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THE ADVENTURES OF HAN - 2018 John Williams theme for Solo: A Star Wars Story


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6 hours ago, crumbs said:

Williams already established that Luke's Theme isn't merely Luke's Theme anymore with the prequels. Just as Ben's Theme evolved into the Force Theme.

 

The difference is that Ben's theme was repurposed for The Force as early as Empire Strikes Back. Luke's theme stuck to the titular character far later down the line: I think the association started to loosen somewhat in Return of the Jedi, but it was still Luke's theme, first - in terms of the majority of the statements.

 

And while Williams did use the theme in the prequels (and sequels for that matter) as a suggestion of heroism, it should be said he used (and continues to use it) quite sparingly, compared to - say - The Force theme or even The Rebel Fanfare.

 

So, I continue to think about it primarily as Luke's theme.

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It is. A leitmotif can have a couple of interconnected associations, rather than just one. Because Luke was at the center of the first three Star Wars films, it made since for his theme to also be the Star Wars theme: in fact, its called by that very name in the liner notes to Empire Strikes Back.

 

But, to me, its how the theme is used that gives one an inkling as to which association is the primary one, so to speak. Luke's theme is used more often for its namesake that it is as the "Star Wars" theme, per se. But since they're both interconnected, its really an issue of perspective.

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If one wants to still think of it personally as Luke's theme, cool. But it hasn't been that way in the movies for quite a while now and never will be ever again. So probably better to understand and accept that when listening to new stuff.

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That's not often: he used it dozens of times in the first three films.

 

And he does use it for Luke: he just inverts it. Hence the Jedi Steps "theme".

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Yeah I wouldn't call it often either (though I don't really think it's origins are the primary reason for its infrequency). And I don't doubt it was conceived as Luke's theme. But at this point, it isn't. Jedi Steps doesn't count.

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19 minutes ago, DominicCobb said:

I don't really think it's origins are the primary reason for its infrequency

 

Interesting. What than is the reason, to your mind? I mean, with the prequels and The Force Awakens, its clear that Williams tried not too rely too heavily on existing themes. But, seeing the state of the score to The Last Jedi, what was it that prevented him from using it all over the place (a-la The Force theme), even if not for Luke?

 

I do think that this is a theme of which origins Williams had remained very conscious: being one of his most popular compositions and given that he quotes it at the beginning and end of each Star Wars score. Understanding the strict association of this theme in Williams eyes (presumably) would than explain why he has been so spare with its usage post-Return-of-the-Jedi, in spite of the theme's pop-culture weight.

 

19 minutes ago, DominicCobb said:

Jedi Steps doesn't count.

 

Does too! :P

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23 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

 

Interesting. What than is the reason, to your mind? I mean, with the prequels and The Force Awakens, its clear that Williams tried not too rely too heavily on existing themes. But, seeing the state of the score to The Last Jedi, what was it that prevented him from using it all over the place (a-la The Force theme), even if not for Luke.

 

The theme is just very light. Especially when it comes to TLJ, which is mostly a fairly heavy and dramatic film, the more epic Force theme is simply a bit more fitting most of the time. When it comes to the light, breezy, fun moments, the Rebel fanfare just seems to be the more versatile or easier to quote option in the middle of the action. Otherwise Luke's theme and the Rebel fanfare are essentially interchangeable at this point.

 

 

Quote

I do think that this is a theme of which origins Williams had remained very conscious: being one of his most popular compositions and given that he quotes it at the beginning and end of each Star Wars score. Understanding the strict association of this theme in Williams eyes (presumably) would than explain why he has been so spare with its usage post-Return-of-the-Jedi, in spite of the theme's pop-culture weight.

 

 

I'd argue that its association with Luke more explains its frequency in the OT, rather than its infrequency elsewhere. A lot of its usage in the OT was just mundane things like Luke walking around and stuff. You're not going to quote Luke's theme (even if it is a generic heroes theme) when Rey is just standing around, you're going to quote Rey's theme.

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1 hour ago, DominicCobb said:

Depends what you mean by often. He used it about five times each in TFA and TLJ - and never for Luke.

