When Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series makes its Disney+ debut on May 25th, the character’s theme music will be composed by one of Star Wars’ most important creators: John Williams, whose melodic and symphonic scores for all 9 films have helped the series feel epic and emotionally resonant for generations. He has remained loyal to Star Wars, also contributing music to Solo: A Star Wars Story in 2018, and writing the theme for the Galaxy’s Edge Star Wars attractions at Disney’s theme parks, plus incorporation into many video game scores.
According to Variety, Williams recorded his new theme “last week with a Los Angeles orchestra under tight security.” It marks his first theme for a weekly TV series since Amazing Stories in 1985. He wrote prolifically for television in the 1960s including scores for Lost In Space, Land of the Giants, and even Gilligan’s Island. Also he has given us themes for the Olympics, Great Performances (2009), and NBC News. Still, this is a rare departure.
The first two Star Wars series to arrive on Disney+, The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, have themes composed by Ludwig Göransson that feel perfectly suited to the outsider characters they are calling. They are in the style of Ennio Morricone’s early Westerns, and only have moments of full orchestral might.
it’s not yet known who is composing the score for each of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s six episodes. It’s also not known if the Obi-Wan Kenobi theme will repurpose or reprise any of Williams’ earlier Star Wars concepts. Hopefully the producers will encourage use of Maestro William’s iconic themes in the episodes. They were very effective in The Mandalorian.
Music lovers and Star Wars fans may know that the unforgettable Force Theme introduced in Star Wars: A New Hope was originally intended to be Ben Kenobi’s Theme (Obi-Wan). However, the filmmakers quickly discovered that the music could represent the heroic, supernatural aspects of The Force and has been used in that context over 100 times. Leading to the need for a specific theme for Kenobi today.
The Obi-Wan Kenobi series will feature Ewan McGregor reprising his role as the Jedi Master, continuing the role first played by Sir Alec Guinness in the Lucas-directed Star Wars prequel trilogy. McGregor lent his voice to the recent Star Wars sequel trilogy, but this show marks his first live appearance as Obi-Wan since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. Hayden Christensen, another prequel veteran, will also be back as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.
John Williams is a living legend, re-imagining the orchestral soundtrack when it was in danger of being lost. He is one of the most frequently performed concert composers around the world, and is the most commercially successful filmmaker of all time. Over $40B adjusted for inflation. He turned 90 a week ago and maintains an active schedule.
Here’s a resource for Star Wars music, giving an overview of the scores of themes composed for the saga.
Lucasfilm and Disney+ are celebrating the 45th anniversary of Star Wars with this series being released on the same day as the original film. May 25th, 1977.
David Raiklen wrote, directed and scored his first film at age 9. He began studying keyboard and composing at age 5. He attended, then taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. Among his teachers are John Williams and Mel Powel.
He has worked for Fox, Disney and Sprint. David has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 American Music Center Award. Dr. Raiklen has composed music and sound design for theater (Death and the Maiden), dance (Russian Ballet), television (Sing Me a Story), cell phone (Spacey Movie), museums (Museum of Tolerance), concert (Violin Sonata ), and film (Appalachian Trail).
His compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the first Disney Hall. David Raiken is also host of a successful radio program, Classical Fan Club.