The Star Wars franchise began almost 40 years ago when then little-known director George Lucas and actors Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher jumpstarted their careers with what’s become one of the highest-grossing films of all time. Episode IV – A New Hope was a huge hit at the worldwide box office and received 10 Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture), before going on to inspire two followup films, three prequels and now three new sequels.
And through all seven Star Wars films that exist so far, one of the greatest things tying them together is composer John Williams’ score. Williams has won a number of awards for his work on the franchise, and no one can think of the series without fondly remembering the work he composed. Though Williams won’t be composing the music for this year’s spinoff anthology film Rogue One, his iconic sound will be back for next year’s still-untitled Episode VIII.
During last night’s annual John Williams’ Film Night at Tanglewood, the legendary composer led the Boston Pops through some of his most memorable pieces from the Star Wars films, including the first Tanglewood performances of ‘Rey’s Theme’ and ‘The Jedi Steps and Finale’ from Episode VII – The Force Awakens. Also, according to MassLive, Williams told the crowd he would begin work in just a few weeks on the highly anticipated Episode VIII after recently seeing an early cut.
While the news that Williams is getting ready to begin his composing duties on the film will likely please many fans of the franchise, it may come as a surprise to hear that Williams claims even after watching Episode VIII, he still doesn’t know the identity of Rey’s parents. Whether that information was left out of the cut he saw or maybe that information won’t be revealed, we still don’t know. Williams did reveal that he accepted the invitation from Lucasfilm producer Kathleen Kennedy to work on the new films mainly because he was enchanted by actress Daisy Ridley’s portrayal of Rey and didn’t want another composer scoring her scenes.
At 84 years old, it’s unclear how much longer Williams will continue to work as a composer. He’s already signed on for Star Wars: Episode VIII and IX, as well as Spielberg’s 2018 film Ready Player One and 2019 film Indiana Jones 5, but beyond that is anybody’s guess. We’re lucky to have him and glad that he’s at least wrapping up the score for a series that he started so very long ago.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.