Saturday, October 28, 2017

Star Wars Saturday: The Ideal Planet

We don't know all of the planets in the galaxy far, far away, but based on the sample size it looks like planets range from the hot and dry to the cold and bleak. The Rebels and our fearless heroes were forced to retreat to some interesting locations, and because of that we got to see more than just planets with buildings and flying vehicles. Instead, we enjoyed forests, tundra, deserts, and swamps.

The more we watch, listen, and read about Star Wars locations, the more we get sucked in. Eventually, the thought will cross our minds: "Where would we want to live in the Star Wars galaxy?"

It's easy for me to pick where I would want to live. If the moon of Endor was a planet, I'd like that. But if I had to be scientifically precise and be forced to choose a planet, I'd say Naboo.


The planet of Naboo is one of the first Star Wars planets they showed where there was a variety of landforms. Naboo has swamp, grassland, plateaus, mountains, and lakes, And these aren't just little landforms, either. Naboo rarely has a bad day of weather, and every view looks like a painting. (For good reason, but let's just ignore that right now. 

Even in times of danger - including being chased by opee sea killers and facing battle droids - Naboo still looks gorgeous! 


We get to view two major cities in Naboo, and both are incredible. Theed is a well-engineered, well-built city that must be an urban planner's dream. It's built on a plateau and water flows through it and down several major waterfalls. 

The second city is the Gungan city of Otoh Gunga. Say what you want about the Gungans themselves, but that city is wondrous. I love the bubbles that surround each area, and the ease at which people and creatures can go from swimming in the water to standing in a breathable area. 


The humans and Gungans coexist at the end of The Phantom Menace. It is hinted at the beginning of the movie that the humans at one time considered themselves "better" than the Gungans and created a rift between the two. But in later years the creatures are working together and have improved the planet even more than could be possible. 


Unfortunately, Naboo will always be stigmatized as the place where the evil Emperor Sheev Palpatine was born and grew up. Somehow in his youth in Naboo he was corrupted and turned into one of the most deceptive and corrupt people the galaxy has ever seen. As a matter of fact, when he died, an order was put into place postmortem to have Naboo destroyed. (Luckily, it didn't work.)

Amongst all that beauty, there are some pretty dangerous creatures out there, too. The aforementioned opee sea killers and also the sando aqua monster are right there, waiting for unsuspecting bongo transports to come their way. 

While other planets dwell on extremes, Naboo is a lush paradise. If it wasn't a planet of the prequel era, you can bet it would be even more popular than it is now!

My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes, or follow me on Facebook at Check out my blog for other articles!

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Star Wars Saturday: Crazy Sequel Theories I'm All About

With the opening of a new trilogy of movies, theories and speculation abound as we read waaaaay too much into little things, trying to find the answers before everyone else. Because of this, the past two years have been rather trying for Star Wars fans who just want to enjoy the story. YouTube, Reddit, and other blogs have attempted to answer questions brought up by fans after they viewed The Force Awakens, and frankly at this point it's gotten old. Do we even want answers anymore?

However, amidst all the garbage theories there are a few fun ones that have popped up. It's likely that all of them aren't even close to the actual plot of the trilogy. But it's cool to let the imagination soar every once in a while. 

Here are some of my favorite theories that are floating around. 

Kylo Ren is a double agent. 

You know the person in movies who just seems like a horrible person. They do terrible, unforgivable things. But then in the end, it turns out they were doing it all for the right reasons!

Some fans will never forgive Ben Solo for killing his father. But especially with the new trailer, all bets for a pure evil Kylo Ren are off. Even though he tried to get rid of his humanity and goodness in The Force Awakens, it seems more and more likely that he will change his stripes by the end of the trilogy. 

But what if that was his goal all along? What if this was all part of his plan? What if it was Luke's plan? That almost would make it worse, actually. 

Luke and Leia have another brother.

In Lucas' initial story for Return of the Jedi, Luke was going to discover that he had a sister in some far off galaxy that wasn't Leia. He would go off and find her sometime in the movie. 

