Home > Reviews > STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER – John Williams


December 23, 2019 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton


When you’re a critic or reviewer, you often get accused of being biased, especially when you write a review that is contrary to the opinion of the accuser. And, of course, this is true. It’s impossible to remove bias from any opinion because your biases inform your feelings and your reactions to whatever it is you’re expressing an opinion about. Your bias comes from your life experience, your culture, your personality, and your taste: effectively, it’s the sum of who you are. For me, a piece of critical writing without bias is pointless because then you’re never actually sharing your point of view – in effect, you’re just describing something, and never describing how it makes you feel, and most importantly why. All art should make you feel something, good or bad, because otherwise what’s the point of art? Over time, a critic’s biases will become a clear and important part of what they write, and the reader, if they invest enough time into learning them, will be able to weigh those subjective biases against more objective standards, and tell whether or not the end result meshes with their own opinions, and their own biases. So, from the point of view of this review it’s important to point out that I am biased, heavily, to have a positive view of Star Wars.

I was born in November 1975. Star Wars started filming in 1976 and came out in the spring of 1977, so for all intents and purposes it is as old as I am. Basically, I have never known a world without Star Wars in it, and for a huge part of my childhood and adolescence and into adulthood, Star Wars has been one of the pop culture things I have loved the most. I don’t know for sure, but I would imagine that Star Wars was one of the first movies I ever saw (on VHS, over and over, in my cousin Eileen’s living room, as she was the only person in my family to have a VCR when I was a kid). It was certainly the first movie I ever became obsessed with as a six year old. Return of the Jedi was the first film I ever saw in a movie theater. I collected the toys, the action figures, the play sets. I read Star Wars comic books and tie-in literature. It played possibly the most important role in shaping my taste in movies, my interest in sci-fi and action and fantasy. And, of course, it was a massive part of why I love film music, which is of course the focus of what I am writing right now.

At this point, I think it’s important to stop and take a moment and truly recognize exactly what it is John Williams has done over the past 42 years. What he has given the world. When George Lucas asked Williams to write the score for the first film, and told him he wanted a classical score with a big sweeping orchestra, something very theatrical and operatic, Williams humorously replied “That’s wonderful. It’s not my style, but I’ll do the best I can.” Williams was mostly known as a jazz man at that point in his career, but the music that he wrote for Star Wars and it’s first two sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, is perhaps the most brilliant and memorable and recognizable music ever written for film. You could play the Star Wars Main Title, or the Imperial March, for basically anyone, and most of them would recognize it. That sort of cultural saturation is virtually impossible to attain, but Williams has attained it not once, not twice, but multiple times over the last four decades.

He almost single-handedly revitalized global interest in lavish thematic orchestral film scores when the prevailing musical trend in Hollywood in the 1970s was for scores that were smaller and grittier. His music breathed life into the alien worlds and the fantastical concepts that George Lucas created, and allowed audiences to connect with these lavish adventures a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, on a raw, emotional, deeply human level. And he did it with music that is not just emotionally satisfying, but intellectually satisfying too. The music is operatic in nature, with literally dozens and dozens of musical motifs that interlock and complement each other, that develop and change as the story dictates so that even the most abstract ideas are easily understood by the audiences on an almost primal level. He uses marches and fugues and vivid, colorful orchestrations to convey the action and spectacle of the battle scenes, and then strips the whole thing down and writes simple, direct themes to illustrate the connective tissue between the characters: their hopes and fears, their loves, and their destinies. It’s the ultimate in musical storytelling; you don’t even really need to see what’s happening on screen. You can feel it just by listening.

Then, between 1999 and 2005, he did it again by writing the music for the three films in the ‘Prequel Trilogy’- The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. And now he has added three more to the canon with the ‘Sequel Trilogy’ – The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and this new ninth and final installment, The Rise of Skywalker, which is what eventually this review is going to be all about. But before all that, here’s another thing to contemplate. When John Williams started writing Star Wars in 1976 he was 44 years old – the same age as I am now. On the day The Rise of Skywalker premiered, on December 16 2019, he was 87. I doubt any other composer in the history of film music has devoted as much of his adult life to telling, essentially, a single story that spans nine films and more than 20 hours of screen time, with musical ideas and concepts that develop across the entire work. It’s mind-boggling, just what an achievement that is. Completely unprecedented, and unlikely ever to be repeated.

