Vanity Fair’s Extended Interview With John Williams


A few days ago John Williams revealed that he saw 3/4 of The Force Awakens and shared his praise for the movie. Now Vanity Fair posted online their extended interview with the composer, discussing his approach to the new music and his opinion on director J.J. Abrams…



From Vanity Fair:


Bruce Handy: Now that you’re scoring your seventh Star Wars movie, do you find that you approach the series differently in terms of your creative process compared with other films or series you’ve worked on?


John Williams: Very much so. It’s all a continuation of an initial set of ideas. It’s a bit like adding paragraphs to a letter that’s been going on for a number of years. Starting with a completely new film, a story that I don’t know, characters that I haven’t met, my whole approach to writing music is completely different—trying to find an identity, trying to find melodic identifications if that’s needed for the characters, and so on. Which I do here, but here it’s an extension of something that’s been really organic and continually growing. It’s a very, very different process. That’s really the best analogy I can come up with at the moment so I’ll repeat it: it’s like adding paragraphs to a letter rather than beginning the letter again.


Williams & Abrams

How has it been different working with J.J. Abrams compared to working with George Lucas?


It’s actually very similar. My meetings with George had to do with spotting the film, selecting areas in which music would be played, and pretty much we agreed on all that. He always left me free to write the music. And J.J.’s done the same thing. We’ve had a few preliminary meetings, and I’ve played him some music at the piano, which he seemed to like very much. His latest instruction to me was, “Just do your thing.” Which is giving me a good sense of freedom, a good free swing at the ball. I don’t know how much you know of him, but he is a delightful person. Enormously bright. I’ve been very impressed with him in meetings with a great variety of people. His generalship is assured and warm and inviting and inclusive. If I can say it, he’s a fabulous young man who’s future is so brilliant and so promising. I don’t know how old he is, but he’s a young man to me. [Abrams is 48; Williams is 83.] He’s enormously impressive.



For the full interview click HERE.


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Founder of SWNN, MNN and The Cantina forums.

Born on April 24, 1980.

Val Trichkov (Viral Hide)

Founder of SWNN, MNN and The Cantina forums.Born on April 24, 1980.

74 thoughts on “Vanity Fair’s Extended Interview With John Williams

  • May 22, 2015 at 9:52 am

    SW7N Rocks!

    • May 23, 2015 at 10:20 am

      Thanks, we try. 🙂

  • May 22, 2015 at 10:25 am

    john Williams is the greatest of all time.

  • May 22, 2015 at 10:38 am

    John Williams is the MAESTRO

  • May 22, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    John Williams is the coolest old dude out there. He really knows how to express himself well!

    But, shame on SW7N for deleting comments that don’t fit their agendas!

    • May 22, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      This article is about John Williams. If someone wants to discuss black vs. white people, go somewhere else.

      • May 22, 2015 at 12:35 pm

        Well, in other threads you freely allow PT vs OT fans to argue with each other out of context. But oh well, I suppose that’s just me.

        • May 22, 2015 at 12:40 pm

          At least it’s Star Wars related. The color of your skin is not.

          • May 22, 2015 at 1:54 pm

            My skin is green.

            Bad fish, or possibly Yoda fetish…

          • May 22, 2015 at 4:40 pm

            Viral sounds like a racist.

          • May 22, 2015 at 7:22 pm

            He sounds like anything but if you read the comments. This discussion has nothing to do with Star Wars. The original article was about an interview with John Williams and a very good one at that. Let’s try to keep things on track.

          • May 22, 2015 at 7:54 pm


          • May 22, 2015 at 7:58 pm

            Wait, did someone seriously post a comment about skin colour on this article?..

    • May 22, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      I didn’t see the comment prior to it’s deletion, but I am curious. How did a story about John Williams elude to comments about the skin colour of characters in the film?

      Seems like a bit of a stretch, even for the perpetually ignorant.

      • May 22, 2015 at 6:12 pm

        john williams saying the music makes you relate to the main parts more and someones point was that no , its race and gender that makes you relate to them and he couldnt because hes a white male and they are black and female.