People have started to say that Leia and Luke have discovered another brother somewhere, because in the opening crawl for The Force Awakens it says, "She [Leia] is desperate to find her brother Luke and gain his help in restoring peace and justice to the galaxy." 

Why does it say "brother" and "Luke"? Grammatically, you don't need both. Why would J.J. Abrams write both, if only to surmise that there is another brother out there somewhere!

This is ridiculous - Padmé only had to hide one pregnancy, and then she gave birth to Luke and Leia and died. But it would be pretty fun to keep that Skywalker clan growing. 

Snoke is the clumsy stormtrooper from A New Hope.

Of all the Snoke theories, this one is my favorite. When stormtroopers blast open the security door where C-3PO and R2-D2 are hiding out, the trooper on the right actually hits his head on the door as they go in. For some reason, Lucas thought this was okay to leave in the movie, and now it's a notorious moment in Star Wars lore. 

He happens to hit his head in the same spot where Snoke has his giant crevasse. Isn't it obvious? The door caused the giant dent in Snoke's head. Duh.

Finn is Force-sensitive.

When Finn first picked up a lightsaber in trailers and commericals for The Force Awakens people were thinking that he was the future Jedi that would be trained, and he was where the Force was awakening. In the end, it just ended up being a red herring to lead us away from Rey. But poor Finn was left without potential Jedi training and his back was cut up somethin' fierce. 

In some Journey to the Force Awakens books that were published, they mention that Finn, as a stormtrooper-in-training, got some weapons combat experience, including battles with various kinds of handheld weapons. They did this to show that Finn could probably pick up the lightsaber in Takodana and whip it around pretty well. 

But what if there was more to it? Was he always good at combat training? Did he pick it up with ease? Has he ever moved things seemingly with his mind? As you can see, the roller coaster for theorists can pick up pretty quickly. 

and my favorite, that I actually do hope will be true...

Rey is a Kenobi.

I remember coming out of The Force Awakens thinking, "I hope Luke is Rey's father!" A few months of active thinking have allowed me to rule out my rapid-fire reaction. But as people have long speculated Rey's parentage, the one that has always been incredibly appealing is the one where Rey is a descendant of Obi-Wan Kenobi. 

In Episode VII it seems clear that Han knows who Rey is. It seems clear that Leia knows who Rey is. Heck, even without uttering a word it seems like Luke knows who Rey is. All that background knowledge is killing some people because they don't know what's going on. 

I think it would be great to connect back to my second favorite Jedi of all time. And if this theory proves true, then it is setting up a great yet-to-be-announced-but-basically-announced movie starring Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. 

What theories are driving you bonkers? Which ones do you never want to hear again? I'd love to hear them - comment on Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments!

My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes, or follow me on Facebook at Check out my blog for other articles!

Other Star Wars Saturday Articles:

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Star Wars Saturday: Star Wars in Concert(s)

Last week I teased a fun post that was coming up. This week I can tell you that I attended not just two concerts featuring the music of Star Wars within the course of a week!

In August I was browsing online and found out that the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra was featuring a weekend of Star Wars music. That lined up with my Fall Break, which meant I wouldn't have anything going on at church or school and could spend the weekend at my parents' home.

I am very used to doing things like this by myself, but I didn't have to this time! I invited my parents to come along with me, since I was going to be hanging out at home anyway. I paid for their tickets - I wouldn't say I was "dragging" them along, but I know that they probably wouldn't do something like this if I hadn't asked them to come.

Meanwhile, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (KSO) is a top orchestra, and actually won a bid to show A New Hope on the big screen while allowing the orchestra to play all of the soundtrack. The film would be the same – dialogue and sound effects would still be there – but the soundtrack would be taken out completely, allowing the orchestra’s sound to not compete.

I was in Kalamazoo right before school began and saw an advertisement for this concert posted around town. It happened to be a few weeks after I had purchased the tickets for the Ann Arbor Symphony concert, and initially I just brushed it off. It was only a mere six days after the other concert, and wouldn't the be too much Star Wars music at once? 

Then my brain recalculated and gave me my simple answer: You can't have enough Star Wars music. 

So the first day the tickets were available, I bought one. 

