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Sequel Trilogy Rescoring Ideas Thread

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I know in the various fan edit threads, there have been a lot of ideas based around re-scoring various scenes.

I’m personally not the best Sith music, editing to music is often more about the pace of editing and general emotional beat for me rather than core themes and such. While the main Star Wars theme playing when the fleet of civilians shows up at the end of The Rise of Skywalker was severely distracting, most other moments failed to bother me the way that story and pacing issues did.

Seeing this YouTube video by Sideways (https://youtu.be/L_8-dWSLDWI), I realised a lot more of the music, specifically in The Rise of Skywalker, was off.

Since so many threads have a lot of passionate ideas about rescoring scenes, I thought it might be good to have one spot to bring those ideas together and discuss them in a centralised place.

So, which scenes do you feel should be rescored, with what, and why?

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Although I understand why they reused Yoda’s theme when Luke lifted the X-Wing, apparently John Williams was not originally planning to reuse this theme for the scene. With that in mind, I would be curious to explore any other musical choices that would be appropriate for that scene. I personally don’t really have any clear ideas at the moment though.

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Right off the bat I think we need to give The first Order its own unique theme. There was an unused track for Hux’s speech that would be perfect as a recurring theme in the trilogy. https://youtu.be/R_gSngCB_iM
Not a fan of how they didn’t distinguish Kylo’s theme from the First Order.

Secondly, The Snoke and Palpatine connection should be made more apparent musically just as it should be made more apparent narratively. For this I’d recommend Anthem of Evil and Palpatine’s teachings (Plagues’s theme) from ROTS to be played as their main theme.
https://youtu.be/PmgJSpHCGiI

https://youtu.be/EOZKwHSCqzY

Peace is a lie
There is only passion…

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Good thread. I approve.

Well done. I will disengage self-destruct initiative.

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idir_hh said:

Right off the bat I think we need to give The first Order its own unique theme. There was an unused track for Hux’s speech that would be perfect as a recurring theme in the trilogy. https://youtu.be/R_gSngCB_iM
Not a fan of how they didn’t distinguish Kylo’s theme from the First Order.

I definitely like that idea. I felt similar about TROS kinda sidelining some of the Resistance’s themes in the big battle on Exegol.

Secondly, The Snoke and Palpatine’s connection should be made more apparent musically just as it should be made more apparent narratively. For this I’d recommend Anthem of Evil and Palpatine’s teachings (Plagues’s theme) from ROTS to be played as their main theme.
https://youtu.be/PmgJSpHCGiI

https://youtu.be/EOZKwHSCqzY

I’ve been thinking about using cues of the Emperor’s theme for moments of emphasis when Snoke is speaking, especially in my edits where that reveal is sooner, but this might be a better way to achieve that connection.

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Regarding Snoke/Palpatine, we actually get Palpatine’s motif when Snoke is torturing Rey in TLJ. While Williams probably just threw it in there, it at least makes it somewhat of a hint in retrospect. Perhaps Palpatine’s motif could appear in TFA as well in one of Snoke’s scenes.

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RogueLeader said:

Regarding Snoke/Palpatine, we actually get Palpatine’s motif when Snoke is torturing Rey in TLJ. While Williams probably just threw it in there, it at least makes it somewhat of a hint in retrospect. Perhaps Palpatine’s motif could appear in TFA as well in one of Snoke’s scenes.

I was going to add it to his last transmission with Hux, since i changed the line to “Leave the base at once and have Kylo Ren come to me. It is time.” I use this to set up Kylo travelling to Exegol, and using the Emperor’s theme would really help cement that.

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Good call on making this thread, Jake!

One thing that makes Star Wars soundtrack stand out is not only the use of leitmotives or musical themes, but also the fact these leitmotives are mostly consistent across the entire saga. Since even the briefest musical figures of John William’s score have a particular meaning, it’s something that for me is really important to consider when rescoring the films.

This catalogue of themes could be useful.

The sequel soundtracks are good on their own but they don’t have the same consistency the other two trilogies had. For example, none of the new themes introduced in The Last Jedi made it to Rise of Skywalker. There was also an overreliance in nostalgia, and many themes, like the Force theme ended up being overused.

I believe we should strategically reutilize some of the least-used themes to give them more importance across the trilogy. For example, establish a First Order motif. I mean, even the Separatists had a march of their own… And we also count with the benefit of hindsight to retcon some music connections, like Snoke and Palpatine, or Rey and Palpatine, etc.

Some ideas I have in mind.

