Jump to content

The Empire Strikes Back


Bellosh

Recommended Posts

Now I need a quote from Williams saying why he used Yoda's Theme on Bespin... Surely not for its emotional sweep, this time.

 

I'm leaning towards the "musical 'I told you so'" theory now... An ominous portent that something bad's gonna happen to Luke for rushing headlong into danger, in spite of Yoda's warnings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Mr. Hooper said:

Surely not for its emotional sweep, this time.

 

So that all the themes from the movie would appear in the climax.

 

The material associated with Cloud City appears. Themes connected with Luke, Vader, Han and Leia's love, the Droids all appear. He wanted to fit the theme related to Yoda somewhere in there as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

He wanted to fit the theme related to Yoda somewhere in there as well.


It was to drive me mad, I tells ya. :lol:

 

image.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know, at the end of Rhinegold, a theme associated with the sword Notung is introduced, but a good while before the sword itself comes into the storyline. Wagner evidentally had second thoughts on that, because he seriously considered having the giants leave a sword behind that, at the moment of that musical gesture, would be picked-up by Wotan.

 

That's essentially where you're at.:lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suppose you could say that Yoda's theme is used for Luke in Empire exactly like Ben's theme is used in the Final Battle in Star Wars. It's a much more upbeat, swashbuckling setting than it's used for Yoda himself.

 

I was listening to Empire and I was actually surprised how much Luke's theme is still used for Luke in the film and his various emotions rather than as a more generic Star Wars theme. (Like in Jedi.) More than I remembered. It is, however, largely dispensed with in the Cloud City scenes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Groovygoth666 said:

This is what Williams had to say, at least in regards to using Leias theme in Ben's Death - 

 

 

I really wish we could some day hear all of these full uncut interviews. They've been officially teased a few times, I think the Blu-ray included a couple excerpts and obviously the Rinzler making of books did as well, but there were something like 40-50 of these interviews and each one could easily be an hour or more; Charles Lippincott used to show off pictures of the tapes on his Facebook page. Unfortunately he died in 2020 and I think some of his stuff was auctioned off, I'm not sure if they're locked away in a private collector's hands now or if the family member who runs his account still has them.

 

Regardless it would be very cool if they could be digitized and released for fans 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, Tallguy said:

I was listening to Empire and I was actually surprised how much Luke's theme is still used for Luke in the film and his various emotions rather than as a more generic Star Wars theme.

 

Same with "The Force": its still used a lot for Ben.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Brock Lovett said:

You keep that ghoul Crittenden off our back and I'd say you got a deal.

 

Who what now?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Tallguy said:

I was listening to Empire and I was actually surprised how much Luke's theme is still used for Luke in the film and his various emotions rather than as a more generic Star Wars theme. (Like in Jedi.)

 

It's funny you say that, because I thought Luke's theme was used practically exclusively for Luke in Jedi (minus the B section appearing for the rebellion which was already established in Empire's unused tracks.) I can't think of a single time in Jedi it was used generically.

 

Also off-hand, but one of my favorite uses of The Force theme is also in Jedi when Vader says "Obi-Wan... has taught you well," and it sounds so bittersweet, as if it's reminding of Obi-Wan's death, playing nostalgically for its original purpose, and Luke's growth at the same time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Tallguy said:

Wow. I read that in the notes when I was eight. I've pretty much known it my whole life. But to hear it in Williams' own voice from 1977 no less (right?) sends chills down my spine.

The description for the video says April 22, 1977. Just happened to be watching through all the Making of Enhanced stuff that's on that channel this morning, there's footage from the recording sessions and a spotting session - 

 

 

 

 

6 hours ago, Tallguy said:

 

Who what now?

It's a line from the 90's Casper film. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, Groovygoth666 said:

The description for the video says April 22, 1977. Just happened to be watching through all the Making of Enhanced stuff that's on that channel this morning, there's footage from the recording sessions and a spotting session - 

 

 

 

 

It's a line from the 90's Casper film. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Mr. Hooper said:


I'm impressed.