Concert #1: "The Music of Star Wars" by the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra
October 7, 2017 8:00 p.m.

What made this first concert a little more troublesome was that the Michigan football team was playing at home against Michigan State, and when I bought the symphony tickets they hadn't announced the start time for the game. I kept hoping that it would be a 3:30 (or - even better - a noon) kickoff, but with both teams being good draws for TV audiences, they stuck the kickoff at 7:30.

If you know Ann Arbor, you'd know that Michigan Stadium and the Michigan Theater are not close to each other. Michigan Stadium is south of center, while the Michigan Theater is downtown. People going to the game wouldn't be parking downtown, but there would still be lots of people populating the bars.

The venue was the historic Michigan Theater, located on Liberty Street in downtown Ann Arbor. To really understand where we were, Liberty Street connects with State Street, which is right on the University of Michigan campus.

We had dinner at Zingerman's Roadhouse on the west side of town before driving into center. I think my dad was pretty tense at having to drive amongst all the college students. But after circling around a couple of times, we found a parking garage right next to the theater that had single spots available. But if we could find the empty spot, we would only have to pay $5. (Clearly this wasn't Detroit or Chicago.)

It took a little while, but we found one! It was awesome to just cross the street and be at the theater. I felt a little guilty not wearing any maize and blue. I am a real Michigan fan - seriously!

My guilt disappeared when we entered the theater. It is a small lobby and it was full of Star Wars cosplayers! They had strung paper X-Wings, TIE fighters, and a Death Star across the balcony, and there were two tables featuring some of the weapons of the troupe that was performing lightsaber fights during the concert: The Ring Of Steel.

The first table had some excellent-looking lightsabers that the group uses, and one of the performers was there and invited us to pick them up! These were certainly not the plastic Target-style lightsabers you can get - these don't collapse, are brightly lit, and heavy! I picked up the blue, and my dad picked up a green.

The guy also told us how they used old parts of 1940s camera equipment to create the lightsabers, which is why Rey's lightsaber looks the way it does!

They had a photo booth as well, but they were closing down as we arrived. However we did get some shots with the cosplayers. Mom even took my camera and got a fantastic shot of a woman cosplaying Asajj Ventress!

The final shot I got was with a bunch of cosplayers, including one playing Rey. I got in the shot, but realized that I didn't have a weapon like the rest of them! I was just going to pretend to do a force push, but then the Rey cosplayer gave me her staff! I was super geeked, and probably held it wrong in the picture, but I didn't care. I'm not good at making costumes, so the lightsaber and staff are the closest I'll get to those cool props!

We went up the stairs to the balcony and got our front row seats! The orchestra was already warming up when we took our seats, and every so often I'd hear strands of Star Wars pop out of the mess of notes.

The interior of the theater was also quite small - I wasn't expecting it to be that small, honestly. The stage had an extension as well as stairs for the fighting performers to use. We had a great view of everything!

The concert started as all concerts do: the first chair (concertmaster) came out, tuned the orchestra, the conductor came out and shook her hand, and then got up to the mic saying, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." He then took out a lightsaber and conducted the first piece with it! (From a conductor's perspective, that must have been quite uncomfortable. He barely moved that hand at all!)

The concert was a mix of single pieces and medleys, and went through the saga in release order. We started with a medley of pieces from A New Hope. The Empire Strikes Back covered "The Asteroid Field" (which could have gone faster) and "Yoda's Theme," where they have Luke come up with four Jedi-in-training and helping them through their lightsaber training. It made me sad; this is probably what it was like when Luke first started training his force-sensitive students!

Next was Return of the Jedi featuring "Parade of the Ewoks" and "The Forest Battle!" It was really fun to hear that one performed in person.

They then turned to the prequels, starting with "Anakin's Theme" from The Phantom Menace and "Duel of the Fates." Naturally, Attack of the Clones only had one entry, "Across the Stars," but it was one of the most beautiful pieces of the concert. The credit goes to the oboist, who channeled the emotion right into the instrument.