The Rise of Skywalker, as directed by J. J. Abrams, concludes the story that began so long ago, and is the finale of the entire saga. The story picks up a year after the events of The Last Jedi, and sees Kylo Ren, the new Supreme Leader of the Imperial First Order, travelling to a mysterious planet at the center of an impenetrable nebula after receiving a transmission stating what most believed was impossible: that the Sith Lord and former Emperor Palpatine survived the destruction of the Death Star at the end of Return of the Jedi, and had in fact been secretly manipulating everything that led to Kylo betraying his parents Han Solo and Leia Organa, and turning to the dark side of the Force. Meanwhile, the members of the Resistance – including apprentice Jedi Rey, and her friends Finn and Poe Dameron – also become aware of the Emperor’s return, and determine to stop him once and for all. As Rey and her friends criss-cross the galaxy looking for information that will lead them to the Emperor’s location, Kylo is given his own task by the Emperor: kill Rey, and he will inherit not only the Emperor’s Sith powers, but also a massive new armada of Imperial Star Destroyers, which he can then use to dominate the galaxy. It stars the returning cast established in the new trilogy (Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and Oscar Isaac), plus old hands Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Ian McDiarmid, and a returning Billy Dee Williams, as well as a couple of new faces including Richard E. Grant, Naomi Ackie, and Keri Russell. The film itself has come in for some rather unexpected critical derision, which focuses on its plot contrivances, logical lapses, and the overall sense of ‘fan service’ that permates much of the story, but I’m not going to get into all that here – there are plenty of other places online that discuss that in much more detail.

So, on to the music. Every Star Wars score has introduced new thematic material, and The Rise of Skywalker is no exception. The first two new ideas are the main Rise of Skywalker theme, and a theme called ‘We Go Together,’ which is commonly being called the Trio theme, and speaks to the bond of friendship and love between Rey, Finn, and Poe that has developed throughout the series. You can hear both of them in concert suite form in the cue “The Rise of Skywalker,” which begins with the main Rise of Skywalker theme, and then switching to the first performance of the Trio Theme at 0:57. Both themes have a similar feeling of gentleness and warmth, with a welcoming tone that makes them feel akin to Yoda’s theme, Princess Leia’s theme, or Anakin’s theme from The Phantom Menace. The arrangements in the concert suite are just gorgeous, with beautiful orchestral harmonies and even some moments in the latter part of the cue where the two melodies complement each other perfectly.

The third of the new main themes gets its main concert performance in the track “Anthem of Evil,” which shows Williams at his epic best. The Anthem of Evil itself is actually a seven-note motif that receives many different variations as the track progresses. At the outset it is performed by a ghostly chorus, eerie and creepy but strangely beautiful, and comes across as perhaps a variation on the Emperor’s theme as heard in Return of the Jedi. At the 1:40 mark the orchestra comes in, and the theme is performed by a combination of brutally low cellos and guttural brass, before it finally explodes into Gothic grandeur at 2:11, when Williams really allows the evil power of the theme to take over. There are some subtle hints of his 1978 Dracula score, or perhaps the more malevolent music from his Harry Potter scores, to give you an idea of the tone of the piece. In fact, the whole thing has a definite horror movie vibe which perfectly matches the zombie-like visage of Emperor Palpatine as he appears in this film. There are a couple of smaller motifs that are new to this film too, including some wild staccato brass writing for the Knights of Ren, the group of elite dark warriors who accompany Kylo on his search to find Rey, and an unusual undulating string motif that appears to relate to the Sith Wayfinder that shows the route to the planet Exegol where Palpatine has his hidden fortress.

These major new themes and minor new motifs combine with, literally, more than a dozen existing themes and motifs from the previous eight movies, plus a litany of exciting action material, all of which results in a magnificent tapestry of thematic density, and a masterclass in leitmotivic storytelling. Some people find this sort of scoring frustrating, and have even gone as far as to call Williams lazy for relying so much on pre-existing material, but I couldn’t disagree more. This is what leitmotif means; once you’ve established a musical identity for a person, a place, or a concept, then that’s what it is. You can’t just create new musical ideas willy-nilly if you want to maintain consistency, and so Williams remains faithful to the ideas he began creating some 42 years ago. No other composer has a back catalogue like this, a wealth of thematic ideas to draw from and re-work in new settings. These people, places, and concepts keep coming back over and over in a story which references itself endlessly, and so all the themes are there: Luke’s theme which became identified as the Star Wars main theme, the Force theme, Princess Leia’s theme, the Imperial March, Yoda’s theme, the Emperor’s theme, Rey’s theme, Kylo Ren’s theme and the Dark Force motif, Poe’s theme, the March of the Resistance, and several others too. But it’s what Williams does with them that’s so impressive, how he uses them to bring out feelings we may not have felt for decades, or to remind us of previous scenes that mirror what is happening in this new film. It’s all quite brilliant.

