Back in September it was announced that Michael Giacchino (Doctor Strange) had signed on to replace Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as composer on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in a rather surprising turn of events which left him with less than five weeks to put together a score for next month’s hotly-anticipated Anthology movie. Giacchino has now been speaking to EW about becoming the first person outside of John Williams to compose a score for a Star Wars movie, and the monumental task he faced given the extremely short timeframe.
“I was like, ‘No, I don’t want to. I want nothing, nothing. Let’s just do it…’,” said Giacchino when asked if he listen to any of the music already composed by Desplat. “I’ve been excited to see this movie very much for the past year or so. And I thought, ‘Oh wow, Alexandre will probably do a really cool score for that.” And I was honestly looking forward to just seeing that and [hearing] whatever he did. I had never – not even an idea – that I would ever be involved in it. It all happened so fast. I got a call one day. I was on a plane next day because I had two days left of Doctor Strange scoring to do in London. And the day after my last day of scoring with Doctor Strange, [Lucasfilm] said can you come out to Pinewood? So I went out to Pinewood Studios and I met with everyone. They showed me the movie. And literally I came home with the movie. I spent the weekend with my kids and said, ‘You know what? The next four and a half weeks are going to be brutal. But Monday I’m going to start it,’ and Monday I sat down and started it. And there it was: four and a half weeks later, we were scoring.”
“It does borrow from traditions that both John [Williams] and George Lucas borrowed from when they made the original Star Wars, you know,” he continued. “George was looking at Flash Gordon, the old serials, and John was looking at [Gustav] Holst and different composers along the way to get a baseline for what he wanted to communicate. There is a wonderful musical language that John put together for the original films. I wanted to honor that vernacular but still do something new with it, something that was still me in a way. Kathy said that to me, too — ‘No one is asking you to do what was done before.’ I feel it’s important to be me, but in this universe, we’re working within. That was sort of the challenge. It was never sort of, ‘Oh, you have to do this, this, and this.’ It was always just: ‘Here are the emotions that we need to cover.’ I think absolutely there are a couple of times when you want to hit upon something that was from the past. For me, even as a fan, it was about going, “Oh, this particular idea would be great if we did it here. I would want to see that if I were watching a Star Wars movie.” As a kid who grew up with John’s music and who was catapulted in this direction because of what he did, I had a very specific idea of what I wanted to use and how I wanted to use it. That being said, I’d say the score is 95 percent original but with little moments [of Williams’ classic score] here or there to accent. If I were sitting in that seat and I heard that, it would totally raise the hairs on my neck.”
We’ve already heard that there’s not going to be an opening crawl in Rogue One, and it seems the film will also get underway with a variation on John Williams’ opening theme, with Giacchino stating that: “It’s done slightly differently here because it’s not one of the saga films, it’s not one of the trilogies. It’s sort of its own thing and the whole idea from the very beginning was these should be standalone movies. So it’s going to be a slightly different way to get things kicked off.”
Meanwhile, we also have a couple of new TV spots, which you can watch here…
From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set for release on December 15th in the UK and December 16th in the States, with a cast that includes Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Diego Luna (Milk), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises), Donnie Yen (Ip Man), Jiang Wen (Let the Bullets Fly), Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), Alan Tudyk (Con Man), Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler), Genevieve O’Reilly (Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith), Jimmy Smits (Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones), James Earl Jones (Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope), Valene Kane (The Fall), Alistair Petrie (The Night Manager), Warwick Davis (Star Wars: Episode IV – Return of the Jedi) and Jonathan Aris (Sherlock).