The Star Wars franchise has had its ups and downs over the years.
From the heady early days of the original trilogy, through what fans call the “Dark Times” in the late Eighties and early Nineties when the franchise was all but forgotten by most people, through the utter embarrassment of the prequels, and now into the Disney era, where Star Wars movies receive generally positive reviews, despite being a little too derivative of earlier films.
It’s been a wild ride over the past four decades (the original Star Wars turns forty this year), and the quality of stories told in the Galaxy Far, Far Away varies wildly. What most definitely doesn’t vary though, is the quality of the music.
No matter which main series Star Wars film you’re watching, the score is incredible. Composer John Williams (who celebrated director Stephen Spielberg argues is the greatest musician alive) has worked wonders creating fantastic orchestral music for the original trilogy of films, the prequels, and The Force Awakens. The composer is currently at work on the score for The Last Jedi, as despite his age, Williams has stated that he can’t imagine letting anyone else take on the role of composing music for Rey’s journey.
Williams has been rewarded many times for his work on the popular science fiction franchise, and has just received his sixth Star Wars related Grammy for The Force Awakens.
Now hang on, you might be thinking – why does John Williams only have six Grammy awards for Star Wars movies? After all, he’s composed music for seven of them now!
So which movie didn’t get any Grammy love?
Well, the answer is really interesting – despite now having six Grammy statues specifically for Star Wars movies, Williams has only won awards for work on three of the films in the series.
The Force Awakens joins The Empire Strikes Back and the original Star Wars (later retitled A New Hope) in earning Williams an award, while his contributions to other movies in the franchise were overlooked.
In fact, Williams won three Grammys for Star Wars, cleaning up at the awards ceremony by collecting the awards for Best Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special, Best Instrumental Composition, and Best Pop Instrumental Recording (for the Cantina theme).
He then went on to collect two more Grammys for The Empire Strikes Back, in the categories of Best Album Of Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special, and Best Instrumental Composition.
With these five awards under his belt, it would be twenty six years before Williams won another Grammy for a Star Wars movie, when he received Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media this past week for The Force Awakens.
So with all these Grammy wins for the first two Star Wars movies, and one for his most recent film in the saga, why were so many of Williams’ other films overlooked?
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that, by this point, John Williams has a grand total of twenty three Grammys. After winning three awards for E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Williams has been limited to a single Grammy per movie ever since, and this is no doubt a result of the awards committee attempting to share the love by giving other artists and composers a chance to win their own statues.
After all, regardless of whether Williams is the greatest living composer, it’s just not fair to give all the awards to the same musician every year for his entire forty year career.