Tag Archives: Kylo Ren

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker “Kylo Ren’s Theme (Redeemed Version)” (2019)

*warning (in case you haven’t seen it): some plot details from The Rise of Skywalker are mentioned

I understand that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has polarized Star Wars fans in every way imaginable and likely will continue to do so for years to come. That being said, this film, as with all the others in the Skywalker Saga, is full of interesting musical moments that we’ll be spending years breaking down and analyzing.

One moment that caught my attention the very first time I saw the film in theaters comes at the end of film, just as the dust is settling from Rey’s climactic fight with Emperor Palpatine. It’s a short moment in a larger theme, but it essentially makes up Kylo Ren’s “redeemed” theme.

You can find this moment in the cue “Farewell” starting around the 0:50 mark. In the film itself, it starts the moment we see Ben’s hand emerge from that crack in the ground, revealing that he is, in fact, alive and didn’t fall to his death.

 

In strictly technical terms, this is the same theme we’ve heard for Kylo Ren all along. The notes haven’t changed all that much…but how they’re presented is. Gone is the harsh brass, the loud, angry tones. Instead, we have a soft theme gliding along in the strings and woodwinds. In essence, this is John Williams making it as clear as possible that Kylo Ren is indeed dead and gone, that this is a changed man before us crawling and making his way towards Rey.

But as with anything John Williams does, there’s a lot more going on just in this short moment. As the redeemed theme emerges, it begins to layer on itself, building and growing as the layers rebound off one another. All of this symbolizes Ben’s grief at finding Rey dead and the battle over. How incredible is it that all of this happens in just a short space of time? It’s so effective, which is why this is one of my favorite musical moments in the entire sequel trilogy.

And of course, there is yet another connection to Ben’s grandfather Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. You see, this isn’t the first time a Star Wars villain’s music has changed to a milder, “redeemed” style. All the way back in Return of the Jedi, Williams did something very similar for the cue “Darth Vader’s Death” (starting around 0:48)

 

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? It’s the same Imperial March, same notes and all that, but it’s been moved to the strings and sounds a lot more mild, just like what we hear in The Rise of Skywalker. I’m fairly certain that John Williams did this on purpose, to heighten the connection between Ben and his grandfather. It seems that Ben is exactly like Anakin after all, angry in life and redeemed at the moment of death.

Let me know what you think about Kylo Ren’s “redeemed” theme in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

The Empire Strikes Back: “The Imperial March” by John Williams

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi “Final Duel” (1983)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Bad Batch Theme” (2020)

Star Wars: Rebels “It’s Over Now”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Kylo Ren’s Theme” (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Rey’s Theme” (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “March of the Resistance” (2015)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi “The Spark” (2017)

Film Soundtracks A-W

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Kylo Ren’s Theme” (2015)

Something I was really excited about when the sequel trilogy was announced was finding out all of the new music John Williams would create for the galaxy far far away. After all, this is the composer who brought us “The Imperial March” as well as the Star Wars Overture, just to name two of many, MANY examples. We’ll be arguing for years about how these themes stack up against the musical themes created for the original trilogy, but for now I’ll be satisfied in just looking at the sequel trilogy themes that interest me the most.

One such theme that I want to talk about is the theme for Kylo Ren, the primary villain for most of the sequel trilogy. Well, properly speaking this is more of a motif than a proper theme. The difference is in length: a theme, like “The Imperial March” is somewhat longer, lasting for several minutes while a motif consists of a bare handful of notes in comparison. Listen below, the motif comes around the 0:50 mark and I’ll explain after.

 

You hear that, right? Those five notes? That’s the sum total of Kylo Ren’s theme. It doesn’t seem like much at first glance, but there’s really a lot going on here. First, the sharp tone of that brass is designed to grab your attention, this is a character to pay attention to. As a result, even before we know who Kylo Ren is, we know that this is someone important. Second, and more importantly, these five notes are actually related to “The Imperial March.”

For instance, here’s the first part of “The Imperial March” below:

Screen Shot 2020-03-03 at 4.55.27 PM

Now, look at Kylo Ren’s Theme:

Screen Shot 2020-03-03 at 4.59.35 PM

To see the similarity, compare the last five notes of the “Imperial March” motif to Kylo Ren’s Theme. Notice how they move in the same way? If it helps, hum the last part of “The Imperial March” and then hum Kylo Ren’s Theme to yourself. They’re not identical by any means, but the similarity is there.

And how fitting is it that Kylo Ren’s theme be derived from “The Imperial March”?? This is Darth Vader’s grandson after all, musically speaking it makes all the sense in the world that their themes would have a connection. It’s also a great way to musically connect the original trilogy to the sequel trilogy, even if the connection isn’t that obvious at first glance.

This is yet another example of John Williams’ musical genius at work. He can go back to a theme he created decades ago and derive something completely new from it. Not all composers can do that AND do it well, and Williams handles it masterfully. This is just one example of how well the master can work.

