'Han Solo' Movie: John Williams Will Do the Music, But There's a Catch

Getty Images / Mike Windle

Diehard Star Wars fans can hum “Yoda’s Theme,” or “Princess Leia’s Theme,” or even, Anakin and Padme’s love the, “Across the Stars,” but what does Han Solo’s theme music sound like? This May, John Williams will answer that question as he creates new themes for Solo: A Star Wars Story. But, he’s not actually composing the entire score for the film.

On Saturday, Variety reported that John Williams had confirmed his involvement with Solo and that the famed composer would write Han Solo’s theme only. “I’m writing a theme for Han Solo,” Williams said. “John Powell is going to write the score, which he’ll do brilliantly.” Powell’s resume is impressive and includes X-Men: The Last Stand, as well as several of the Bourne films and all the How to Train Your Dragons.

Obviously, there are several films in existence in which John Williams musical themes are used, but John Williams is not, in fact, the composer of the score. After the second Harry Potter film, the scores for subsequent sequels were handled by a variety of composers, though of course, contained motifs and themes created by Williams. This is true of all the Christopher Reeve Superman films after the original 1978 movie, too. Though Williams created the initial score, the subsequent three films starting with Superman II were actually scored by Ken Throne, and then, Alexander Courage. Obviously, all these Superman films (and Superman Returns) relied heavily on Williams’s original, and famous, “March for Superman.”

John Williams attends the Star Wars Celebration Day 1 on April 13, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. 

Getty Images / Gustavo Caballero

The difference with Solo though is striking. Instead of Powell being allowed to use old Star Wars themes composed by Williams in the past, he’s being given a brand new theme composed by Willaims just for the purposes of the film. Analogously, this would be like if Lady Gaga wrote the hit single for a new rock singer nobody had heard of, but the rest of the songs had to be written by that relatively unknown person. This isn’t to say Powell’s music for Solo won’t be great, it’s just interesting he’s being given such clear marching orders.

Solo will be the ninth Star Wars film John Williams has provided music for. It remains unclear if Willaims will return to score Episode IX in 2019, though it seems likely.

As of this writing, Solo: A Star Wars Story is slated for wide release on May 25, 2018.


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