"…And most importantly, he [John Williams] has created a grand love theme, the perfect accompaniment to the developing relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala."
―George Lucas[src]

"Across the Stars" is the primary thematic music of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. The piece was composed by John Williams to accompany the romance between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala, and is used frequently throughout the film and its sequel, Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith.

Conception and development[edit | edit source]

John Williams wrote the musical score for the 2002 film Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones,[15] as had been the case for the four previous Star Wars films.[16] He used the London Symphony Orchestra and London Voices to perform the music. Only the orchestra was used for "Across the Stars", the motif used to represent the romance between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala.[1] The Attack of the Clones soundtrack was released on CD April 23, 2002[3] and as an MP3 download on May 16, 2002.[4]

Symbolism[edit | edit source]

"Their love is complicated - pure yet forbidden, personal but with profound ramifications for an entire galaxy. Somehow, John has managed to convey all of that complexity in a simple, hauntingly beautiful theme."
―George Lucas[src]

Accompanied by triplet arpeggios, this love theme illustrates the bond between the queen-turned-senator Padmé Amidala and the slave-turned-Jedi-Knight Anakin Skywalker slowly strengthening and blossoming into love. The forbidden love is sealed in matrimony and continues until it slowly crumbles when Anakin turns to the dark side.

Summary[edit | edit source]

The theme starts off with a slow, emotional part performed by the violas, which play long notes, and the harp, which plays repeating triplets. As this strings continues, a solo oboe comes in with the primary melody. After the oboe finishes half of the melody, the strings finish the other half and end the first section. Next, the strings join the harp in playing eleven sets of triplets before the violins commence with the main melody, which was played by the oboe prior to the triplets. This is backed by short flute riffs. The horns continue a short section of the melody before climaxing into an emotional and climactic part by the violins and horns. The violins then go into two descending phrases, the second higher in pitch than the first. The piece then turns darker into F minor as the low strings repeat a ten sixteenth note riff and the low brass and woodwinds repeat a march-like phrase. The violins then come in to back the low strings. The oboe then hints at the main melody while the low voices continue their phrases, followed by a horn phrase. This is succeeded by numerous pieces of the melody played by trombones, an oboe, and the horns, each followed by two beats played by horns and trombones, and trumpets respectively, with the horns having no phrase after they play the melody. The theme then crescendos into a violin part accented by staccato and legato phrases from the low strings. Next the horns take over the melody while the low strings play more staccato notes. The motif revisits the point toward the beginning where the horns and violins shared the melody, a half-step lower in E minor. However, this time the trumpets play small background phrases consisting of one note per phrase, excluding the last phrase. The horns and oboe then take over with the descending part the violins played earlier. The horns play the first, lower one, and the oboe plays the second, higher one. These two phrases are complemented by several ascending violin parts. The strings then crescendo leading into another run-through of the darker part of the theme. The violins drop out, followed by the tubas and low strings, which leads into the finale of the theme: a harp solo of the main theme succeeded by an English horn solo ending in a long note.[1]

Use[edit | edit source]

In the soundtracks[edit | edit source]

It is available from Sony Classical on the Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones soundtrack, as the second track entitled "Love Theme from Attack of the Clones." It is used another nine times in five other tracks on the soundtrack. The first appearance after track two is forty-five seconds into "Yoda and the Younglings." The second is three minutes and twenty-four seconds into the same track. The track "Anakin and Padmé" contains the theme fifty-nine seconds in and again two minutes and eleven seconds in. "The Meadow Picnic" features it at one minute and thirty-six seconds. Track number twelve, "Love Pledge and The Arena," utilizes the motif three times. The first occurrence is from twelve seconds in to one minute and forty-eight seconds in. The second and third are at six minutes and nine seconds and seven minutes and eleven seconds respectively. The composition makes its final two Attack of the Clones appearances three minutes and fifty-eight seconds and five minutes and thirty-six seconds into the last track, "Confrontation with Count Dooku and Finale."[1]

Attack of the Clones music book

The theme is reused in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, notably twenty-five seconds into. "Anakin's Dream."[5]

In the movies[edit | edit source]

The piece appears in both Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. In Revenge of the Sith it appears for a final time as Padmé is in contemplation upon landing on Mustafar.[6][7]

In the Expanded Universe[edit | edit source]

"Across the Stars" can also be heard in the trailer for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic,[9] as well as in Chapter 1 of the Star Wars: Clone Wars microseries.[10] The piece makes appearances in both Star Wars: Battlefront and Star Wars: Battlefront II.[11][12] The theme is also used in the title screen of the game Star Wars: The New Droid Army.[8] It is once again used in the end credits of LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game and the video game adaptation of Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,[13] and in the first level's cutscenes of LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars.