        • May 22, 2015 at 7:28 pm

          That’s crazy. I know you are just relating what somebody else wrote, and what you were paraphrasing somebody’s comment. That being said, my wife is Korean and I have not once heard her say that she could not relate to characters in Star Wars as there were little to no Asians in the movies. She like many other little girls liked Princess Leia because she was a strong female and cool character to boot.

          • May 22, 2015 at 9:10 pm

            . yeah . i caught it just as it was taken down …thought it was an odd point to make …….i identify strongly with E.T … what does that say? hes not even human or indeed real.

          • May 22, 2015 at 9:48 pm

            well said.

    • May 22, 2015 at 7:55 pm

      what agenda is that? intelligent, mature, relevant discourse?

  • May 22, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    I am a 28 year old white male. And I can honestly say that I haven’t even thought about the main characters not being white, only that they seem to be amazing actors. I don’t want to start a comment war but it seems to me that this so called “issue” may be blown out of proportion. This movie looks like Star Wars plain and simple, and hopefully if the trailer is any indication, will be at least half as entertaining if not more than the OT.
    Sorry to ramble, just my 2 cents…

    • May 22, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      You make complete sense to most of the world.

      But to those who seem obsessed with the topic (and thus grandstanding their shallow minds) it will always be a waste of breath trying to debate and enlighten.

      Might wanna try a Jedi mind trick, though. I hear it’s really handy with the weak minded.

    • May 22, 2015 at 7:51 pm

      totally agree…when dude popped up in the first trailer i didn’t think “black”?? i thought…cool! intense! whats going on here??? if you thought “black”..well…you have your own issues. sheltered life i guess. i live in toronto. surrounded by everyone. it’s simply not something i think about. and its not gender or sex i relate to, it’s emotion, situation, experience, life. some people here are either ignorant, sheltered or just aren’t very bright. i suspect their life is punishment enough.

      • May 23, 2015 at 2:11 pm

        I personally thought: oh, so boyega’s a stormtrooper?
        I never actually cared about skin color.

  • May 22, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Amazing…..38yrs later and Mr Williams will be scoring the next trilogy of the saga, no doubt bringing another emotional and exciting soundtrack!!
    Cannot wait!

  • May 22, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Hard to believe he will be nearing 90 by the time this trilogy concludes…

    • May 22, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      Looking at the top photo, maybe he’s got some Wookiee genes!

  • May 22, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Jaws is and always will be my favourite Williams.

    Not taking anything away from any other greats he’s produced, but seriously…

    Dun uh. Dun da dun uh dun da dun uh…

    Oh you get it!

    • May 22, 2015 at 9:47 pm

      empire and raiders.

    • May 23, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      like the whole star wars score. That’s too simple.

  • May 22, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Someone mentioned something in a previous post that has had me thinking about the colour scheme of Leia fatigue’s and how they are symbolically learning towards Imperial factions. Is it inconceivable to suggest that Leia could indeed be a representative of the New Order? Perhaps the N.O is not at all a threat, certainly not a force awakening! As the Emperor disbanded the Republic and had it reformed into the first Galactic Empire, after the destruction of their power house! the idea that the alliance and the citizens throughout the systems, disbanded the Empire and reformed into the New Order. I don’t believe the N.O just pops up out of no where 30 years later and or in secret, but was established for the good of the galaxy. Infiltrated some how and or a break away faction, a mutiny instigated by darker forces, Boyega is clearly freaking out (great acting) he carries the knowledge of sinister and transpiring events! of a plan to overthrow the New Order! must be silenced at all costs. Just my thoughts on a possible star wars galaxy. Oh PS. love Williams lol

    • May 22, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the First Order was created by Leia, but quickly turned back to the “good old days” when the Empire was keeping “order”. However, some planets are all like “WTF?!” and form a Resistance against the neo-Imperial A##holes.

      I’m of the opinion that ST is different from the OT:

      OT was a mere Revolution of one against a hundred,
      ST will be an actual Civil War of 50 versus 50.