 

That you sat through that movie. ;)

Not only did I see it in the cinema, but we had it on VHS! So I've sat through it a couple of times 😂

 

2 hours ago, enderdrag64 said:

 

Oh yeah completely forgot about that thread 😅

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To see the roles that Eric Idle picked up for a paycheck and now hear him complain that he has no money? Tragic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 15/06/2024 at 9:42 AM, karelm said:

Like here where he uses the Force theme for no reason at all except maybe the very first time anyone ever heard the theme was at Tatooine so he's using it as a Tatooine theme?

 

I actually looked into uses of the Force theme in a blog post some time ago and found that this statement was among a relatively small number that were the complete theme and foregrounded in the film. When Williams used the theme in this way in the first six films, they tended to be mark major points in the plot of the Empire/Trade Federation:

 

A New Hope

- Binary sunset - suggesting Luke's destiny to become a Jedi

- Throne room - victory over the Empire

 

Empire Strikes Back - has none, interestingly, probably because the plot focuses not on defeating the Empire but escaping from it (and also introduces the love between Han and Leia, and Yoda as a new character)

 

Return of the Jedi

- Luke lights Vader's funeral pyre

 

The Phantom Menace

- Boy Anakin destroys the Trade Federation ship

 

Attack of the Clones

- Anakin leaves Padme to search for his mother and ends up slaughtering the sand people - beginning of his descent into evil

 

Revenge of the Sith - statements focus on Obi-Wan or the partnership of Anakin and Obi-Wan, which is central to the plot:

- Obi-Wan and Anakin enter huge battle with Federation

- Obi-Wan and Anakin manage to crash land their ship on Coruscant

- Obi-Wan leaves for Utupau to battle Grievous

- The last statement focuses on Luke - his adoptive parents hold him as a baby as they watch a binary sunset, paralleling that of A New Hope

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Mr. Hooper said:


I'm impressed.

 

That you sat through that movie. ;)

It's worth it just for the James Horner score.

 

But if you aren't neither a Horner fan nor a nostalgic 90s kid, then yeah you'd have no reason to watch it lol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Ludwig said:

 

I actually looked into uses of the Force theme in a blog post some time ago and found that this statement was among a relatively small number that were the complete theme and foregrounded in the film. When Williams used the theme in this way in the first six films, they tended to be mark major points in the plot of the Empire/Trade Federation:

 

A New Hope

- Binary sunset - suggesting Luke's destiny to become a Jedi

- Throne room - victory over the Empire

 

Empire Strikes Back - has none, interestingly, probably because the plot focuses not on defeating the Empire but escaping from it (and also introduces the love between Han and Leia, and Yoda as a new character)

 

Return of the Jedi

- Luke lights Vader's funeral pyre

 

The Phantom Menace

- Boy Anakin destroys the Trade Federation ship

 

Attack of the Clones

- Anakin leaves Padme to search for his mother and ends up slaughtering the sand people - beginning of his descent into evil

 

Revenge of the Sith - statements focus on Obi-Wan or the partnership of Anakin and Obi-Wan, which is central to the plot:

- Obi-Wan and Anakin enter huge battle with Federation

- Obi-Wan and Anakin manage to crash land their ship on Coruscant

- Obi-Wan leaves for Utupau to battle Grievous

- The last statement focuses on Luke - his adoptive parents hold him as a baby as they watch a binary sunset, paralleling that of A New Hope

 

 

As an example, why are we not counting Yoda's description of the Force? Or Luke's farewell to Ben and Yoda? Both of these are full statements of the theme.

 

2 minutes ago, Datameister said:

 

It's not quite as front-and-center as some of your other examples, but the statement when Luke reaches out to Leia comes to mind. I would also argue that this is a counterexample to your suggestion, as that beautiful moment isn't really a turning point in the broader story.

 

Not only is it a full statement of the theme but the ending is very much like the funeral pyre music. And it's certainly front and center! (It's also possibly my favorite statement of that theme of all time!)