  • I really believe TROS should deliver on hinting at the main themes of the 9-movie saga, including OT and prequels.
  • A couple of hours ago I posted this added score for the beginning of the battle of Exegol that reutilizes a Resistance motif frequently used in The Last Jedi: https://youtu.be/nkDUIIyLk4w
  • Someone had suggested adding a cue of Rose’s theme to the conversation between Finn and Jannah.
  • The Rey/Ben triumphant hybrid theme from TROS could be used in TLJ for the moment they touch hands.
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Knight of Kalee said:

Good call on making this thread, Jake!

One thing that makes Star Wars soundtrack stand out is not only the use of leitmotives or musical themes, but also the fact these leitmotives are mostly consistent across the entire saga. Since even the briefest musical figures of John William’s score have a particular meaning, it’s something that for me is really important to consider when rescoring the films.

Thanks! Part of it is I’ve seen different ideas across threads that I’ve liked, but threads got too unwieldy to find once i was ready to tackle music.

This catalogue of themes could be useful.

Thanks, I’ll have to look into this!

The sequel soundtracks are good on their own but they don’t have the same consistency the other two trilogies had. For example, none of the new themes introduced in The Last Jedi made it to Rise of Skywalker. There was also an overreliance in nostalgia, and many themes, like the Force theme ended up being overused.

I believe we should strategically reutilize some of the least-used themes to give them more importance across the trilogy. For example, establish a First Order motif. I mean, even the Separatists had a march of their own… And we also count with the benefit of hindsight to retcon some music connections, like Snoke and Palpatine, or Rey and Palpatine, etc.

Some ideas I have in mind.

  • I really believe TROS should deliver on hinting at the main themes of the 9-movie saga, including OT and prequels.

Definitely

  • A couple of hours ago I posted this added score for the beginning of the battle of Exegol that reutilizes a Resistance motif frequently used in The Last Jedi: https://youtu.be/nkDUIIyLk4w

I like that. I was thinking of using some of that music, or the other Resistance theme for when the civilian fleet shows up.

  • Someone had suggested adding a cue of Rose’s theme to the conversation between Finn and Jannah.

That would be interesting, I kinda feel Jannah is a stand-in for Rose anyway. I also thought about using a Lando theme, if there was music specific to him in the OT or Solo.

  • The Rey/Ben triumphant hybrid theme from TROS could be used in TLJ for the moment they touch hands.

Which theme is that? I’m unfamiliar.

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Although I approve of the creation of this thread, that Sideways video sucks. He misunderstands many key parts of the Star Wars scores, is completely clueless as to how themes are used in movies, and has an attitude like a whiny toddler throughout. His hate for the sequel trilogy is clearly blinding him to Williams’ musical genius in the new movies.

Back on track though, I do feel like the scores have some flaws. For one, I was disappointed that the “Anthem of Evil” theme wasn’t featured much in the movie. It got a whole concert arrangement on the soundtrack, but only appeared three times in the entire movie. So maybe it could be added to some scenes featuring the villains, in order to establish it as a theme for Palpatine and Kylo’s collaboration? I’m not sure how I would implement it, just a thought.

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StarkillerAG said:

Although I approve of the creation of this thread, that Sideways video sucks. He misunderstands many key parts of the Star Wars scores, is completely clueless as to how themes are used in movies, and has an attitude like a whiny toddler throughout. His hate for the sequel trilogy is clearly blinding him to Williams’ musical genius in the new movies.

A lot of his points land for me, especially the “lifting X-Wings out of water” theme, haha.

Back on track though, I do feel like the scores have some flaws. For one, I was disappointed that the “Anthem of Evil” theme wasn’t featured much in the movie. It got a whole concert arrangement on the soundtrack, but only appeared three times in the entire movie. So maybe it could be added to some scenes featuring the villains, in order to establish it as a theme for Palpatine and Kylo’s collaboration? I’m not sure how I would implement it, just a thought.

I’m not familiar with the track on its own, which scenes does it appear in, and where do you think it could fit?

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JakeRyan17 said:

StarkillerAG said:

Although I approve of the creation of this thread, that Sideways video sucks. He misunderstands many key parts of the Star Wars scores, is completely clueless as to how themes are used in movies, and has an attitude like a whiny toddler throughout. His hate for the sequel trilogy is clearly blinding him to Williams’ musical genius in the new movies.

A lot of his points land for me, especially the “lifting X-Wings out of water” theme, haha.

Well, almost all of his points crash-land and explode for me. I think Yoda’s theme in TROS was a nice callback, and almost every other point he made about themes “not fitting well” can be easily explained if you look at it for more than one second before dismissing it as trash. Maybe I’m just put off by his whiny voice and unbearable negativity, but it seems like his video is really unfair to all the effort that Williams put into his final score. Singling it out as the only “horrible” score in the entire saga is really doing it a disservice.

