John Williams is set to write the main theme for Solo: A Star Wars Story, out this May, and compose the score for JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode IX next year, but according to the five-time Oscar-winning composer, that’ll be a wrap on his contributions to the franchise.
Speaking to radio station KUSC (and reported via NME), Williams said he’s looking forward to composing for Abrams’ film, but that when it’s complete, “that will be quite enough for me.” That seems as good an indication as any that Williams is close to being done with Star Wars. It'll be the end of an era: Williams is the only department head to have worked in that capacity on every single film in the main series, and his music is arguably one of the key components to the series’ success.
Williams’ work on the nine Star Wars saga films will, when complete, be a profound and unparallelled achievement of film composition. His scores are a sprawling, interconnected work of themes, motifs, and one-off melodies, telling as much of a story as the films’ visuals, though Williams himself has referred to them as “not very memorable.” If you haven’t looked through Frank Lehman’s excellent and exhaustive rundown of every single motif in the series, I highly recommend it.
Though it'll be a sad day when the last-ever John Williams Star Wars score is released, it makes sense that he'd stop at the nine saga films. Disney's plan for the franchise gets broader by the day, with at least two new planned trilogies (masterminded by Rian Johnson and the Game of Thrones team of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, respectively) that will likely sport their own unique aural stylings - much like the standalone “Star Wars Story” films. And even if he calls it quits on Star Wars, the 86-year-old Williams isn’t planning on slowing down in his output: he'll at least be working on two upcoming Spielberg films, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara and Indiana Jones 5. The man's a consummate artist and seems likely to continue working until he physically cannot anymore.
Let's not think about that last part too hard.