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The Galactic Empire was defeated a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Okay, it happened in 1983 by our perspective, but it was still a big deal. Nevertheless, the Star Wars franchise continues to revisit the Empire during the height of its power, most recently with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Seeing stormtroopers and Darth Vader again was all well and good, but one of the more subtler ways Rogue One harkened back to that dark period was by playing "The Imperial March," and one fan noticed that composer Michael Giacchino was able to sneak in that tune at the very end of the movie through another song.
"The Imperial March" was clearly heard during Rogue One when Orson Krennic was meeting with Darth Vader at the Sith Lord's castle on Mustafar, as well as when Vader watched the Tantive IV escape. However, Twitter user bobbyrobertspdx and his associate Brian N. Le were listening to the track "Hope" when they noticed that it measured up nicely with "The Imperial March." When played at normal speed, the connection isn't solid, but if "Hope" is sped up, the similarities are much more noticeable, and perfectly solidified when both pieces of music are played together at normal speed. Very sneaky, Mr. Giacchino.
"The Imperial March" is arguably the most sinister piece of Star Wars music ever composed. When that starts playing, you automatically know bad things are happening. To have "Hope" resemble the March was a clever way to both foreshadow coming peril without taking away from Rogue One's victory. Remember, Princess Leia narrowly escaped from Scarif with the Death Star plans, the mission that Jyn Erso and her team set out to accomplish. However, this victory won't fix all of the Rebellion's problems. Even after the first Death Star is destroyed, the Empire will continue to hunt the Rebels down, and only when the second Death Star is destroyed during Return of the Jedi will the Imperial forces will permanently fracture. Of course, then that will pave the way for The First Order years later, but that's a problem for another time.
Originally Rogue One was supposed to be scored by The Grand Budapest Hotel's Alexandre Desplat, but after he dropped out due to scheduling issues, Michael Giacchino was brought in as his replacement. Giacchino only had approximately a month to finish the first Anthology spinoff's music, and while opinions will differ on how the final product sounded, it's amazing that he thought of sneaking in this clever nod to "The Imperial March" while working on all the other musical components.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is still playing in theaters, so click here to read out review of it if you haven't already. As for the Empire, presumably the organization will be involved somehow in the Han Solo spinoff, but you can always see Imperial flunkies at work in the Star Wars Rebels TV series.