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Latest ‘Star Wars’ News: ‘Andor’ composer reveals scoring secrets as fans wonder about Palpatine’s day job

Breaking down the excellent 'Andor' score as fans wonder what exactly does Palpatine do all day?

Star Wars fans unpack problems with Andor
Photo via Lucasfilm / Disney

The weekend is almost here, but always there are new updates from the world of Star Wars. Fans are still picking over the bones of this week’s episode of Andor, there’s some insightful new behind-the-scenes content to examine, and discussions over the day-to-day realities of life in the galaxy far, far away.

Composer Nicholas Britell explains the thinking behind the Andor score

Nicholas Britell arrives at the special 3-episode launch event for Lucasfilm's original series Andor at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on September 15, 2022. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

From the show’s opening scene, Nicholas Britell’s Andor score has got a lot of praise. It’s a stark departure from traditional Star Wars music, eschewing bombastic fanfare in favor of more moody and atmospheric news. Today sees the release of the Andor Vol. 1 soundtrack, and in an interview with StarWars.com, Britell revealed that his music is trying to underline the show’s mystery and sense of discovery:

“I think the music, at the very beginning and like, even the first main title theme, for example, there’s like, a question. There’s a pulse, and then there’s another, and it sort of grows, and you are learning what it is as it happens, and then it has a crescendo and then it cuts out.

So I think, in a way, there’s almost a metaphor there for the show. This idea that we are learning, the characters are learning. It’s something a little different. It’s something new and the music is, hopefully, providing a sense of that sense of learning and discovery as well.”

He went on to reveal that he obsessed over the original trilogy as a child, and that it was a dream to make his own mark in the franchise:

“I think it’s hard to overstate how much Star Wars, I think, was a part of so many of our lives growing up. Just the fascination of it and certainly as a musician, and a music lover, the sound of it. So yeah, Star Wars occupies a very iconic place and a very, very special place, I think, for so many of us, but certainly for me.”

The full interview is worth reading if you’re interested in the musical thinking behind Britell’s work.

Is Andor heading for awards season glory?

andor
Image via Lucasfilm

Andor doesn’t seem to be quite as successful as the other Disney Plus shows, though it’s a hit with critics, and diehard Star Wars fans are saying it’s the show they’ve always dreamed of. So, could this show crammed full of great performances, incredible sets, killer production design, and top-notch writing score some wins come award season? Fans seem to think so.

After all, The Mandalorian has so far scored an astonishing 39 nominations and 14 wins over its two seasons, so the Emmys are clearly on board with honoring the franchise. However, the majority of The Mandalorian‘s wins have been in technical categories – with a smattering of acting nominations for Giancarlo Esposito and Timothy Olyphant.

We’d love to see Genevieve O’Reilly pick up some attention for her excellent Mon Mothma, as well as Stellan Skarsgård for his chameleonic Luthen. But hey, Diego Luna is right there as the morally compromised hero with burning anger towards the Empire. The competition this year will be steep, but we’re hoping it’ll see some love when we get closer to awards season.

Attack of the Clones VFX boss reflects on how the movie broke new ground

Image via Lucasfilm

The prequel trilogy allowed George Lucas to explore new possibilities in digital filmmaking, with The Phantom Menace making heavy use of CGI throughout, and featuring the first fully CGI main character. But, it was arguably sequel Attack of the Clones that broke the most ground as the first feature ever shot entirely on digital. This is now the default for the industry, and Lucasfilm vice president of post-production Mike Blanchard has been reflecting on taking the first steps away from celluloid.

Clearly, it wasn’t all plain sailing, as he recounts an incident from the first day of the shoot:

“We’d received a film-out test back from the lab, and it was awful. It didn’t look right. We managed to sort it out, but it caused a lot of stress. That was definitely a low point because it was so late and we’d done so much work. … You just don’t want to have anything like that at the 11th hour to shake the confidence of the team. There was so much at stake and many people in the business were actively rooting against us.”

Blanchard believes it wouldn’t have been possible to make the jump without George Lucas pushing for it:

“There’s no question that it hastened the adoption of shooting digitally across the industry, but there’s really no way to quantify how much longer it would have taken without George pushing the envelope. The risk he was taking cannot be overstated. … I guarantee you no studio head would have given the green light to making a 100 million dollar film with a new camera system. That’s why it’s so great to look back on the journey now. There isn’t anyone other than George with the vision and resources to have done it. I had a front row seat and I’ll be forever grateful.”

What does Emperor Palpatine do all day at the office?

Chancellor_Palpatine_Force_Lightning
Image via Lucasfilm

This week’s Andor saw Emperor Palpatine name-dropped, with ISB head Wullf Yularen saying he’d been in a meeting to inform him about the heist on Aldhani. The notion of the sinister space sorcerer scheduling meetings with his underlings has tickled the fancy of Star Wars fans, saying they “can’t picture Mr. Evil sitting in a board room chatting with random bureaucrats”.

Other fans point out that Palpatine has spent his entire career as a galactic politician, and that a huge part of his plan to become Emperor was grounded in political maneuvering and negotiation. Even so, we doubt Palpatine is chairing dull meetings about the minutia of running the Empire, and would surely prefer to leave the more practical things to his trusted Moffs.

With Andor showing us more about how the Empire functioned in its early days, we’re hopeful for an actual appearance from Ian McDiarmid later in the season. He never seems to pass up a chance to play Palpatine, so fingers crossed Mon Mothma gets to share a very tense scene with the man she’s trying to bring down.

Remembering Carrie Fisher on what would have been her 66th birthday

princess leia
Image via Disney/Lucasfilm

For Star Wars fans Carrie Fisher will always be royalty. Today would have been her 66th birthday and perhaps the most touching tribute came from Mark Hamill, who posted some great behind-the-scenes images from their time together on set. We still miss you, Carrie.

That’s all the Star Wars news for this week. We look forward to the next episode of Andor, and especially The Tales of the Jedi in just a few days.

David James
About the author

David James

London-based writer of anything and everything. Willing to crawl over rusty nails to write about 'Metal Gear Solid' or 'Resident Evil.'