Forget Darth Vader’s mask or Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber—no part of the Star Wars universe is as iconic as its music. Even if you’ve never seen the films, you’ve cowered from the Imperial March. You’ve felt a tinge of hope from the Force Theme.
The sound of Star Wars is the work of legendary film composer John Williams, 83, whose impossibly prolific resumé also includes Jaws, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and Harry Potter—and now The Force Awakens, his seventh Star Wars score.
CBS’s 60 Minutes ran a segment last night (Dec. 13) on The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams. The entire segment is worth watching, but below is perhaps the most notable clip, wherein Williams himself conducts the music from the opening scene of the new film.
“This music will be studied by fans,” Abrams says by way of introduction.
“It’s almost cheating when you have John Williams,” Abrams says. “He writes feelings.”
Long after the credits roll and the screen goes dark on The Force Awakens, the music is likely to be what fans remember best. Music, when combined with film, has a unique emotional power—especially when done right. Nothing can revive the thoughts you had during a film, or the feelings you felt, like its musical score. And no one is as skilled at activating a sense of nostalgia as John Williams is.
The Force Awakens premieres Dec. 18 in the US. Here’s a list of other release dates by country.