‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Featurette Goes Behind the Music with John Williams

     February 22, 2016


Star Wars: The Force Awakens pulled heavily from the original trilogy — from the inclusion of original characters, to the story itself about one untrained Jedi emerging in a galaxy plagued by the villainous First Order. From a musical perspective, you probably pinpointed some classic themes weaving in and out of new ones. As John Williams remarked, this was his approach in developing the score for Episode VII.

The legendary composer, who wrote the scores for the previous Star Wars films, is the subject of a new featurette that goes behind the scenes of the sounds of The Force Awakens. In the video, he describes how he connected his score to the ones from the earlier films, which involved incorporating the iconic melodies associated with Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess-turned-General Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Luke Skywalker (Han Solo).

Watch the featurette below:

Williams also spoke about developing material for the new characters Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). Regarding the first, he said:

Rey, her scene has a musical grammar that is not heroic in the sense of a hero’s theme. It’s kind of an adventure theme that maybe promises more than resolving itself in the most major, triumphant resolutions. When we first meet her, she’s alone, she’s been without her parents. I felt a lot of empathy for that girl, and I think Rey’s theme needs to be able to illustrate that.

Then there’s Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) on the opposite side of the Force. Williams said he composed his theme as an extension of sorts to Darth Vader, musically linking the charred helmet in Ren’s prized collection to its original owner.

As production on Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII is already underway, Williams will return again for the next installment, which continues the adventures of these new heroes and villains. Hearing the opening theme on its own still sends shivers down my spine, which makes the above video worth watching a second time.

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