      REBELLION attacks against a oppressors.

      RESISTANCE defends against usurpers.

      • May 22, 2015 at 10:01 pm

        Will there be heroes on both sides?

        • May 23, 2015 at 12:27 am


          Talk about a WTF moment before the movie even begins. lol

          • May 23, 2015 at 1:21 am

            “There are heroes on both sides! Evil is everywhere!”

            SMH. Oh, George… ^_^

        • May 23, 2015 at 12:00 pm

          Now that would be interesting, if Christie’s Chrometrooper is a sympathetical character,

          but then again, it would also be very refreshing to just, have an ACTUAL, EVIL VILLAIN.

        • May 23, 2015 at 2:19 pm

          That sentence meant that in the clone wars, more towards the end there werent only ggood guys in the republic and bad guys in the separatists. you can see that in the clone wars: even though dooku is a sity, many separatist idealists agree with senators that the ears should be ended. in a similar way many republic senators instead want war to go on, for their economical interests. every time I see a similar PT hate I believe that they re just too stupid to understand things. not If you argue about christiensen’s acting, or the not believable love story. those two are the only things I tolerate arguing on.

          • May 24, 2015 at 7:46 am

            Hayden wasn’t all that bad really and the love story is too recognisable for most girl-shy geeks, therefore they hate it.

    • May 23, 2015 at 9:13 am

      Leia is the new secret Sith lord and trainer of her son, which is why the new series has a female lead to fight her in the final film of this trilogy. Use your heads people, she is the villian! She probably even shares the mask persona of her son to throw off their enemies. Anakin brought balance to the force, one good and one evil = balance. After the death of Vader and discovering that he was her father she became obsessed with his past which led her down the dark side.

  • May 22, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    The beauty of Williams music is quite independent from film itself, the score for Attack of the Clones is arguably one of his best.

  • May 22, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Dual of the Fates is (in my opinion) verging on musical greatness outside the sphere of cinema. Where all the other scoring is very much a film score, this “Opus” act as a stand alone great on the level of any great classical musician…. in my humble opinion of course..

  • May 22, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Do you think we will see the soundtrack released before the film?

    • May 22, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      If it is, I hope the names of the songs don’t provide any spoilers. I remember buying the Episode I soundtrack and seeing the song “Qui-Gon’s Noble End”. That was a pretty big spoiler.

      • May 22, 2015 at 6:14 pm

        bens death and tie fighter attack

  • May 22, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    I love the Luke’s destiny theme when he stares at the two Suns. That music gives me chills. Imperial march and the theme at the end of new hope. All of his work is perfect

    • May 22, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      Just in case you don’t have the names already
      1) Binary Sunset
      2)Imperial March (as you stated above)
      3) Throne Room/ End Titles.

      I love all these as well!! 🙂

  • May 22, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    prequel music is actually awesome , reflected by maturity of Jhon Williams , although not iconic as OT sound track.

  • May 22, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Prequel music fits the time period depicted,

    So does OT, OT was just a more kickass time period.

    PS, that Wookie outfit is awful

    • May 23, 2015 at 1:25 am

      The Prequel music would’ve been better had the films been less boring and more engaging. Lucas limited what Williams could work with.

      That said, I’m pleased with what he was able to accomplish.

      • May 23, 2015 at 2:21 pm

        PT score is one of the most touching and emotional score of star wars.

  • May 22, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    That fucked up wookie outfit is the exact one used in The Force Awakens.

    • May 23, 2015 at 1:30 am

      The only good Disney Era wookiee costume I’ve seen so far was the one pictured with Bob Iger. The others concern me.

    • May 23, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      no, the one on Vanity Fair looks far better [the mascara’s disturbing though]×372.jpeg
      it is a tad innaccurate, but it’s forgivable, better than Ep I Yoda.

      No, the “chewie” next to John Williams in the above article photo, with those curly matted polyester locks, bears more resemblance to the Cowardly Lion. Cheap at best

      • May 25, 2015 at 9:12 am

        Have you paid attention to Chewbacca in EPIV thru VI? There were differences between the costumes used in those films as well and you somehow give them immunity. I never have understood all the nitpicking, but immunity is always given to the OT is anything & everything. None of it is any big deal anyway.