Back on track though, I do feel like the scores have some flaws. For one, I was disappointed that the “Anthem of Evil” theme wasn’t featured much in the movie. It got a whole concert arrangement on the soundtrack, but only appeared three times in the entire movie. So maybe it could be added to some scenes featuring the villains, in order to establish it as a theme for Palpatine and Kylo’s collaboration? I’m not sure how I would implement it, just a thought.

I’m not familiar with the track on its own, which scenes does it appear in, and where do you think it could fit?

It appears in three or four places: When Kylo says “My mother was the daughter of Vader”, when Kylo says “the dark side is in our nature” on the Death Star, when Palpatine says “the princess of Alderaan has disrupted my plans”, and when the Final Order destroys Kijimi. Those are the only times it appears in the entire movie.

You can hear the full theme here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi9kKyPJ_00

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That feels super Palpatiney. Should that maybe get used for some Snoke scenes? Did Snoke have his own theme already?

I think it should be used for his scenes in TFA and TLJ along with Palpatine’s scenes in TROS.

Snoke’s theme in TFA was basically a new rendition of “Palpatine’s teachings” from Episode 3 (which is quite interesting)
https://youtu.be/mSQ3BJVMfAI

Peace is a lie
There is only passion…

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The Anthem of Evil musically is an amalgamation of dark side themes (Palpatine, Kylo, etc.) and the melody is partially inspired by a theme that appears in Ep III that represents Palpatine’s instructions. I fully support it having a bigger presence in the film, and maybe across the trilogy. I’d love to see the later, swelling portion of the Anthem of Evil arrangement play over Palpatine revealing the Sith fleet.

JakeRyan, regarding your questions, there’s no theme for Lando as a character. The Battlefront game retconned the Cloud city theme as Lando’s theme but that’d be it. The Solo film had a music theme I thought was for Lando, but it turns out it’s meant for L3-37.

And the Ben/Rey theme I meant was this part: https://youtu.be/0_9o_70UQJw

I think Yoda’s theme for Luke levitating the X-wing is alright. The whole moment is already a shout-out to the Dagobah scene so the music just completes the nostalgia factor. Yoda’s theme over the victory celebration…that’s another beast entirely 😄

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This is kind of off-topic, but I completely agree with StarkillerAG about those “Sideways” videos.
That “Sideways” guy just seems so overly hateful towards John Williams, especially concerning The Rise of Skywalker (which honestly has a very beautiful musical score in my opinion). “Sideways” seems to think he knows so much more about music than John Williams, just because he took some music theory classes in college or something. Well, I’d say that John Williams, a legendary composer who’s been creating beautiful music for decades, knows a LOT more about music than some hateful guy who thinks he’s the smartest musician ever just because he has a YouTube channel.

But smug music theory people always get on my nerves anyway, because they completely misunderstand what music is about. I’m a pianist and composer, and to me music is about emotion and what music makes you feel, not about emotionless theory and technical aspects.

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Sure, but the thing is a lot of people criticised the score’s reliance on nostalgia rather than genuine emotion… like using the main theme usually reserved for the crawl when the civilian fleet shows up doesn’t elicit emotion, but rather an eye roll. The previous eight films had really impactful scores, and some of the new pieces of music made for TROS are great… but the way they’re used in the film (or rather, the way they’re not used in the film) is the issue.

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JakeRyan17 said:

Sure, but the thing is a lot of people criticised the score’s reliance on nostalgia rather than genuine emotion… like using the main theme usually reserved for the crawl when the civilian fleet shows up doesn’t elicit emotion, but rather an eye roll.

Hey, don’t speak for me, that moment was great. Whether or not a musical theme “works” in context is entirely subjective, and certainly not the fault of the composer.

The previous eight films had really impactful scores, and some of the new pieces of music made for TROS are great… but the way they’re used in the film (or rather, the way they’re not used in the film) is the issue.

That I can agree with, although it’s mainly the fault of the editor. There are so many great tracks on the OST for the new movie that were partially unused in the movie, being tracked over with soundbites from the previous movies. That’s what gave the soundtrack it’s overly nostalgic feel.

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StarkillerAG said:

JakeRyan17 said:

Sure, but the thing is a lot of people criticised the score’s reliance on nostalgia rather than genuine emotion… like using the main theme usually reserved for the crawl when the civilian fleet shows up doesn’t elicit emotion, but rather an eye roll.

Hey, don’t speak for me, that moment was great. Whether or not a musical theme “works” in context is entirely subjective, and certainly not the fault of the composer.

The previous eight films had really impactful scores, and some of the new pieces of music made for TROS are great… but the way they’re used in the film (or rather, the way they’re not used in the film) is the issue.

