The official soundtrack for the eighth film in the Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi, has been eagerly anticipated by fans for months. Rumors swirled around a leaked track listing earlier in 2017, with fans speculating and interpreting what the different song titles could mean for the upcoming film. But now that the bona fide Star Wars: The Last Jedi soundtrack has dropped, it's time to take a look back and see what led up to this latest release.
When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was announced in October 2012, director J.J. Abrams was attached as producer and director. Many fans thought that, despite including John Williams' iconic scores from the original Star Wars trilogy, Abrams would choose to work with his longtime composer, Michael Giacchino for the new movie. After all, Giacchino got his break into Hollywood when he was picked by Abrams to score the filmmaker's new TV show Alias. The two worked together again on the hit show Lost, and again for the movie Cloverfield. With Giacchino now regularly working on Pixar and big-budget action movies, it seemed inevitable he'd work on The Force Awakens.
But in July 2013, at the tail end of a Celebration Europe event, Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy dropped a bombshell. According to Empire Online, interviewer Warwick Davis closed out her hour-long Q&A by asking for one special reveal that would guarantee to get fans in a frenzy. Kennedy responded by saying, "I had breakfast with someone very important to the Star Wars family on Friday, and he has committed to being involved in the next three films, and that is Mr. John Williams." She then played a video of Williams himself saying he was elated to be back on board to a cheering crowd.
Williams is responsible for some of the most memorable movie music not just in the Star Wars universe, but throughout film history. In his over 60-year career, he's composed the instantly recognizable themes from Jaws, Superman, the Indiana Jones series, the Harry Potter series, and Jurassic Park, to name just a very few of his films. His music is Star Wars for many fans, and the films wouldn't have been the same with another composer.
Interestingly, Giacchino ended up working on the franchise after all, swooping in to save the day much like the rebels of the film he scored. For the offshoot film Rogue One, which ties directly into the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, Giacchino worked with director Gareth Edwards. Originally the score was to be composed by Alexandre Desplat, who worked with Edwards previously on his Godzilla reboot. However in September 2016, a mere three months before Rogue One was to be released, reshoots prevented Desplat from finishing the score (at least, that was the official line). With only four and a half weeks to compose, Giacchino stepped in to save the day, and Rogue One went on to become the second-highest grossing film in the entire franchise.
Given that Williams is now 84, some fans were left worried he might bow out at some point before beginning work on Episode 8. Not to worry, though — according to MassLive, the composer himself confirmed at an August 2016 event that he'd started composing tunes for The Last Jedi after seeing an early cut of the film. Williams apparently found himself so enchanted by Daisy Ridley's performance as Rey, he didn't want anyone else to compose her scores.
And as of February 2017, Williams was already in the studio working on The Last Jedi score, according to producer Robert Meyer Burnett's Twitter feed:
Most studios, to speed up production and streamline the workflow, use a temporary placeholder soundtrack for editing. Waiting to use the official live, orchestrated score is a big deal in a world where time is literally money, and shows the value and importance of Williams' work to the Star Wars universe.
As of mid-December, it's been reported by numerous sources, including Dork Side Of The Force and Inverse, that the soundtrack's titles have leaked. Fans are frothing to interpret what they could possibly mean for Episode 8's plot, some going so far as to say they spoil the entire movie. Since the official release date for the soundtrack isn't until Dec. 15, these fans may be getting light years ahead of themselves, but hey, there's no harm in getting excited.