 

21 hours ago, Chen G. said:

 

Same with "The Force": its still used a lot for Ben.

 

A little bit less so, IMHO. 1) Just the way the theme has as least two uses, for Ben and for the Force / the Good so it's always used in lots of non-Ben situations and 2) When it is used for Ben it's pretty much "It's BEN!" OTOH Luke's character is going through some stuff. It's not just "Hey! Luke is here!". In Jedi Luke's theme is either kind of generic Star Wars Adventure or just as a simple announcement that Luke has shown up. Like "I'm with you too!"

 

I was surprised to re-discover that Luke's theme is used for scenes of defeat and trepidation on Dagobah, for example. It is both used more than I recalled, and in these examples still being used as an emotional theme for Luke. OTOH, am I right that the last time we hear it (in the film, not dialed out) is when Luke's x-wing arrives at Bespin? It's quoted in an unused little coda to the carbon freeze fight and then not heard again until the end credits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Tallguy said:

I was surprised to re-discover that Luke's theme is used for scenes of defeat and trepidation on Dagobah, for example.

 

And almost always in the minor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, Datameister said:

 

It's not quite as front-and-center as some of your other examples, but the statement when Luke reaches out to Leia comes to mind. I would also argue that this is a counterexample to your suggestion, as that beautiful moment isn't really a turning point in the broader story.

 

17 minutes ago, Tallguy said:

As an example, why are we not counting Yoda's description of the Force? Or Luke's farewell to Ben and Yoda? Both of these are full statements of the theme.

 

So to answer both at once, I think the examples I point to here are ones where the music takes over as the main component of the film's sound. That's really what I mean by "foregrounded" in these cases in the blog post. The other scenes you mention certain have full statements of the theme, but I think what I was after was those moments where the dialogue falls away and the music leads the scene. I know Williams regularly talks about competing with other sounds in the film audio, so I have to imagine that moments like these would really stand out to him because the film is calling on him to be the main storyteller rather than dialogue. So yes, of course there are other moments where the Force theme is heard in full, but it's the ones that are given this special audio spotlight that I was focusing on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

53 minutes ago, Ludwig said:

- Boy Anakin destroys the Trade Federation ship

 

That's another example where, I believe, the theme has a proper cadence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

That's another example where, I believe, the theme has a proper cadence.

 

Yes! And the one starting Revenge of the Sith does too, where Anakin and Obi-Wan go into battle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right! 

 

Funny Williams, the Erlösungsschluss goes at the end of the film, not in the beginning! :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Chen G. said:

Right! 

 

Funny Williams, the Erlösungsschluss goes at the end of the film, not in the beginning! :lol:

 

The way Anakin's and Obi-Wan's ships fly in unison during this theme makes me think that, through the full closure of the theme, Williams may have been suggesting the closeness and stability of the relationship between the two at this point so that its unraveling during the course of the film is all the more effective musically.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It does make a nice contrast to how the theme is "poisoned" by the Imperial March chords much later in the film...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always thought The Force theme made perfect sense in the original six films (at least as a Force theme). The examples listed are major turning points in the Force itself. It plays before Anakin leaves to find his mother because it's foreshadowing that it's a turning point in Anakin's allegiance to The Force. Luke communicating to Leia is because it's hinting at her sensitivity in the Force, and of course he's using it to do so. Vader's funeral of course is because it's the finale to his redemption to the light.

 

Anakin blowing up the Trade Federation ship is to demonstrate his ability to pilot through the Force (same with him crash landing the ship in Revenge of the Sith). Obi-Wan and Anakin flying into battle I think is more being used as a Jedi theme there, as it often is as well, and Obi-Wan leaving to fight Grievous could also be argued as a turning point as his absence leads to Anakin's turn to the dark side of the Force. 

