John Williams Says He Talked George Lucas Into Using an Original Score For ‘Star Wars’
I’m not entirely sure why it came out this week, but The New Yorker has a lovely interview with composer John Williams, mostly about his work on the nine-film Star Wars saga, now that it is finally concluded following the release of last winter’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The whole piece is worth a read, but the highlight might be Williams describing his own Star Wars origin story. He’d already made several movies with Steven Spielberg when George Lucas began looking for someone to make a “classical score” for a new science-fiction project. Spielberg convinced Williams to meet with Lucas — who in Williams’ telling, wanted to use “preëxisting classical works” in Star Wars.
Instead, it was Williams who convinced the director to use new music (by, y’know, John Williams):
The composer argued for an original score, in which newly created themes could be manipulated and developed to best serve the drama.
A spokesman for Lucas told The New Yorker that as far as he recalls he “never intended to use extant music in the film.” But if Williams’ memory is correct, not only do we have John Williams to thank for his remarkable Star Wars themes — we also have him to thank for the fact that there are Star Wars themes at all. If not, we could have associated the opening Star Wars crawl with Wagner or something. And then you have to wonder whether it would have made even remotely the same impact. (In my opinion, it would not.)
The entire Skywalker Saga is currently streaming on Disney+. That’s a whole lot of John Williams music.
Gallery — Cool Star Wars Easter Eggs in Other Movies and Shows: