It’s nearly impossible to talk about the impact of the Star Wars franchise without mentioning John Williams. Over the years, I reviewed a couple of his soundtrack efforts (as if they even needed reviewing!). Here’s a quick look back…
The Force Awakens (Disney)
Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a performance of John Williams conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It was amazing to hear the power of a live orchestra, playing the familiar strains of “Star Wars”,”Indiana Jones”,”Jurassic Park,” and “Harry Potter,” just to name a few.
Unlike a lot of contemporary creators of film scores, Williams has the ability to write orchestral hooks, instead of merely providing disposable background music. Is there anyone who doesn’t recognize “Darth Vader’s Theme”? For The Force Awakens, Williams has written “Rey’s Theme,” for the film’s heroine, which sits nicely among other more well-known themes and transition pieces. The entire score was a pleasant listen that I look forward to revisiting.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Disney)
Will a lot of film scores fail to make much of an impression, those of John Williams are instantly recognizable, even if you don’t particularly care for orchestration. Is there anyone among us who couldn’t identify “Star Wars’ Main Theme”? Williams doesn’t just score films, his compositions stick in your head like a hit song.
Familiar melodies weave with new, as Williams sets you firmly in a galaxy far, far, away. The music is lushly recorded and will have your thoughts drifting to scenes in the movie, which I really enjoy. I played “The Last Jedi” through three times, and will probably have another listen tomorrow. Highly recommended.
Since 2015, when The Force Awakens came out, Disney has supplement-ed its on-screen world of Star Wars with books. Referred to as the Star Wars Disney Canon on Goodreads, these books flesh out the wonderful world that George Lucas created over forty years ago. They follow characters that we love, and new characters that we have yet to meet on screen. As a fan of Star Wars, I am always happy to be in that world, so a few years back I started to read some of the books set in the world of Star Wars. The first one I picked up was Claudia Gray’s Bloodline.
Bloodline is the story of Princess Leia, now Senator Organa, and how she navigates the universe post Return of the Jedi. She has the struggles of a politician, but also that of the daughter of Darth Vader. Gray digs into feelings and themes not explored in the Star Wars movies. What would it be like to know your father is Darth Vader? What would it be like if people found out? Gray tackles the psychological side of Leia, and it’s very moving. Leia is obviously a great favorite among Star Wars fans, as she is a strong, powerful, and inspiring leader. It was really nice to get to see even more sides of her, and to get to know her better as a character.
The other main thing that has stuck with me after reading this book, is its focus on politics. I’m one of the (what seems like) few people who actually enjoy the prequel movies. Like I said above, any chance to be in the universe of Star Wars is a win for me. Queen Amidala was always one of my favorite characters, along with The Phantom Menace being one of my favorite movies. I always found the focus on politics and galactic relations to be fascinating. Bloodline delivers on that front as well, but with the beloved Leia at its heart. I also really enjoyed getting a closer look at the politics behind the new government that formed after the Empire was destroyed.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves Star Wars, wants to get to know Leia better, or just wants a good political thriller to read. May the force be with you.
P.S. I also highly recommend getting the Barnes and Noble Exclusive Edition of this book (which can be found at this link: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bloodline-claudia-gray/1123475598?ean=9780425286784) because it comes with a really awesome poster!