  • May 22, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    John Williams is one of the coolest composers in the last 200 years. I am super glad that he is doing another Star Wars movie. His music is a huge factor that separates Star Wars from other fantasy movies.

  • May 23, 2015 at 4:24 am

    This is becoming a little Uncomfortable.

    • May 23, 2015 at 6:41 am

      Please. This is nothing. Wait until TFA releases. Then this website and the Internet in general will be crawling with racism and sexism.

      Sooner or later, we’re going to have to deal with this.

  • May 23, 2015 at 6:45 am

    Wow. This is the second time in 2 days that I’ve seen the n-word on here.

    Why don’t the people who run this website at least censor that disgusting word? I’ve seen it done before. SMH.

  • May 23, 2015 at 7:14 am

    “Sooner or later, we’re going to have to deal with this.”

    What are you asking for? Censorship? Hate-speech laws?

    Sounds like it, ya’ little communist bitch!

    • May 23, 2015 at 8:34 am

      I’m asking for female and minority representation in Hollywood to be so common and accepted that we don’t continually get these stupid-ass comments about seeing a black male lead in Star Wars.

      I’m absolutely convinced TFA will be a gamechanger for diversity in Hollywood.

      • May 23, 2015 at 9:06 am

        What you’re asking for then is the Hollywood studios to all go bankrupt because whites aren’t going to pay see films with black and female leads.

        TFA won’t change anything. And for this I’m glad because in my home country of the Czech Republic we believe in traditional values and a male dominated society.

        You will believe in these things again too after your country collapses.

        • May 23, 2015 at 10:06 am

          Um, really? Have you heard of Richard Pryor in your country? Or perhaps Eddie Murphy, or more recently Kevin Hart or this little known guy by the name of Will Smith? Idris Elba? Danny Glover? David Oyelowo? How many Czech actors are making it big in the top movie producing country in the world? Go ahead name HIM I’ll wait. And here in the good old USA we even let women Direct some of our finest movies. Which of these magical Czech movies is bringing in awards and cash like oh um say.. The Hurt Locker or uhhh A League Of Their Own. And surprise! I’m a middle aged white guy!do not let these racist misogynistic assholes represent me! I am looking forward to seeing this movie, partially because of the great things I’ve heard about Boyega! Oh and as a final insult to you narrow minded fools I give you Lupita N’yongo. A BLACK FEMALE ACTOR (twisting the knife). Yeah Hollywood’s losing money by the boatload!

          • May 23, 2015 at 10:55 am

            The Lone Ranger lost hundreds of millions of dollars. It took the Avengers one billion dollars just to break even.

            Hollywood today is losing money by the truckload. Or should I say their profit margin is far smaller than it used to be because the production costs have risen dramatically.

            And because of new technology, many don’t even go to the movies anymore. They prefer to watch films at home.

            Also I can tell you in my home country John Boyega isn’t the kind of person people will pay 20 euros to go and see.

            I don’t think you’re being realistic about these things.

            You will have to learn the hard way I suppose.

          • May 23, 2015 at 11:46 am

            Are you seriously blaming The Lone Ranger’s financial problems on diversity?

            Fast & Furious 7 made over a billion dollars and had a diverse cast. Avengers: AOU, billion+ and diverse cast. Guardians of the Galaxy, 774 million and diverse cast. Big Hero 6, 652 million and diverse cast. Etc.

            Diversity isn’t hurting Hollywood.

          • May 23, 2015 at 11:56 am

            Oh, now that we know that you are from the Czech “Republic”, a barely relevant country that almost the entire European Union consider as culturally retarded, right winged and extremist… well, it all makes a lot more sense, actually.

            Still, you aren’t entitled to talk about what “whites” will or won’t do – and I am almost curious to know what will you have to say when “The Force Awakens” blows out the box office worldwide.
            Oh, wait, I know: you’ll be whining that having a strong female character endangers your manhood and that a black character makes you feel less of a person.
            Duly noted, now go back to the Middle Ages.

