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Watch: ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ John Williams, and the Growth of a Soundtrack

Watch: 'The Empire Strikes Back,' John Williams, and the Growth of a Soundtrack

Even the harshest critic would have a hard time contesting the quality of John Williams’ soundtrack work for the ‘Star Wars’ films. His sense of grandiosity found a match in the immensity of the story George Lucas was telling with these films–and in case you were wondering what it would be like to be a fly on the wall during his composition, Vashi Nedomansky offers us this remarkable video essay showing Williams watching one famous scene in ‘The Empire Strikes Back‘ for the first time, in which Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is about to be sent into the deep freeze as a prisoner of war, in a sense, and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) blurts out her love for him–to which Solo responds, “I know.” (That’s an interesting response, not quite as dated as one would think at first.) Without the soundtrack, the scene could be forgettable, but with Williams’ percussion and string swells behind it, the characters’ interaction reaches its full magnitude.  And as we watch Williams watching the scene, as we do here, we can see a mind beginning to shape a melody, a look of interest, the germ of the final product.

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