Lin-Manuel Miranda has made a name for himself as a pretty powerful triple threat, with huge titles on his résumé for not only acting but for writing and composing as well. The Hamilton actor, writer, and musical composer has the talent to back up his world renowned name, but it also seems the musical genius also has a bit of luck and impeccable timing to thank for his involvement in one huge franchise. Miranda has now described how he came to be involved in the Star Wars universe, and it’s honestly pretty funny.
While promoting the theatrical adaptation of In The Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda looks back on how he landed the gig of composing music for J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens - and it was very much by chance. In an interview with SFGATE, he jokingly recalled asking for a hypothetical job that turned out to be very real. Here it is in Miranda’s own words:
I jokingly said, 'Well, if you need any cantina music for Episode Seven, I'm your guy.' He looks up and goes, 'I do need music for the cantina in Episode Seven. John Williams doesn't want to write that part.’ Smash cut to a few months later, I'm supposed to be writing 'Moana,' but every spare second, I have a shared document with J.J. and we're writing the cantina music for Episode Seven… The moral of the story is when you meet your heroes, shoot your shot.
It turns out Lin-Manuel Miranda’s dream gig in the Star Wars franchise is pretty much the epitome of the phrase “if you don’t ask, the answer is always no,” and it had the best possible outcome. Of course, that doesn’t mean just anyone could have asked J.J. Abrams for the job of writing cantina music in one of the most beloved franchises known to man.
Lin-Manuel Miranda absolutely had the skills to back up his casual pitch to J.J. Abrams. In fact, Miranda explained that the encounter came after Miranda introduced himself to Abrams while the director was at a performance of Hamilton. When Abrams complimented his work, Miranda saw an in with the director, and it worked out beautifully that what he was offering fit perfectly with Abrams’ needs.
It’s actually brilliant kismet that J.J.Abrams had a need for a cantina writer at all, seeing as though he had the iconic John Williams composing music for him already. Williams is pretty much the biggest musical name in cinema and has worked on some of the biggest films in Hollywood’s history, like Jaws, Jurassic Park, the Harry Potter franchise, and of course, all of the Star Wars films. It turns out that even though the cantina music Williams has produced for Star Wars is pretty lit, he apparently wasn't too eager to revive it for The Force Awakens - cue Lin-Manuel Miranda!
While Lin-Manuel Miranda’s involvement with Star Wars may be kind of a funny story, it’s actually pretty inspirational, too. The amount of effort it took for Miranda to work up the courage to introduce himself to one of his heroes ended up with him getting pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime gig; it just goes to show that sometimes the fulfillment of a dream is just an ask away! Fast forward to today, and you can check out Miranda’s newest musical endeavor by watching In The Heights, which is set to release to theaters and HBO Max on June 11th.