In an interview published today in Variety, John Williams has confirmed that he will write the score for next year’s Star Wars: Episode IX.
As for his future with “Star Wars” movies, Williams confirms that he told director J.J. Abrams that he will do Episode IX next year. “I would very much like to complete that,” he says.
In the interview, Williams discusses his work in The Post and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as well as the Leonard Bernstein tribute piece he’ll premiere this summer in Tanglewood.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
Spielberg says that The Post was a rare instance in which he went to the recording sessions “having not heard a note” in advance. He was in the middle of post-production on his next film Ready Player One when Williams needed to write and record. He praised the score’s “tremendous restraint, then coming right out and being strong musically when it needed to be.”
[The Last Jedi] required an orchestra of 101, the 64-voice Los Angeles Master Chorale, and 11 days of recording from December 2016 to June 2017. The L.A. musicians recorded 184 minutes of music, some of which was discarded before the final cut of 2 hours, 35 minutes was reached. (By comparison, The Post required a smaller orchestra of 76 and was recorded over three days in late October and early November.)
Johnson was so delighted with the results that, Williams says, he would eventually like to release a version of the film “without the dialogue and effects, just the music played in the foreground. All of the accompanimental music will be brought forward — every gesture, the music traveling along with the moods and textures, references to characters and so on.”
Williams’ major work for 2018 will not be for film. It’s a fantasia for cello, harp and orchestra that will be premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra Aug. 19 in Tanglewood, Mass., as part of the Leonard Bernstein Centennial.
He is calling it “Highwood’s Ghost” and is writing it for cellist Yo-Yo Ma and harpist Jessica Zhou. Highwood Manor House is a building on the Tanglewood campus that already houses a bust of Bernstein that Williams himself commissioned and was unveiled in 2014. “Lenny always insisted that Highwood was haunted,” Williams says. “We had many parties with him in that gorgeous old house.”
Williams says he has no plans to retire. “I don’t think you can retire from writing,” he says. “I feel very lucky, and the work that I do doesn’t depend on much. If your vision’s still good, and your hands — I have no arthritis in my hands and I play the piano very easily — I don’t think there’s any reason to deprive oneself of the fun of working. Music is so rewarding.”
Asked how it feels to have done this job for 60 years, the composer responds with a laugh: “It feels like a good start.”