I was expecting a little more from Revenge of the Sith, but "Battle of the Heroes" and "Revenge of the Sith" were only average. Luckily, right after those we returned to A New Hope and brightened it up with the "Cantina Band!" My mother pointed out that the saxophones only played in this piece the entire concert, but it was another one of the best pieces of the night. Everyone was tapping their feet!

"Princess Leia's Theme" was brought back in its entirety, and I knew that the piece ends with a beautiful solo by the first violin, and she didn't disappoint.

The night finished with a few pieces from The Force Awakens, including "Scherzo for X-Wings" and "Jedi Steps and Finale." I was a little surprised that "Rey's Theme" wasn't there, though it was brought up in the "Jedi Steps and Finale." During this song, they had Rey come up on stage and present Old Man Luke with a lightsaber. In my head, I was screaming, What comes neeeeext?! I need to know!!!!!!! So clearly I'm not being brainwashed by The Last Jedi or anything like that.

There was an encore of the original Star Wars single to wrap up the night. And before we knew it, we were back at our car on our way home (just missing the massive deluge of rain that came about 30 minutes later).

I greatly enjoyed the venue, the seats, and the nice, concise concert that was given. (The total running time was about 75 minutes.) The music was lovely, and the extras were a lot of fun.

(I'll just keep out the fact that the two boys behind us were obnoxiously loud. Oh, wait. Did I mention it anyway? Oops.)

Concert #2: "Star Wars: A New Hope" by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
October 13, 2017 8:00 p.m.

This was definitely NOT the same concert as last week’s. The venue was different, the group was different, and the premise was different. And I’m so glad this one was the second one, because it was incredible and overshadowed the first one just a bit.

I had school during the day, but I actually purchased a night at a local hotel in Kalamazoo since I was going to be there the next evening for a Lutheran Music Festival. Because of that, I jetted school as soon as I could, drove to the hotel, checked in, had a great workout in their teeny-tiny fitness center, got dressed in my jeans and boots, Star Wars shirt, and black blazer, and headed to the concert. 

On Saturday our obstacle was Michigan and Michigan State fans and college students. Friday's obstacle ended up being other Star Wars fans!

As I approached the venue I realized that this concert was taking place in the heart of Western Michigan University, in the massive Miller Auditorium. When I had checked ticket availability on Wednesday it looked like a lot of seats were available, but they must have filled them up because the line for cars to get to the parking structure and surrounding parking lots was huge! I was going to get there with 1/2 hour to spare, but started to get a little worried that I was going to be stuck in traffic when it began. 

I finally made my way in and was relieved to see that Western had security and parking attendance helping stabilize traffic and move cars along. I kept rolling until I was in the parking garage, and then it actually wasn't too hard to find a parking spot on the top level. (And it was free!)

The parking structure connected to Miller Auditorium with a walkway, and it made it nice and easy to walk over there. I also ended up on the correct level - the Grand Tier. 

The atmosphere in the lobby was a bit more subdued, but I suspect that was because there were just so many people that there wasn't room for a whole lot more. They did have the same photo booth that they did in Ann Arbor, and I did see Darth Vader and stormtroopers posing for pictures on the lower level, but that was it for "official" hype. There were a few more cosplayers, though - I saw Leia, Rey, some Jedi, and a fully gussied up Padme Amidala from The Phantom Menace. The regular Star Wars shirts were plentiful, including my own. I especially loved the lady who was probably in her 80s proudly wearing her blue Star Wars shirt. 

I was very pleased with my seats. I was in the first balcony, but over to the left side. There were only five seats in each row, and only ten rows before it went to the main balcony that was looking at the stage head-on. I was surrounded by couples on date night, which was cute. It also meant that the three rows in front of me didn't have a person sitting there - I was the lone wolf of the section. I didn't care. 

The theater itself had to be three times as large as the Michigan Theater, if not more. I could definitely tell with the sound of the audience reverberating inside. It was going to be a good sound, that's for sure. 

The screen was huge and covered three-fourths of the opening of the stage. The orchestra was underneath it, and because of my view I couldn't see the percussion section very well, which was a bummer - I love watching them. The brass was situated across the top, with the woodwinds right in front of them, and a huge string section. I think the orchestra itself was also bigger that Ann Arbor's - I think it was about twice as big - and it covered the whole stage. 

