"Once again, John Williams has exceeded my expectations and produced a lavish, rich, moving and thrilling score. Every fan of Star Wars—and of great music—is in his debt."
George Lucas about John Williams' score for Revenge of the Sith[src]

"Battle of the Heroes" is a musical piece and principal theme composed by John Williams for Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. The original recording was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Williams.


For every new Star Wars movie, George Lucas wanted a new major theme. For Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, Lucas wanted John Williams to write a piece that depicted a tragic duel between two former friends.

The use of intense choral arrangements echoes Williams's work on The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, as well as recent film soundtracks like Don Davis's work for The Matrix Revolutions. The main theme is at the heart of a climactic performance during "Anakin vs. Obi-Wan" and includes musical links to other major Williams's themes:

"Its major recapitulation during 'Anakin vs. Obi-Wan' is agreeable enough, but is offset by a clever musical reference to Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, specifically the climactic Luke/Darth Vader lightsaber fight in Cloud City. The allusions to the duality of the story, and to history repeating itself, are unmistakable, and the portentous performances of both the Imperial March and the Force Theme during this cue is one of Williams's most welcome touches to the musical heritage of the entire series, and almost rescues the theme from oblivion."[1]

SonyBMG released the track as a limited edition CD single and an iTunes exclusive download, a first for a Star Wars musical score. Lucasfilm Ltd. created a promotional video for the single release, which was bundled with the CD single and made available through The video, a shortened edition of a video available on the DVD Star Wars: A Musical Journey, included clips from Revenge of the Sith.

In the movie, the track starts to play after Obi-Wan and Anakin are caught in a collapsing control arm on Mustafar and ends when Obi-Wan leaves Anakin on the edge of the lava river.

The track was also included on the film soundtrack album released May 3, 2005.

Behind the scenesEdit

Melodically, the main theme of "Battle of the Heroes" very much resembles the traditional Dies Irae melody found in countless works, most notably Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. This is extremely appropriate, as the text of Dies Irae invokes apocalyptic images of wrath and judgment.

In Star Wars: Battlefront II, "Battle of the Heroes" is played when playing as Obi-Wan Kenobi. In the same game, the cues titled "Anakin vs. Obi-Wan" and "The Boys Continue" are played while playing as Darth Vader. In LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, "Battle of the Heroes" is a part of the changed music in Episode III levels. A variant of it is also heard in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "Ghosts of Mortis", when The Son shows Anakin a vision of what he'll become. Portions of "Battle of the Heroes" were also heard as part of the Boss battle BMG for the Nintendo DS version of Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron.


Notes and referencesEdit

Compositions and motifs
Introduced in Episode I
"Duel of the Fates" · "Anakin's Theme" · "Qui-Gon's Theme"
"Funeral Theme" · "Droid Invasion Theme" · "Jar Jar's Theme"
"Darth Maul's Motif" · "Shmi's motif" · "The Arrival at Tatooine" · "Escape from Naboo" · "The Flag Parade"
Introduced in Episode II
"Across the Stars" · "Separatist Theme" · "Kamino motif" · "Mourning Theme" · "The Arena"
"Republic Motif" · "Jango's Escape" · "Bounty Hunter's Pursuit" · "The Meadow Picnic"
Introduced in Episode III
"Battle of the Heroes" · "General Grievous's theme"
"Anakin's Betrayal" · "Padmé's Destiny" · "Padmé's Ruminations"
"Immolation theme" · "Mystery of the Sith motif" · "Anakin's Dark Deeds"
Introduced in Rogue One
"Jyn Erso & Hope Suite" · "The Imperial Suite" · "Guardians of the Whills Suite"
Introduced in Episode IV
"Star Wars Main Title" · "Princess Leia's Theme" · "Rebel Fanfare" · "The Throne Room" · "Binary Sunset"
"Imperial motif" · "Death Star motif" · "Jawa Theme" · "Here They Come!" · "The Final Battle" · "Tusken Raider Theme"
Introduced in Episode V
"The Imperial March" · "Han Solo and the Princess" · "Yoda's Theme" · "Droids motif" · "Boba Fett's motif"
"Lando's Palace" · "Betrayal at Bespin motif" · "The Asteroid Field"
Introduced in Episode VI
"Parade of the Ewoks" · "The Forest Battle" · "Jabba's Theme" · "The Emperor's Theme" · "Luke and Leia"
"Victory Celebration" · "Yoda's Revelation" · "Jabba the Hutt" · "Ewok Celebration"
Introduced in Episode VII
"Main Title and The Attack on the Jakku Village" · "I Can Fly Anything" · "Rey's Theme" · "Han and Leia"
"March of the Resistance" · "Snoke"
Introduced in Episode VIII
"Rose Tico's Theme" · "Desperation motif" · "Last-ditch fanfare" · "Hesitance sarabande"
Introduced in Holiday Special
"A Day to Celebrate" · "Goodnight, But Not Goodbye" · "Light the Sky on Fire"
Introduced in Droids
"In Trouble Again"
Introduced in Ewoks
"Ewoks" · "Friends Together, Friends Forever"
Introduced in The Clone Wars
"Ahsoka's Triumphant Theme" · "Padmé's Theme" · "Clone Wars Victory Theme" · "Ahsoka's Theme"
Introduced in Rebels
"Rebels Theme" · "Ezra's Theme"
Introduced in Shadows of the Empire
"Xizor's Theme" · "Dash's theme"
Introduced in The Force Unleashed
"Kota's Theme" · "Force Unleashed Theme" · "Juno Eclipse / Finale" · "Redemption Theme"
Introduced in Rogue Squadron
"Rogue Squadron Main Title"

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 · Michael Giacchino · Patrick Gleeson · Ludwig Göransson · Mark Griskey
Jesse Harlin · Jerry Hey · Chris Hülsbeck · Kevin Kiner · Frank Klepacki · Joel McNeely
Lin-Manuel Miranda · John Powell · Ryan Shore · Jeremy Soule · 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 · 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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