Very few scores are as integrally entwined with their movie's reputation as John Williams' music for Star Wars. His cues for the original film are often called upon as the quickest shorthand to evoke the saga, to trade on its tone and atmosphere. I find it hard to think of Vader's helmet - I was going to say face, but I caught myself - without the Imperial March striking up in the back of my brain-pan. So it was almost unthinkable that Episode VII not have a John Williams score. He seemed to be the single most essential human being to the making of that film - indeed, the removal of George Lucas was held up as important, but even that didn't feel as crucial. You *can* make Star Wars with George Lucas, as much as factions of the core fandom might want you not to. But Disney are looking to expand Star Wars and multiply the number of films they release, and this could mean either a broader palette of storytelling styles and tones, or more movies than one composer could ever hope to handle alone, or both. As a result, the first of their spin-offs is to get music not by John Williams, but by Alexandre Desplat. This was announced by Desplat on French radio and relayed by Film Music Reporter. Desplat has already worked with Gareth Edwards, the director of this spin-off movie, Rogue One, on the Godzilla reboot. That music wasn't entirely alien to the kind of thing Williams does - I mean, they're a lot closer than Williams and Jon Brion, for example. It's even a point of interest to me that Desplat already has the gig. This suggests, at the very least, that Edwards was keen to bring him in and a deal was quick to fix. It could also mean that Desplat has time to work on some music for use in the pre-vizzing and temping stages, before a single frame of live action footage has been shot. Rogue One has a release date of December 16th, 2016. Felicity Jones is set to star in one of the lead roles, and production will get underway this summer. Expect to hear a lot more as the months roll by.
Brendon Connelly has been a film writer since the early 90s, with time on the staff of Orbit Magazine, Slashfilm, Bleeding Cool, Den of Geek and many more. He's a long time teacher of film studies and practical filmmaking classes, and has directed music videos, commercials, short films and more. His favourite film is Terry Gilliam's Brazil, his favourite food is pancakes or crepes, and he tries to live his life by the teachings of Kermit the Frog.