The concert didn't start on time - maybe the people in charge knew that there were traffic backups and wanted to give those people a chance to get in. I didn't mind - I didn't have a long drive waiting for me, and it was nice to just sit and listen to the orchestra warm up.

There was some audio that welcomed everyone to the concert, but I couldn't hear it too well because not all the speakers were broadcasting it and there was a lot of excited audience members clapping during it. If I heard it correctly, it was just telling people to silence their phones (which I'd checked about eight times before the announcement was made, just to make sure).

Then four people came out to welcome us. They kept their comments short, but a few asked some "raise hand" questions. I got to raise my hand to show this was my first time at a KSO event. They also asked if anyone was seeing A New Hope for the first time, and I did see some hands go up! After the welcome, Darth Vader shooed the speakers off the stage so the show could begin.

Then the conductor, Daniel Brier, came to the stage. I looked around - aside from a few single seats here and there, the place was full! (The theater has almost 4,000 seats, FYI.) 

The lights went down, and I looked over at Brier's conducting podium. He had a giant stand holding the massive copy of the score, but he also had a large computer screen in front of him. As I watched, a white vertical line went across the screen from left to right. A green line followed that. When the white line made it to the other side, a flash appeared at the center of the screen in a circle and Brier started his conducting motion. When the green line made it over the flash happened again and Brier was conducting the first downbeat. It happened to be the 20th Century Fox theme, and I don't think people were expecting that, and there was clapping when they started to play it. (I think people miss that music, though they don't regret Disney purchasing Star Wars one bit.)

The white lines would appear every so often (I'd say about 5-7 seconds) so that Brier could tell where his beats were supposed to be. Green lines would also appear in the middle of tracks to show where there was going to be a change in theme or tempo. The computer screen was also showing the movie, but I think it was a little dimmer than the big screen. 

I was entranced by that little computer screen. It all made sense now - how they can time the music directly with what is happening on screen. And Brier did it so well! As a musician and conductor, I could tell when he had to broaden the beat or shorten it to match when the vertical lines were hitting the right side of the screen. But honestly, if you didn't know music you wouldn't have heard anything different from what you hear as you watch the movie at home - it was that close. 

The orchestra, meanwhile, had to put all of its faith and hope in its conductor. They probably know the music backwards and forwards, but they had to follow his tempo exactly or they would be behind or ahead. I know fully well that it is hard to get people to watch the conductor. These instrumentalists had to be the best. (It's no wonder that only a few orchestras get to perform this type of event for Star Wars.)

In essence, I was watching three things: I was watching the conductor with his magic screen, I was watching the orchestra (especially when I knew an important solo or theme was going to be played), and I was watching the film on the screen. Honestly, I only watched the film when the orchestra wasn't playing anything, and that only happened about five or six times in the entire movie. (The cue for stopping was a red line across the screen.) The first segment - from the opening scroll to the droids' landing on Tatooine - was one unbroken segment of music, and that must have been overwhelming to perform, especially in the heat of the moment. 

I did find a couple of things to nitpick, though, because I am that kind of person. The first was the horn section. It was lined up with the rest of the brass in front of the percussion, but because of how they play their instrument, the bell faced away from the audience. The horns have some of the most important themes - including Luke's theme when he first appears on screen. But many times their sound was much more muted than it should have been. I wish the positioning of the horns would have allowed their sound to carry better. 

The second was that they didn't play the Cantina music! As you read, that was one of the best pieces performed by the Ann Arbor Symphony, and I was pretty bummed I wasn't going to hear it here. In all honesty, though, the edits that were made in that scene made it pretty hard to perform live. That, or they just didn't want to invest in a couple of saxophones. 

The screen muted the sound of the people in back just a bit, but when it had to be loud and bombastic, it came right through. The first chair flautist and oboist had a lot of work when it came to themes, but they were amazing. And the brass did a wonderful job introducing the Death Star every time it came on screen. (bum, bumbum BUUUUM!) Any time a battle was on screen it was so amazing to watch the orchestra's frenzied performance - I think my favorite was when Han and Luke are in the detention level. 