 

It is used when Luke and R2 reunite. But yeah I see that as more of a "Star Wars" moment than a "Luke" moment. Reminded me more of the way that it's quoted in TFA when we see Han and Chewie again.

 

1 hour ago, DominicCobb said:

I'd argue that its association with Luke more explains its frequency in the OT, rather than its infrequency elsewhere. A lot of its usage in the OT was just mundane things like Luke walking around and stuff. You're not going to quote Luke's theme (even if it is a generic heroes theme) when Rey is just standing around, you're going to quote Rey's theme.

 

Yeah, I'd agree with this. I think that it's Luke's theme in the OT because Luke is the protagonist. Those three movies are "Star Wars, or: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker"

 

In the prequels and sequels, the theme is still relevant for heroic moments or little fun things, just as a little flag to wave for anything Williams might consider particularly Star Wars-y. It's almost an instinctive thing. One example of that in TLJ is when he throws it in as you see Finn, Rose, and DJ exit the First Order laundromat (??) in their undercover uniforms. It's not really tying itself to anything specific, but just saying "Ahh yes, the heroes going undercover. Typical Star Wars!"

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It is time for my grand FSM foreshadow moment:

 

"I really like Powell's score to Solo, but I think that Williams's theme for Han is the weakest part.  I wish that Kennedy had not been so disrespectful and forced the theme on Powell.   Complain, moan, complain." 

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Honestly the theme would have to be instantly be a classic and one of the greatest things people have heard in film music not to underwhelm. Whether it was by John Williams or John Powell, you're asking people to suddenly accept this new musical identity for a character that has already existed in people's minds for 40 years.

 

It's almost worse that it's Williams since with Powell, you could say it doesn't really count. By the end of this month we're gonna know what 86-year-old John Williams thinks Han Solo sounds like and that's...weird.

 

I think to some degree we're all gonna be like "K" when we hear it. It's gonna be a tune like any other tune. Hopefully a pretty good one.

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Yeah. You don't really think twice there because it's all Shore and part of the fabric but it's funny to imagine how different it would be perceived if somebody else had done The Hobbit score but then there was this big press release and a credit hyping "Gandalf Theme by Howard Shore".

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3 hours ago, Fal said:

Motivic connections have to be much clearer to be significant, and are typically intended to be actively heard by the audience ~ Ludwig (Paraphrased)

 

Whoops! I gave that a like before you changed it to reference me. I'll change it to a thanks instead. Didn't even realize I'd said something like that. Well, at least I'm consistent!

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4 hours ago, Tom said:

It is time for my grand FSM foreshadow moment:

 

"I really like Powell's score to Solo, but I think that Williams's theme for Han is the weakest part.  I wish that Kennedy had not been so disrespectful and forced the theme on Powell.   Complain, moan, complain." 

I fear the very opposite!

"Powell's score is good, but only because Williams did Jar Jar's theme."

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7 hours ago, Fal said:

Kinda like Gandalf in the Hobbit.

 

Nah. Shore didn't write a theme for Gandalf in the day because his character was "fleeting". In The Hobbit - no so much, so it stands to reason that he would write a theme. Once Gandalf's presence becomes more sparse and his demise is imminent, the theme dissappears.

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4 hours ago, Chen G. said:

 

Nah. Shore didn't write a theme for Gandalf in the day because his character was "fleeting".

 

"Fleeting"?

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In Fellowship? Its a very Frodo-centric film, and Gandalf spends the first half of it doing his own thing.

 

There are a couple of main characters The Lord of the Rings don't have individual themes: Bilbo, Theoden, Gandalf, Boromir. Even Sam and Merry don't recieve themes until Return of the King.

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Sorry if this has already been answered but did JW record the theme separately or just send JP a sketch or something?

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I don't think that's why Gandalf isn't given a theme. Shore scored the films with cultures and races in mind, only a few people are treated their own theme. The Hobbits are often lumped together represented by The Shire, broken down into various motifs around the locale. 