The whole thing begins with the “Fanfare and Prologue,” which underscores the opening crawl and quickly segues into a sort-of montage sequence of Kylo and the Knights of Ren fighting their way through numerous enemies in various locations, as they search for the Sith Wayfinder that will help them locate Palpatine. We get action-packed renditions of both Kylo Ren’s theme and the Dark Force motif, and our first introductions to both the frenzied strings and primal attitude of the Knights of Ren motif (1:43), and the rising and falling Wayfinder motif (3:17), but what’s really clever is the way Williams references the ‘Palpatine’s Seduction’ motif from Revenge of the Sith at 2:41, and ends the cue with a distorted, tortured-sounding version of the Emperor’s theme at 3:40, arranged for screeching strings and low brass. The subsequent “Journey to Exegol” accompanies Kylo travelling through a dangerous nebula to find the Emperor’s planet, and begins with a brutal action setting of Kylo Ren theme’s underpinned with heavy percussion hits and dramatic brass phrases. Eventually it engages in an extended dark exploration of Kylo Ren’s theme, the Knights of Ren motif, and the Dark Force motif, as well as a slow, measured, weighty first statement of the Imperial March, which has a wonderfully melodramatic string countermelody.

“The Old Death Star” is music heard during the initial explorations of the wreckage of the second Death Star that exploded during the finale of Return of the Jedi, and which subsequently crashed on Kef Bir, another one of the moons of Endor, which is ravaged by endless churning seas. This music is quietly sinister, and makes excellent use of combination string writing, accompanied by revelatory brass fanfares and more heavy percussion hits. The statement of the Imperial March at 1:04 is especially striking, while the subsequent brief arrangements of both the March of the Resistance and Rey’s theme are unexpectedly eerie, with notable low woodwinds.

The quest to find the Emperor leads Rey, Finn, Poe, and the gang to a desert planet called Pasaana, where they encounter an aged Lando Calrissian during a colorful festival – the Star Wars equivalent of Burning Man. Unfortunately, the gang are forced to flee across the desert from a platoon of First Order Stormtroopers, and the resulting “Speeder Chase” is one of the score’s most exciting action set pieces. Williams casts the action with a relentless bed of rapid strings, across which plays a mischievous motif that jumps back and forth between woodwinds and brass, and reminds me of the Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, or perhaps the Barrel Chase from Jaws. The whole thing is wonderfully exciting and energetic, and a ton of fun; the metallic percussion, the prominent xylophones, the bombastic staccato timpani hits, and the frenzied string writing are wondrous – and it’s such a shame that the cue was revised and partially dialed out in film context.

“Destiny of a Jedi” is one of the score’s emotional high points, even though it underscores one of Rey’s lowest moments when, having learned the shocking truth of her parentage and lineage from Kylo, she retreats to the Jedi island of Ahch-To. Much of the cue is given over to a series of bitter, moving explorations of the different elements of Rey’s theme, which Williams surrounds with some gorgeous writing for brass and searing cellos. The appearance of Luke Skywalker’s force ghost at 0:39 is accompanied by a majestic statement of the Force theme, and as Luke reassures Rey about her goodness, her destiny, the faith of her friends, and the power of the Jedi knights, Williams again illustrates their conversation with several thematic ideas: the Anthem of Evil at 2:04, the Force theme at 2:43, soft and tender versions of both Leia’s theme and Luke’s theme, and then the Trio theme at 4:00. The cue ends with one of the most stirring musical moments in the film, as Luke uses the power of the force to lift his old X-Wing jet out of a nearby lagoon to the magical strains of Yoda’s theme from The Empire Strikes Back – a wonderful callback to the moment in that film when the diminutive Jedi Master did the same thing in the swamps of Dagobah so long ago. Do, or do not; there is no try.

At another point in the film, Rey and the gang find themselves on the planet Kijimi, where they hook up with Keri Russell’s character Zorii Bliss – one of Poe’s old flames – who guides them to a codebreaker who can help translate the Sith Wayfinder they found on Pasaana. “Fleeing from Kijimi” is the conclusion of that sequence, an action piece which follows the gang as they escape from Kylo and the Knights of Ren once more. Here, alternating statements of Kylo’s theme, the Knights of Ren motif, the Dark Force motif, and the Trio theme are underpinned by a wonderful, frantic brass line, including an exciting sequence for fantastic flutter tongued horns at 0:50, and later at 1:20 a really fascinating section where Williams places prominent harp glissandi in the front and center of the mix.

