship from decimating the last of the Resistance fleet, but it is entirely missing from the body of the score itself. Similarly, the spectacular theme for Poe is heard several times in the film, notably during the opening attack on the Dreadnaught, but it is almost entirely absent from the album.

The aforementioned “Fun with Finn and Rose” underscores the meet-cute between these characters with the first performance of Rose’s theme, several playful and mischievous arrangements of the Resistance March for bass flutes, and a sentimental, tender version of Leia’s theme, which sets into motion their elaborate plan to save the Resistance fleet. They arrive on “Canto Bight” accompanied by florid, twinkling, fanfare-like orchestral music, but this quickly changes, and before know it Williams is back in the world of Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes – the Mos Eisley Cantina band – for a sequence in the Canto Bight casino, where the rich and powerful in the Star Wars universe come to play. Steel drums, muted jazz trumpets, clarinets, and various processed sound effects are the order of the day; it’s funky and light and has a toe-tapping dance-like rhythm, and is a neat throwback to one of the most famous pieces of original diegetic music in cinema history. Interestingly, the end credits crawl of the film mentions that Williams’s own theme from the 1973 film The Long Goodbye, as well as a mambo piece by the great Brazilian composer Ary Barroso, are used as source music in the film, so it’s more than possible that some of the music in the Canto Bight casino sequence is actually a cantina band arrangement of those pieces; if so, this is a brilliant John Williams in-joke.

The climax of Finn and Rose’s side story is “The Fathiers,” a tremendous galloping action sequence which accompanies them as they escape from Canto Bight’s security forces amid a stampede of ‘fathiers,’ horse-like animals used on that planet for racing. The cue is filled with several explosive, heroic statements of Rose’s theme , amid a flurry of whooping brass phrases, swirling descending woodwind and string lines, and frantic percussion runs, including prominent placements for xylophone and tambourine. The whole thing reminds me of some of the action music from Williams’s 2011 score The Adventures of Tintin, as well as the score for Attack of the Clones, and it is quite superb.

Meanwhile, on Ahch-To, Luke and Rey continue their explorations into Jedi mythology and Rey’s Force training, as she continues to try to convince him to return and help his sister and her comrades. “Old Friends” underscores the scene where Luke reconnects with R2-D2 inside the Millennium Falcon, and the droid uses some very old recorded material which finally convinces Luke to help Rey. Statements of both the Force theme and Luke’s theme on flutes, as well as references to Princess Leia’s theme and Rey’s theme, flit in and out as the cue progresses. However, the second half of the cue is darker and more mysterious, featuring piano rumbles, dissonant strings, hints of the Dark Force motif, and the A-phrase of the Last Jedi theme, as the mental connection between Rey and Kylo begins to manifest itself. “Lesson One” is a showcase for Rey’s theme and the Force theme as Luke begins Rey’s Jedi training, and there are several moments where Williams cleverly combines both themes, allowing one to flow into the other. Again, the finale is darker and louder, filled with brass fanfares and string crescendos, as Rey’s discovery of the Dark Side cave underneath the island starts to tug at her consciousness.

Rey enters “The Cave” accompanied by a mass of dark textures, all low register woodwinds, blatting brass, and rumbling strings. There are several call-backs here to the music from the Dagobah Magic Tree sequence from The Empire Strikes Back, especially in the bassoon and clarinet writing. The whole thing starts out as one of the most abstract and impressionistic pieces Williams has written in some time, but during its conclusion it becomes quietly emotional, as a slightly tragic statement of Rey’s theme deepens her frustration at not being able to find out the truth about her parents. “The Sacred Jedi Texts” is a dramatic cue that accompanies the revelations concerning Luke’s conflicted relationship with the Force, and his belief that the Jedi order must die out. Several huge statements of the Force theme ring out, but they are quickly replaced by a sweeping guest performance of Yoda’s theme to accompany the wise Jedi master’s appearance as a Force Ghost to give Luke philosophical advice on Rey, his own destiny, and the fate of the Jedi Order.

The finale of the score begins with “A New Alliance,” which underscores the second of the two sequences in which Kylo Ren and his prisoner, Rey, are confronted by Snoke in his blood red throne room. Darkly threatening textures, growling voices, and ominous string lines eventually give way to a surprising and excellent combination of the two Force themes, wherein the brass triplets of the Dark Force theme at 1:14 lead into an imposing brass variation of the standard Force theme; the alliance between Rey and Kylo is being forged here, and the musical acknowledgement of this is one of the most intelligent contrapuntal ideas in the score. This quickly becomes a spectacular action sequence, with Rey and Kylo fighting side-by-side with lightsabers against Snoke’s guards, and which features several wonderful action settings of Rey’s theme. Interestingly, in the film, there is a clear statement of the Emperor’s theme from Return of the Jedi when Snoke uses the Force to drag information about Luke Skywalker’s whereabouts from Rey’s brain; the use of that theme in that context cannot be arbitrary, and it will be fascinating to see if there are any revelations about Snoke’s backstory in the next film which explain Williams’s decision to make that thematic choice there.

