*All music shown is the property of Disney and Lucasfilm, I own nothing.
“I love you….I know…” One of the most remembered lines from the Star Wars universe came moments before Han Solo was frozen in carbonite by the evil Darth Vader. Leia finally realizes that she loves the scoundrel of an ex-smuggler and he reveals that he’s known it pretty much all along.
(On a side note, Han’s response was a complete ad-lib by Harrison Ford, as they had tried numerous takes using the generic “I love you too” and it just wasn’t working out.)
The music heard immediately before this line (when Han and Leia share a brief kiss) is the culmination of a theme that has been building since early in the film when the two are seen arguing in the ice caverns of Hoth.
Musically, this love theme is remarkably similar to Leia’s original theme (as heard in the first film):
Notice that both begin with large leaps from the first note to the second, using a pickup note. Both can also be divided into two sections, with the second section featuring a leap as well. The primary difference is that whereas the love theme drops down a whole step after the initial leap, the original Leia theme keeps going up. It’s almost like an inversion of the original theme, where the music now moves downward instead of up.
Of course Empire Strikes Back is also where we get to meet Yoda, the diminutive (size matters not!) and slightly eccentric Jedi Master who reluctantly agrees to train Luke in the ways of the Force. Yoda’s theme, a quiet melody for woodwinds, is first heard after Yoda is walking back to his hut and inviting Luke to follow. Of course at this point we have no idea that this is actually Yoda (or maybe we do, but Luke certainly doesn’t).
The theme is a perfect match for the ancient Jedi Master. It exudes a quiet confidence, the exact opposite in fact of the “Imperial March.” This theme really comes out in full when Yoda demonstrates what the Force can do when he successfully raises Luke’s sunken X-Wing from the swamp.