Get ready to be jealous. Legendary Star Wars composer John Williams has already seen Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. At least, an early draft of it. He liked it so much, according to a May 10th interview with The Times, twenty-five minutes of the score is already written; and it only took him thirty days to do it! That may not sound like much, but if you know music, writing it is exponentially harder than playing it.
Ben Hoyle of The Times, while interviewing John L. Williams.
“Williams beams when he talks about watching an early cut of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which will bring the nine-film space saga to an end this Christmas. He likes what he has seen “very much” and has so far written about twenty-five minutes of score in about a month.”
John Williams: A Farewell to the Franchise
“I had so many ideas for other movies, but I never got to them, because you ensured that Star Wars would endure forever.”George Lucas to John Williams at the 2016 American Film Institute Awards
Someone can make an argument that the forty-two-year success of Star Wars belongs as much to Williams as it does to George Lucas. Even in his own quote above, Lucas probably agrees with that assessment. There is no feeling more incredible to any fan than sitting in a theater on opening night of a Star Wars film when the iconic phrase, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” fades off. Suddenly you’re hit with the crash of heroic brass as the logo diminishes into the background… then the blare of that first heavy, trumpeted C-Note when the opening crawl starts… I’m getting chills just thinking about it! Those images are things we remember because of the musical genius that is John Williams.
Leaving His Mark
Few can claim the accomplishments of Williams’ storied career. Starting out as a jazz pianist in the 1940s, they would nominate him for fifty-one Academy Awards, winning five. He would also take home twenty-three Grammys and three Emmys. His film score credits are a pantheon of my childhood favorites, such as E.T., Jaws, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Superman, Jurassic Park, and… oh, did I mention Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Yeah, he wrote that, too. He also writes a little on the side, like Presidential inauguration scores, symphonies, an Olympic Games theme or two, or four. It would be easy for someone with this level of success to not just be put on a pedestal, but live on one. However, not our John L. Williams, oh no. Humble as ever, he says this about his achievements:
“I can’t take any of this terribly seriously, because I’m a musician standing on the shoulders of what people have done in other centuries of music.”John L. Williams, interview with The Times
All good things, sadly, must end. Episode IX will be his last Star Wars composition, and I predict it will be awesome. How appropriate that the Skywalker saga started with the same composer at the musical helm that it will end with. The Force is strong with this one, and because of him, it will always be with us. Thank you, John Williams, for putting the music to our favorite space opera. What would you say to John about his final Star Wars opus?