 

And of course you get double meanings in the original trilogy (and also Revenge of the Sith to an extent), where the theme is often used as an Obi-Wan and Force theme at the same time. Which is also why my favorite uses of it are almost all in the original trilogy. I think "The Throne Room" could be argued as being one of these instances, as defeating the Empire is arguably a triumph for Obi-Wan and Luke's journey into the Force.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Ludwig said:

- Binary sunset - suggesting Luke's destiny to become a Jedi

12 hours ago, Ludwig said:

- Anakin leaves Padme to search for his mother and ends up slaughtering the sand people - beginning of his descent into evil

12 hours ago, Ludwig said:

- The last statement focuses on Luke - his adoptive parents hold him as a baby as they watch a binary sunset, paralleling that of A New Hope

These three all kind of reference one another, as do the films themselves. It's kind of the same statement three separate times.

 

12 hours ago, Ludwig said:

- Obi-Wan and Anakin manage to crash land their ship on Coruscant

Isn't this tracked from TPM? Does it count if it's tracked? I never know how intentional they were with that sort of thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, bored said:

And of course you get double meanings in the original trilogy (and also Revenge of the Sith to an extent), where the theme is often used as an Obi-Wan and Force theme at the same time.

 

Themes obviously become associated with the drama in a very abstract sense, so differentiating rigorously between its multiple "meanings" can be an exercise in futility. The best example is the descending scale pattern from The Ring: Its associated with Wotan's Spear, but since the spear is never not at Wotan's side and is very much an instrument of his will, it becomes totally impossible to separate the spear from Wotan and from his will, and since Wotan is the god of law, its very much a theme of law and contracts.

 

To be fair, the Obi-Wan case is a little different. For one thing, the basic musical character of the theme was clearly composed with Guinness' old hermit in mind: it has a kind of forlorn quality that very much speaks to a man out of time, a man in exile but with reserves of dignity and honour. That's not necessarily the character one would give the music if one was composing primarily to express some numinous Force. But, still, its hard to separate Ben from the Force and say "here its used as Ben's theme, here its used as The Force theme" because they're so interlinked in the narrative.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Schilkeman said:

These three all kind of reference one another, as do the films themselves. It's kind of the same statement three separate times.

 

Isn't this tracked from TPM? Does it count if it's tracked? I never know how intentional they were with that sort of thing.

 

Oh totally. I think the concept works best in the context of the OT, which is how I frame it in the original blog post. So in general I agree the prequels have too much tracking for this kind of thing to be consistent. And I agree the last statement in ROTS is of course directly referencing the original Binary Sunset since we see the sunset yet again! I suppose I see AOTC differently only because it marks probably the most significant event in Anakin's trajectory in the film. I wouldn't expect we'd all agree on what these things mean, exactly. I just brought it up because I thought it's kind of cool how the AOTC statement can be seen in a broader context of these basically dialogue-free full statements being somewhat special when viewed across many of the Star Wars films, particularly the first three. But as I say, I totally agree that the idea doesn't hold up nearly as well in the prequels.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Chen G. said:

To be fair, the Obi-Wan case is a little different. For one thing, the basic musical character of the theme was clearly composed with Guinness' old hermit in mind: it has a kind of forlorn quality that very much speaks to a man out of time, a man in exile but with reserves of dignity and honour. That's not necessarily the character one would give the music if one was composing primarily to express some numinous Force. But, still, its hard to separate Ben from the Force and say "here its used as Ben's theme, here its used as The Force theme" because they're so interlinked in the narrative.

 

Very well put. I might put forward that if it represents any "concept" (as opposed to the character of Ben) in Star Wars it would be The Old Republic rather than the Force. Anytime it is used with the Force it's almost always because it is an association with what Ben is doing. ("These aren't the droids you're looking for.") I think the only exception to this is when Ben is explaining the Force. (IMHO.) All of the other Force associations in Star Wars are when Ben is using the Force. (Or telling Luke to.) Right?

 

But it's used as the primary theme for The Good Guys in The Last Battle in its Old Republic sense. (Rather than the Rebel Spaceship theme that is introduced with the Blockade Runner and its crew. Weird, huh?) And Williams was explicit about why he used it in The Throne Room.