Renditions of "Across the Stars" are played in the 2011 massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic.[14]

In other merchandise[edit | edit source]

The theme's sheet music appears in the Attack of the Clones music book from Bantha Music. The book was released for the following instruments and editions: trumpet, piano, easy piano, clarinet, tenor sax, and alto sax.[2]

In other films[edit | edit source]

The melody of "Across the Stars" is used as a phrase in the John Williams' track "The Flight to Neverland," which was made for the 1991 film Hook. The same phrase forms a part of Maurice Jarr's "Lara's Theme," which was made for the 1965 film Doctor Zhivago.

In popular culture[edit | edit source]

Alan Silvestri included a brief homage to the theme in his score for Night at the Museum II: Battle of the Smithsonian, which appears towards the start of the track "On Your Toes".

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Leitmotifs and themes
Introduced in Episode IV
Main Title (Luke) · Rebels · Imperials · the Force (Ben Kenobi) · Princess Leia · Death Star · Jawa · Tusken Raider · dies irae

Recurring themes/concert pieces/songs:
"Star Wars Main Title" · "Mad About Me" (Cantina Band) (IV) · "Dune Sea Special" {Cantina Band #2)
"Here They Come!/TIE Fighter Attack" · "The Final Battle" · "The Throne Room"

Introduced in Episode V
the Empire/Darth Vader · droids · dark side · walkers · "Han Solo and the Princess" (IV) · Yoda · Boba Fett I
Lando Calrissian · "May the Force Be with You" · "The Asteroid Field"
Introduced in Episode VI
Leitmotifs: Jabba · funeral · "Parade of the Ewoks" · Luke and Leia (IV, IV) · The Emperor (Sith) · trap

Concert pieces/songs: "Jabba the Hutt" · "Lapti Nek" · "Jedi Rocks"
"The Forest Battle" (V) · "Ewok Celebration"/Yub Nub · "Victory Celebration" (VI)

Introduced in Holiday Special
"Light the Sky on Fire" · "Goodnight, But Not Goodbye" · "A Day to Celebrate"
Introduced in Droids and Ewoks
"In Trouble Again" · "Ewoks" · "Friends Together, Friends Forever"
Introduced in Dark Forces, Shadows of the Empire, and Rogue Squadron
mystery (IV, V) · Xizor's Theme · Dash's theme · Rogue Squadron theme
Introduced in Episode I
Leitmotifs: droid march · "Duel of the Fates" · Qui-Gon · Jar Jar · Darth Maul · Anakin Skywalker (V) · Shmi

Recurring themes: "The Flag Parade" · "Escape from Naboo"
Diegetic pieces: "Symponik Nabooalla" ("Augie's Great Municipal Band") (VI)

Introduced in Episode II
conspiracy (IV, II) · "Across the Stars" (IV, IV, IV) · "The Meadow Picnic"
descent (IV, II) · "The Arena" (Republic) · Palpatine's machinations
Introduced in Episode III
General Grievous · Sith mystery · "Padmé's Ruminations" (III) · "Anakin's Betrayal" (II)
"Anakin's Dark Deeds" (V, II, III) · "Battle of the Heroes" · "Padmé's Destiny"
Introduced in Knights of the Old Republic I and II
Revan · Bastila Shan · Kreia · Sith Triumvirate (II) · Nar Shaddaa · Korriban
Introduced in Clone Wars and Republic Commando
Advanced Recon Commandoes · Vode An
Introduced in The Old Republic
Songs · the Commander · Valkorion
Introduced in Empire at War and The Force Unleashed
Zann Consortium · The Force Unleashed · Rahm Kota · Juno Eclipse · Redemption
Introduced in The Clone Wars and Rebels
Admiral Yularen (V) · clones · Ahsoka Tano · Plo Koon · Padmé Amidala
Savage Opress · the Force (mystery) (IV) · Satine Kryze
Rebels (VI) · Ezra Bridger · the Grand Inquisitor · "Glory of the Empire" (V) · Maul · Thrawn
Introduced in Anthology Series
Galactic Empire · Jyn Erso & Hope Suite (Jyn Erso (IV) · hope (IV)Guardians of the Whills · messenger (IV) · Rogue One (IV)
Secrets · Han Solo · Han and Qi'ra · "Empire Recruitment" · Enfys Nest
"Chicken in the Pot" · "Stormtrooper JP-054 Karaoke" · L3-37 (VI)
Introduced in Episode VII
Leitmotifs: Kylo Ren (V, V, VI, I, I, II, VII) · Rey (IV, V, VI, II, II, III, VII) · Poe Dameron
the Resistance · tension (II) · Snoke · "Jedi Steps"