“Chrome Dome” is another action sequence, this time for the bitter revenge-fueled fight between Finn and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), his former commander in the First Order stormtrooper corps. The cue features immense percussion, racing strings, brass triplets, and flashes of the Rebel Fanfare, but there’s a surprising lack of a clear heroic statement of Finn’s theme from The Force Awakens – in fact, the virtual abandonment of the themes for both Finn and Poe is one of the score’s only real missteps.

The score’s final main action set piece begins with “The Battle of Crait,” which accompanies the first part of the conclusive battle between the few surviving members of the Resistance and the First Order batallions on the surface of the sodium planet Crait. The cue is filled with strongly rhythmic and militaristic versions of the Force theme, the Resistance March, Rose’s theme, Poe’s theme, Kylo Ren’s theme, the Rebel Fanfare, and Rey’s theme, all of which weave in and out of Williams’s relentless, dense, complicated action music. The entire cue’s underlying percussive beat is a clear allusion to the Snowspeeder rhythmic motif from The Empire Strikes Back, and draws parallels between this battle and the one on Hoth so many years ago, while the spectacular return of the “Here They Come” action music from A New Hope at 3:46 recalls the last time the Millennium Falcon was in a dogfight with Imperial TIE fighters. I also love the little brass whirl at 3:44 as the Millennium Falcon dives into a salt cave at full speed; it’s the same flurry of notes Williams used when the Falcon dives into the ‘space slug’ cave during The Empire Strikes Back. The enormously emotional choral conclusion of the cue accompanies Finn’s noble, sacrificial suicide charge intended to take out the First Order’s battering ram gun, and for a while all seems lost, until someone decides that winning the war against evil requires saving the ones you love, not killing the ones you hate, and intervenes.

“The Spark” marks the epic return of Luke Skywalker to the battlefield – destiny and fate, relief and hope, and purposeful intent to right the wrongs of the past, all embodied by one man in a hooded cloak. Dark brass textures and mystery-shrouded harmonies eventually give way to the stirring, long-awaited reunion between Luke and Leia, brother and sister, and their beautiful theme, last heard in the treetops of Endor in Return of the Jedi. A fleeting statement of ‘Han Solo and the Princess’ at 2:02 recalls Leia’s love for the wisecracking scoundrel, before the whole thing concludes with an enormous, epic, anticipatory explosion of music that somehow seems to combine elements from the new Last Jedi theme, the Force theme, Luke’s theme, and the Imperial March, all at the same time. This staggering piece of writing appears to have the different parts of the brass section playing all these different themes simultaneously; you here a brief flash of the Imperial March at the forefront on horns, then the Last Jedi theme on trombones, with the Force theme underneath it on trumpets, and then again, and again, in different combinations. It acts as a herald for the final confrontation between Luke and Kylo, former master and former apprentice, uncle and nephew, as the fate of the entire Resistance hangs in the balance, and it is yet another reminder of just why John Williams remains the most respected composer in film music.

The build up reaches its peak in “The Last Jedi,” which underscores the conclusion of Luke and Kylo’s fight sequence. The Force theme, Kylo Ren’s theme, and a reprise of the ‘noble sacrifice’ choral music are prominent, and it all builds to a massive, apocalyptic conclusion for orchestra and chorus. The staccato brass hits at the end have echoes of previous Star Wars lightsaber fights, notably the one between Luke’s father Anakin and Obi-Wan at the conclusion of Revenge of the Sith; in this universe, destiny always comes full circle. The subsequent “Peace and Purpose” is the emotional high point of both score and film as it is revealed that Luke has actually been using the Force to project himself across the galaxy from Ahch-To to Crait, and that the effort in doing so has killed him. The huge final statement of the Force theme, as Luke watches Ahch-To’s twin suns rise in his final moments before he becomes one with the Force, is a heartbreaking mirror of the legendary ‘Binary Sunset’ scene from 40 years ago, and allows us to reflect on the life of that young farm boy from Tatooine, dreaming of a life of adventure. But all is not over; the brutally militaristic versions of Kylo Ren’s theme and the Dark Force theme remind us that the First Order still lives, while the hopeful versions of the Resistance March, Rey’s theme, and the Rebel Fanfare let us know that the battle for peace continues.

