The main theme of Star Wars, as composed by the great John Williams, is one of the most iconic and instantly recognizable pieces of music – film or not – of the last 100 years. This is a fact. It’s also a testament to how great a composer Williams is, and further proof that film scores are the modern equivalent of the classical music from the 1600-1800′s. Film scores can carry all the same emotion, range and complexity that Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and other composers used in their symphonies that we still listen to today. It’s my opinion that in 100 years, the film composers of the 1900-2000′s – led by John Williams – will be remembered alongside those greats as the modern torch-bearers of the grand orchestral music tradition. Which leads me to the topic at hand.
Since the news broke about Lucasfilm being bought by Disney, and the announcement of a new trilogy of Star Wars films, the internet speculation articles have been racing along at a fever pitch – Who Should Direct?; Which Characters Could Return?; Mistakes to Avoid – collectively debating every possible aspect of Episode VII. Now that Disney has announced that Michael Arndt will be writing the screenplay for Episode VII, it’s only a matter of time before a director is announced, and soon after that the rest of the main crew positions, including the all important duty of who will compose the score for what will be one of the most anticipated films in years.
Let me be clear – it’s not my intent to suggest anyone other than John Williams should do the score, presuming he’s still healthy, able and willing to do so. But let’s be honest, he just turned 80 earlier this year, and his once prolific output has slowed to only coincide with Steven Spielberg movies. In fact, you’ll have to go all the way back to Episode III in 2005 to find a non-Spielberg movie on his resume/CV. But again, if Williams is healthy and willing, this job should go to him and no one else. The purpose of this article is to suggest who might be able to fill his admittedly large shoes and score the new Star Wars film(s) should Williams decide not to do it, or if the unthinkable happens and he simply doesn’t live that long. (If it were up to me, John Williams would be granted immortality and score every film, but we all know that’s not gonna happen).
So without further ado, here are 7 composers (and one honorable mention) that could take on the unenviable job of following John Williams into the depths of the Star Wars universe.
Honorable Mention: James Horner
Listing all the highlights of James Horner’s career would take too long, there are that many. Suffice to say, James Cameron, Ron Howard and Mel Gibson won’t make a movie without him behind the conductor’s podium. His style is very classic – lots of brass and strings – and he’s certainly able to create a “big” sound, which would be necessary for a Star Wars score. In fact, he’s already got experience scoring movies that take place in, or close to, space – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and Avatar. He’s also scheduled for Avatar 2 & 3, so that would most likely prevent him from jumping over to Star Wars.
Now, on to the list…
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