“We Go Together” is one of the score’s longest explorations of the Trio theme, and underscores the scene where Rey, Finn, and Poe decide to travel together to Pasaana to locate the Sith Wayfinder, thereby cementing their friendship. Williams offers some lovely variations and elaborations on the Trio theme, blended with both Rey’s theme and the Force theme, before concluding with a piece of militaristic bombast featuring pulsing strings, echoing brass, and a foreshadowing of the rising and falling Wayfinder motif. The subsequent “Join Me” is the pivotal moment of the film in terms of plot, and accompanies the scene where Rey and Kylo communicate through ‘Force Skype’, and Kylo drops the bombshell of all bombshells: that Rey is Palpatine’s granddaughter. Williams scores this moment with ominous searching strings and dark brass fanfares, and allows the whole thing to build to a revelatory conclusion via desperately dark version of Rey’s theme that develops into a throbbing action sequence featuring a sensationally dramatic setting of Rey’s theme on brass.

“They Will Come” offers one of the score’s best renditions of the March of the Resistance, heroic and hopeful, and combines it with several statements of the Rise of Skywalker theme, sweet and optimistic, featuring flute accents, sweeping strings, and warm brass. “The Final Saber Duel” is not the action extravaganza one might anticipate based on the title, and is actually a much more thoughtful and emotional piece, despite accompanying the lightsaber fight between Kylo and Rey on the sea-soaked ruins of the old Death Star on Kef Bir. Both Kylo Ren’s theme and Rey’s theme feature in the cue’s opening sequence, surrounded by aggressive writing for brass and strings. However, the cue’s pivotal moment comes when Princess Leia senses their conflict and reaches out with the Force across the galaxy to her son; this momentary connection distracts Kylo long enough for Rey to impale him with her lightsaber. However, Rey uses the Force to heal Kylo, and in doing to kick-starts his journey away from the Dark Side. Williams scores these complicated emotional shifts brilliantly with an unusually-hued, slightly weird version of Rey’s theme which segues into a sentimental statement of the Force theme. He pinpoints the specific moment of tragedy with a burst of brass and strings, and then ends with a gorgeous and elegant choral version of Princess Leia’s theme to underscore her terrific sacrifice for the sake of her son.

The big finale of the film – and score – begins with “Battle of the Resistance,” which accompanies the epic aerial dogfight as the members of the Resistance led by Poe, Finn, and Lando Calrissian, attack the fleet of Imperial Star Destroyers orbiting Exegol. Williams’s classic action music is thunderous, pulsating, relentless, and tremendous in its orchestral and thematic intricacy. The cue features a stellar performance of Poe’s Action theme, a terrific statement of the Rebel Fanfare that has now come to be associated with the Millennium Falcon, and an astonishing action setting of the Force theme at 2:14 underpinned with churning, thrusting strings. I may have even spotted a wonderful echo of the music that accompanied Admiral Ackbar’s call sign check-in from Return of the Jedi when his son Aftab appears on screen – listen to the flurry of horns at 1:14!

Meanwhile, down on the surface of Exegol, the now united Rey and Kylo Ren finally come face to face with the Emperor in his new throne room. The music in the opening moments of “Approaching the Throne” is oppressive and dreadfully ominous, and features ghastly statements of the Anthem of Evil, and a deathly and oppressive version of Rey’s theme for the lowest brass. However, just after the two minute mark, the tone switches entirely and the music becomes defiant, showcasing heroic statements of both the Rise of Skywalker theme and the March of the Resistance bolstered by wonderful brass contrapuntal writing. A massive choral outburst leads into “The Force Is With You,” wherein Rey channels the spirits of all the past Jedi to increase her force power, and defeat the Emperor once and for all. The cue is initially built around Rey’s theme, and begins with more choir, both angelic and ghostly, singing a thematic idea which feels somewhat detached and disassociated from reality. The statement of Rey’s theme at 0:45 is an oddly abstract arrangement for piano, strings, and harp, but it quickly becomes bolder and more determined, the brass seemingly infused with new power. At 2:11 the cue explodes into a massive, evil, epic version of the Emperor’s theme for brass and choir – the most gargantuan statement we have heard since Return of the Jedi – but the Force theme responds with a massive, powerful statement of its own. This truly is the battle between good and evil, the Light and the Dark sides of the Force, all the Sith and all the Jedi. The cue ends with a heroic statement of the Rise of Skywalker theme, and then a burst of the Rebel Fanfare as the ‘People’s Armada’ comes to the rescue in the space battle above.

