- "...And most importantly, he [John Williams] has created a grand love theme, the perfect accompaniment to the developing relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala."
- ―George Lucas
"Across the Stars" is the primary thematic music of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. The piece was composed by John Williams to accompany the romance between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala, and is used frequently throughout the film and its sequel, Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith.
Conception and developmentEdit
John Williams wrote the musical score for the 2002 film Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, as had been the case for the four previous Star Wars films. He used the London Symphony Orchestra and London Voices to perform the music. Only the orchestra was used for "Across the Stars", the motif used to represent the romance between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala. The Attack of the Clones soundtrack was released on CD April 23, 2002 and as an MP3 download on May 16, 2002.
- "Their love is complicated - pure yet forbidden, personal but with profound ramifications for an entire galaxy. Somehow, John has managed to convey all of that complexity in a simple, hauntingly beautiful theme."
- ―George Lucas
Accompanied by triplet arpeggios, this love theme illustrates the bond between the queen-turned-senator Padmé Amidala and the slave-turned-Jedi-Knight Anakin Skywalker slowly strengthening and blossoming into love. The forbidden love is sealed in matrimony and continues until it slowly crumbles when Anakin turns to the dark side.
The theme starts off with a slow, emotional part performed by the violas, which play long notes, and the harp, which plays repeating triplets. As this strings continues, a solo oboe comes in with the primary melody. After the oboe finishes half of the melody, the strings finish the other half and end the first section. Next, the strings join the harp in playing eleven sets of triplets before the violins commence with the main melody, which was played by the oboe prior to the triplets. This is backed by short flute riffs. The horns continue a short section of the melody before climaxing into an emotional and climactic part by the violins and horns. The violins then go into two descending phrases, the second higher in pitch than the first. The piece then turns darker into F minor as the low strings repeat a ten sixteenth note riff and the low brass and woodwinds repeat a march-like phrase. The violins then come in to back the low strings. The oboe then hints at the main melody while the low voices continue their phrases, followed by a horn phrase. This is succeeded by numerous pieces of the melody played by trombones, an oboe, and the horns, each followed by two beats played by horns and trombones, and trumpets respectively, with the horns having no phrase after they play the melody. The theme then crescendos into a violin part accented by staccato and legato phrases from the low strings. Next the horns take over the melody while the low strings play more staccato notes. The motif revisits the point toward the beginning where the horns and violins shared the melody, a half-step lower in E minor. However, this time the trumpets play small background phrases consisting of one note per phrase, excluding the last phrase. The horns and oboe then take over with the descending part the violins played earlier. The horns play the first, lower one, and the oboe plays the second, higher one. These two phrases are complemented by several ascending violin parts. The strings then crescendo leading into another run-through of the darker part of the theme. The violins drop out, followed by the tubas and low strings, which leads into the finale of the theme: a harp solo of the main theme succeeded by an English horn solo ending in a long note.
In the soundtracksEditIt is available from Sony Classical on the Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones soundtrack, as the second track entitled "Love Theme from Attack of the Clones." It is used another nine times in five other tracks on the soundtrack. The first appearance after track two is forty-five seconds into "Yoda and the Younglings." The second is three minutes and twenty-four seconds into the same track. The track "Anakin and Padmé" contains the theme fifty-nine seconds in and again two minutes and eleven seconds in. "The Meadow Picnic" features it at one minute and thirty-six seconds. Track number twelve, "Love Pledge and The Arena," utilizes the motif three times. The first occurrence is from twelve seconds in to one minute and forty-eight seconds in. The second and third are at six minutes and nine seconds and seven minutes and eleven seconds respectively. The composition makes its final two Attack of the Clones appearances three minutes and fifty-eight seconds and five minutes and thirty-six seconds into the last track, "Confrontation with Count Dooku and Finale."
In the moviesEdit
The piece appears in both Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. In Revenge of the Sith it appears for a final time as Padmé is in contemplation upon landing on Mustafar.
In the Expanded UniverseEdit
"Across the Stars" can also be heard in the trailer for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, as well as in Chapter 1 of the Star Wars: Clone Wars microseries. The piece makes appearances in both Star Wars: Battlefront and Star Wars: Battlefront II. The theme is also used in the title screen of the game Star Wars: The New Droid Army. It is once again used in the end credits of LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game, and in the first level's cutscenes of LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars.
In other merchandiseEdit
The theme's sheet music appears in the Attack of the Clones music book from Bantha Music. The book was released for the following instruments and editions: trumpet, piano, easy piano, clarinet, tenor sax, and alto sax.
In popular cultureEdit
Alan Silvestri included a brief homage to the theme in his score for Night at the Museum II: Battle of the Smithsonian, which appears towards the start of the track "On Your Toes".
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones soundtrack
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones music book
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Amazon.com: Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones: London Symphony Orchestra John Williams: MP3 Downloads. Amazon.com (2011). Retrieved on February 13, 2011.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Amazon.com: Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: John Williams: Audio CD. Amazon.com (2011). Retrieved on February 18, 2011.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith soundtrack
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Star Wars: The New Droid Army
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic trailer
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Star Wars: Clone Wars
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Star Wars: Battlefront
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Star Wars: Battlefront II
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game
- ↑ See individual film cast lists.