After Joss Whedon was brought in to take over the directing duties for Zack Snyder on Justice League, he ended up bringing in Danny Elfman to help out with the musical score on the movie. He previously worked with Elfman on Avengers: Age of Ultron.
During a recent interview with Billboard, Elfman talked about the movie's score. Specifically, he talked about Superman's theme. When talking about his experience he says:
It was great. It was like I never left because I’m using the same thematic material that I used back then. It never actually went away [Laughs.] It just was great fun.
"There are a few little fan moments. I instated a moment of the Wonder Woman theme that Hans Zimmer did for Batman Vs. Superman, but I also had two minutes where I had the pleasure of saying, 'Let’s do John Williams’ Superman.'"
That's so cool that they are finally looking to incorporate the original John Williams Superman theme into his own melody. Elfman goes on to say:
"And that for me was heaven, because now I have a melody to twist, and I’m using it in an actually very dark way, in a dark moment. It’s the kind of thing that some fans will notice. Some won’t. It’s a moment where we’re really not sure whose side he’s on."
It's interesting to hear that he is going to be twisting the melody to fit this new version of Superman. I was kind of hoping he wouldn't have to twist it at all, but it obviously will fit what is going on in the movie with the character in the movie. It also sounds like Elfman had to do a little convincing to make it happen, and he has good reasoning! He went on to say:
"The people at DC are starting to understand we’ve got these iconic bits from our past and that’s part of us, that’s part of our heritage — we shouldn’t run away from that. Contemporary thinking is, every time they reboot something, you have to start completely from scratch — which, of course, audiences will tell us again and again, is bullshit. Because the single-most surviving and loved theme in the world is Star Wars, which they had the good sense to not dump for the reboots. And every time it comes back, the audience goes crazy."
He makes a great point there! Unfortunately, the theme is only going to be used as a teasing way to indicate where Superman’s loyalties lie. I'm still curious to see what he came up with. I just wish we would have gotten a full blown classic Superman theme moment in the movie! The composer then shared an experience where he was working with Whedon on a particular moment involving the Batmobile saying:
“It was the same as when I worked with [Whedon] on Ultron. He appreciates melodies and pieces. He’s like, ‘Oh, you’ve given it identity here!’ There was a moment where the Batmobile shoots out of a thing and he goes, ‘Go batshit crazy here! Batman the shit out of it!’ When I’m using the Batman theme, I’m using the melodic sense of it, I wasn’t doing full-on Batman, and there’s a moment when he says, ‘No, right here, Full on!’”
When talking about working on the themes fro the new characters in the film such as Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg, he said:
“I created very simple motifs. There are so many themes, you can’t just do a big theme for everything. So i created a motif for Flash, for Aquaman and Cyborg — but they’re very simple things, and [DC] understood. I said, “These things may never be used again, but I’m giving you all the components, should you wish to have things to build on.” So they either will or they won’t, but that’s how I approach a project like this. You have to take the attitude that this is the beginning of a mythology and it all matters, it all comes to fruition, and with any luck they will.”
I've been a fan of Danny Elfman for years so it's always cool to see him take on new composing gigs like this. It's will be fun to hear what he and Junkie XL come up with. Justice League hits theaters on November 17, 2017.