Episode 7: Star Wars - Part 1

Forty years ago today, in 1977, the film universe was turned upside down by a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars may have changed the film industry forever, but John Williams’ score might just be as influential for the film music landscape. In this episode, our first of three on Star Wars, we take a look at the influence of John Williams’ music, and two of its major themes: the Main Theme (or Luke’s Theme) and Princess Leia’s theme.


Episode notes:

2:30 – The influence of Star Wars, the music, the film
4:30 – How Star Wars changed film history and the film school generation
8:00 – Star Wars and nostalgia
11:20 – Was there anticipation for Star Wars?
13:40 – This was not what films were supposed to sound like at the time
15:00 – Before the main titles: the 20th Century Fox fanfare
16:20 – The main Star Wars theme (Luke’s theme)
18:50 – The orchestration of the main theme
20:45 – The jazz-inspired harmony of the main theme
23:33 – “War drums in space”
25:03 – Development of Luke’s theme – first playing
26:55 – Luke’s theme begins to mature with the hero’s journey
32:00 – Luke’s theme on the Death Star
34:44 – The shootout on the Death Star, Luke’s “boy’s own adventure” moment
39:15 – Influences on Luke’s theme: Ivanhoe and King’s Row
50:06 – The uses of Luke’s theme in the final Death Star dogfight
53:15 – The (mis)uses of the main theme (?) in Rogue One
54:45 – Leia’s theme and the development of ‘concert versions’
1:01:10 – John Williams and the romantic major sixth
1:03:14 – The first time we hear Leia’s theme
1:05:18 – Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope
1:07:38 – The full Leia’s message
1:10:10 – Luke meets Leia for the first time
1:11:30 – The Death of Obi-Wan and the abandonment of leitmotif
1:15:30 – High romance in the Leia concert suite
1:17:45 – The Star Wars NPR Radio Serials

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