Concert pieces/songs: "Jabba Flow" · "Dobra Doompa" · "Adagio" · "Scherzo for X-Wings"

Introduced in Episode VIII
"The Rebellion Is Reborn" · Rose Tico · desperation (VII) · Luke in exile
Introduced in Episode IX
"Anthem of Evil" (II, II, III, VI, VII, VIII) · Knights of Ren · "The Rise of Skywalker" (victory motif (II, VII) · friendship motif) · "Lido Hey"
Introduced in Jedi: Fallen Order
"Sugaan Essena" · Cal Kestis · Second Sister · Eno Cordova
Introduced in Battlefront II and Squadrons
Iden Versio's Theme · Main Theme · "Ma Kapar"
Introduced in the LEGO Freemaker Adventures and the Holiday Special
Main Title/Freemakers' motif · connection · "Joh Blastoh"
Introduced in Galaxy's Edge
Galaxy's Edge Symphonic Suite · Theme park music · "Tara's Theme" · "Pinteeka Dub" · "Age of Jedi"
Introduced in The Mandalorian
Din Djarin (main theme) · Grogu · Gideon · Bo-Katan Kryze · Boba Fett II
Real-world music
I · II · III · IV · V · VI · VII · VIII · IX
Original Soundtrack Anthology · Ultimate Vinyl Collection
Ultimate Soundtrack Edition · Ultimate Digital Collection
Spin-off films & TV:
Ewoks · The Clone Wars: film, Seasons 1–6, Season Seven (1–4, 5–8, 9–12) · Rebels: One, Two
Rogue One · Solo · The Mandalorian (Chapter 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9-12 · 13-16)
Video games:
Shadows of the Empire · Republic Commando · The Old Republic: Collector's Edition · YouTube playlist
Battlefront · Battlefront II · Jedi: Fallen Order · Squadrons
Galaxy's Edge:
Oga's Cantina: R3X's Playlist 1
Brennan Anderson · Clint Bajakian · Stephen Barton · Peter Bernstein · Paul Dinletir · Michael Giacchino · Patrick Gleeson
Ludwig Göransson · Mark Griskey · Gordy Haab · Jesse Harlin · Jerry Hey · Chris Hülsbeck · Nick von Kaenel · Dean Kiner
Kevin Kiner · Sean Kiner · Frank Klepacki · Peter McConnell · Bear McCreary · Joel McNeely · Lin-Manuel Miranda
Danny Piccione · John Powell · Ryan Shore · Jeremy Soule · Joseph Trapanese · James L. Venable · Paul Webb
John Williams · Joseph Williams
London Symphony Orchestra · London Voices
City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra · Royal Scottish National Orchestra
New London Children's Choir · Seattle Sinfonia Orchestra
Los Angeles Master Chorale · Jefferson Starship · The Hu
Sheet music books
The Phantom Menace · Attack of the Clones · Revenge of the Sith
Music from the Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition · Selections from Star Wars
Star Wars: A Musical Journey: Episodes I-VI · Star Wars Episodes I, II & III Instrumental Solos
Star Wars for Beginning Piano Solo · The Force Awakens · Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Music videos
"Lapti Nek" · The Duel of the Fates · A Hero Falls
Bantha Music · Christmas in the Stars · Lapti Nek Dance Remix · Tusken Music · Headspace
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