When people hear the name “Star Wars”, they most likely imagine Darth Vader, light sabers, Luke, Han Solo, R2D2, and Princess Leia. One of the most recognizable features of this iconic film series is the musical score by John Williams. While most fans of the movie know the main theme song and a few catchy tunes from within the films, consider these 9 things you didn’t know about Star Wars’ music.
1. Luke Skywalker’s “Binary Sunset” Scene Originally Had Different Music
When we are first introduced to Luke, the musical score from Binary Sunset swells and softens the struggles our hero is about to undertake. Originally the musical score to this scene was more foreboding and much darker. The track was replaced when Lucas asked Williams to write a new score.
2. Darth Vader Had a Unique Theme Before Imperial March
The iconic Imperial March that every Star Wars fan associates with Darth Vader didn’t exist until Empire Strikes Back. The original score had a Samurai feel to it, and was only heard outside of New Hope.
3. The Parade Music During End of Phantom Menace is Actually Emperor Palpatine’s Theme Disguised
One of the most cunning tricks composer John Williams made in the movie series was creating the parade music used in The Phantom Menace from the already existing Emperor’s theme. He simply took the score from a minor key and made it a major key, basically the same rhythm phrasing with a twist.
4. Epic Duel of the Fates Soundtrack Influenced by Celtic Poem
During the battle between the Sith and the Jedi, that epic battle music is inseparable from the action taking place on the big screen. Williams utilized a poem about battling trees in a book about Celtic folklore called the White Goddess. When the text was translated by a friend at Harvard, the resulting matah, korah, and rahtahmah can be heard during Duel of the Fates.
5. Millennium Falcon Approaching Music is a Cloud City Warning
Cloud City was definitely a bad place for the heroes of Star Wars to go. Williams used musical scores to alert the audience this place was not all that it appeared. The idea was created an alluring sirens sound, similar to the sirens who lured sailors to their death with their beautiful music.
6. Lucas Changed Musical Score Where Luke surrenders to Darth Vader
The most memorable scene in Return of the Jedi is when Luke surrenders to Vader. As this iconic scene draws closer, Vader looks out a window as ominous music plays over his respirator. Lucas changed this small score to Luke’s theme, giving the audience a brief hint that Luke’s plea to Vader did in fact get through to him.
7. Silent Battle with Luke and Darth Vader Originally Had Music
The battle between father and son originally had music scored to this fight scene. Listening to it without the music, only hearing the slashing light sabers and eerie freezing chamber sounds, it makes sense why it was ultimately omitted. Less is more in this case.
8. Luke and Leia’s Theme Pulled From Star Wars Main Theme
The music between brother and sister can be heard loud and clear, especially in the scene at Ewok village where Luke and Leia talk about both their parents. By removing the rhythm from the first notes of the Star Wars main theme, the Luke and Leia theme can be heard.
9. Music Removed Where Luke talks to Obi-Wan After Yoda Dies.
There are key points in the Star Wars films where silence has a much bigger impact than the original score that was recorded. When Luke is talking to Obi-Wan on Dagobah about the death of Yoda, the background sounds make a much bigger impact than any score could have.