Our series of interviews “From Different Points of View” highlight Star Wars fans from across the world and allows them to tell you about Star Wars fandom from their point of view and how it has influenced their lives and the direction it has taken them.
This week’s point of view is from the United States Of America, and it is Christy Carew.
It began in 1988 when I was 6 years old. I was playing outside and heard the sound of John Williams’ main title for Star Wars coming from my neighbours’ house. I already loved film music and had my favourites from other movies (Legend, The Neverending Story, The Secret of NIMH), but I’d never heard anything quite like THIS before – I was totally hooked and absolutely HAD to know what movie this music belonged to. I grew up in the kind of neighbourhood where no one locked their doors and everyone knew each other, so I ran into their house down to the rec room where the family was watching A New Hope on VHS. I fell in love with the story and characters, but also afterward I went back to my house and told my parents I wanted to make music like that, dancing around the house singing and conducting. Right from the start, Leia was my favourite character!
How has Star Wars influenced you?
Star Wars has been a big part of my life for the past 30 years. I remember sitting under a tree in winter with no jacket on when I was in middle school, EU novels strewn around me, trying to use the Force to warm myself. It wasn’t necessarily cool back then to be a Star Wars fan, but I fully leaned into being a dork, escaping to a galaxy far far away! I would often spend my weekend watching A New Hope on Friday night, The Empire Strikes Back on Saturday night, and Return of the Jedi on Sunday nights – I devoured every EU book I could get my hands on, wrote fanfic and listened to the scores constantly. It was an incredible bonding experience with my brothers when the prequels came out, and we were there opening night for all 3.
Now in the Sequel Trilogy era, my love for Star Wars has only blossomed as I am so thrilled with and captivated by the story they’re telling and all the new characters. It’s like the Original Trilogy was my companion for childhood; then the Prequel Trilogy was during my young adulthood (as I saw The Phantom Menace while finishing high school, Attack of the Clones while in college, and Revenge of the Sith while I was in grad school); now as I love, enjoy and obsess over the Sequel Trilogy, I’m a grown-up dealing with more complex issues and challenges in adult life – which is why the themes they’re exploring in the Sequel Trilogy are so resonant for me.
Another interesting thing is that I caught on pretty early to the influences of eastern philosophy on Star Wars. I was convinced that the Jedi Knights were like kung fu masters, and the martial arts concept of “chi” was like the Force – therefore, logically, I could master kung fu and chi, and in that way sort of be a Jedi Knight after all! So, I went to study kung fu, despite being one of the world’s most uncoordinated, unathletic people – and that’s how I ended up meeting and falling in love with my husband, who was an advanced teacher at the school I chose! Overall, my love of telling stories through music was really set in motion through John Williams’ iconic, legendary music and the world that George Lucas created. It set my feet on all the paths I’ve taken to get wherever it is I’m going, and I’m enjoying the journey!
What is your most memorable Star Wars moment?
There are so many it’s hard to choose, but I definitely think the two weeks I spent at Skywalker Ranch last year are FULL of those moments. I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of 8 composer fellows to participate in the prestigious Sundance Institute Film Music and Sound Design Lab, which took place in summer 2018 up at the legendary Skywalker Sound facilities. The amazing head of Skywalker quickly caught on to what a huge fan I was; so in between mentoring sessions, writing and bonding with the other fellows, I got to spend time with so many incredible artists who have been working on the saga for the past 40 years and hear their stories. For example, I got a whole morning with Ben Burtt – he showed me the original Darth Vader breathing apparatus, the sequencer he used to create R2-D2’s sounds, and a few early draft scripts from the Original Trilogy era! I also got fantastic sit-downs with Ren Klyce, John Roesch, Dave Acord and Tom Myers. I was paired with Tom as the sound designer for the film I was assigned during the Lab, and I learned so much from him about the art and craft of sound design – he shared stories with me about the prequel era and although he couldn’t divulge this at the time, he was working on mixing the music and sound effects for Galaxy’s Edge!
Another powerful moment was meeting Annalise Ophelian, the director of the beautiful upcoming documentary about women in the fandom, Looking for Leia, and being asked by her to compose the original score. I’m so honoured to be involved with this important project and grateful to Annalise for the opportunity! And I have to mention a few other very memorable and special Star Wars moments for me: meeting John Williams himself in 2015, the opening night of The Last Jedi at the Arclight Hollywood, and attending the IMAX Collider screening/Q&A with Rian Johnson, where I was able to meet Rian, ask him a question and share with him how important his work is to me.
