Darn It, Where Are My Expanded Soundtracks?

I’m going to be brief, but a bit nerdier than usual today.

Expanded soundtracks have been released for Episodes I, IV, V and VI. Empire Strikes Back‘s expanded offering features alternate music that got “spotted” out of the film in favor of silence or more subdued cues (one of which, I disagree with, but it’s not a big deal). Return of the Jedi‘s expanded soundtrack includes music that was likewise altered, and a musical cue for a scene that didn’t even make the final cut. A New Hope‘s featured music from an entirely cut sequence that was later re-purposed for an expanded entrance to Mos Eisley in the Special Edition.

Episode I‘s is pretty much the entire musical audio reel for the film, including background music that I didn’t even notice was there until I heard the disc for the first time (I can’t not notice it when I watch the film, now).

Episodes II and III, however, have gotten the single-disc treatment and have never been expanded. This is kind of bogus, for someone who’s a real fan of the music. Williams’ scores provide the heart and soul of these films – to the point where you have to admit they wouldn’t succeed without them – and I want every single ding-dong-doo-dah note.

There’s a beautiful cue at the end of Revenge of the Sith that’s truncated and it just irks me because…well, I’m a nerd. But aside from that, it’s one of the most stirring pieces and I want to hear it. There are incidental cues from Attack of the Clones that are terrific, and I’d also like to hear any alternate track treatments, like they have on the other expanded soundtracks.

For that matter, while every one else complains that they can’t (yet) get the “unaltered” films on disc – though technically they were released, just not to everyone’s satisfaction – the soundtrack thing is a gripe I have.

Make no mistake, it’s not because I can compose music or play an instrument. It’s because I thoroughly enjoy the music and it relaxes me. And when I’m working on something, it helps me focus and get things done. The unaltered soundtrack is a way for me to have the movie playing in my head while doing something else, so I’m coming at the sometimes-tedious work of scanning HTML or tweaking a design from a happy place. And I want Clones and Sith expanded soundtracks, but no one joins in it with me when I register those gripes on the Web site, or directly at Lucasfilm employees on Twitter.

I know it’s not the worst thing in the world, and obviously I can survive without them. But as a fan(atic) about the music, it’d be nice to get a little bit of love here.

5 thoughts on “Darn It, Where Are My Expanded Soundtracks?

  1. >>> I’m going to be brief, but a bit nerdier than usual today.

    Ridiculous. How could you possibly be any nerdier than before?

    The closest thing I have to a contribution to this discussion is a mention of my only expanded soundtrack purchase: “More Music from Braveheart.” It was a disaster. It had a lot of music I wanted to hear, but they included movie dialog over the music. WTF? Shut up, Bryan Cox! I’m listening to the bagpipes!

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  2. I am absolutely, 100% there with you on this. It’s a travesty that we don’t have full scores for either of these films. Especially Episode II – I’ve long said that any resonance the Anakin/Padme romance has comes directly from Williams’ gorgeous love theme.

    Incidentally, what’s the cue at the end of RoS that gets truncated, to your dismay?

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    1. Thanks for the comment!

      The battle between Anakin/Obi and Yoda/Palpatine has some terrific cues in it, but we get treated to a truncated version on the soundtrack. I understand that they used spot music in the film in a ton of instances (they did in all six actually), but it worked very well.

      There is also some transition music when Obi-Wan leaves to find Grievous that is ominous and beautiful, and plays straight into Padme’s Ruminations, and I’d like to have that complete piece.

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