UPDATE: New interview with Natalie Holt for The Hollywood Reporter:
Now on her second major Disney project, the British composer, classically trained violinist and “huge fan of John Williams” will share space in the canon of one of Hollywood’s most enduring franchises. And she’ll do it alongside the man who is “basically the reason why I noticed music in film as a child.”
“John signed Obi-Wan’s theme for me. I’ve got a printed Obi-Wan theme that he recorded and I’ve had it framed,” she told THR, excitedly. “It’s my pride and joy. I’m super happy to have his signature because he’s literally my hero.”
The two didn’t directly collaborate for the show, but Holt says his work on the series’ main character theme helped give her the foundation she needed to musically access one of TV’s most anticipated 2022 series.
Did you have a chance to work directly with Williams for this?
We didn’t collaborate, but I did get to use his theme. He didn’t have very long and it was quite last minute whether he’d have time or not. But he really wanted to write that theme because he was the one character that he didn’t write the theme for in the original movie. So I think he had this feeling that he wanted to complete the challenge. I think he had two weeks and he came on board and wrote Obi-Wan’s theme and a suite, which is the main title, and then a few variations of how the theme can work. That was what he had time to give the project, and it was just a gift. It’s so perfect and in a way, once I had that theme, it set the tentpoles up for the project.
In a recent interview for Vanity Fair, Obi-Wan Kenobi composer Natalie Holt talked about John Williams’ new theme for the series, describing it as “wistful”, with “an element of hope to it”. Here’s the related excerpt from the article:
[Holt’s] work on the show, which she can now confirm publicly for the first time, put her in collaboration with Star Wars icon John Williams, who has written an original theme for Ewan McGregor’s Jedi in exile. “Obviously, I’m just thrilled to be mentioned in the same breath as John Williams,” Holt says. “It’s been exciting and overwhelming at times, because I’m such a fan. I want to pay respect to the history of it, and do it justice as well.”
How did you and Williams come to work in tandem?
Obi-Wan is a legacy character that John hadn’t written a theme for because he died quite early on in A New Hope. It’s the only legacy character that he hadn’t done. So he spoke to [Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy and said, “I just want to write Benny a theme.” So who can deny him that? And he did, he wrote Obi-Wan’s theme, and it just embodies the spirit of the show entirely.
How would you describe his new Obi-Wan theme?
It’s reflective, and it’s just entirely appropriate. And it distills what the show is about in just the perfect way that John Williams can. It’s wistful, but there’s an element of hope to it. It’s doing something new and I think people are going to be really blown away by it.