The young Han Solo movie has found its composer. For about 40 years, the composer most associated with the Star Wars films was John Williams. Williams was the credited composer for all three original Star Wars films, all three prequels, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. All of the iconic Star Wars music, from the main title theme to the Imperial March to Binary Sunset, was written by Williams, and all three films of the original trilogy and Force Awakens all contributed to Williams’ astonishing record of 50 Oscar nominations for his original music. Williams is onboard to score this year’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
On last year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Williams sat out of a live-action Star Wars movie for the first time, in favor of longtime Pixar/J.J. Abrams composer Michael Giacchino, who had himself stepped in to replace Alexandre Desplat; Williams did not write any of the Clone Wars music either. Now, it appears the next standalone Star Wars film will have another non-Williams composer.
John Powell, the British composer who is best known for scoring How to Train Your Dragon and most of the films in the Jason Bourne series, will compose the score for the still-untitled Han Solo standalone Star Wars movie, Lucasfilm announced Wednesday. The solo film, according to the announcement, “will be scored in the style of the original Star Wars movies but retain Powell’s distinctive voice.”
Powell, who is 53, has composed the music for numerous animated films for DreamWorks Animation and otherwise outside of Disney/Pixar, among them Shrek, Antz, Chicken Run, Happy Feet, and every film in the Ice Age series, in addition to his Oscar-nominated score for How to Train Your Dragon. He also scored the first, second, third and fifth Bourne films, and several others directed by Paul Greengrass, such as United 93 and Green Zone.
While Williams’ musical talents will undoubtedly be missed, the musical style that he brought to the Star Wars saga almost certainly won’t be. Powell may not be a household name, but he’s a respected pro with a strong track record of contributing quality scores.
With all of the turmoil related to the late firings of former directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord, no one knows how the Han Solo standalone film will ultimately shake out. That said, we do know that the music can likely be counted on as a stabilizing factor.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019