by Dan Moren
John Williams’s rich and intricate score for The Last Jedi
New Yorker music critic Alex Ross has a great write-up of John Williams’s score for The Last Jedi. Warning: the full piece does have spoilers to the plot of The Last Jedi, but it also touches upon Williams’s legacy for the earlier films:
This attention has come about not only because of the mythic weight that George Lucas’s space operas have acquired in the contemporary imagination; the music is also superbly crafted and rewards close analysis. Williams’s latest score is one the most compelling in his forty-year “Star Wars” career: Rian Johnson’s film complicates and enriches the familiar template, and Williams responds with intricate, ambiguous variations on his canon of themes.
I’ve only listened to The Last Jedi score a handful of times so far, so I’m still processing it. Like the film it accompanies, it is complex and vast–though I wish that it and its predecessor, The Force Awakens, would get much-deserved expanded releases, as with earlier installments in the franchise.1
If there’s one disappointment I have with the TLJ score, it’s that it doesn’t pick up some of the new themes that were developed in Williams’s music for TFA. Kylo Ren and Rey’s themes are both prominent (and they were among the best new motifs in TFA), but TLJ relies more on music from the original franchise–something that I was hoping for in TFA but this time took me a bit by surprise.
The good news is that Williams isn’t done with this universe yet. In all likelihood he’ll return for Episode IX, and it was also announced last week that he’ll be composing a main theme for the upcoming Han Solo standalone movie.
- I’ve also grown to love Michael Giacchino’s score for Rogue One, especially since watching this fabulous deconstruction of it. ↩