When George Lucas was developing Star Wars, there was a push from the studio to use a contemporary, disco-influenced score, which they believed would appeal to more people. Lucas instead demanded the picture have a more timeless feel, enlisting John Williams to craft the film's soundtrack. This decision would prove correct, as Williams' score is as memorable as any other element of the saga, with Mark Hamill claiming Williams deserves the most credit for the series after Lucas.
“Aside from George Lucas, nobody deserves more credit for the success of Star Wars than John Williams," the actor shared with Variety.
Throughout his career, Williams has contributed the score to every Star Wars film, with the exception of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which was created by Michael Giacchino. Prior to crafting the score for Star Wars, Williams was already on his way to an incredible career, having previously provided the score to Jaws.
“Jaws was the only film of John Williams I knew before he did Star Wars,” Hamill says. “Obviously, as ‘Johnny’ Williams, he paid his dues in television, but I didn’t come to know that until much later.”
Hamill recalled the first time he heard Williams' score for the space opera, which left a deep emotional impact on him, even if he was just listening to it in his car.
“It was a two-seater sports car with a good sound system,” Hamill recalled. “[Producer Gary Kurtz] put this tape in, and I was absolutely blown away. By the time we reached our destination, I was levitating. I couldn’t believe it. There were tears streaming down my face. I was so overwhelmed, so moved, so delighted. His music was epic. For a movie as modest as ours, his music elevated it to the status of Lawrence of Arabia.”
The actor became such a fan of Williams, he got envious when hearing the score the composer had created for Superman.
After hearing the music, Hamill couldn't help but wonder "why couldn’t he have saved that for The Empire Strikes Back, the next film in the series? I somehow thought of him as ours.”
That admiration continued all the way through The Force Awakens, pointing out how Williams' score joined the past with the present.
“When we found out that John was going to be the connective tissue,” Hamill revealed, “the Force was with us on that one. Nobody could step into his shoes.”
The actor also got to witness a recording session for The Last Jedi, leaving Hamill awe-struck.
"It’s indescribable, how he elevates every scene. He’s got to understand the emotion of the scene, the dynamics of whatever conflict we’re trying to portray, as deeply as an actor does," Hamill confessed. "In a way, that’s even more complex. As an actor, you’re only one person, one instrument in the orchestra. He’s the entire cast.”
Williams recently shared that he hopes to craft the score for Episode IX to complete this trilogy of new films.
You can hear Williams' score for The Last Jedi in theaters now.