Although he’s said he’s retiring soon—at the pathetically young age of, uh, 90—John Williams still seems to be going strong. Case in point: The legendary composer did a show at the Hollywood Bowl this weekend in which he did not, somehow, simply play the hits—the many, many, many hits—but actually managed to bust out some new music: A soundtrack piece from what he’s said will be one of his last film scores, for James Mangold’s upcoming Indiana Jones 5.
Specifically, Williams and his orchestra (with Mangold’s permission and encouragement) deployed “Helena’s Theme” from the 2023 film, the song that will apparently serve as an anthem for Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character. And, having now listened to it a few times, we can confirm: Yep! That’s a John Williams song!
Operating on the softer side of Williams’ cinematic bombast, it’s definitely of a piece with the composer’s Indy work, which he’s now been crafting for the last 40-plus years. To our ear, it’s a bit reminiscent of the “Grail Theme” from The Last Crusade, although it doesn’t get quite as big or sweeping as that particular song, instead going for some lush emotional touches.
Introducing the song, Williams was effusive about what he’s seen of the film so far, adding that Mangold explicitly told him to play the song “at the Bowl.” Williams describes Helena as “an adventuress, and also a femme fatale…she’s many, many things,” and says, “She has a kind of lyrical music, like an old movie star.”
Filming on Indy 5 was completed back in February; the movie is expected to hit theaters in summer of 2023. In addition to Waller-Bridge and series star Harrison Ford, the movie will also co-star Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Kretschmann, Boyd Holbrook, Shaunette Renée Wilson, Toby Jones, Antonio Banderas, and Olivier Richters.