The widely popular "Star Wars" franchise possesses an unofficial holiday on May 4. Taken from the series' iconic phrase, "May the Force be with you," fans can proudly proclaim "May the fourth be with you" instead. This day is an opportunity to celebrate their favorite galaxy far, far away.
The importance of music in the "Star Wars" franchise cannot be understated. The classic themes created by the incomparable John Williams are known even to people who have never seen a "Star Wars" film. The sci-fi opera that millions adore would not be the same without those melodies.
In honor of May 4 and "Star Wars," let's dive into the best songs from the "Star Wars" saga. As any fan knows, "Star Wars" would not be "Star Wars" without this music. So grab onto a Tauntaun and hop into an X-Wing while listening to music more moving than the power of the Force.
11. "Yoda's Theme" - The Empire Strikes Back
Composing a song that encapsulates the wizened Jedi Master hiding on Dagobah is no small feat. John Williams accomplishes this with aplomb in the track "Yoda's Theme." The soothing melody conveys the wisdom contained in Yoda's small frame while simultaneously imparting to listeners his quiet might. "The Empire Strikes Back" would not be the same without this song.
10. "Ewok Celebration and Finale" - Return of the Jedi
Outlandish and joyful, the musical chants of the Ewoks after the second Death Star was destroyed make for a simple, yet pure-hearted celebration of their victory. This track underscores the fact that the small tribe of the Ewoks contributed to the downfall of the technologically-powerful Empire. It also provides the final melody as we look on our heroes gathered together in a happy, festive atmosphere.
9. "Rey's Theme" - The Force Awakens
Filled with mystery and wistfulness, "Rey's Theme" introduces fans to the new protagonist carrying the Skywalker Saga on her shoulders. Just as the first film of the new sequel trilogy was titled "The Force Awakens," this song seems to awaken interest in Rey's character, and how the forces at play around her will shape her into the Jedi she is meant to be.
8. "Princess Leia's Theme" - A New Hope
With a prelude of haunting flutes, deep brass tones (and eventually strings) continue the theme that comes to be known as Princess Leia's melody. Though it might fill fans with sorrow over the loss of Carrie Fisher, it initially was the melody that sparked the adventure that is "Star Wars." Leia's plight drew not only Luke Skywalker to her rescue, but also millions of fans to her cause.
7. "Battle of the Heroes" - Revenge of the Sith
The moment when Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker turned their lightsabers on each other was a scene all fans had been anticipating since the start of the prequel trilogy. The third film saw these dreaded hopes come to fruition, and, true to form, John Williams composed a track that exemplified the horror and tragedy of brothers turning on each other. The finality of every note the chorus sings reinforces the notion that Obi-Wan and Anakin will never be reconciled again.
6. "Cantina Band" - A New Hope
No other melody instilled in viewers a sense that they were visiting a galaxy far, far away than this alien tune. Played when Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first enter the cantina in Mos Eisley, "Cantina Band" matches with music what fans were inundated with visually: strangeness. Populated with all sorts of aliens, the cantina is filled with bustling energy that is complemented by this jazzy track created by John Williams.
5. "Across the Stars" - Attack of the Clones
Love is an emotion that hundreds of musicians attempt to capture in their songs, and John Williams is undoubtedly one of those that succeeded. The second film of the prequel trilogy told the beginnings of a doomed love story between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala. "Across the Stars" is the theme behind their relationship, and it speaks volumes as to the nature of their romance. The sweetness, passion, and tragedy are perhaps captured more perfectly in this track than by anything that is acted out on the screen.
4. "Duel of the Fates" - The Phantom Menace
Though "The Phantom Menace" may have disappointed fans in certain ways, lightsaber duels were not one of them. The action in this film was top-notch, and the final fight between Darth Maul and the two Jedi was several degrees above impressive. Jaws dropped at every whirl of a lightsaber, and hearts thumped to the beat of John Williams' masterpiece of a track. "Duel of the Fates" blends a chorus belting out dire notes with frantic strings and incessant brass to create a melody that can only be called epic.
3. "The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme)" - The Empire Strikes Back
As we get into the top three melodies from "Star Wars," it gets more difficult to narrow down which should be ranked at the top. "The Imperial March," often known more colloquially as Darth Vader's theme song, is undeniably one of the best songs ever created for a film. It embodies the villainous nature of Vader while maintaining a bold tempo throughout the entire track. Brass shines in this piece, with the main melody briskly striding forward as it is accompanied by the pounding of deeper brass instruments.
2. "The Princess Appears" (contains the Force Theme) - A New Hope
Hidden in a track from the original "Star Wars" film is one of the most important pieces of music from the entire saga. Known as the Force Theme or as Luke's theme, the quiet melody might sound unobtrusive at first. But as Luke Skywalker gazes at the binary sunset on his home planet of Tatooine, longing for adventure, the melody swells with unforgettable emotion. This theme subsequently appears in other films across the franchise, and it embodies the majesty of both the Force and the hero's journey.
1. "Main Title" - Star Wars
The thrilling melody of the "Main Title" grips listeners during the first moments of nearly every "Star Wars" film. It speaks of science-fiction escapades, battles between good and evil, and galaxies far, far, away. It can make any "Star Wars" fan smile an ear-to-ear grin. It is the music people think of when "Star Wars" is mentioned. It is fun and excitement embodied in musical notes. If enthusiasm and adventure could be bottled into a single song, it would take on the form of this beloved track.