How do you celebrate your fandom, do you for example collect anything, cosplay or have a tattoo?
I have a Tumblr blog where I write meta essays and answer questions about the music of Star Wars, and I love engaging with the fandom there. I really enjoy reading the work of these incredibly gifted writers and deep thinkers, especially on the mythology and literary & narrative structure of the saga. I’m also an avid listener of Star Wars podcasts and love being a guest on some of my faves. I collect Reylo fanart/stickers/pins and have been known to buy all sizes and varieties of BB-8 when I see him.
What’s the best part of being a member of Star Wars communities?
The friendships that I’ve been blessed with. I can’t imagine my life without the friends I have made in the fandom – we’re spread out all over the world but speak every day! Different groups of us have met up in NYC for events, or Chicago for Celebration, but we’re all most likely going to meet up for the Episode IX opening.
Here in LA, especially in the composer community, I’ve also got tons of friends who are mega Star Wars fans and are willing at a moment’s notice to go see a Star Wars movie with me, come over to re-watch Clone Wars or Rebels, attend a concert of John Williams’ music at the Hollywood Bowl, take a trip down to Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland, or meet me for a Wretched Blue Milk at the Scum and Villainy Cantina.
I also love that the community of Star Wars fandom is crossing over into my professional life! I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to collaborate with some of my favourite Star Wars podcasts I mentioned above. So far, I have written brand new custom themes for podcasts like Scavenger’s Hoard and What the Force; I wrote the theme and underscore for the Fangirls series; I custom scored a beautiful video essay by Girls with Sabers; I wrote a new theme for Star Wars Editor and his YouTube channel, and I’ve got several other projects lined up!
What are your next plans for Star Wars?
Of course, I’m extremely excited for Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker – counting down the days. I’ve also got a trip planned in the fall to visit Galaxy’s Edge with my kids. I’m really looking forward to the world getting a chance to see Looking for Leia! A friend and I are going to be submitting a proposal for a music panel at Celebration 2020 in Anaheim, in tandem with David W. Collins and his wonderful work. It’s one of my biggest dreams to score an official Lucasfilm project – so I’m continuing to work as hard as possible to be the best composer I can be and make those connections!
What are you looking forward to from Lucasfilm Ltd and Star Wars in the future?
Rian Johnson’s trilogy is something I’m EXTREMELY excited for! I’m looking forward to The Mandalorian (and the score by Ludwig Goransson) plus all the new content we’ll be getting on the Disney+ streaming service. I would LOVE to see the sequel to Solo and of course a few years down the line, I hope the films pick up with the Skywalker descendants – but I’m also wildly excited to see the new places Star Wars goes, and the new characters that are introduced. The future is really wide open with possibilities, and that is super intriguing!
Is there anything that hasn’t happened yet in Star Wars that you would like to see happen?
I believe we’re seeing something right now with the Sequel Trilogy that is unprecedented in the saga so far, yet still perfectly resonant with the overall themes and hopeful, redemptive message of Star Wars. I’m so grateful to Kathy Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Rian Johnson for giving us Rey’s story, the Heroine’s Journey and female-focused storytelling. I’m grateful to them for giving us complicated, conflicted Luke Skywalker later in life, able to come back from the edge of despair and become even more of a hero on a deeper level (“The greatest teacher, failure is.”) We’re getting something so deep, layered, complex and emotionally satisfying that I just can’t stop thinking about it, just like when I was a kid and first discovered Star Wars.
In terms of anything in Star Wars that hasn’t happened yet, I put full faith and trust into the filmmakers and storytellers who have consistently delivered worlds, characters, ships, ideas, twists and moments that exceed my wildest dreams!
To end each point of view we ask you to answer some rapid fire questions, gut feeling and no hesitation…
- Favourite Star Wars Film? – The Last Jedi.
- Favourite Character? – A tie between Kylo Ren/Ben Solo and his mama, Princess Leia.
- Most ridiculous random piece of merchandise? – life-size cardboard cutouts of Rey and Kylo (they’re in my office studio and help me compose).
- Holiday Special or Caravan of Courage? – Holiday Special.
- Clone Wars or Rebels? – Clone Wars.
- Worst Star Wars film? – Rogue One.
- Porgs or Ewok? – Ewoks!
- 8. Treasured Star Wars possession? – Autograph from Rian Johnson, Reylo Trash pin, dog-eared, tattered copy of “The Courtship of Princess Leia” by Dave Wolverton and photo from when I met John Williams.
- What colour of lightsaber would you have? – purple.
- What planet would you visit? – Naboo!