The Atlantic

What’s a Star Wars Film Without John Williams?

In a franchise first, Rogue One’s soundtrack isn’t helmed by the legendary composer.
Source: Lucasfilm / Disney

Star Wars was already deeply embedded in American pop culture by the time I was a kid. There were numerous video games, toys, comics, spin-offs, and an entire new trilogy of films by my twelfth birthday, and characters like Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo had long been cultural icons. The villains of my youth were imitating shadows of the Dark Side, clad in capes and cybernetics, and the heroes were paler imitations of the didactic duos of Obi-Wan and Luke.

In the 39 years the franchise has been in existence, creator George Lucas has had a lot of help in its success and integration into popular culture. Of course, there are the actors themselves, and the legions of mimics in science fiction and fantasy. But for me, perhaps the most singular contribution has come from the legendary composer John Williams, of Jaws, Indiana Jones, and

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