The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker soundtrack was, as with the previous eight saga films, composed and conducted by John Williams.[3] Recorded in Los Angeles and produced for Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker,[2] the soundtrack has a total run time of 76:55, cut from the more than three hours' worth of music Williams wrote for the 2019 film. Music used in The Rise of Skywalker TV spots, including a new rendition of "Duel of the Fates," are included in neither the official soundtrack nor the film, and additional music taken from previous Star Wars films were edited into Williams' original score for the film. Nevertheless, the soundtrack introduces several new themes and leitmotifs while also drawing thematic connections from the rest of the Star Wars saga, incorporating themes and leitmotifs from throughout the prequel, original, and sequel trilogies for the final installment of the saga, which also marks the last score John Williams composed for the franchise after over forty years.


In the film[]

The score introduces several new themes and leitmotifs. Sharing similarities with the mystery motif, "Across the Stars," Palpatine's machinations motif, and "The Emperor's Theme," and building on the melody of Episode VIII's desperation motif, the new "Anthem of Evil" theme represents Darth Sidious' Sith Eternal cult in the film. A short but pronounced staccato motif was also introduced for the Knights of Ren, as well as a sweeping heroics motif for the film's protagonists. The film score also features the theme "The Rise of Skywalker." The theme introduces a victory motif based on "Rey's Theme" that resembles the opening melody of "Across the Stars." The new theme also introduces the friendship motif.

While Kylo Ren's First Order TIE/sf space superiority fighters and TIE/wi Interceptors pursued the Millennium Falcon at the Sinta Glacier Colony, "The Emperor's Theme"—which represents Darth Sidious—is played.

During the hyperspace skipping sequence, The Empire Strikes Back's "To Hyperspace" music is temp tracked into the film. At the climax of the hyperspace skipping sequence, the music for A New Hope's climax with the destruction of the Death Star is reused.

Other pieces of music from past Star Wars saga films were also reused for the film in conflict with the commercial release of John Williams' Episode IX score. This included the music used for the death of Anakin Skywalker on the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. The music is a rendition of "The Imperial March," and is replayed when Rey is in the Death Star ruins. Similarly, the Attack of the Clones track "Return to Tatooine" is reused for the rooftop scene between Zorii Bliss and Poe Dameron, yet the entire music segment is absent from the original soundtrack.

On Kijimi, Star Wars Main Title—which represents Luke Skywalker and the franchise as a whole in both the original and the prequel trilogies, and was used to accentuate moments of excitement in the prequels—is played as Rey realizes that Chewbacca is alive. It is also played as C-3PO looks at his friends for what he believed to be the final time. Over Kijimi, the Main Title plays as the Millennium Falcon escapes from the First Order Star Destroyer Steadfast. On Ahch-To, it is played as Luke Skywalker tells Rey that she represents the efforts of "a thousand generations." The Main Title is played in full as the Citizens' Fleet arrives to defeat Darth Sidious on Exegol.

"Luke and Leia"—which represents the relationship between Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa is played during Jannah and Landonis Balthazar Calrissian's conversation on Ajan Kloss about their backgrounds.

The music leading up to the climax at the closing iris and the subsequent "Star Wars Main Title" uses the same composition as the one in The Force Awakens. In order, the film's end credits feature the "Star Wars Main Title," "Rebel Fanfare," the friendship motif, "Anthem of Evil," "The Imperial March," "Rey's Theme," the victory motif, and A New Hope's Main Title and End Credits.

Thematic connections[]

The track "Approaching the Throne" contains a motif used in the Attack of the Clones track "Confrontation with Count Dooku and Finale." Whereas the music in Attack of the Clones is made through a chorus, the music in The Rise of Skywalker is instrumental. The same motif is also used throughout Revenge of the Sith.

Score discrepancies[]

Original score[]

Cut from both film and soundtrack[]

The soundtrack has a total run time of 76:55. However, according to Star Wars timpanist and his brother, Don Williams, John Williams wrote 135 minutes' worth of music by early August, 2019,[6] and 100 minutes of music was recorded with the orchestra by late August of that year, with John Williams at the time expecting to record forty minutes more over the next month.[7] By the end of the soundtrack production process, the composer had written more than three hours of music for The Rise of Skywalker. And yet, according to director J.J. Abrams, things were changing considerably during post-production—as with his other Star Wars sequel film—and adjustments to the film affected its soundtrack. When told of such changes by Abrams, Williams would "always laugh and and apologize that he hadn't written the right thing before." Ultimately, new or revised music was required throughout the recording process, which took 11 days between mid-July and late November of 2019,[2] with the final cut of the film as well as the official soundtrack being released on December 20, 2019.[3][8]

The opening chorus to the "Duel of the Fates" theme is played in the The Rise of Skywalker track "Approaching the Throne," when Darth Sidious reveals to Rey the Sith cultists gathered before his throne. Only a portion of the music was included in the film.[9] Furthermore, a partial segment of a new recording of "Duel of the Fates" is played throughout the entirety of the 30-second "Duel" TV spot for the film, where the theme from Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace is interlaced with "The Imperial March."[10]

A march containing the "March of the Resistance" that was used in Anthony Daniels' Total Film tweets,[11] as well as the official livestream of the world premiere of the film The Rise of Skywalker, is wholly absent from both the film and its soundtrack. The livestream's prelude also contains a heroic, magniloquent composition of "Rey's Theme" that is not published anywhere else. The composition begins with "The Force Theme" playing simultaneusly with "Rey's Theme," and nearly the whole of the piece is accompanied by a choir.[12]

Music from the "Fate" TV spot, which brings together "The Force Theme" with the mystery motif from Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, is also not present in the film's soundtrack.[13]

Original score in film, absent from soundtrack[]

A new variation of the mystery motif is played in the film when Darth Sidious takes the power of Rey and Ben Solo for himself. However, the music is absent from the soundtrack.

