"...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,[14] as had been the case for the four previous Star Wars films.[15] 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.

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 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
Luke Skywalker · The Rebellion · Princess Leia · Jawa · The Force · Tusken Raider · The Death Star · Dies irae · The Empire

Recurring themes/concert pieces/songs:
"Star Wars Main Title" · "Cantina Band" · "Here They Come!/TIE Fighter Attack" · "The Final Battle" · "The Throne Room"

Introduced in Episode V
Leitmotifs: The Empire/Darth Vader · C-3PO and R2-D2 · Han Solo and Princess Leia · Yoda · Lando Calrissian · Boba Fett

Recurring themes: "The Asteroid Field"

Introduced in Episode VI
Leitmotifs: Jabba the Hutt · Ewoks · Luke and Leia · The Emperor

Concert pieces/songs: "Jabba the Hutt" · "Lapti Nek" · "Jedi Rocks"
"The Forest Battle" · "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 Rogue Squadron and Shadows of the Empire
"Rogue Squadron Main Title" · Xizor's Theme · Dash's theme
Introduced in Episode I
Leitmotifs: Qui-Gon Jinn · Jar Jar Binks · Darth Maul · Anakin Skywalker · Shmi Skywalker

Recurring themes: "Droid Invasion Theme" · "The Flag Parade" · "Escape from Naboo" · "Duel of the Fates" · Funeral

Introduced in Episode II
Leitmotifs: Mystery motif · "Across the Stars" · The Republic

Themes: "The Meadow Picnic"

Introduced in Episode III
Leitmotifs: General Grievous · Sith mystery · "Anakin's Betrayal" (II) ·"Anakin's Dark Deeds" (II) · "Battle of the Heroes"

Themes: "Padmé's Destiny" · "Padmé's Ruminations"

Introduced in The Clone Wars and Rebels
Leitmotifs: Clone Wars victory · Ahsoka Tano · Padmé Amidala
Rebels · Ezra Bridger · The Grand Inquisitor · Maul · Thrawn

Diegetic music: Glory of the Empire (V)

Introduced in Knights of the Old Republic and The Force Unleashed
Old Republic theme · The Force Unleashed · Rahm Kota · Juno Eclipse · Redemption
Introduced in Rogue One, Solo, and Galaxy's Edge
Leitmotifs: Jyn Erso and Hope (IV) · Galactic Empire · Guardians of the Whills
Han Solo · Enfys Nest

Themes: Galaxy's Edge

Introduced in Episode VII
Leitmotifs: Kylo Ren (V, VI, I, and II) · Rey (VI) · Poe Dameron · The Resistance · "Jedi Steps"

Themes/songs: "Han and Leia" · "Jabba Flow" · "Snoke"

Introduced in Episode VIII and IX
Rose Tico · Desperation · "Last-ditch fanfare" · Luke in exile · Knights of Ren
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 movie, seasons 1–6, Season Seven: Episodes 1–4, Episodes 5–8, Episodes 9–12 · Rebels Season One & Season Two · Rogue One · Solo · The Mandalorian (Chapter 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8)
Video games:
Shadows of the Empire · Republic Commando · The Old Republic
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
Oga's Cantina: R3X's Playlist 1
Clint Bajakian · Peter Bernstein · Paul Dinletir · Michael Giacchino · Patrick Gleeson · Ludwig Göransson · Mark Griskey
Jesse Harlin · Jerry Hey · Chris Hülsbeck · Dean Kiner · Kevin Kiner · Sean Kiner · Frank Klepacki · Joel McNeely
Lin-Manuel Miranda · John Powell · Ryan Shore · Jeremy Soule · James L. Venable · 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
Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra · Los Angeles Master Chorale · Kathleen Battle
Vienna Philharmonic · Hamburger Symphoniker · 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 Music Video from Jabba's Palace · The Duel of the Fates · A Hero Falls
Bantha Music · Christmas in the Stars
Special Extended Dance Remix of Lapti Nek from the Original Soundtrack Recording of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Tusken Music · Headspace
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