As the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will wrap up story strands that have been developing ever since Princess Leia dispatched C-3PO and R2-D2 to seek out Obi-Wan’s help on Tatooine. To do this satisfyingly, director J.J. Abrams is going to need to reference events and characters from across the saga, and now we have a hint of who might be appearing in the movie.
This comes courtesy of Don Williams, brother to iconic composer John Williams. The Rise of Skywalker will probably be John’s last Star Wars score, and it’s safe to say that his music is responsible for a large portion of the series’ success. But now, Don, who’s assisting with the score, has dropped some hints that major characters could be returning – including Darth Vader.
“I can tell you that every theme that you ever heard is going to be compiled into this last effort. Every one. Leia. Yoda. The Phantom. Darth. All of it. It’s going to be in there. And in his usual style, he hides them. You gotta go look for them. You’ll find them, but you gotta go look for them.”
When Don talks about themes, he’s talking about each character’s leitmotif, the piece of music that’s intrinsically tied to that person. Over the years, Williams has done a fantastic job of weaving these into his score in ways that are relevant to the story. For example, in The Phantom Menace, the innocent-sounding Anakin’s Theme is actually a reworking of the Imperial March, hinting at his future transformation into Darth Vader.
So, while Yoda and Vader’s themes seem certain to appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it’s possible that they’ll merely be thematic callbacks rather than the characters themselves appearing. But hey, who knows, perhaps all those rumors that we’ll see a Force Ghost Anakin/Vader show up in the movie will prove accurate. I guess we’ll find out come December 20th.