Let me know what you think about this look at Kylo Ren’s Theme in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

The Empire Strikes Back: “The Imperial March” by John Williams

Star Wars: Rebels “It’s Over Now”

Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Bad Batch Theme” (2020)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Rey’s Theme” (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens “March of the Resistance” (2015)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi “The Spark” (2017)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker “Kylo Ren’s Theme (Redeemed Version)” (2019)

Film Soundtracks A-W

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Good

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I have been trying for a long time now to gather my thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which says a lot about the film given how I was able to gush over Rogue One pretty easily. I’ve finally decided on a way to get my thoughts out there: rather than dumping everything into a single post (which is my usual method), I’m going to break this review up into what I liked (the good); what I didn’t like (the bad); and what downright infuriated me (the ugly). So this post will be highlights of what I liked in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

  • The return of Yoda: I LOVED this scene! When the camera panned over to reveal a familiar set of pointy ears with a familiar blue haze, my first reaction was “OMG yes it’s YODA!!” Somehow I just knew that we would see the deceased Jedi Grand Master before the movie was over (and for the record, I did not know about Frank Oz talking about the film before release, this was a complete surprise to me). This scene, combined with Luke’s reunion with R2-D2 were the two times I really felt like the “old” Luke from the original trilogy was back. The way he griped to Yoda like a pouting child, only to be whacked on the head with Yoda’s cane was just priceless! Bringing in Yoda was an excellent decision on Rian Johnson’s part.
  • Rey+Kylo+Throne Room = EPIC: Leaving aside what happened immediately before this scene, the fight between Kylo and Rey and the Praetorian Guard was absolutely beautiful. It’s kind of scary how well those two work together on short notice (if Rey ever did align herself with Kylo they might just be unstoppable). This is one of those scenes that helps to make Star Wars so special.
  • Luke’s final stand: In hindsight, I should have known that Luke wasn’t actually on Crait. All the hints were thrown out there beforehand: Kylo and Rey can see each other when they aren’t really there, they can even touch and it feels real. Not to mention Kylo’s ominous hint that “the strain (of projecting yourself) would kill you.” But I was so caught up in the moment of seeing Luke Skywalker, the legendary Jedi Master, walking out to face the First Order that I really didn’t think about how he got there or when. I just assumed that (off-screen), he’d thought about Rey’s words (and Yoda’s), raised up his X-Wing and hotfooted it to Crait where he could sense everything going down. One big clue that this was an illusion? Luke’s appearance is identical to how he looked on the night Kylo destroyed the new Jedi temple. That alone should have told me something was up (at the time I assumed that Luke had cleaned himself up before heading out). Even when the First Order fired on him at point blank range, I still didn’t get it. I just thought “Well he’s a Jedi Master, he can dodge and deflect anything.” It was only when Kylo went to slash Luke through the middle, clearly made contact, and Luke was still standing that I realized it…he wasn’t really there, he never had been. And I don’t feel disappointed by this revelation (because some have told me that this ruins the last meeting between Luke and Leia because Luke “wasn’t really there.”) I disagree; Leia knew the whole time (I’m sure) that Luke was only an illusion, but that didn’t matter. She could see him, and touch him, and it was their way of saying goodbye. And speaking of goodbyes…
  • Binary sunset: The revelation that Ach-To has twin suns like Tatooine was unexpected, momentarily confusing, but ultimately satisfying. Luke’s face as he took the sunset in said it all. In that moment, he was thinking back over everything: the sunset he saw on Tatooine the night before his life changed forever; saving Leia, destroying the Death Star, going to save his father, it all flashed through his mind. And then…with his work done, he vanished. This moment destroyed me, as I’d dared to hope that we’d sidestepped seeing Luke die when it was revealed that Luke wasn’t really on Crait. It didn’t help that Carrie Fisher had passed away the year before (so after her death and watching Han and now Luke die onscreen, it was pretty emotional for me).
  • The Supreme Leader is dead (?): Finally, I have to share my thoughts on the scene when General Hux discovers that Supreme Leader Snoke is (apparently) dead. He seemingly accepts Kylo’s version of events (that Rey killed him when it was really Kylo) and begins to lament that the Supreme Leader is dead, they have no leader now, when a furious Kylo seizes Hux with a Force choke and queries “The Supreme Leader is dead? Catching on, Hux chokes out “Long live the Supreme Leader!” I liked this scene because of how it played out. Hux is oblivious to the fact that Snoke’s death (his apparent death anyway) means that Kylo is now in charge. I’m calling it now: Kylo and Hux will come to blows before Episode IX is over, especially if Hux figures out that Kylo is the one who killed Snoke.

And those are my highlights for what was good in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Of course there was more that I liked than this, but if I listed everything the post would be several thousand words longer!

Which parts of Star Wars: The Last Jedi did you think were good? Let me know your thoughts (on the good only) in the comments below!

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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See also:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi- The Bad

Star Wars: The Last Jedi-The Ugly

A Random Thought on “The Force Awakens”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, My Thoughts!!

Star Wars, the one that started it all! (1977)

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983), the saga concludes (or does it?)