John Williams accepting an award

Legendary Composer John Williams Is Returning for ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’

For fans of Star Wars, and film fans everywhere, the legendary composer John Williams means a lot. From the start of the franchise in 1977, we’re were given his brilliant scores to accompany our favorite galaxy far, far away, and it’s difficult to imagine that Star Wars would be Star Wars without his musical backdrop. When it came to the prequel series, he did what I consider to be some of his best work with songs like “Duel of the Fates” in The Phantom Menace and “Across the Stars” in Attack of the Clones. And yes, we had his work in the sequel films but having Williams, who is 90, come to work on the Disney+ era of shows wasn’t something that really seemed in the cards.

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But then, in an exclusive from Variety, news broke that Williams would be returning to give us a theme for the new Obi-Wan Kenobi show starring Ewan McGregor, and suddenly the world felt different and right. That’s a dramatic declaration, I’ll grant you, but having Williams back to do the theme song for the show feels like the stars aligning. So far, we’ve had incredible themes from Ludwig Göransson, bringing the world of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett to vivid musical life.

But the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi feels so inherently connected to Williams’ work that this feels like the best choice for the series at large. And with Nicholas Britell coming in to compose Andor, the inclusion of Williams feels like a conscious choice and the right one.

The power of Williams’ score

I love what Göransson did with both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. It flowed perfectly together and worked with the shows as a whole. But there’s something about the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi that still connects back to Williams in a way that I don’t really think another composer could do the same work that Williams will. I’ve associated Williams’ themes with Obi-Wan for decades, and it’s encoded in my Star Wars fan DNA.

It’s not to say that the character has to be scored by Williams but rather that if they were going to get nonagenarian John Williams to come out of “retirement” for anything, it makes sense that it is a show like Obi-Wan Kenobi. Sure, Williams did score for all the Star Wars franchise films until his “retirement” in 2019 but even so, his iconic work links back to that first film and seeing Obi-Wan take on Darth Vader in A New Hope. His score for the 1977 Star Wars: A New Hope was voted the best of all time by the American Film Institute. So bringing him back to do the theme for this show feels, in a way, like coming home. And even at his age, Williams’ retirement isn’t really retirement: he’s also set to score the fifth Indiana Jones movie, amongst other projects.

The beauty of Across the Stars

Duel of the Fates is up there in iconic scores from Williams that I love, but Across the Stars has consistently been one of my top pieces of music since its release. It’s a beautiful ode to Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala, the couple whose relationship would change everything in the universe. Now, with the return of Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ewan McGregor putting the robes back on, there are also chances for the scores we’ve come to love for these characters in the past playing a part in the new series.

I so adore that Williams will be back for Obi-Wan Kenobi and I can’t wait to see what the theme song ends up being. If we can trust anyone to make a Star Wars series sing through its score, it is definitely John Williams.

(image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Turner)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.