Brian LaGuardia


Composer, Orchestrator, Arranger

Heir to the Empire

I’ve been following along with the new Star Wars material by Disney as a life-long fan of the franchise. As a result, it has not gone unnoticed that they are dropping a lot of hints for fans of the Expanded Universe novels (now called Star Wars: Legends) that Thrawn is about to become the new big bad. Obviously I’m very excited about that, but simultaneously it filled me with a bit of sadness and nostalgia, because the original Thrawn story is something we’ll never actually get. The cast is too old (in some cases no longer with us), and the franchise’s sensibilities have all but moved on. Therefore, I was inspired to write an original soundtrack for the book that started it all; the book that had me totally enraptured and obsessed at the tender age of eight and eager for more EU stories.

Well, I’m pleased to say that samples have evolved to a point where I can (reasonably) confidently do this! My plan is to treat this as though it were a movie adaptation of the novel, since it is itself based on a movie franchise. So it follows, naturally, that full orchestra will be the bread and butter of the score, borrowing heavily from John Williams’ style and sensibilities (mainly extremely virtuosic and thematic orchestral work, but also jazz here and there). However, there are some fun, unique opportunities in this story that will allow me to venture into new territory with things like synth and world music, borrowing from the new direction the franchise’s sound has taken with projects like The Mandalorian and Jedi Survivor. Should be a fun time, though a bit intimidating!

The first track is available via the link to the album below. We start out with the main title crawl, painstakingly reconstructed with samples (there is one tiny deviation, see if you can spot it!). We then pan down to reveal the Chimaera, Thrawn’s Star Destroyer and flagship. This is the first taste of Thrawn’s theme, packaged in its most bellicose, Imperial-march-like form. I’m familiar with his theme on Rebels and Asoka, but while it does capture his cool, calculating mind, it doesn’t exactly leave you with a hummable tune the way Vader’s theme clearly does. My attempt was meant to provide a bit more stickyness in the style of JW, while also leaving room to be able to adapt it to his more pensive moments. Time will tell if I succeeded. But for this specific track, I wanted to clearly establish that he is a massive threat, that his ship is powerful, and that the people underneath him are totally devoted to his ultimately terrifying cause.

The final transition into quiet battery is meant to underscore the cut to the bridge interior, before any dialogue is spoken by Captain Pellaeon. So much of this book reads like slightly harder scifi than Star Wars normally is, so while I’m largely using the JW brush, I’m also being very judicious about where music should be as opposed to writing wall-to-wall.

This is a massive project, and I’ll never be able to profit off of it, so it’ll take quite a bit of time. But I’m having a blast with it, and it’s really pushing my mockup and writing abilities! Below, you’ll find the album page, which will have the mp3s, links to the youtube album and evenutally some BTS content as well on youtube. I’m releasing track-by-track rather than all at once due to these circumstances. Whether you’re a fan of the book or Star Wars in general, I hope you enjoy!