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A musical motif composed by John Williams and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra first appeared in the 1980 film Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. The motif is played as an ostinato, with the film score's "To Hyperspace" track featuring the motif prominently. The same track was incorporated into the track "Snowspeeder Rescue," which plays in the film when Rogue Squadron, led by Wedge Antilles, search for Han Solo and Commander Luke Skywalker with modified T-47 airspeeders on Hoth. Later in the film, the dark side ostinato is played as Luke Skywalker hangs from a weather scanner vane of Cloud City and as the Millennium Falcon escapes from the city and the Galactic Empire's Death Squadron on Bespin.[12]

A similar musical figure is played in the 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, as Luke Skywalker races towards his burning homestead.[13] A rendition of the dark side ostinato appears in the soundtrack to Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, with the music being played at the start of the concert suite "The Forest Battle,"[5] which refers to the Ewok ground battles of the Battle of Endor.[14] Every two intances of the motif is followed by a transition to the dies irae leitmotif.[5]

The Episode V motif is played during the train level in Shadows of the Empire.

The dark side motif in "The Forest Battle" was adapted by Paul Webb for being played in the Endor levels of the 1995 video game Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.[2] The ostinato is also played during levels—particularly snowspeeder levels—of the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, composed by Chris Hülsbeck and released in 1998. The tracks "TIE Fighter Attack" and "Save the city" in the game's Concert Hall feature contain the motif, with the track "Snowspeeder theme" being composed of the ostinato.[3] The 1996 video game Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire makes use of the "To Hyperspace" track for the hovertrain level on Ord Mantell.[6]

While The Empire Strikes Back's "To Hyperspace" is included in Star Wars: Bounty Hunters, a 2002 video game tie-in to the film Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones,[7] the Return of the Jedi ostinato is played in the beginning of the Seduction TV Spot for the 2005 prequel trilogy film Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, where Palpatine seduces Anakin Skywalker to the dark side of the Force.[8]

The dark side ostinato reappears in the track "Rogue One" of the soundtrack to[15] Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a 2016 anthology film composed by Michael Giacchino. In the film, the track accompanies the sequence of rebels readying to sacrifice themselves on the Imperial world of Scarif.[4] The dark side motif is played twice during the Battle of Crait sequence in the 2017 sequel trilogy Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi. It is featured in the track "The Battle of Crait" of the accompanying soundtrack.[9]

The Episode V "To Hyperspace" track is repurposed for the Resistance's escape from the Finalizer in the Rise of the Resistance ride, which opened in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in 2019.[10] The score of the 2019 sequel film Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker also contains the Episode V dark side ostinato by tracking from "To Hyperspace."[11]

The dark side motif in The Rise of Skywalker is played as the Millennium Falcon hyperspace jumps through the galaxy, where the ostinato is interspersed with dies irae and overlayed with "March of the Resistance" and the Rebel Fanfare, which transitions to the new heroics motif before returning to the Resistance motif. The "To Hyperspace" track then plays alongside the Rebel Fanfare before the music ends with[11] the climatic music to the Battle of Yavin in 1977's A New Hope.[13]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

Themes and leitmotifs
Introduced in Episode IV
Main Title (Luke) · Rebels · Imperials · the Force (Ben Kenobi) · Princess Leia · Death Star · Jawa · Tusken Raider · dies irae
"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
Jabba · Jabba's Baroque Recital · revelation · funeral · "Parade of the Ewoks" · Luke and Leia (IV, IV) · The Emperor · trap
"Jabba the Hutt" · "The Forest Battle" (V) · tension · mystery (IV, V) · "Ewok Celebration" (Yub Nub) · "Victory Celebration" (VI)
Introduced in Shadows of the Empire and Rogue Squadron
Xizor's Theme · Dash's theme · Rogue Squadron theme
Introduced in Episode I
droid march · "Duel of the Fates" · Qui-Gon · Jar Jar · Darth Maul · Anakin Skywalker (V) · Shmi
"The Flag Parade" · "Escape from Naboo" · "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 Empire at War
Advanced Recon Commandoes · Zann Consortium
Introduced in The Force Unleashed and The Old Republic
The Force Unleashed · Rahm Kota · Juno Eclipse · Redemption · the Commander · Valkorion · Aryn Leneer
Introduced in The Clone Wars, Rebels, and The Bad Batch
Admiral Yularen (V) · clones · Ahsoka Tano · Plo Koon · Padmé Amidala
Savage Opress · the Force (mystery) (IV) · Satine Kryze · Bad Batch
Rebels (VI) · Ezra Bridger · the Grand Inquisitor · "Glory of the Empire" (V) · Maul · Thrawn · Omega
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 · L3-37 (VI)
Introduced in Episode VII
Kylo Ren (V, V, VI, I, I, II, VII) · Rey (IV, V, VI, II, II, III, VII) · Poe Dameron · the Resistance · Snoke · "Jedi Steps"
"Adagio" · "Scherzo for X-Wings"
Introduced in Episode VIII
"The Rebellion Is Reborn" · Rose Tico · desperation (VI) · 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)
Introduced in Battlefront II, Jedi: Fallen Order, and Squadrons
Iden Versio's Theme · Cal Kestis · Second Sister · Eno Cordova · Main Theme
Introduced in The Freemaker Adventures, Galaxy's Edge, and LEGO Holiday Special
Main Title (Freemakers) · Symphonic Suite · "Tara's Theme" · "Pinteeka Dub" · "Age of Jedi" · connection
Introduced in The Mandalorian
Din Djarin (main theme) · Grogu · Gideon · Bo-Katan Kryze · Boba Fett II
See also: Songs
[edit]
Real-world music
Soundtracks
Saga:
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) · The Bad Batch
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
Composers
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
Angela Morley · Jesi Nelson · Danny Piccione · John Powell · Ryan Shore · Jeremy Soule · Joseph Trapanese
James L. Venable · Paul Webb · John Williams · Joseph Williams
Performers
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
Other
Bantha Music · Christmas in the Stars · Lapti Nek Dance Remix · Tusken Music · Headspace
[edit]
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