          • May 23, 2015 at 2:23 pm

            you seriously just generalised an entire nation from a guy’s opinion? That’s quite putting you on his same level. I am pretty sure that nobody or little anybody thinks the same way as this guy. Plus, that is not at all how european nations and EU behave. So think about what you write… (just to say, I replied angrily to that guy aswell, for different reasons but I did.)

          • May 23, 2015 at 5:04 pm

            The point is showing him how easy (and, indeed, terribly stupid) is to apply his own line of thinking.
            Then again, I did not generalized an entire country – I reported a perception.

            But you ARE right: I let my despise of such arguments have the best of me – that shall not happen again.

        • May 23, 2015 at 11:33 am

          “What you’re asking for then is the Hollywood studios to all go bankrupt because whites aren’t going to pay see films with black and female leads.”

          With the exception of a few vocal racists and sexists, I don’t hear white people complaining about Star Wars’ diverse cast. I wouldn’t be surprised if TFA became the highest grossing film of all time.

          “TFA won’t change anything. And for this I’m glad because in my home country of the Czech Republic we believe in traditional values and a male dominated society.”

          TFA will change Hollywood in more ways than one. What does “traditional values” have to do with anything? Expect to see numerous strong women in Star Wars.

          “You will believe in these things again too after your country collapses.”

          LMAO. Sure…

          • May 23, 2015 at 12:19 pm

            ^^ yeah, it’s about time we got some non-white guys in movies, why not? [rhetorical question]
            White guys have been on the screen for like a good, like what, 1000 (?) years now, maybe we should have some other people in, just to shake things up, we white guys need a break.

            Some of the most entertaining actors are black, and this isn’t because of stereotype, quite the opposite. The reason black actors are sometimes the most entertaining is because they are already in a stereotype, WHICH MEANS, they do everything in their power to BREAK said stereotype.

            White guys are in a stereotype just like black guys, ONLY THEY DON’T KNOW IT, which means, it’s “okay” to be a boring clicheed white-guy…. until the movie bombs, because “clicheed boring”.
            Minority Actors [Hollywood minority, that is] are forced to encounter their challenges early, which actually gives them an acting advantage – IF the casting directors give them a chance.

        • May 23, 2015 at 2:35 pm

          This comment was genial. Now everyone will believe that Czech people are exagerated as you.
          I don’t beacause I have a neighbour that is Czech.
          1) What the hell do you believe is a “male dominant society”. I’m certainly not the guy that says Females are better than males, but to me that sentence doesnt make sense, especially with in addition “Traditional culture”. It’s like you say that Traditional family is sexist. But It never had been.
          2) stupidity and mental retarding is a factor that doesn’t depend from skin colour.
          3) Having a non-white or female lead actor is not a political choice.

  • May 23, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Chewbacca’s hand looks like a bad toupee on John Williams…

    • May 23, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      This is only the beginning.

      Donald Trump’s journey to ultimate power is almost complete…

      • May 24, 2015 at 6:10 am

        not if Hillary Clinton has anything to say about that lol

  • May 23, 2015 at 11:08 pm


    Here is the track listing for the soundtrack to THE FORCE AWAKENS…

    1) Star Wars Main Title’s Noble End
    2) BB-8’s Noble End
    3) R2-D2’s Noble End
    4) C-3PO’s Noble End
    5) Maz Kanata’s Noble End
    6) The Vicar’s Noble End
    7) Captain Phasma’s Noble End
    8) Lando Calrissian’s Noble End
    9) Han Solo’s Noble End
    10) Chewbacca’s Noble End
    11) Poe Dameron’s Noble End
    12) Finn’s Noble End
    13) Rey’s Noble End
    14) The Millennium Falcon’s Noble End
    15) Kylo Ren’s Noble End
    16) Uber’s Noble End
    17) Luke Skywalker’s Noble End
    18) End Credits’ Noble End

Comments are closed.