At the end, when the credits started to roll, people were applauding - naturally - for the end of the movie, but some people actually got up and left! The orchestra still plays completely through the closing credits, and people needed to leave early to get to their cars. I was a little miffed at that. I always stay till the credits are done, but for something like this it's basically mandatory since the orchestra isn't done yet! Honestly.

During those closing credits it was clear the orchestra could have a little fun, because Brier was no longer following the white and green lines and moving around much more. Having to conform to a set of lines on a screen must be hard for a conductor, and it was clear he was relieved to be done. Best of all? At the very end, instead of playing the normal credits wrap-up music for A New Hope, he pulled out the final 30 seconds of Return of the Jedi's wrap-up music, which I love so much. It does a better job of ending the movie than A New Hope's.

When they finally ended their last note, the entire auditorium stood up and cheered. They deserved that immediate standing ovation, which lasted for about 2 minutes as Brier had individuals and sections stand to get their applause. I and the rest of the audience wanted them to know how much we appreciated their hard work. 

This is only the beginning - by getting the chance to perform A New Hope, the KSO also secured rights to perform The Empire Strikes Back in their 2018-2019 season, and Return of the Jedi in 2019-2020. This means as soon as those tickets go on sale, I am buying them - not only for myself, but also for anyone else that wants to go. I felt kind of guilty last night because I think I took my parents to the wrong Star Wars concert - I think they would have enjoyed the KSO performance a lot more. I won't make that mistake next year! Best of all, I've done this before, and I know that I need to get there early, where to park, and what seats to get. 

Both of these concerts were a lot of fun, and definitely a requirement for the avid Star Wars fan. If you have an orchestra playing the Star Wars score during the movie, you need to find a way to see it. It is an incredible way to make a familiar movie new and exciting all over again!

PS. John Williams is a freakin' genius.

My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes, or follow me on Facebook at Check out my blog for other articles!

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Star Wars Saturday: Top Star Wars Musical Tracks

In cinematic history, there is no one in my book that can top the soundtracks of one John Williams. His scores for movies in Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jaws, Jurassic Park, E.T., and more are some of the best, and work really well with the movie material.

To my sheer delight, I was able to snag a ticket to see John Williams in person as he comes to Chicago in April for a weekend of concerts. I cannot imagine how this will sound (especially because I got a pretty great seat), and I will be sure to share my experience when it happens.

I have written an article on my personal ranking of the best John Williams Star Wars soundtracks. This time around, I am going to pick out the essential tracks that fully en capture the wonderful marriage of John Williams and Star Wars!

"Duel of the Fates" The Phantom Menace

"Battle of the Heroes" Revenge of the Sith

While "Duel of the Fates" is a sign of impending doom, "Battle of the Heroes" is a tragedy unfolding. They really do envision the rise of the Empire and the downfall of Anakin Skywalker through music.

These two tracks are best when combined together. When it was time for Lucasfilm to release a single from Williams' soundtracks, they chose these two. Both tracks also feature a chorus, which is rare in a Star Wars album.

"The Asteroid Field," The Empire Strikes Back

I can almost hear C-3PO yelling in the background of this track. I love how intense it gets in the middle. Often the best parts of Williams' music is how you can see things happening as the music is playing. The orchestra is just as frenzied as the Millenium Falcon. 

"Princess Leia's Theme," A New Hope

I love this piece, but not as a companion for Princess Leia. To me, this piece is too delicate for someone so strong as Leia. I suppose maybe you could interpret it as showing the vunerability of the princess. However, when I think of the time period in which it was written, I don't think that was the purpose. Still, it is a lovely piece.

"Rey's Theme," The Force Awakens

This piece, however, encapsulates Rey perfectly. John Williams himself has said that the reason he came back to compose The Last Jedi was because according to him, "I did't want anybody else writing music for Daisy Ridley." I love its adventurous, whimsical quality. It also has a little bit of mystery in it.

