Did you know John Williams’ cameo in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker celebrates his musical achievement at the Academy Awards? The well-known composer appears on screen along with homages to his other score contributions. Right from its opening, Star Wars showcases Williams’ distinctive musical score. It soars like the Millennium Falcon. One cannot separate the Star Wars saga without hearing Williams’ score. Fans can be seen walking around humming its theme.
John Williams’ ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ cameo
For The Rise of Skywalker, Williams was asked to do a cameo. He resisted the idea until encouraged by his wife. He appears briefly in a scene that takes place in an underground hangout on Kijimi. But there’s more. The crew built and integrated props in the scene to reflect his Academy Award nominations. In all, there are 51 easter eggs from his previous movies, including the spaceship from E.T. and war barricades from Saving Private Ryan.
“We thought it would be fun to do something as a kind of celebration of what he’s done and who he is,” said director J.J. Abrams told Syfy.
Williams earned a 52nd nomination for The Rise of Skywalker. Only Walt Disney has received more Oscar nominations.
Williams has had an impact on the entire series, not just ‘The Rise of Skywalker’
Williams composed various themes to augment the story. He used the leitmotif to accentuate recurring and evolving musical theme for specific narrative elements like characters and locations. This method allowed Williams to compose themes specifically for a character like Luke Skywalker. Audience can hear a recurring theme when a character shows up on screen. With The Rise of Skywalker, Williams’ themes have become familiar even as he continues to make adjustments to them.
For example, “The Imperial March” became prominent in The Empire Strikes Back whenever Darth Vader was seen on screen. In the prequels, intervals of “The Imperial March” are integrated within Anakin’s theme suggesting his eventual turn to the dark side. “The Imperial March” is so distinctive and undeniable. It has been remixed many times, including by Celldweller, an electric rock project by musician Klayton.
Williams created many themes building and developing them for each Star Wars movie. He connected the themes for narrative purposes. Williams often featured a callback to the original movie, including in The Last Jedi. In the process, the Star Wars scores have become very familiar to audiences.
With ‘The Rise of Skywalker,’ Williams continues to prove he is one of Hollywood’s most prolific composers
It has been a long journey to The Rise of Skywalker. Williams began his career in the late 1950’s producing over 50 movies and television programs through the early 1970’s. In 1972, he won his first Oscar for ‘Fiddler on the Roof’.
Williams’ career changed forever when he scored a movie about a hungry shark. Jaws scared audiences in large part because of his contribution to Steven Spielberg’s classic movie. Williams cleverly alternated the pattern of two notes, identified as “E and F” or “F and F sharp”, for the scenes involving the shark. To this day, people instantly recognize the da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, from his score.
For many composers, having one memorable theme would be an accomplishment. But Williams was just getting started! Next came the five notes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which was used as an homage in the James Bond movie, Moonraker.
For the past five decades, Williams has created some of the most memorable movie scores
That’s the thing with Williams. The Rise of Skywalker is only the latest in a long line of many memorable themes he has composed for classic movies like E.T., Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, and the first three Harry Potter movies. Who can forget the soaring them of Superman forever changing how hero themes were scored in films? What would Indiana Jones be without the famous Raiders of the Lost Ark theme?
It would take a listener days to listen to John Williams on Spotify. And that would cover only his more famous scores.
Even as he approaches his 90th birthday, Williams continues to entertain music lovers. He is currently working on the untitled fifth Indiana Jones movie with Spielberg. Perhaps Williams can be convinced to make another cameo appearance in honor of his prolific and brilliant career.