Stars Wars: An Object Lesson in How Music Makes a Difference

This week, after 32 long years, there’s finally a new Star Wars movie coming out! (“Prequels? What prequels?” is my official stance.)

And yes, I Fandangoed my tickets two months ago and will be going Thursday night! I might even dress up as one of my favorite characters. Anyone know where I can get a Max Rebo costume on short notice?

Anyway, I also thought this might be a good opportunity to post a couple of videos for the occasion. We’ll start with the first “teaser” trailer for the original movie (what’s now called Episode IV: A New Hope, but was just plain-old “Star Wars” to us back then). Even casual fans will notice a few differences from the finished film:

The trailer was released in December, 1976–five months before the movie came out. So the logo is all wrong, and the special effects aren’t quite finished. Check out the plain white energy blades on the lightsabers and those blasters that don’t shoot bolts of light yet!

But most glaringly, it’s missing John Williams’ iconic, Oscar-winning score, which wouldn’t even be recorded until several months later, in March of 1977. Instead, we hear a “temp track” of generic classical music (apparently based on Vivaldi’s Winter).

Boooooring!

If you knew nothing about Star Wars except that trailer, would you want to go see it? Without that classic, triumphant dun-dah-duntada-duuuun-daaaah, would you expect this weird little space movie to become the enormous worldwide success that it did? I don’t think I would.

And if you need more proof of the huge impact John Williams has on the world of Star Wars, check out this hilariously awkward look at what the final Throne Room scene would be like if the music stopped waaaay too early:

Yup. Music sure can make a difference.

EDITED TO ADD:  But hey, don’t take my word for it! I just found this great audio clip from a recent ClassicFM interview , where Harrison Ford himself talks about that wonderful music…

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