Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor (2) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
10 October 2017, 10:43
As is customary, the eagerly awaited new trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi asks more questions than it answers - but there are some pretty interesting clues in the music.
It’s getting close to the end of the year, which means it’s time to get excited about Star Wars. Again. And we always do. Let’s analyse…
So, straight in: this begins like nearly all Star Wars trailers, with plinky-plonky piano music. It’s mysterious, it hints at the intervals from John Williams’ ‘Binary Sunset / Force Theme’, and it tells us that something Star Wars-y is going to happen. It serves no other function.
But then, something quite ingenious happens. Stuttering strings fill out the middle, but in the lower brass we hear an angular version of the main motif from the Imperial March and - this is the important bit - we hear the 'Jedi Steps' theme from Episode VII soar over the top of all of it. It’s a perfect mingling of two key themes that clearly oppose one another, casting suspicion around the nature of Rey (for she is synonymous with the 'Jedi Steps' theme). Is there a latent evil within her?
More conventionally, this gives way to Kylo Ren’s theme (still with that juddering string section playing the Imperial March) which, frankly, seems a pretty predictable move. From then on, it’s a heady dive through themes pioneered in Episode VII, until the trailer’s limax which gives us the plinky-plonky piano again (this time playing ‘Rey’s Theme’) and an orchestral stab of ‘Binary Sunset / Force Theme’ to finish.
The general takeaway from all this mingling of musical themes is that things in The Last Jedi are a right old mess, narratively speaking. Confusion reigns, allegiances are tested, good and evil don’t seem so clear cut any more… You know, usual Star Wars stuff. Again, it’s worth reiterating that for all these trailers it’s very rare for new musical material to surface, but Williams’ existing music can give us fantastic tonal clues about the movie’s direction.
It’s safe to say we’re excited…