Rey has killed the Emperor with her power, but has killed herself in the process, and in “Farewell” Williams acknowledges this tragedy with an elegiac, reflective statement of Rey’s theme. However, Kylo Ren – who has now been fully redeemed and re-claimed his identity as Ben Solo – chooses to sacrifice his own life instead, and uses Force healing to resurrect Rey, like she did for him previously on Kef Bir. A softer version of Kylo Ren’s theme emerges at 1:03, and then Williams really lays on the dramatic strokes with lots of deep emotional content, some of which appears to be an intentional echo of the music from Han Solo’s death scene in The Force Awakens. The music moves through further statements of Rey’s theme, builds to a crescendo as they share a brief kiss, and them drops to a moment of quiet reflection as Ben Solo dies. The piece ends on an upbeat note via some warm and inviting brass writing, and a wonderful conclusive statement of the Rise of Skywalker theme complete with choir.

Everyone regroups back at the Resistance base in the aftermath of the battle for a celebration and a “Reunion”. Williams uses this scene as an opportunity to run through a medley of themes as friends are reunited in victory – Luke’s theme, the Force theme, the new Trio theme, the upbeat Empire Strikes Back version of Yoda’s theme, Rey’s theme, ‘Luke and Leia’ from Return of the Jedi, and the new Rise of Skywalker theme. The renditions of Yoda’s theme and Luke and Leia make no sense in context, but they remain beautiful, and one can forgive Williams for a little leitmotivic inconsistency in favor of pure emotional impact. In the penultimate cue, “A New Home,” Rey and BB-8 go to Luke’s childhood home, the Lars Homestead on Tatooine, to bury Luke and Leia’s lightsabers in the sand. Williams scores the scene with Rey’s theme, arranged like it was at the beginning of The Force Awakens – a little playful, a little bittersweet – but underpins itwith a bold figure for harp glissandi and swirling strings which recalls both the music from the Jedi Steps on Ahch-To, and ‘The Spark’ from the Battle of Crait, fully acknowledging the fact that Rey is, indeed, the last Jedi.

In the “Finale,” Rey fully rejects her Palpatine heritage and tells a local Tatooine woman that her name is Rey Skywalker; she and BB-8 then watch Tatooine’s twin suns setting beneath the horizon to the strains of the Force theme – the final binary sunset of the Skywalker saga. The End Credits suite then runs through several of the score’s main thematic ideas – the Star Wars main theme, the new Trio theme, a truly epic version of the Anthem of Evil, the Imperial March, Rey’s theme, and the new Rise of Skywalker theme – before returning one final time to the Star Wars theme to end the score on the highest possible note. Some of the edits in the suite are perhaps a little clunky, but the emotional impact of hearing these legendary themes for, perhaps, the last time in a new setting cannot be overestimated.

Despite all this sensational content, the original soundtrack is still missing some tremendous music that plays a major part in the film. The most notable of these is the “Falcon Flight,” a truly mind-boggling piece of action music that is heard during the ‘light speed skipping’ sequence at the beginning of the movie, and which contains an action setting of the Emperor’s theme, a dramatically deconstructed variant on the March of the Resistance, the Rebel Fanfare, the Millennium Falcon ‘diving’ brass flurry (1:19), and a plethora of that fabulous whirligig string and brass writing that has now typified Williams’s action writing for decades. “Falcon Flight” at least appears on the ‘for your consideration’ album that Disney put out in an attempt to secure Williams an Oscar nomination, and can be found online pretty easily; some other cues can only be heard in the context of the film. Moments like these that I noticed include a superb re-working of the music for Darth Vader’s death scene from Return of the Jedi, including the heartbreaking solo harp version of the Imperial March, which plays here as Rey is exploring the ruins of the Emperor’s throne room from the second Death Star. In addition there are several stunning action arrangements of Rey’s theme which are heard in the ‘Jedi training’ sequence; a bittersweet statement of the “Han Solo and the Princess” love theme; and possibly best of all a heroic, major key version of Kylo Ren’s theme which plays after he has switched allegiances and joined Rey in the battle against the Emperor.

