When Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ director JJ Abrams saw the Broadway mega-hit Hamilton with his son, he certainly didn’t realize he’d end up collaborating with the musical’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda on a song for his upcoming blockbuster film, after little more than a chance meeting. But then again, that’s sort of how JJ rolls.
As Abrams revealed last night on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, that leisurely viewing was the impetus for a Star Wars song co-written by Miranda. During the night of Abrams’ Hamilton viewing, — which Miranda wrote, created, and stars in — Broadway’s newest superstar greeted Abrams and made a joke in passing about writing music for a cantina scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The kicker? Abrams hadn’t told Miranda, or anyone else (publicly, at least) about the cantina scene in question, which serves as an homage to the infamous scene in the original film.
The stars ended up aligning: it turns out Star Wars’ illustrious composer John Williams didn’t want to write the music for this particular scene, according to Abrams. So, the director asked Miranda in an email if he was serious about his offer. “I’ll drop everything,” responded the in-demand actor, composer, and playwright who was recently named a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Award.
The song that resulted was the combined effort of Abrams and Miranda. “ … he and I were sending back and forth music files,” said Abrams to Fallon in the Tonight Show interview. “He’s singing and playing instruments and I’m playing — this whole thing was nuts. And now, in the movie, in this one sequence, is music that Lin-Manuel Miranda and I wrote.” Miranda confirmed the story in the following tweet.
We did. Worked on it between 6pm & 7:30 on 2 show days for the past 2 months. JJ is the best. Can’t wait to see. https://t.co/pPYu8nRsxI
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) December 1, 2015
Just to be clear, though, John Williams did write the rest of the soundtrack for The Force Awakens. While we’ll have to wait until December 18 to listen to experience the new soundtrack, Cinema Blend notes that the movie’s track listing briefly leaked on an Amazon France pre-order page last week. If you don’t mind some minor spoilers, check out the leaked soundtrack listing here.