Rogue One Composer Michael Giacchino Talks Scoring The Film


Michael Giacchino, the composer of the score for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, revealed what is new and familiar about the music for the first Star Wars standalone film.

Much like the movie, the score for Rogue One is different from any Star Wars music to come before it.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rogue One composer Michael Giacchino revealed what is new and familiar about the music for the first Star Wars standalone movie.

With regard to hitting John Williams’s original Star Wars themes, Giacchino implied less is more.

"… 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."

The original Star Wars themes Giacchino utilizes may also sound a little different from what we’ve heard before. Read what Giacchino said when EW’s Anthony Breznican asked him if he got to score his own version of the Imperial March.

"[Laughs] Maaaaaaybe."

Image Credit: Screenshot (photo library Elaine Tveit)

The main Star Wars theme music which usually plays during the opening crawl (which Rogue One will not have) will likely not play in front of Rogue One. According to Giacchino, the opening music is unique to the film.

"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."

Giacchino was encouraged by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy to make the music of Rogue One stand on its own.

"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.”"

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The challenge of creating a unique score for Rogue One was made even greater by Giacchino only being given four and a half weeks to write it. Giacchino was brought in on Rogue One late in production. His delayed entry is due to the film’s original composer, Alexandre Desplat, pulling out purportedly because of “schedule issues.”

Despite the time crunch, Giacchino said he had plenty of inspiration from the film to get him started.

"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."

The high-paced schedule is worrisome; four and a half weeks is not much time to write a fully developed score in. However, Star Wars is a big sandbox with no shortage of creative inspiration to offer. If the score to any movie could be written in such a short amount of time, it would be the score of a Star Wars movie.

Read the rest of Entertainment Weekly’s interview with Michael Giacchino here.

Next: Rogue One Tickets On Sale In The U.S. November 28th

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story premieres in theaters on December 16th. Tickets go on sale in the U.S. Monday, November 28th.