The score’s “Finale” begins with a light, almost Harry Potter-esque version of the Star Wars main theme for celesta, harp, and flutes, as well as an innocent version of the Force theme, for Johnson’s open-ended and ambiguous final scene in which a seemingly throwaway character – a small boy from Canto Bight working in the fathier stables – shows latent, fledgling Force sensitivity and gazes upwards into the galaxy, wondering what destiny has in store for him. It’s an interesting statement that ties into one of the film’s underlying themes, which posits that even the lowliest people – moisture farmers, scavengers, and stable boys – can achieve greatness. The end credits itself is the usual wonderful medley of themes from the film, which circles through the Star Wars main theme, Rose’s theme, the Last Jedi theme, the Resistance March, Rey’s theme, Yoda’s theme, and Here They Come. The soft piano version of Princess Leia’s theme as the late Carrie Fisher’s credit appears on screen is poignant, and fans may want to note that the album’s one and only appearance of Admiral Holdo’s theme appears at 5:47.

Ultimately, as I noted earlier, your final reaction to the score for The Last Jedi will likely hinge on your opinion about whether using a lot of existing thematic material renders it repetitive or, worst of all, redundant. It’s certainly possible that, despite knowing and understanding the concepts that determine leitmotif, you could still find that Williams’s reliance on themes from the first seven Star Wars films makes this film come across as a messy, needle-dropped Frankenstein score, or that the abundance of older and more famous themes overshadows what new material there actually is. My own point of view, as you can probably tell, is one that is much more positive. I feel that the two major new themes combine perfectly with the older material, and that Williams provides more than enough variation on those themes for them to still feel fresh and exciting. Furthermore, the new action material, especially in the fathiers sequence, and during the final Crait battle, is wonderfully entertaining and musically creative.

However, best of all for me is the fact that The Last Jedi is a nostalgia bomb of the highest order. I love Star Wars music. I always have. Hearing these legendary themes on the big screen, in new settings, in new combinations, in this universe, gave me more goosebumps than any other score this year, and it’s legitimately the first Star Wars movie to make me cry. It is, beyond question, one of the best scores of 2017.

Buy the Last Jedi soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • Main Title and Escape (7:25)
  • Ahch-To Island (4:22)
  • Revisiting Snoke (3:28)
  • The Supremacy (4:00)
  • Fun with Finn and Rose (2:33)
  • Old Friends (4:28)
  • The Rebellion is Reborn (3:59)
  • Lesson One (2:09)
  • Canto Bight (2:37)
  • Who Are You? (3:04)
  • The Fathiers (2:42)
  • The Cave (2:59)
  • The Sacred Jedi Texts (3:32)
  • A New Alliance (3:13)
  • Chrome Dome (2:01)
  • The Battle of Crait (6:47)
  • The Spark (3:35)
  • The Last Jedi (3:03)
  • Peace and Purpose (3:06)
  • Finale (8:28)

Running Time: 77 minutes 31 seconds

Walt Disney Records (2017)

Music composed by John Williams. Conducted by John Williams and William Ross. Orchestrations by William Ross and Andrew Barrett. Recorded and mixed by Shawn Murphy. Edited by Ramiro Belgardt and Joseph Bonn. Album produced by John Williams.

  1. Brendon Kelly
    December 19, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Brilliant Teview Jon. Amazing detail which I had not picked up. Now have an even better appreciation of this score.

  2. Paolo Vido
    December 19, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you for your review, it helped me a lot to appreciate the score even more and somehow translated into words my intuitive feelings about the score.
    John Williams is the Force of the Star Wars universe!

  3. Hermione West
    December 21, 2017 at 1:58 am

    Great review. The Spark, The Last Jedi and Peace and Purpose have been on repeat for me. I love that Poe and Rey’s themes are briefly combined in Peace and Purpose during their meet scene. John Williams is a treasure.

  4. Edmund Meinerts
    January 8, 2018 at 5:52 am

    The reason there’s no Finn theme in “Chrome Dome” is because there never was a Finn theme in the first place…there was an action motif that cropped up in a few places in The Force Awakens (mostly the Falcon chase on Jakku) that mysteriously ended up being associated with him even though there were a multitude of Finn scenes that did not use that motif. I highly doubt Williams ever intended for it to be a theme for him.

  5. Lin Pellerito
    June 23, 2020 at 11:20 am

    Really appreciate your article and perspective. I haven’t watched the last Jedi enough, just 4 times, to identify the various themes. Actually I came here looking for info on the music from the reunification of Luke and Leia and to verify that (for me) the reuse of previous Star Wars music from earlier films was intentional. I love that it is and that John Williams and Rian Johnson made that happen. Enriched the film even more. I thank you.

  6. Arthur
    January 11, 2023 at 9:37 am

    where is it? star wars episode 6 return of the jedi

  1. February 1, 2018 at 10:00 am
  2. May 21, 2018 at 6:02 am
  3. June 4, 2018 at 8:38 am

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