Updated: May 16, 2020
Last week, I ranked all of John Williams’ iconic themes for the Skywalker Saga. But Star Wars has grown so much beyond the Saga, and so has the music. I want to show a little love to Kevin Kiner, Michael Giacchino, John Powell and Ludwig Göransson, and rank all the TV Show and Spin-Off themes. This includes the animated TV series (The Clone Wars, Rebels and Resistance), the only Live-Action Star Wars show so far (The Mandalorian), and both stand-alone films (Rogue One and Solo). Let’s begin!
10. Mando Says Goodbye (Din and Omera’s Theme) (TM)
From the moment we saw a mysterious woman holding Mando’s helmet in the trailers, it was pretty obvious there was some sort of love story there. We finally got it in Chapter 4 of the show, and it was very sweet. This theme encapsulates the idea of what would happen if Mando retired and lived a normal life. It’s peaceful, the guitar strings are relaxing, and there’s the undercurrent of of romance too. I don’t know if we’ll ever see Omera again (I hope we do, she’s a real badass) but I get a strong feeling she’s the endgame for Din’s arc.
9. The Bad Batch (TCW)
When The Clone Wars finally came back to our screens this February, it brought longtime composer Kevin Kiner back with it, and he is not holding back. While The Siege of Mandalore may be the best work he’s ever done for the franchise, with a cinematic quality to it that matches the film-like style of that final story, his first new theme for Season 7 is one of his catchiest and strongest ever. The Bad Batch theme has a military influence to it, which makes sense considering who it’s composed for, and is a really exciting piece for action scenes, which the arc it is used in is full of. Overall, a really strong new theme.
8. Nurse and Protect (IG-11’s Theme) (TM)
The bounty hunting world’s other most famous IG unit, IG-11 has a theme of his own in The Mandalorian and it’s pretty badass. Used most prominently in the Season 1 finale Redemption, the Taika Waititi-voiced battle droid’s theme accompanies his entrance with Baby Yoda as he shoots down all the stormtroopers on his way to Din and the gang.
As with all of Ludwig Göransson’s work on The Mandalorian, it feels completely different to anything else in the Star Wars musical canon, using different instruments than usual, and ultimately distinguishing this corner of the universe from everything else in the galaxy.
7. The Child's Theme (TM)
We all love Baby Yoda, and the little critter has an adorable theme along with him. Interestingly he seems to have not one, but two different motifs. One for when he’s just being cute and walking around, and another for when he’s using the force (a guitar based piece). Though I’m not sure if this was intentional. Point is, this theme just maximises any Baby Yoda moment and makes it even better.
6. Jyn Erso and Hope Suite (RO)
Originally supposed to be scored by Alexandre Desplat, Michael Giacchino came aboard to score Rogue One and only had 4 WEEKS to write and record the music. It’s a small miracle then (and one that only one of the best composers in the game could do) that he managed to do it. Not only that, but he gave us some truly iconic tracks like Jyn Erso’s theme, one that starts out small and unassuming like her, but grows to become something more fitting of a Rebel hero. It’s the use of the theme in 'Your Father Would Be Proud' that truly makes this a top-tier theme however, as it mixes tragedy and heroism together in her final moments embracing Cassian Andor.
5. The Adventures of Han (S)
It’s crazy to think that John Williams had never written a theme for Han Solo, one of the most important characters in the Skywalker Saga. Well, he finally got to do that when Solo came along. While the film is wonderfully scored by John Powell, Williams returned to score a new theme for Han, and it is brilliant. It’s swashbuckling and exciting, and just insanely catchy in general. Powell does wonders with the theme he’s given, weaving it effortlessly into the rest of the score, and feels right at home with this interpretation of the character.
4. The Mandalorian (TM)
I might argue probably the most famous theme of all of these, simply because it’s the main theme of the TV show. Ludwig Göransson deserves all the praise in the world for crafting a theme that boldly chooses to depart from classic Star Wars scores, and help give this corner of the galaxy its own special sound. The Western influences of the show are in full display in the theme, which begins with a very 'lone gunman' feel, before transitioning to a more traditional heroic part that reflects the journey that Din Djarin has in the story. It finally ends with The Child’s theme, illustrating pretty obviously that their destinies are now intertwined.
3. Ahsoka’s Theme (TCW,R)
No one has had a journey like Ahsoka in Star Wars. A part from her journey from hated to beloved within the fandom, in canon she’s been through so much that’s changed her from the naive young girl we meet in the Clone Wars movie, to the lost girl cast out by the Jedi Order, to the “wandering samurai” we encounter again in Rebels, to the Gandalf the White-esque figure we last see her as at the end of the show. Her theme reflects her unique place in the story, and much like the character herself, it matures and grows more confident as she does. As of the time of writing, The Siege of Mandalore is airing, and her theme is used more times and with more energy and power than ever. Although of course fans will probably consider its use in Ahsoka Leaves as its best one; a heartbreaking rendition that’s become the definitive sound of the theme.
2. Lando's Closet (Han and Qi'Ra's Theme) (S)
Who would have thought that Lucasfilm could have introduced a new love-interest for Han that would feel almost as great as him and Leia? Well, that’s what they accomplished when they introduced the enigmatic Qi’Ra, and their theme is just as young and passionate as they are. I love that it theme makes it feel like a doomed love from start, but that these two care strongly for each other. It may not quite reach the ridiculous heights of 'Across the Stars', but this love theme is one for the ages.
1. Marauder's Arrive (S)
Wow. Just wow. John Powell did not have to slap this hard with his theme for Enfys Nest and her gang, but man, did he. The heavy use of a choir brings back instantly the epic feel of 'Duel of the Fates', but Powell makes it feel wholly unique and specific to the Marauders. It’s almost scary at first, much like how we’re supposed to fear Enfys Nest - that is until it’s revealed that she’s a good person - and the theme adapts to a more heroic but still otherworldly-sounding theme. My favourite usage of the theme is when she’s fighting Beckett on the hovertrain, but the shoot-out scene is probably its most iconic use. I really hope we get more Enfys Nest in the future, and this perfect theme better be back with her.