In celebration of Star Wars Day, Varèse Sarabande Records on Monday announced a special release of the Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire soundtrack. GRAMMY-nominated composer Joel McNeely created the album in 1996. It will be released for the first time on LP and reissued on CD on August 7th exclusively from Varèse Sarabande Records. Pre-orders for the LP and CD are available now on the Varèse Sarabande website. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire was a multimedia project launched by Lucasfilm in 1996. The idea was to simulate the release of a new Star Wars movie without having an actual movie. The project included a novel by Steve Perry, a video game developed and published by LucasArts for Nintendo 64 and Microsoft Windows, a line of toys, and this soundtrack. The soundtrack was the perfect background music for reading Perry's novel and was sampled by both versions of the video game.
The soundtrack was composed by McNeely and recorded with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The album art features the main characters of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire as imagined by renowned illustrator Drew Struzan (Blade Runner, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future).
The story of Shadows of the Empire, which is now considered non-canon Legends material, takes place between Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return fo the Jedi. After Han Solo is frozen in carbonite, Luke Skywalker gets caught up in a game of intrigue between Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, and the crime lord Prince Xizor. Meanwhile, Leia Organa, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian enlist the aid of pilot Dash Rendar in their attempts to rescue Han from Boba Fett. The game, which sold more than 1 million copies, has players take control of Dash Rendar for third-person action segments and Rendar's ship, The Outrider, for flight scenarios.
Here's the full tracklisting for the Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire soundtrack:
- Main Theme from Star Wars and Leia’s Nightmare (3:41)
- The Battle of Gall (7:59)
- Imperial City (8:02)
- Beggar’s Canyon Chase (2:56)
- The Southern Underground (1:48)
- Xizor’s Theme (4:35)
- The Seduction of Princess Leia (3:38)
- Night Skies (4:17)
- Into the Sewers (2:55)
- The Destruction of Xizor’s Palace (10:44)
While Shadows of the Empire is now Legends material, Dash Rendar does exist in the new Star Wars canon. The penultimate episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars opened the door for him to make a more formal debut. Zachary Levi has even said that he'd want to play the character.