War Horse - Dartmoor, 1912 John Williams
John Williams has shown interest in composing music for the new Star Wars sequels, but nothing is confirmed yet - and there are plenty who would love the chance. Is Williams the best man for the job, or are there any other film composers who might be up to it? Here are our top picks for the job...
The front-runner if John Williams isn't going to do it surely has to be Michael Giacchino. Not only has he worked with confirmed Star Wars director JJ Abrams on films like Super-8, Mission: Impossible III and the new Star Trek films, his more abstract style may well suit a new direction in the Star Wars series in general.
No stranger to hype and expectation, Howard Shore has form with blockbuster soundtracks. His work on the Lord Of The Rings trilogy was so well-received that he was the natural choice to score the Hobbit trilogy as well. Would he have time for another trilogy as well? His traditional symphonic scoring would be a good fit…
The master of dark and quirky symphonic scoring, Danny Elfman certainly has the chops for the new Star Wars trilogy. But would his quirkiness offset the story? Or would a new direction in the narrative and style mean that he's actually a perfect fit?
Hans Zimmer's work on Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy was one of the many reasons why the rejuvenation of the Batman legend was so successful. Zimmer also has form with Disney, who are now in charge of the Star Wars legacy, thanks to his Oscar-winning score to The Lion King.
A possible choice from the world of video games music. Jeremy Soule (second from the right in this pic) is responsible for scoring several Star Wars video games in recent years, most of which have incorporated sections of John Williams' original music for the movies, so he has an intimate knowledge of the source material and the Star Wars universe.
Another big symphonic hitter. He's best-known for his Oscar-winning score to James Cameron's Titanic, but he's also quietly been responsible for some of the bigger sci-fi score of recent times. On his CV are scores from Aliens, Apollo 13, Avatar and The Amazing Spider-Man.
Definitely an outside bet, but Menken has been responsible for some of Disney's biggest soundtrack successes in the modern era. He won Oscars for Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid, so clearly has a great relationship with them, but would he be right for a sic-fi epic like Star Wars?
A left-field choice, but one that could make perfect sense. Vangelis was responsible for one of the most iconic 'grown-up' sci-fi scores in Blade Runner, which also starred Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford. Perhaps a more mature direction for the new Star Wars trilogy coupled with Harrison Ford's potential involvement would make a good fit? And who says synthesisers in a Star Wars film would be a bad idea? No-one, that's who.
One of the busiest men in Hollywood, Alexandre Desplat recently told Classic FM that he completely idolises the original Star Wars composer John Williams. Indeed, a lot of his more commercial film scores owe a debt to Williams, but if he could mix that with strains of his more esoteric fare (like his recent soundtrack to Oscar-winner Argo) then the balance could be perfect.
Sam Mendes' composer of choice and serial Oscar nominee, Thomas Newman might not have much sci-fi on his CV, but there's one film soundtrack that really stands out. Disney Pixar's WALL-E was a triumph for Newman - it was nominated for two Oscars (score and song) - and proved that he had experience doing intelligent science fiction with a human angle. Plus, he's obviously in Disney's good books, so…
Another video games veteran with Star Wars on his CV, Griskey was initially contracted to LucasArts, who make the Star Wars video games. In recent years he's been working at Disney - and guess who now owns the rights to the new Star Wars movies? Disney! Maybe it's a long shot, but Griskey would be a safe pair of hands. Picture credit: Starbeck-Miller
There's a definite fashion in cinema for reinvented franchises to come back in a much darker guise than you might remember. Just look at the success of Christopher Nolan's treatment of Batman and JJ Abrams' own rejuvenation of the Star Trek films. But is there room for such a reinvention with Star Wars? If so, then Clint Mansell's creepy and frequently brilliant score to Moon is a great starting point.
Stay with us on this one - JJ Abrams might be directing the new Star Wars sequel, but he's also dabbled in a little bit of composition over the years. He penned themes to his own TV shows Alias and Lost (though Michael Giacchino did the music for the rest of the show), as well as several lesser-known works, so perhaps the control freak in him would want to keep the music for Star Wars truly in-house?
Speculation aside, there's no-one we'd rather see tackle the music for the new Star Wars sequels than the man who made the music so memorable the first time round, John Williams. He clearly wants to do it, the fans want him to do it, and he clearly knows the territory. The only worry is that, at 81, Williams might be thinking of slowing down, but in our interview with him last year, he claimed that there was no chance of that happening. We'll see…