John Williams backtracks on retirement, says he’ll work until he’s 100

Composer John Williams performs onstage during Ambassadors for Humanity Gala Benefiting USC Shoah Foundation at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on December 8, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)
Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images

The first cut of Star Wars: A New Hope was famously a disaster. Even taking into account that the special effects weren’t complete, the film seemed embarrassingly camp and cheesy. Then, John Williams’ score was added, and suddenly the film worked. It brought an epic, timeless quality to the pic, not to mention gently guiding the audience’s emotions through the plot.

Star Wars is probably Williams’ most popular musical work, though he’s provided scores for a dizzying amount of classics, including Indiana Jones, Jaws, Superman, Jurassic Park and Harry Potter. At the age of 90, he’s been billing each project as his last before retirement, but it sounds like there may just be some gas still in the tank.

Speaking at an event celebrating his work with Spielberg, Williams said that the famed director is impossible to turn down. He went on to note that Spielberg’s father worked past 100, and said “I’ve got 10 years to go.”

Williams doesn’t seem to be slowing down in his ninth decade. In 2022, he worked on Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, while also returning to Star Wars once more to contribute the theme for Obi-Wan Kenobi. In 2023 Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, billed as his “final” score, will release, with the trailer hinting that it’s going to be another rousing score anchored by the iconic Indy theme.

Williams’ work has a timeless quality and his standards aren’t slipping, so as long as he wants to keep making music, we’ll be here to enjoy it.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will hit theaters on Jun 30.