One of the big changes with “Justice League” after it shifted hands from director Zack Snyder to Joss Whedon has been a change of who is handling the score.
Originally “Mad Max Fury Road” composer Junkie XL (aka Tom Holkenborg) was slated for the gig, but has since been replaced by Danny Elfman. Elfman has had plenty of superhero film experience and has notably created one of the most famous superhero theme tunes ever made – that of the original Tim Burton 1989 “Batman” film.
In fact there’s really only one other superhero theme that could be argued as more iconic – John Williams’ 1978 theme for “Superman”. Speaking with Billboard this week (via The Playlist), Elfman explains that for a few minutes of the upcoming film, Williams’ triumphant track will be making a return:
“There are a few little fan moments. I instated a moment of the Wonder Woman theme that Hans Zimmer did for ‘Batman v Superman,’ but I also had two minutes where I had the pleasure of saying, ‘Let’s do John Williams’ Superman’.
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.
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 bulls–t.
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.”
Elfman says he’s also craft little musical motifs for each character which he can build from:
“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 kept talking about the DNA of John Williams in this other theme — using the DNA of Batman in these other variations, which were not the Batman theme — but it all derives from that.
Musical themes are like genes, you carry the DNA along and it creates these subtle connections which are perceived on an unconscious level. It’s funny because I’m terrible at puzzles, but I love musical puzzles. It’s a different part of my brain.”
In related news, Batman News says the final trailer for the film is looking likely to be attached to copies of “Blade Runner 2049” with the clip launching in time for New York Comic-Con. There’s also some Flash concept art from the film available below:
— Art Ludique Le Musée (@ArtLudique) September 27, 2017
“Justice League” arrives in cinemas on November 17th.