John Williams’ Score for ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Will Feature Famous Themes

John Williams’ Score for ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Will Feature Famous Themes

Don Williams, orchestral drummer and brother of Star Wars composer John Williams, announced during a recent event at the Academy of Scoring Arts that work on the score for the final movie in the Skywalker Saga has begun. “John’s started up on another Star Wars,” his brother revealed. “He started last week, he’s got 135 minutes worth of music to write. So that kind of tells you how long the film is. It is top to bottom music.”

 

John Williams has been composing Star Wars films scores since the mid-1970s, which makes this the fifth decade Williams has worked on the franchise. He scored all three original films from 1977-1983, the prequels beginning with 1999’s The Phantom Menace through 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, and most recently since 2015 with The Force Awakens. Although Williams is known for his other Oscar-winning scores such as Jaws, E.T. the Extraterrestrial, Schindler’s List and more, it is likely he’ll always be best known for his contributions to the Star Wars world.

Perhaps what is most distinct about his work on Star Wars is how Williams has composed leitmotifs based on prominent characters in the movies. These include Luke’s theme, Leia’s theme, Yoda’s theme, the Imperial March associated with Darth Vader and the evil galactic Empire in Episodes III through VI, and many more. Even the Millennium Falcon has its own thrilling motif. More recently, we’ve heard themes based on the heroic Rey and the tormented Kylo Ren to enhance the action and drama on screen. Each represents and touches upon deep emotions about the characters we’ve come to love over the decades. In fact, Don Williams indicated that many of these themes will be revisited, however briefly, in the final score for Episode IX:

“I can tell you that every theme you ever heard is gonna be compiled into this last effort. Leia, Yoda, the Phantom, Darth, all of it is gonna be in there.”

We are very fortunate that John Williams is still with us 40 years after his first contribution to Star Wars and that he’s composing the final piece in this cinematic score opus. Although most of his cinematic scores are truly exceptional, perhaps his work on the Star Wars films is the most beloved.

Watch part of
the discussion with Don Williams here:

 

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Kevin Feige Talks Iron Man’s Finale – And How ‘Logan’ Influenced It

Kevin Feige Talks Iron Man’s Finale – And How ‘Logan’ Influenced It

Spoilers forAvengers: Endgame ahead.

Marvel did it! They ended the Infinity Saga after ten years and twenty-three movies. It is a cinematic feat never before achieved in the history of film and unlikely to happen again any time soon.

The Avengers defeated Thanos and his hordes of deep space nightmares. Captain America went back in time and lived out his remaining years with Peggy Carter. Bruce Banner and the Hulk managed to work out their differences and merge their personalities. Black Widow gave her life for her adopted family, while Hawkeye regained the family that he lost. And Tony Stark, well, he took on the burden of the Infinity Stones, snapped his fingers, and sacrificed his life to save the universe by erasing the bad guys from existence.

Recently, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige spoke to Empire Magazine about his experience telling Robert Downey Jr. that the character that he’s been embodying for a decade was being killed off:

“I remember pitching that to Robert Downey Jr. probably in December of 2015, I think. I pitched him the idea of the two-part finale for Avengers and Spider-Man: Homecoming, which was a part of that leading into it. It took a little while, but eventually it came together. I think at first it doesn’t seem real that this journey will come to an end. But as it got closer to filming, it really was emotional for all of us, and particularly for him.”

How could you even plan for the death of such an important character, the one who in a sense sparked the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you ask? Feige said that they looked to those that came before for inspiration. And what better place than the X-Men franchise where Feige got his start in the movie business working as Producer Lauren Shuler Donner’s assistant?

The Marvel Studios head honcho explained that they looked at actor Hugh Jackman’s final bow as Wolverine in the film Logan for insight. Jackman played the character for 17 years before closing his run out with an emotionally satisfying death scene. Feige said:

“We saw Logan like the audience did, in a theater having nothing to do with the making of that film and went, ‘Oh my god, what an amazing ending for Hugh as this character.’ And there are only a handful of examples where an actor so associated with a character can go out perfectly. That’s what we desperately wanted to give Robert, and that was what our focus was on.”

I think we can all agree that they succeeded.

‘Nuff said.

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Obscure Stan Lee Characters from A-Z: The Fantastic F’s

Obscure Stan Lee Characters from A-Z: The Fantastic F’s

It’s Trivia Tuesday! Tell us, which of these not-so-famous characters did Stan co-create?

A. Fancy Dan

B. Frog Man

C. Free Spirit

D. Fafnir

And the answers are

A. Fancy Dan and D. Fafnir!

Fancy Dan

Fancy Dan kicked his way into the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #10 in March 1964 courtesy the celebrated team of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. His name may sound buoyant and fun, but don’t let that fool you: the Brooklyn-born Fancy Dan is not a nice guy. Not only is he a villain, but Fancy Dan even helped establish the super villain faction the Enforcers. So, you can bet all those sweet skills he’s got up his sleeve—karate, judo, sharpshooting, knife-throwing—are used in wicked, wicked ways.

