Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is less than three weeks away! The first of many non saga / non Skywalker focused films is almost here. Rogue One originally had Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat attached. But due to the complications of reshoots, he was unable to follow the films production to its extended timeline due to other previous obligations. Just three months out, the movie had no composer. Michael Giacchino, another Oscar winning composer, was brought in super late as in he only had four weeks to score Rogue One.
Nothing that Desplat had already written was used. Giacchino started from scratch. In my other life as a designer and web developer I’ve been brought in late on projects. Trying to get into the headspace of someone else can be really hard, and it’s a lot easier to start from scratch.
In an interview with EW, Giacchino talked about taking the reins and the influence of John Williams:
Four weeks doesn’t seem like enough time.
It’s not really. But you work with the time you have. And I’m not a person that has a bunch of other composers working for me, so it’s just me sitting up here in this room doing it. But I’m pretty good at focusing and getting down to business. I saw the film and I really, really, really enjoyed it, so there was no lack of ideas or inspiration, that’s for sure. The only worry the whole time for me was just the schedule. But I mapped it out and I thought, okay, if I do this much a day and I get this done that will leave me time to go back and improve if I need to before having to orchestrate.
What inspirations will we hear in the music?
It does borrow from traditions that both John [Williams] and George Lucas borrowed from when they made the original Star Wars, you know. 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.
Did you incorporate many elements of John Williams’ score?
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.
If you are a film score geek, I highly recommend reading the full interview. Rogue One opens in theaters worldwide December 16th. Tickets go on sale at 12:01am Monday (Sunday after midnight).