"Augie's Great Municipal Band," The Phantom Menace

This was the "celebration track" for Episode I, a very joyful piece of music that eclipses the stoic celebration from Episode IV and the galaxy-enveloping celebration in Episode VI. (Though I think "Yub Nub" is still tops.) But the reason I love this piece is the melody that the children sing. Listen to it - it is something that had to be pointed out to me, but once I heard it I was blown away. (It's the Emperor's Theme from Episode VI! In a major key!!!) What foreshadowing!

"Hyperspace," The Empire Strikes Back

This has a great pulse beat to it. It does increase the tension and makes you think that Leia and company aren't going to make it out of Cloud City. Then R2-D2 comes along and they're off into hyperspace! I also like this piece because it was inserted at the beginning of the movie when the snow speeders are looking for Han and Luke, and there's a sense of concern in the piece that the Rebel scouts are going to make it out alive.

"The Forest Battle," Return of the Jedi

This is a favorite, and I've documented that fact very well on this blog. I love the beat of the piece and how it just keeps pushing and pushing until the end. This features the turning point of the entire Battle of Endor, and whenever I hear it or see the battle turn in the movie, I get excited. It isn't tense - it has a playfulness about it, showing how creatures dismissed by the Emperor as unimportant end up rising up with the Rebels to take down the mighty Empire.

"Across the Stars," Attack of the Clones

The score for Episode II had problems, and that can be heard in the movie as Padmé and Anakin are running through the droid factory on Geonosis. None of that is new - it was recycled and repurposed from the chase through Coruscant scene earlier in the movie. Much of the score in the movie was cut-and-pasted, resulting in a pretty disjointed soundtrack. This is really the only quality track of the score - a tragic theme for the two lovers that borrows its title from Romeo and Juliet.

"The Imperial March," The Empire Strikes Back

Hum just two bars of this and everyone could finish the rest. They might not know where it came from, but at least they know the music. Unlike the first Imperial theme that was in Episode IV, this one comes in with a vengeance and never leaves your head. You can almost see the stormtroopers marching in time with the music.

"The Return of the Jedi," Return of the Jedi

This is another one where I geek out. All of the first 15 minutes of the movie has led to Luke perched on a platform, his death lying below him. The music is just pulses of brass and quiet hum of strings. He jumps...and then Luke's theme leaps up as he grabs the platform, flips back onto the barge, and gets his green lightsaber from the sky. I listen to this one on a regular basis by itself, and the excitement is hard to match.

"Yoda and the Force," The Empire Strikes Back

While the track ends in a weird place, the climax of the piece is where it's at. Go to about 2:30 into the piece, and you'll hear a musical selection so embraced that it was used in one of the trailers for The Force Awakens (and a few other Star Wars trailers, if I recall correctly). It not only reflects the X-Wing coming out of the swamp, called upon by a little green dude, it shows just how powerful the Force can be.

"Brother and Sister," (AKA "Luke and Leia") Return of the Jedi

Leia gets some of the best tracks. She has her own theme, she has a love theme with Han, and now she has a sibling theme with Luke. Unpopular opinion: I prefer this theme over "Han and the Princess" and it might be my Episode VI bias showing. Or my Luke-preference. One of the two. But I really, really, reallyreally hope they insert this theme into The Last Jedi if Luke and Leia meet up again. That might just make me cry.

"Scherzo for X-Wings," The Force Awakens

This is my newest favorite. Scherzos were kind of unpopular at the time they originated - they were simply waltzes sped up. But this scherzo is perfect for the time in the movie where it appears - Poe's assault on Starkiller Base. Say what you want about Starkiller Base, I love this section. I wonder if Williams had foreshadowing up his sleeve when he inserted Luke's theme into this piece, or if he simply is using it more as a Hero's theme, which would work for Poe. I hear that Williams performs this one in his live concerts, and I hope that's true. I want to hear this live!

I could just keep going, but I'll stop here. Do you have any favorites that I did or didn't mention? I would love to hear about them! Tweet me, leave a message on my Facebook page, or comment below. I can't wait to add more when The Last Jedi soundtrack is released!

(By the way, I have a very special Star Wars Saturday coming out next week. It might be a little later in the day, but it will be WORTH IT!)

My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes, or follow me on Facebook at Check out my blog for other articles!