I can’t believe I only thought of this now. The Star Wars franchise has a lot of themes, especially for its characters, but possibly the one with the most recall is Darth Vader’s theme. After all, it screams menace and evil.
So after this expect to see all Star Wars-related themes posted here.
Anyway, Darth Vader’s theme is an actual song entitled “Imperial March”. Some officially refer to it as “The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)”. It was composed of course by legendary composer—and composer of all Star Wars music—John Williams.
In orchestral mumbo jumbo, the song is what they would refer to as a leitmotif—a recurrent theme associated with characters or events.
The song’s first appearance is in The Empire Strikes Back (V), in piccolos (instrument), when the Galactic Empire sent probe droids in search of Luke Skywalker. Its major entrance is of course on Darth Vader’s first appearance in the film.
In Return of the Jedi, it was also played for the arrival of Emperor Palpatine on the Death Star, but it segued in the Emperor’s own theme.
It also had minor appearances in the prequel trilogy, most often when hinting about Anakin’s future as Darth Vader. However, Anakin has his own theme.
The song is available in multiple recordings—interpretations by other artists and original John Williams performances—but more importantly, it is part of the soundtrack for Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
Below is how it sounds like in the soundtrack album.