The music of John Williams is at least 40% of the reason Star Wars is still going strong after all these years. From that first fanfare, you’re hooked, and the swoops and whorls match the emotions of the film so well, the soundtrack is almost a character in itself.
Well, according to Redditor jonbaldie, it is: the music is actually The Force.
It moves, rises, and falls with the significant events that transpire in each movie.
In focused, skilful fight scenes between powerful force users the music is fast-paced with high peaks and troughs, and in sadder scenes it is slower yet hopeful.
We, the audience, can hear the music, and we hear it changing whenever something significant is happening in the Force, because the music is the Force.
“Yes,” you might be thinking. “That’s how music works.”
But actually, his examples are pretty convincing.
Rey uses the force to defeat Kylo Ren: The fight between Rey and Kylo Ren on Starkiller Base is fraught and a bit messy at first. Rey is inexperienced with the force and lightsaber combat, and only hangs on due to Ren’s various injuries. When they get to the cliff edge though, there is a moment when Ren offers to teach Rey the force, reminding Rey that she needs to call upon it to defeat Ren. So she focuses and calls upon the light, and the music at this impasse changes from angry peaks and troughs to serene balance as the tide turns.
Anakin Skywalker’s funeral and the ensuing celebrations after the death of the Emperor: The force is jubilant, and so is the music, after the Prophecy has finally come true. The evil Emperor has been killed by Anakin Skywalker in protection of his son, Luke. It is literally singing, especially as the force ghosts of Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Anakin appear to Luke.
Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan’s duel: The music is fast, following the pace of the fight between these two powerful force users. There is an undertone of sadness. But the music abruptly stops when Anakin chokes Obi-Wan and reverts to a simple beat as the duel pauses and Obi-Wan struggles to fight off Anakin, who is using his strong force powers to choke him.
Now, we don’t think that jonbaldie actually believes this is intentional – that John Williams thinks he’s sitting in the pilot seat of the Millennium Factor – but it’s a nice way of thinking about the music. Although, maybe we’re wrong, and Williams conducts with a lightsaber.