 

Empire, of course, is much more about the Force so it is more directly associated as a theme for that there. It stops being something that can be associated to the Old Republic and becomes more about the Force and maybe the Jedi Knights. Right as I typed that I realized that it is used in the Hoth battle for the Rebels (rather than just Luke) almost as much as it's used in The Last Battle. Well, it's a bad ass theme and it has a sombre almost doomed kind of tone, so, sure.

 

I think I'll stand by that though because it's after the Hoth battle that the story changes from being a more simple continuation of Star Wars (Rebels in a big aerial battle with Luke Skywalker at the lead) and moves in a more "Force-y" direction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Ludwig said:

 

I actually looked into uses of the Force theme in a blog post some time ago and found that this statement was among a relatively small number that were the complete theme and foregrounded in the film. When Williams used the theme in this way in the first six films, they tended to be mark major points in the plot of the Empire/Trade Federation:

 

A New Hope

- Binary sunset - suggesting Luke's destiny to become a Jedi

- Throne room - victory over the Empire

 

Empire Strikes Back - has none, interestingly, probably because the plot focuses not on defeating the Empire but escaping from it (and also introduces the love between Han and Leia, and Yoda as a new character)

 

Return of the Jedi

- Luke lights Vader's funeral pyre

 

The Phantom Menace

- Boy Anakin destroys the Trade Federation ship

 

Attack of the Clones

- Anakin leaves Padme to search for his mother and ends up slaughtering the sand people - beginning of his descent into evil

 

Revenge of the Sith - statements focus on Obi-Wan or the partnership of Anakin and Obi-Wan, which is central to the plot:

- Obi-Wan and Anakin enter huge battle with Federation

- Obi-Wan and Anakin manage to crash land their ship on Coruscant

- Obi-Wan leaves for Utupau to battle Grievous

- The last statement focuses on Luke - his adoptive parents hold him as a baby as they watch a binary sunset, paralleling that of A New Hope

 

Interesting idea.  Don't you think in ESB, the final moments where Luke is getting his hand fixed would count or is it too background?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, karelm said:

Interesting idea.  Don't you think in ESB, the final moments where Luke is getting his hand fixed would count or is it too background?

 

It's definitely a full statement of the theme, it's just that it has all that dialogue overtop whereas I was looking at places where the music is the part of the sound leading the narrative since they seemed to be "bigger" moments in the story. For me, this scene has a feeling of leaving loose ends for the next movie to pick up on rather than being a plot point that initiates or resolves a major story arc. Like this is kind of in the middle of things rather than at a beginning or end, I guess is why I feel it's different even if the theme was left alone with no dialogue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Ludwig said:

I suppose I see AOTC differently only because it marks probably the most significant event in Anakin's trajectory in the film.

I see it as the "shadow" of the binary sunset. It's where Anakin and Luke's paths diverge. The Force theme is often used in this kind of Greek way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, Schilkeman said:

I see it as the "shadow" of the binary sunset. It's where Anakin and Luke's paths diverge. The Force theme is often used in this kind of Greek way.

 

Yes, that makes sense. It meshes well with how Across the Stars is a tragic, minor-key "shadow" of Luke's theme.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The prequel trilogy definitely lends itself to the use of leitmotives as a Greek chorus.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

George probably asked JW to use the Force Theme/Sunset Music because it's like poetry. It's heard chronologically in this setting when Anakin is standing outside the house (at which point it is around sunset but it isn't exactly clear and it's taped from the wrong angle), when they have the baby at the end of Episode III and there is actually a sunset and then finally when Luke watches the sunset. It's not quite as poetic or should I say literal when he's watching the body burn in a fire or when they turn the Falcon around, although it is dusk and sunset at that time.

 

I'm gonna ask AI why the Trade Federation march is used for the clone army.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Remember, too, that for Anakin the chord progression is altered to be a little darker. So its not exactly the same music.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.