It’s impossible to separate Star Wars from the iconic John Williams music. Lucasfilm knows this to be true, which is why they tasked John Williams with writing a new theme for Solo: A Star Wars Story. That’s also why so many of Williams’ established themes can be found on this score by John Powell. The final result is a soundtrack that is beautiful, exciting, fun, and joyful.
The album kicks off with “The Adventures of Han” accredited to John Williams. I’m assuming this track exists to give you just Williams’ new melody all in one track and it’s epic. If I had to compare it to his other work, I’d say it sounds more like his new melodies from The Last Jedi than anything else, but has moments that harken back to the original trilogy or even the Indiana Jones films, which is very fitting.
The rest of the score is all attributed to John Powell, who uses the new John Williams theme often, but mostly in different and interesting ways that make it sound refreshing each time. The “Star Wars Theme” is peppered throughout in interesting ways on tracks like “Is This Seat Taken?,” “Into the Maw,” and “L3 and the Millennium Falcon,” a track which gives me goose chills due to its inspiring rearranging of the familiar melody. “Reminiscence Therapy” also reuses elements of “The Asteroid Field” from The Empire Strikes Back.
John Powell has his own score elements in the piece as well. One that I really love appears midway through a track called “Flying with Chewie” that almost sounds to me like future queue music for Soarin’ Around the World. Some choral pieces can be found on tracks like “Marauders Arrive” and there’s even a full fledged song sung in what I can only describe as “Space French” called “Chicken in the Pot.” The love theme for Han and Qi’ra is beautiful and is best found on the track “Lando’s Closet” and again in “Testing Allegiance.”
My only criticism is that the score relies too heavily on John Williams’ new theme with John Powell’s original melodies not given enough room to breathe. But the tracks that do feature his melodies feel more special as a result, which really makes them standout. It seems a little unfair that Michael Giacchino was able to exercise more creative license on Rogue One than Powell was allowed to with Solo. But going back to my introduction, a Star Wars film isn’t the same without the Williams music and Solo made sure it was not only present, but prominent.
Star Wars fans are going to love the soundtrack to Solo: A Star Wars Story. It provides new themes by both John Williams and John Powell, plus repeats many of the themes you already love in new and different ways. The entire soundtrack is comprised of tracks that inspire and excite.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.