Listen to how Rogue One‘s Composer Riffed on John Williams’ Iconic Themes

Director Gareth Edwards and the team behind Rogue One did a masterful job of taking their non-saga film and teasing out the storyline to moments before 1977's original Star Wars began. If you haven't seen Rogue One yet, stop reading now.

The last third of Rogue One is a breathless dash; the battle on Scarife is thrilling (and heartbreaking), and the film's last five minutes include some of the most memorable images in any Star Wars film, full stop. They wed the story of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and her band of rebels to the iconic events in A New Hope, giving us a thrilling sequence that goes from Darth Vader's wrath (what a scene!) as he attempts to physically retrieve the Death Star plans to the nameless rebel soldiers who sacrifice themselves to get the plans to Princess Leia (the late Carrie Fisher, 19 years old again thanks to ILM's mesmerizing CGI.) In sum, Rogue One managed to work as a stand-alone film while brilliantly threading its' storyline with the larger narrative of the Skywalker-dominated Star Wars sextet. 

A fresh discovery from the hive mind that is the internet seems to reveal just how ingenious this blending of Star Wars past and present was in the film. In short, it looks (actually, it sounds) as if Michael Giacchino's score paid homage to legendary work of John Williams', the composer on the original trilogy (as well as on The Force Awakens and Episode VIII). Tufts University professor Frank Lehmann and some very close-listening Reddit commentators noticed that Giacchino's “Hope” theme has strong similarities to the iconic Imperial March. Considering Rogue One had got an entire performance from the great Peter Cushing, an actor who died in 1994, via CGI, it stands well within reason that the talented Giacchino would find ways to honor the work of another Star Wars legend by utilizing the technology on hand.

Have a listen, and let us know what you think:


The Credits

The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.

The Credits

Keep up with The Credits for the latest in film, television, and streaming.

If you are a California resident, California law may consider certain disclosures of data a “sale” of your personal information (such as cookies that help Motion Picture Association later serve you ads, like we discuss in our Privacy Policy here), and may give you the right to opt out. If you wish to opt out, please click here: