The Kiner family, composed of Kevin Kiner and his children Deana and Sean, has become synonymous with the Star Wars music of the Clone Wars, Rebels, Bad Batch, and now Ahsoka. As composers, they face the challenge of creating a new yet familiar sound while paying homage to John Williams’ iconic music for the franchise. In a recent episode of Ahsoka, the Kiners had to score a scene featuring the return of Anthony Daniels as C-3PO. The composers initially decided to leave the scene without music, but later realized it felt empty. They then incorporated elements of Williams’ music, blending Ahsoka’s thematic work for the New Republic with the main Star Wars fanfare and Leia’s touching theme. Despite the challenge of finding the right balance between their own sound and Williams’ influence, the Kiner family has honed their craft over the years. They have found success by building on the classical pieces that influenced Williams and using his themes sparingly but effectively.
Kevin Kiner, who has been part of Star Wars for nearly two decades, described the difficulty of sounding like Star Wars without imitating John Williams. He and his children have spent years refining their approach to capture the essence of the franchise’s music. They incorporate the influences that shaped Williams’ music and find that using those pieces effectively contributes to creating a Star Wars atmosphere. The composers occasionally surprise director Dave Filoni by including the Force theme or other familiar motifs, but they primarily use Williams’ themes in moderation. They treat his music as a powerful spice, adding just the right amount to maintain its impact. Like a well-cooked stew, their sound has become ingrained and natural, evoking the spirit of Star Wars while still being their own.
As the Kiner family continues to compose music for Star Wars, they strive to strike a balance between their own unique sound and the familiar themes that define the franchise. They understand the potency of Williams’ music and use it sparingly to create moments that truly resonate with the audience. Through their refined approach and incorporation of classical influences, the Kiners have successfully contributed to the sonic landscape of Star Wars, leaving their own mark while honoring the legacy of John Williams.