There are moments in John Williams' seven scores for Star Wars films that are so iconic even people who haven't seen the movies can recognize them. When the opening fanfare of the main title theme plays, people take notice. Fans will also recognize Leia's theme, and Binary Sunset, and the Force theme and many other themes and motifs from throughout Star Wars history. But perhaps none is more recognizable and more instantly linked to a particular character than the Imperial March, which appropriately made its debut in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. From the moment it first blared over movie theater speakers, the Imperial March became inextricably linked to Darth Vader (many probably know it simply as his theme song).
When Michael Giacchino took on the task of being the first person not named John Williams composing a score for a Star Wars movie, he wanted to make it his own, but also pay honor to the living legend. There are some subtle and not so subtle hints throughout the movie. When the main title plays, for example, there's a rousing major fifth in the music, hinting at the beginning of "Main Title." Then there are the less subtle, like when Krennic goes to speak to Darth Vader, when we hear bits of the low theme used for Sith Lords throughout the franchise, and a slow, soft version of the Imperial March with the melody given only by horns. And 56 seconds into the track "Hope," which plays over the final scene of the movie, you hear the Imperial March in full force and full tempo.
But that's not the first time the theme can be heard in that song. Leading up to that blaring moment, Giacchino actually hid the theme at the very beginning of "Hope," as well. It's a mixture of the voices and the low strings, with the horns backing up the vocals. When Reddit (It's credited to a Brian N. Le without direct link in the embedded tweet below from Bobby Roberts) spotted it, they doubled the speed and found out just how well it matches the original theme.
Synchs up quite nicely indeed. These sorts of musical nuances show a deep caring put into the project by Giacchino, and should make fans - who already responded well to the score - even happier to listen to it over and over until the next film (with score by Williams) hits theaters in December.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now. Directed by Gareth Edwards, it's the first of the new standalone features from Lucasfilm and Disney, which take place outside the core "Skywalker Saga" of films noted by an Episode number. Rogue One tells the story of the small band of rebels that were tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star. The story spins directly off the opening crawl from the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. In that crawl, it read: "Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet."
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