Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Star Wars Music Minute

Jul 2, 2021

The Praetorian Guards aren't messing around, and neither is John Williams! Joining me today is Kyle Katarn. Together, we attempt to break down the sensational combat scoring, sound design, and awkward aftermath in minutes 106-110 of The Last Jedi.

Discussion topics/Highlights:

  • The music feels suspended in air before the first lightsaber clash.
  • John Williams's music is just as well choreographed as the fight.
  • Rey's theme is stated in a steady, declarative rhythm.
  • DJ's line "they blow you up today, you blow them up tomorrow" might be a Battlefront II reference (specifically an attack scenario from Starfighter Assault map called Unknown Regions).
  • Proficiency of lightsaber fighting and how the Force is involved.
  • Praetorian guards! Their weapons, levels of articulation in the armor, family relationships.
  • John Williams's exciting combat scoring. Rather than an "aggressive dance," it sounds more disorienting, like a "horn section falling down the stairs." Comparisons to Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, etc.
  • The sound of Kylo Ren's lightsaber when he impales a guard and the crackling is going through his body.
  • Kyle Katarn's favorite lightsaber sound in the saga is Luke Skywalker's green lightsaber in Return of the Jedi (specifically the sharp, piercing snap-hiss of the ignition)
  • Awkward aftermath and "the talk."
  • The musical silence while Rey and Kylo are talking heightens the intimacy of the scene.
  • Kylo Ren's insecure, vulnerable, desperate manipulation.
  • Kylo's "hesitant," meandering theme.
  • How the music underscores Kylo and Rey's discordant aims. They're a dyad moving in opposite directions.
  • Determined, purposeful music when Holdo gears up to take action.
  • Possible reasons why Rey calls Kylo "Ben" so consistently.

Themes Referenced (in order of appearance, named according to Frank Lehman's Complete Catalogue of the Themes of Star Wars): Rey 1, Kylo Ren 2 (Hesitant), Desperation

Where we are in the soundtrack: "A New Alliance"

Links & References:

Kyle Katarn:

Connect with Star Wars Music Minute:

Want more? Check out Chrysanthe's Patreon for weekly practice/composing/music analysis livestreams.