All of this is a very, very, very long-winded way of saying that John Williams’s reputation as perhaps the greatest composer in the history of film music is completely warranted, and he keeps adding to his own legacy with each score he writes. Yes, composers like Max Steiner and Alfred Newman and Erich Wolfgang Korngold may have been pioneers in creating the syntax of film music in the 1930s. Yes, composers like Bernard Herrmann and Miklós Rózsa may have perfected the art with their multitude of masterpieces in the 1940s and 50s. Yes, Ennio Morricone and Jerry Goldsmith may have been more experimental and innovative in the 1960s and 70s. Other people will place other composers on similar lists. But, for me, no-one has achieved the holy triumvirate of musical excellence, peer respect, and pop culture recognition the way that John Williams has, and I doubt anyone else ever will. And, amongst all his masterpieces and works of staggering genius and beauty, for me these scores in the Star Wars saga are unparalleled. It’s his Ring Cycle, the work that will define his life and his legacy, a nine-movement 25-hour masterpiece of enduring musical brilliance that has taken a full 42 years to come to fruition. The Rise of Skywalker is not the best score in the series, but its place as the conclusion of this lifelong journey cannot be ignored and overlooked. Am I biased? Of course I am. Do I care? Not one tiny bit. This is the Score of the Year.

Buy the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • Fanfare and Prologue (4:34)
  • Journey to Exegol (2:49)
  • The Rise of Skywalker (4:18)
  • The Old Death Star (3:16)
  • The Speeder Chase (3:21)
  • Destiny of a Jedi (5:12)
  • Anthem of Evil (3:23)
  • Fleeing from Kijimi (2:51)
  • We Go Together (3:17)
  • Join Me (3:42)
  • They Will Come (2:50)
  • The Final Saber Duel (3:57)
  • Battle of the Resistance (2:51)
  • Approaching the Throne (4:16)
  • The Force Is with You (3:59)
  • Farewell (5:14)
  • Reunion (4:05)
  • A New Home (1:47)
  • Finale (10:51)

Running Time: 76 minutes 33 seconds

Walt Disney Records (2019)

Music composed and conducted by John Williams. Orchestrations by John Williams and William Ross. Recorded and mixed by Shawn Murphy. Edited by Ramiro Belgardt. Album produced by John Williams.

  1. Tamas
    December 23, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Very nice review, Jon. Well done. You can expect push back for Score of the year, though. 🙂 Cheers!

  2. Nasir007
    December 23, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Absolutely is the score of the year. What could improve upon it. It is a thrilling listen from start to finish and the new themes are memorable and impactful and the old ones deepen.

  3. December 26, 2019 at 5:48 am

    What you have not said is that it can be seen from the music that John Williams knew about Rey’s parentage from the beginning. Musically, Rey’s theme is an extension of the Emperor’s themes as they both start with the same three notes, in the same way that Han and Leah’s romance theme from Empire is an extension of Leah’s theme from A New Hope.

    • Mark
      January 21, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      Yes! thank-you! Finally someone else notices that Rets theme contains the Emperors theme. It’s SO obvious!

  4. December 28, 2019 at 3:49 am

    nice review! It’s a shame they didn’t include all the music on the soundtrack. Williams is definitely a genius when it comes to evoking the right emotions in the right scenes!

  5. Jonathan Williams
    January 3, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    Very disappointing that the heroic “Ben Solo” version of Kylo Ren’s theme isn’t anywhere to found on the album. It was the main piece of unique music that stood out to me as I was watching the film, and the cue I was most looking forward to revisiting once I listened to the score.

  6. Spencer K. Allred
    February 9, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    What is this Dark Force motif you mention? I can’t tell what music you’re talking about.

  7. May 17, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Surprised and disappointed that no noticeable PREQUEL TRILOGY themes were used…despite assurances back in Aug from good ol DON WILLIAMS -(John’s baby brother) that themes from ALL previous trilogies ( even mentioned “Anakin’s Theme”:.which I had ASSUMED was Anakin’s “little boy” theme- innocent sounding initially but fading at the end and very subtlety and brilliantly and almost as a warning of things to come..changes into the “Imperial March”..in a VERY SUBTLE and NON-ABRUPT way..but not so hard that an avg SW fan couldn’t catch) despite this however and seemingly contradicting what Don said – no stand-out or noticeable Prequel themes are used ‘ A BIG MISTAKE that would have added a serious dose of Poigency on connecting all the threads back to ep 1

  8. Claire Medez
    June 22, 2021 at 2:40 am

    Hello! I would like to ask you as the author of this article/review of these two questions. What makes star wars music an art form and what are the present elements from the music are being applied?
    Thank you for your honest response. 🙂

  1. January 19, 2020 at 5:09 pm

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