Original score in soundtrack, absent in film[]

The track "Fanfare and Prologue" includes music for when Kylo Ren confronts Darth Sidious on Exegol in the film soon after the main title. However, in the film, the track "Journey to Exegol" is placed between the main title and the Exegol music in "Fanfare and Prologue."

Track listing[]

Official commercial release[]

  1. Fanfare and Prologue - 4:34
  2. Journey to Exegol - 2:49
  3. The Rise of Skywalker - 4:18
  4. The Old Death Star - 3:16
  5. The Speeder Chase - 3:21
  6. Destiny of a Jedi - 5:12
  7. Anthem of Evil - 3:23
  8. Fleeing from Kijimi - 2:51
  9. We Go Together - 3:17
  10. Join Me - 3:42
  11. They Will Come - 2:50
  12. The Final Saber Duel - 3:57
  13. Battle of the Resistance - 2:51
  14. Approaching the Throne - 4:16
  15. The Force Is with You - 3:59
  16. Farewell - 5:14
  17. Reunion - 4:05
  18. A New Home - 1:47
  19. Finale - 10:51

Total time: 76:55

Academy Awards consideration[]

Walt Disney Studios streamed a version of the soundtrack for Academy Awards consideration. The tracks presented are exactly the same as how they appear in the final cut of the film without sound effects, and thus include music absent from the official commercial release of the soundtrack:[4]

  1. Prologue - 1:45
  2. Falcon Flight - 2:22
  3. We Go Together - 2:10
  4. In the Desert - 2:26
  5. A Prisoner - 1:23
  6. To Kimiji - 1:37
  7. Fleeing from Kimiji - 1:53
  8. Hallway Shooting - 2:11
  9. Hard to Get Rid Of - 2:19
  10. Join Me - 2:21
  11. The Old Death Star - 2:14
  12. Off the Waterfront - 1:03
  13. Final Saber Duel - 1:38
  14. Healing Wounds - 2:49
  15. Advice - 1:54
  16. Battle of the Resistance - 1:54
  17. Approaching the Throne - 4:16
  18. Parents - 1:57
  19. Coming Together - 1:44
  20. Seeing Sights - 3:17
  21. Rescue - 1:10
  22. Farewell - 4:27
  23. A New Home - 1:42

Total time: 50:32

Additional songs[]

In addition to John Williams' score, two songs were recorded for The Rise of Skywalker. Lin-Manuel Miranda and J.J. Abrams, who are together credited as "Shag F. Kava," wrote[14] the song "Lido Hey," which is played throughout the Aki-Aki Festival of the Ancestors sequence as diagetic music performed by Aki-Aki celebrants on Pasaana.[15] The song "Oma's Place" was written by Ricky Tinez and J.J. Abrams, and is played during the sequence in the Spice Runners' Den bar on Kijimi.[source?]

Notes and references[]

  1. News Detail published by Los Angeles Master Chorale on lamasterchorale.org (archived from the original on September 18, 2020)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Jon Burlingame: John Williams Puts Coda on 'Star Wars' With 'Rise of Skywalker' Score (December 18, 2019) published by Variety on variety.com (archived from the original on May 30, 2020)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Amazon favicon.png Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Original Soundtrack on Amazon.com (backup link)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker on Walt Disney Studios Awards (archived from the original on December 10, 2019)
  5. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens to 34 ABY. Because Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary places Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker one year later, it must take place in 35 ABY.
  6. Chris Manning: John Williams Wrote 135 Minute Score for The Rise of Skywalker (August 11, 2019) published by Star Wars News Net on www.starwarsnewsnet.com (archived from the original on August 12, 2020)
  7. YouTube.png John Williams Discusses Star Wars at Tanglewood Film Night on the Studio 88 Music Academy YouTube channel: "Maestro John Williams sharing insight into his epic Star Wars Main Theme composition, at Tanglewood for Film Night, August 24, 2019!! Hearing his thoughts & experience firsthand was awesome!" (backup link)
  8. TwitterLogo.svg Star Wars (@starwars) on Twitter: "Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled for release on December 20, 2019." (screenshot)
  9. YouTube.png Approaching the Throne (From "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"/Audio Only) on the DisneyMusicVEVO YouTube channel (backup link)
  10. SWYTlogo.png Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker | "Duel" TV Spot on the official Star Wars YouTube channel (backup link)
  11. TwitterLogo.svg Total Film (@totalfilm) on Twitter: "Our weekly Star Wars re-watch continues! Here's C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels introducing Episode VI: Return of the Jedi #StarWarsSaturdays @StarWarsUK" (backup link)
  12. SWYTlogo.png Live From The Red Carpet Of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on the official Star Wars YouTube channel (backup link)
  13. SWYTlogo.png Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker | "Fate" TV Spot on the official Star Wars YouTube channel (backup link)
  14. TwitterLogo.svg Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) on Twitter (backup link)
  15. YouTube.png Shag F. Kava - Lido Hey (From "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker") on the DisneyMusicVEVO YouTube channel (backup link)

External links[]