This is a surprise, to be sure, but a most welcome one! After some rumors began circulating recently, a report from Variety today confirmed that John Williams is returning to Star Wars once more. Williams wrote the “musical signature” for the character Obi-Wan Kenobi in the upcoming series bearing his name, and he recored it with a Los Angeles orchestra last week.
It sounds like he isn’t providing the entire score, but did provide the main theme for it. He did the same thing for Solo: A Star Wars Story, returning to write the main theme for Han Solo while John Powell provided the score for the film, including weaving in the new theme from Williams throughout. Williams returned for that film for the opportunity to provide a specific musical theme for Han Solo, something he had never done before, and the same is true of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Though certain themes are familiar with the character (primarily the Force theme), Williams has never done a specific musical theme for the character – until now! We don’t know who is doing the full score for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, but I’m sure this new theme will echo all throughout.
This is incredible news, and it’s unexpected for at least two reasons. First, we thought that Williams was done with Star Wars following his score for The Rise of Skywalker (which was, as always, tremendous), wrapping up the nine-film Skywalker saga. The iconic composer, who just last week turned 90 years old, is keeping busy with other projects, including with the score for the upcoming film Indiana Jones 5, but we thought that we had heard the last from him in the galaxy far, far away. Thankfully, we’ll get at least one more theme from him! But the second reason this is unexpected is because, as Variety noted, Williams almost never does a television project. According to the article, this will be his first theme for a weekly dramatic series since 1985 and the first for any television project since 2009 (though his Olympic theme for NBC, written decades ago, is still used). So for Williams to return to Star Wars, and to do so for a series rather than a film, is a massive development for Lucasfilm and for this series.
Williams is on a very short list of people most responsible for Star Wars becoming as iconic and beloved as it is, and his scores for the franchise is the stuff of legend. Six of his nine scores have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score, and all nine are iconic. He provided the complete score for the nine saga films, the theme for Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and now is marking his first non-film Star Wars project by providing the theme for Obi-Wan Kenobi in this series.
Obi-Wan Kenobi will premiere on Disney+ on May 25, and it’s a fitting project for Williams to return for, given how closely tied it is to the saga films. It will see the return of Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen to the franchise in this long-awaited project, which is helmed by Deborah Chow as the showrunner and director.