There are certain elements that are essential to Star Wars, key details that without them the movie just wouldn't feel a part of the Star Wars saga. These can include the opening crawl or the wipes between scenes, but chief among the necessary elements for a Star Wars movie is a John Williams score.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has all these elements and more, brimming with nostalgia and nods to the Original Trilogy, as well as familiar moments reworked in unexpected ways. The same can be said of the film's score, which is infused with themes made famous in Episodes IV, V, and VI, but can still boast several new pieces of music with potential to become just as iconic.
But don't take my word for it, you too can listen to John Williams' The Force Awakens soundtrack as it's now available on most steaming services, including Spotify. For those who've already seen The Force Awakens, listening through the soundtrack is a wonderful way to relive the movie (before you inevitably run out and see it again). And for those who haven't yet seen the film, there isn't much in the way of spoilers from either the track titles or the score itself, but obviously, if you truly want to know nothing about the film before seeing it... why are you even reading this article?
Stream the full Star Wars: The Force Awakens soundtrack below:
Listening to the score on its own, separate from the film, it's easier to hear the clever ways that Williams entwines some of those classic Star Wars themes with the new music. And other times those familiar themes are played a little differently, more somber in some cases. Still, many of the new pieces, "Rey's Theme" for instance, seem destined to become classic pieces of Star Wars music themselves.
At 83 years young, Williams is still an active film composer, but it's clear that one day another composer will take over the duty of scoring the Star Wars movies. And it's almost impossible to imagine anyone else writing the music that will accompany the future chapters in this saga. It hasn't yet been announced if Williams will return to score Episode VIII, but if not him, then who?
Next year, however, we'll get a taste of that experience when Disney releases the first anthology film - Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is being scored by Alexandre Desplat. It'll mark the first time a Star Wars film hasn't been scored by John Williams, but then again, it's also the first Star Wars film that isn't a part of the core episodes.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, and will be followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.