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The Skywalker Saga has very nearly come to an end. It's pretty incredible, even considering the success of the original Star Wars that things have come this far. While the franchise has certainly come a long way, so has the story. These characters that we know and love were so very different people all those years ago, and even the filmmakers themselves didn't know where things were going to go back then, as composer John Williams readily admits.
At the beginning, there was no guarantee there would ever be more movies, so John Williams says he wrote the musical themes in the first movie with the assumption that we'd never see these characters again. However, not knowing that eventually Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia would eventually be revealed as siblings, Williams saw a very different future for them. According to the composer...
The story I tell about Luke and Leia, I saw them as two young people in the first film that I would never see again. And they seemed to be compatible. They had fun together. They did the action scenes together. And I figured, 'Well, sooner or later, they will be lovers and they’ll have children,' and you know, so I wrote a love theme for Princess Leia, not knowing for, like, two or three years that they were brother and sister.
While we don't know until Star Wars: Return of the Jedi that Luke and Leia are siblings, it's made clear in The Empire Strikes Back that Luke and Leia are not going to end up together as Williams had envisioned. Despite a rather unfortunate passionate kiss between Luke and Leia, the romantic relationship that begins is between Leia and Han Solo.
At first glance, one might not think that letting your composer know where the story is going is important, especially when you're not entirely certain the story will ever actually go anywhere at all. However, when it comes to writing movie music, who characters are, and how they relate to each other, actually matters. John Williams tells CBS that, because of his impression of Luke and Leia at the beginning as potentially young lovers, he wrote the music a certain way, then he had to go back and write new character themes because the old ones no longer worked.
I’m not even sure when George [Lucas] told us. That was the second film, or the third. So I had to go back and write different themes for the various relationships that came into focus over time.
One wonders how much, if anything, John Williams was told about where the current trilogy is going. Will any of the themes he's created for our new band of heroes need to be reworked for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? We'll find out when we hear the brand new score on December 20.