That I can agree with, although it’s mainly the fault of the editor. There are so many great tracks on the OST for the new movie that were partially unused in the movie, being tracked over with soundbites from the previous movies. That’s what gave the soundtrack it’s overly nostalgic feel.

I didn’t speak for you, I spoke for myself and mentioned how a lot of other people agreed. If you like it, you like it.

It wasn’t the editor, the editor doesn’t move the score around. An editor will work with a temp score, and then the composer will write music for the scenes. The director may have things changed, but it would still go back to the composer (or, more likely, someone on Williams’ team) to be finalised and then mixed at Skysound. Editors don’t deal with final audio.

In any case, I’m not a musician. That’s why I created this thread. Anything that we can’t find a better solution to will stay put in my edit, excepting that moment when the fleet arrives. I figured everyone here who is much more passionate about musical changes would like a space to make their case. No one is trying to bash Williams, and even that video recognises Williams’ talent, but criticised the overall reliance of nostalgia (specifically through music) in TROS.

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JakeRyan17 said:

StarkillerAG said:

JakeRyan17 said:

Sure, but the thing is a lot of people criticised the score’s reliance on nostalgia rather than genuine emotion… like using the main theme usually reserved for the crawl when the civilian fleet shows up doesn’t elicit emotion, but rather an eye roll.

Hey, don’t speak for me, that moment was great. Whether or not a musical theme “works” in context is entirely subjective, and certainly not the fault of the composer.

The previous eight films had really impactful scores, and some of the new pieces of music made for TROS are great… but the way they’re used in the film (or rather, the way they’re not used in the film) is the issue.

That I can agree with, although it’s mainly the fault of the editor. There are so many great tracks on the OST for the new movie that were partially unused in the movie, being tracked over with soundbites from the previous movies. That’s what gave the soundtrack it’s overly nostalgic feel.

I didn’t speak for you, I spoke for myself and mentioned how a lot of other people agreed. If you like it, you like it.

But you made it sound like almost everyone thinks the music in that scene was dumb, when a lot of people (including me) really liked it. Of course you can speak for yourself, but don’t assume your opinions represent the majority.

It wasn’t the editor, the editor doesn’t move the score around. An editor will work with a temp score, and then the composer will write music for the scenes. The director may have things changed, but it would still go back to the composer (or, more likely, someone on Williams’ team) to be finalised and then mixed at Skysound. Editors don’t deal with final audio.

Sorry, that’s what I meant. A lot of the music was shuffled around in post, so I referred to the editor directly, but it is a multi-step process.

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I never said majority either, I did reference how multiple other threads are being bogged down with questions of rescoring scenes, with many people commenting and the person who is making the edit has said that they disagree with the changes and like what they have.

I just think instead of speaking about this we should go back to talking about the rescoring ideas. If you think every musical beat in the sequel trilogy is perfect as it, that’s awesome! I wish I fell in the same place as you.

Are there any moments in the score you think could be improved to convey emotion of the scene better?

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JakeRyan17 said:

Sure, but the thing is a lot of people criticised the score’s reliance on nostalgia rather than genuine emotion… like using the main theme usually reserved for the crawl when the civilian fleet shows up doesn’t elicit emotion, but rather an eye roll.

Before we change the subject, I just wanted to say that I actually really enjoy that moment. I view the main theme as the “Theme of the Star Wars Galaxy”, so when the entire Galaxy’s fleet shows up, it fits perfectly to me and elicits a lot of emotion. Also, that theme isn’t just reserved for the crawl and credits. It appears in various forms throughout all the scores.

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Personally, I found the main theme really cringe-worthy, but everyone is entitled to their opinion.

I’ve heard that Williams did compose unique music for specific scenes, but they were cut in favor of maximizing nostalgia (which I don’t really blame, on paper linking the final battle to the rest of the story makes a lot of sense, it’s just in execution it becomes yet another callback to the originals). If that’s the case it’s not Williams’ fault, it’s the editors. But I can’t confirm whether that’s true or not.

I’d like to see more original music for the ST. The PT really set itself apart musically and I wish the ST had done the same.

Maul- A Star Wars Story

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The Star Wars main theme actually was developed as Luke’s theme and is used as such in the original trilogy.

Yeah I really wish the ST had a more consistent musical style. For example, I really liked the overall feel of the soundtrack in The Last Jedi. Despite overusing some old themes, the new compositions had a really interesting style that had a mixture of elements thrown in from the originals and the prequels. Yet no theme that debuted in TLJ was kept for the last movie. For the sake of comparison, both Empire and Attack of the Clones introduced at least one key musical theme (Imperial March, Yoda’s theme, Across the Stars).