For the new edition, Williams has written a handful of themes for characters including Rey (Daisy Ridley), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Poe (Oscar Isaac), along with “a major march piece” for the Resistance and a choral fanfare for Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) that inspired by a Kipling poem translated into Sanskrit.
And while “there are a few short references” to themes from earlier films, nearly all of the two-hour-plus score is new, Williams says. The recording process was “very luxurious,” he adds, with 12 sessions scattered over a five-month period between June and November.
This is the first “Star Wars” score to be recorded in L.A. “Originally we were going to London, and do it all in the space of two weeks’ time, the way we’ve always done George’s (Lucas) films. That would not have worked in this case, because J.J. (Abrams)’s editing process is very different.”
The composer began work last December and basically continued all year, completing the recording in mid-November. His 90-piece orchestra recorded 175 minutes of music, he says, although nearly an hour of that was discarded, modified or rerecorded as Abrams re-edited the film. Snoke’s theme was recorded by a 24-voice men’s chorus.
Williams says the decision to do another “Star Wars” film was basically simple: Abrams asked him, and he said yes. Abrams — who only heard Williams demonstrate two early themes last December, leaving dramatic and musical decisions up to the composer — “was very enthusiastic about everything,” Williams says.
‘Film Score Icons Williams, Morricone and Horner Loom Large in Oscar Race’, by Jon Burlingame (Variety)