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Celebrating Star Wars Films, Part 2 of 6: Uses of Darth Vader’s Theme — 2 Comments

  1. Hello,

    Thanks for your very interesting analysis and enlightening me. I was sure somehow the Anakin’s turning motif was not coming from nowhere, but I do not have enough knowledge myself to analyse that. Same thing for the derivate Vader’s motif from the Empire Strikes Back.

    I had however one question concerning the uses of the Imperial March in the Phantom Menace. Is the droid march a derivative from the Imperial? In several occasions, during the Phamtom Menace (most of them, however do not appear in the released soundtrack nor during the film), it seems to me that the droid march evolves in those occasions closer to the Imperial March. The motif I am refering to is for instance the basic material of the droid battle.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sYA8n-4pPw
    At 0:25 in this video.

    Are there also harmonic similarities between Anakin’s theme and Darth Vader’s one? I remember Williams’ saying in one interview he ‘disconstructed’ the Imperial March to form the other theme, that would induce more than the obvious melodic similarity that you explained. Unfortunately, as I have no harmonic knowledge, I cannot search for myself…

    One last thing, there is a little idea in Across the Stars that also appear in Anakin’s betrayal at 4:28 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nk_WHHTQtY
    Is it somehow linked to one of the major leitmotiv? It certainly has more occurence during the Clone Wars, unfortunately I suspect some of the material is not to be heard during the film and is not on the soundtrack either.

    • Yes, the motif you cite in the droid battle I believe is definitely derived from the Imperial March, though I would say that the droid march (or what many call the Federation March) is not derived from it. In terms of Anakin’s theme being connected to Vader’s, aside from the Vader ending on Anakin’s theme, I don’t hear anything else that suggests the two are related. Maybe that’s just me. Williams has said things about his music before that have not ended up being true (like his claim that Amidala has a theme in The Phantom Menace), and this may well be another one of those cases.

      The Across the Stars idea you cite I was not able to track down in the films apart from the end credits of Attack of the Clones. What it means is hard to say, but it is certainly derived from the Across the Stars theme. It’s essentially a faster version of the opening of the theme, appended with a new ending. That’s all I want to say right now because I’ll probably address these things in an upcoming post!

      Thanks for your enthusiasm!

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