Top 10 Star Wars Soundtracks from the Expanded Universe


Ever since we were first blasted out of our seats by the opening crawl, the music of Star Wars has had a profound effect on all of us. John Williams’ masterful scores for all six films are widely accepted as defining contributions to modern classical music. They are multi-award winning, platinum selling masterpieces, earning Williams an Oscar, a Golden Globe, two BAFTAs, and five Grammy’s. The 1977 Star Wars soundtrack has also been voted the ‘most memorable film score of all time’ by the American Film Institute.

The scores themselves are the lifeblood of the Saga. Like the Force itself, it’s what binds the galaxy together. Renowned Concept Designer, Art Director and Star Wars nut, Paul Bateman famously described John Williams’ music as ‘the oxygen of Star Wars.’ His remark would later stem a series of hugely popular podcasts from Rebel Force Radio called Star Wars Oxygen, in which the super talented ex-LucasArts sound designer David W. Collins and host Jimmy Mac explore the music of Star Wars in-depth. If you’re a fan of Star Wars music, I cannot recommend this podcast enough!

Of course music in general is a very personal thing. We each have our own individual tastes, our own favourite artists and our own associated memories. This leads me to my own personal list of my top 10 favourite soundtracks to the Star Wars Expanded Universe. I’m a huge fan of the EU, along with all the books, comics and computer games, so I thought it would be quite a nice idea to explore the music behind these Star Wars stories, and offer you my own personal perspective. So here you have it, my favourite soundtracks from the EU!

10. X-Wing, 1993. The very first LucasArts DOS game set in the Star Wars universe features a MIDI musical soundtrack, which includes elements from John Williams’ original score. Music designers Michael LandClint Bajakian, and Peter McConnell used familiar elements of Williams’ music and seamlessly blended them in with their own in-game music.

9. The Force Unleashed II, 2010. Composer Mark Griskey’s sequel soundtrack was intended to be a much darker & more sombre affair than its predecessor. There are a number of recognisable John Williams moments within the soundtrack, most notably the appearance of The Imperial March. Griskey’s own themes were created to emphasize the characters and locales that feature within the game, a very similar approach to Williams himself.

8. TIE Fighter, 1994. While the soundtrack for this computer game contains many themes from the original trilogy, what is most interesting is how these themes are presented. For example, The Imperial March motif, which was originally intended as a dark, ominous motif within the movies, now appears as a much more heroic motif due to the players affiliation with the Empire.

7. Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, 2004. A much darker, more atmospheric soundtrack than the first game, Mark Griskey again adopted John Williams’ technique of developing individual themes for characters and places, most notably Darth Sion and the Jedi’s Theme.

6. The Old Republic, 2011. Originally released in CD format with the collectors edition of the game, this hugely ambitious soundtrack contains 17 musical pieces including tracks for each faction and class as well as some fun cantina themes.

5. The Force Unleashed, 2008. Set between the Original and Prequel trilogies, The Force Unleashed soundtrack was composed with the intention of incorporating much of John Williams’ original scores to help bridge the gap. Jesse Harlin composed the main theme while Mark Griskey tackled the rest of the project. In addition to Williams’ well-known Force Theme, Imperial March, and Rebel Fanfare, Griskey also created themes for many of the main charters including Rahm Kota, PROXY and Juno Eclipse.

4. Dark Forces, 1995. Composed by Clint Bajakian, the MIDI soundtrack features original works based on cues from the original movies, including the Jawa Theme, the Death Star Attack and the Imperial March. The Dark Forces soundtrack also contains my own personal favourite character theme from all the soundtracks within the EU – Kyle Katarn’s Theme!

3. Republic Commando, 2005. Released a matter of weeks before Revenge of the Sith, the Republic Commando soundtrack, composed by Jesse Harlin, features a number of music pieces with additional choral lyrics in the Mandalorian language. I think the epic Vode An theme, which means Brothers All in Mando, is one of the greatest themes in the whole Saga!

2. Knights of the Old Republic, 2003. Award-winning composer Jeremy Soule created a masterpiece of a soundtrack for one of the best-selling Star Wars games of all time. He wrote 50 different pieces of music in total, with many cues used in subsequent Star Wars games. The Dantooine Jedi Academy track is a particular favourite of mine.

1. Shadows of the Empire, 1996. Composed and conducted by Emmy Award-winning composer Joel McNeely, and performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Shadows of the Empire soundtrack is based on the best-selling novel by Steve Perry. Despite being written in only two short weeks, much to McNeely’s distress, the score sits effortlessly alongside John Williams’ own work, and remains a hidden gem for many Star Wars fans.

Do you have a favourite soundtrack that didn’t quite make it into my personal top 10? Perhaps it’s the Star Wars Holiday Special!? Tell us what you think of the list and let us know what your favourite soundtracks from the Expanded Universe are!