Looking back now that the first season is over, I think Kiner did a decent job. I noticed fewer obvious Williams references as the season progressed, which was nice, but I still feel like he relied upon Williams’s scores too heavily. I feel like some of his character themes are too derivative (Ezra’s sounds like the opening to “The Battle of Endor,” Zeb’s sounds like “The Basket Game” from Raiders, and Sabine’s sounds like the ticking from the beginning of “The Tusken Camp and The Homestead”), but I liked his theme for the Inquisitor (especially in the finale—that whole episode had a very nice score).
Overall, I wish Kiner would avoid Williams’s themes unless it’s appropriate to use them—more like what he did in The Clone Wars. I liked Kiner’s work in The Clone Wars (it had its ups and downs as well), and I wish he use that style here.
I was reading an issue of Star Wars Insider a few weeks ago and came across an interview with Kiner where he stated that he thought it was “refreshing” to reuse Williams’s themes, and that in the spotting sessions the first thing they do is see what they can pull from Williams’s scores. He also mentioned that he had said basically “everything he wanted to say musically” during the six seasons of The Clone Wars.
I was surprised to read that. In a show full of new characters and situations with plenty of opportunities for new music, how do you run out of things to say?
(I loved the show, though. They improved with every episode. The second half of the season was great, especially once Tarkin showed up. I can't wait for season two!)