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Composer John Williams, 91, Backtracks On Retirement, Says Everything Is Possible

Age, it seems, is but a number for John Williams. Following previous statements of retirement, the legendary composer behind some Hollywood’s biggest franchises, including Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Indiana Jones has walked back on his plans to do so, stating that he “wouldn’t want to rule anything out”.

John Williams Retirement
Image credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

The caveats, he shared with The Times newspaper, are that it should be a film that he’s “greatly interested in”, and a schedule that works for him. “I don’t care much for grand pronunciamentos, statements that are firm and finished and surrounded by closed doors. If I made one without putting it in context then I withdraw it,” said Williams.

“If a film came along that I was greatly interested in, with a schedule that I could cope with, then I wouldn’t want to rule anything out. Everything is possible. All is before us. Only our limitations are holding us back. Or, to put it more simply: I like to keep an open mind,” he added.

With a career spanning seven decades, the musical maestro has often collaborated with industry greats like Steven Spielberg, scoring for JawsJurassic Park, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and several others. Williams’ last crusade was meant to be Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, after franchise star Harrison Ford announced it as his last film.

The composer isn’t working on any films currently, but that doesn’t mean he’s sitting on his laurels. Apart from conducting his own Second Violin Concerto with London’s Philharmonic Orchestra in January, he’s also set to tour Vienna later in the year and guest-conduct in Berlin come 2025.

It’s unclear if Williams will return to the franchises where he’s left his mark, but one thing’s for sure — every score, new and old, will always have his signature touch.

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“Film requires you to adapt your style to every project that comes along: Home Alone can’t be in the same idiom as Saving Private Ryan or Jurassic Park, but perhaps we all have many parts to our characters. Somewhere in all of my film scores there must be some kind of ‘me’. But I leave that to others to identify,” he told The Times, when asked if there’s a uniting theme to his music.