 

Gandalf and the Istari don't belong to any of the cultures represented in Middle-Earth. The Hobbit gives Gandalf a little theme which finds a way to announce his arrival at various moments during the story, which would seem to fit in with what Doug Adams has said before that LotR themes were driven by cultures, races and locations, and TH themes are driven by the characters.

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14 hours ago, Fal said:

Well, Mr. Big wasn't too thrilled with the theme.

Who?  He's right though. It's one of the many Hobbit motifs that feels more like a sequence of notes than a melody.

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Not every leitmotif has to be (or indeed is) a big tune. Not in a Shore score, not a Williams' one. You only need two or three big tunes per film for general audiences to hang their hats on, and the other motives can be whatever.

 

2 hours ago, Arpy said:

I don't think that's why Gandalf isn't given a theme. Shore scored the films with cultures and races in mind, only a few people are treated their own theme. The Hobbits are often lumped together represented by The Shire, broken down into various motifs around the locale. 

 

Gandalf and the Istari don't belong to any of the cultures represented in Middle-Earth. The Hobbit gives Gandalf a little theme which finds a way to announce his arrival at various moments during the story, which would seem to fit in with what Doug Adams has said before that LotR themes were driven by cultures, races and locations, and TH themes are driven by the characters.

 

To use Shore's precise words: "Gandalf is a mediator, He’s a facilitator. He’s a character that moves the action and he’s very fleeting. There isn’t anything that’s specifically tied to Gandalf the Grey because he’s the one that moves between all the characters."

 

And yes, the themes in the Lord of the Rings are culture-driven, but often the culture is so closely to tied a certain character that the difference is all but semantic: Rivendell's theme is Elrond's; Lorien's is Galadriel's. Even in the case of The Shire, the different variations come to denote certain characters: The playful setting is essentially a "Merry and Pippin" theme; the Heroic setting is Sam's, and the Hymn setting is Frodo's.

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On 4. 5. 2018 at 12:28 PM, crumbs said:

 

I don't like that Main Theme arrangement. It does not fit there. Main Theme yes, but different. If the score was composed by Williams, he would choose another version.

 

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John Powell on instagram. Score contains five of his own original themes, many other motifs, in addition to Williams Han theme.  He also just said no trailers have his music. 

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14 hours ago, Alex said:

Sorry if this has already been answered but did JW record the theme separately or just send JP a sketch or something?

 

I am really curious to hear how this actually happened. Depends on what exactly Williams wrote, like if there is an actual complete "Han Solo Theme" piece by Williams that exists. It wouldn't seem much like him to do anything less but maybe he just got the basic theme down how he wanted, structured it into a short piano piece and left the rest open for Powell to interpret.

 

The fantasy in my head is that Williams composed and orchestrated a complete piece himself, plays it on piano for Howard/Powell, goes through his orchestrations with Powell and gives him the sketch. Powell makes a demo and does what he wants with it, perhaps staying faithful to Williams's intentions for key moments while adapting it to different colors and melodic/harmonic variations as the score takes shape. Finally they record Williams's original piece at Abbey Road along with Powell's score. :music:

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11 hours ago, pete said:

John Powell on instagram. Score contains five of his own original themes, many other motifs, in addition to Williams Han theme.

 

That's very cool! Great to see the Williams legacy of thematic association is continuing (and with Williams' new theme at the head of the queue).

 

So presumably his 5 new themes could be:

  • Chewy (already heard)
  • Qi'ra (love theme)
  • Han & Tobias Friendship Theme? (the mentor Woody Harrelson plays)
  • Lando (didn't he technically have a theme in ESB? I guess that's more for Cloud City)
  • Dryden Vos (something villainous, hopefully something more creative than another march)
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13 hours ago, mrbellamy said:

like if there is an actual complete "Han Solo Theme" piece by Williams that exists. It wouldn't seem much like him to do anything less but maybe he just got the basic theme down how he wanted, structured it into a short piano piece and left the rest open for Powell to interpret.

 

Maybe, though I doubt he would have no ideas about instrumentation.

 

Even if he doesn’t prepare a concert piece for the OST, he could do so at a later date.

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