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The first blast of John Williams’ score at the beginning of Star Wars: The Force Awakens immediately reminded audiences that they were once again watching a Star Wars film. It was immediately nostalgic, as well as rousing and entertaining. Without it, Star Wars: The Force Awakens just wouldn’t have worked as well. And now John Williams has been speaking about what it was like working on the music for the space opera again. Like the rest of us watching in theaters, he was immediately excited by the proposition.
Straight off the bat, it’s great to see the 84-year-old composter, conductor, pianist, and all-round musical genius looking so sprightly and with it. And, despite his obvious prowess, Williams was just as excited as everyone else when it came to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
John Williams admitted that he was chomping at the bit to "add to the glossary of themes" of Star Wars, while also explaining that his main ambition was to create a fun and exciting backbone to J.J. Abrams’ return to the franchise. In fact, Williams wanted it to feel as though you were visiting an old friend.
Because of the return of Carrie Fisher’s Leia, Harrison Ford’s Han Solo, Chewbacca, C3-PO, and, rather briefly, Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, John Williams made sure to make a connection to the original films with the music, which he then combined with new melodies for the characters.
John Williams also elaborated on his hopes for the personal scores of characters, insisting that Rey’s was meant to invoke empathy, and wasn’t intended to be heroic. Rather, it was meant to be more like an adventure theme. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren’s music was an extension of Darth Vader, and was meant to convey terror, evil, and dread in short, sharp notes.
For those of you that don’t know, and if you don’t then you should be thoroughly ashamed, John Williams is, arguably, the greatest composer in the history of cinema. This is a point that’s hard to dispute when you consider that he’s created some of the most recognizable film scores in movie history, having composed pieces for Jaws, the Star Wars series, Superman, the Indiana Jones franchise, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, and the first three Harry Potter films.
John Williams is in contention for his sixth Academy Award at the end of the month thanks to his work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He is going up against Thomas Newman’s score for Bridge Of Spies, Carter Burwell’s on Carol, Johann Johannsson’s on Sicario, while his main competitor is Ennio Morricone, who created the music for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.
My money is John Williams to take home yet another Oscar. But, even if he doesn’t, he’ll no doubt gain another nomination when he works on Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is due out on December 15, 2017. He's just that good.