Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker score will include 'every theme you ever heard'

Composer John Williams' brother Don reveals the movie will include "135 minutes worth of music."

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
Sean knows far too much about Marvel, DC and Star Wars, and poured this knowledge into recaps and explainers on CNET. He also worked on breaking news, with a passion for tech, video game and culture.
Expertise Culture | Video Games | Breaking News
Sean Keane
2 min read

Rey's on the run in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.


We've known for a while that John Williams plans to retire from a galaxy far, far away after completing the score for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but his brother recently hinted that the legendary 87-year-old composer plans to go out with a bang. Musician Don Williams recently dropped a few details about the musical journey we'll experience in the final installment of the Skywalker saga.

Speaking at an Academy of Scoring Arts score study for his brother's work on Jurassic Park earlier this month, percussionist Don said John recently started work on The Rise of Skywalker's music and has "135 minutes worth of music to write." That also gives a sense of how long the movie is.

"We've done four days and we just scratched the surface," he said." I think we've got something like 34 minutes in the can at this point, but I can tell you that every theme you ever heard is gonna be compiled into this last effort."

Watch this: Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker trailer tees up saga's culmination

Williams mentioned themes for Leia, Yoda, "the Phantom" and "Darth," which likely refer to Duel of the Fates (from The Phantom Menace) and The Imperial March respectively, but noted his brother "hides them," so we'll have to listen closely.

"You'll be sitting there watching the film go by and, 'Oh, there it is!' There's two bars of it and it grabs you and takes you away," Williams said, before admitting he's regularly distracted when he hears a familiar theme while working on the score.

Every Star Wars Movie, Ranked

See all photos

Previous examples of hidden themes include The Imperial March in Anakin's Theme from The Phantom Menace, to foreshadow Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader, and the Emperor's Theme in Augie's Great Municipal Band in the same movie, hinting at the success of Palpatine's plan.

Given the cackle we heard in The Rise of Skywalker's trailer, you can expect the Emperor's Theme to be pretty prominent. Williams noted the brothers plan to complete the score in September.

Conveniently, Spotify recently created a bunch of listening hubs for Star Wars soundtracks and other Disney properties.

First published Aug. 13, 6:44 a.m. PT.
Update, 8:10 a.m. PT: Notes Spotify hubs.