Fafnir

You may have guessed it based on the name: Fafnir first appeared in a Thor story, Thor #134, cover dated November 1966, courtesy the team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Fafnir started as a human… who happened upon a magical pool that turned him into a large dragon. (Happens every day, right?) The character showcases both human and dragon traits: his intelligence and ability to communicate for the former, and some magic and fire-breathing skills for the latter. Fafnir only made a brief two story appearance in the 60s but reared his head (again briefly) in the early 1980s. Though he was killed off in ’84, he returned from the dead for a spell in Thor from May-July 1995. Can’t keep a Norse Dragon down!

Wondering about the origins of the other two characters? Read on!

Frog Man, the son of Stan-crafted villain Leap-Frog, hopped onto the scene in Marvel Team-Up #121 in September 1982 from writer J.M. DeMatteis and artist Kerry Gammill.

Free Spirit flipped her way into the pages of Captain
America Vol. 1
#431 in September 1994, co-created by writer Mark Gruenwald
and artist Dave Hoover.

Every couple of weeks, we’ll spotlight some of Stan’s
most obscure co-creations through trivia, starting with A and ending with Z!
Stay tuned for ‘G,’ coming soon!

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G.I. Joe Back in Action on the Big Screen!

G.I. Joe Back in Action on the Big Screen!

YO JOE! That was the battle cry kids could be heard shouting in backyards across the nation through most of the 1980s and 90s. Hopefully that boisterous whoop will be echoed forth once again across the US of A as there’s a brand-new G.I. Joe movie on the horizon.

The G.I. Joe toy line began way back in the 1960s as a toy soldier doll, but it wasn’t until the 1980s when Hasbro revamped the line into smaller, more posable action figures with a plethora of vehicles that it turned into a major multi-media franchise.

The new toy line came with a massively popular Marvel comicbook series written by the legendary Larry Hama and an animated show produced by Marvel Productions about an elite counter-terrorist military team.

The franchise was one of Marvel’s best-selling comics and one of the highest rated cartoon shows on the air at the time. The series was different from other military shows in that the group of specialized soldiers felt like a team of superheroes, even though none of the G.I. Joes possessed any superhuman powers themselves.

Every Joe in the hugely diverse cast had their own specific combat skills, character quirks, unique uniforms, and fully realized backstories. The Joes also had a terrific rogues gallery of villains in COBRA, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world. The series and toy line were a constant rival to Hasbro’s other famous franchise, Transformers, with kids often arguing at the school lunch table which was better. (For the record, I was team Joe.)

To this day, I think that the 1987 animated G.I. Joe: The Movie starring Don Johnson and Burgess Meredith still holds the top spot for best movie based on the real American heroes.

Unfortunately, the two live-action G.I. Joe movies, 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation, while moderate financial successes, barely resembled the source material nor replicated its fun. But there’s still hope!

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Paramount Pictures has a brand-new G.I. Joe movie in development with screenwriters Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec on the case. The duo previously wrote Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014). The film is rumored to star G.I. Joe soldier code named “Chuckles,” who I personally only remember as a small supporting character in G.I. Joe: The Movie but apparently had a somewhat bigger role in the comicbooks.

Can Appelbaum and Nemec recreate the winning formula that made G.I. Joe such a memorable hit in the past? They have big combat boots to fill. At the very least I demand a live-action recreation of G.I. Joe: The Movie’s opening, including the song… and if they can get Sgt. Slaughter in there too that would be nice. 

YO JOE!

-Steve V.

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Texas Spider-Man Making a Difference… in Traffic!

Texas Spider-Man Making a Difference… in Traffic!

“You know, I guess one person can make a difference.” Well, one sure is trying!

The world can always use some good news (especially on a Monday), and we’ve just found some courtesy of a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man in Texas.

On his days off,
a man named Cameron Fielder can sometimes be found dressed as the Web-slinger
(and other superheroes) at busy intersections outside of Houston, armed with
signs to uplift and inspire drivers with phrases like “You are strong.” 

Given that the
iconic hero’s credo is helping others, it’s quite appropriate that he’s been
donning a Spidey suit recently to help deliver his messages of optimism. In
fact, Fielder told ABC13 Houston: “This world is full of negativity these
days and I don’t want that to be continuing. Of course, it always will, but I
want to at least try to make a difference.”

It certainly seems like the passing cars appreciate Spidey’s small yet substantial words of cheer; Fielder has said that some motorists honk to convey their appreciation, and now folks curious to see the positivity-slinging Web-head in person have started to seek him out. And you don’t have to be in a car to be on the receiving end of Fielder’s optimism either: Pedestrians crossing his path receive waves and high fives, and recently, he’s even been distributing sticker books and coloring books, too. What a way to make someone’s day brighter! Indeed, Fielder said that his impetus in doing this has been to give others who are struggling reassurance and encouragement. Sounds just like something the Wall Crawler would do, right? As written in Spidey’s debut comic Amazing Fantasy #15, “With great power there must also come — great responsibility!” 

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