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

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic2 min readPolitics
‘Don’t Go After Old Uncle Joe Too Fast’
Few Americans know what it’s like to stand onstage for a nationally televised presidential debate. And the few who do have strong partisan biases. With both of those things in mind, I listened Monday as Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
Trump Heads Into the G20 on Shaky Ground—And the World Knows It
The president will meet with a number of leaders in Japan. They’ve noticed that for all his bluster, he often folds.
The Atlantic6 min read
How Men and Women Spend Their Time
In one of my many failed schemes to introduce a more equitable division of labor into my home, I stuck lined Post-it Notes on the refrigerator. “Please write down the chores you do. At the end of the week, we’ll figure out if anything needs to change