Composer Michael Giacchino Talks Scoring Rogue One!


Back in September we received the troubling news that composer Alexandre Desplat was dropping from scoring Rogue One due to scheduling issues. While this was indeed unfortunate news, the skies brightened a bit with the announcement that Michael Giacchino will interrupt his break between scoring Doctor Strange and Spiderman: Homecoming, and do his best trying to match the legend John Williams in just 4 months. Entertainment Weekly has another great story today speaking with the composer and his work on the first spin-off movie – the first movie to have a composer whose name is not John Williams…



Excerpts from the Q&A with Entertainment Weekly:

Q: So you were a late addition to the Rogue One crew…

A: Yes, literally the last thing I expected I’d be doing this month would be this. I mean we were literally planning a vacation when I got the call asking if I could come and talk to them about it. At the time, it left me with literally four and a half weeks to write. So it was one of those decisions where you’re like, okay, well… And I was talking to my brother about it. He goes, “Oh, come on. You’ve been writing this score since you were 10! You can do this.”

Alexandre Desplat

Q: Can you explain why there was a hand-off from Alexandre?

A: I’ll tell you, I actually don’t know an awful lot about that. [The filmmakers] were like, “Do you want to know what happened?” And my response was, “You know what, when this is all over we can sit and talk and have a drink and you can tell me whatever you want. I’d love to hear the story. But for right now I feel like I’d rather just pretend nothing happened and everything is good and I’m just going to come onto this.” And they were like, “Fair enough, fair enough.” So honestly, I don’t know anything about it other than what was purportedly, you know, “schedule issues.”


Q: Did you listen to any of what he had already written?

A: I was like, “No, I don’t want to. I want nothing, nothing. Let’s just do it.” … 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.



Q: When you spoke with director Gareth Edwards, Tony Gilroy, who was brought on for reshoots, and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy about the music, what specifically do they ask for? What are the conversations like?

A: What you actually end up talking about is just the emotions. The less you talk about music and the more you talk about emotions, the easier I can understand what I need to do. After seeing the film, I told them what I felt about the movie, what I felt it could use, and what it needed. And we were all on the same page about those things.


Q: Without giving away plot, what were your impressions of it?

A: It is a film that is in many ways a really great World War II movie, and I loved that about it. But it also has this huge, huge heart at the center of it, and that was the one thing I just didn’t want to discount. Yes, it’s an action movie, and it’s a Star Wars film, and it has all the things that you would come to expect and love about that, but I didn’t want to forget that it was also an incredibly emotional movie as well. That was what really pulled me in. I love working on projects that have an emotional center to them – and not manufactured emotion either, even though, you know, [laughs] it’s a weird thing to say because literally that’s all we’re doing, manufacturing emotion.


Rogue One Jyn

Q: Did you have a favorite theme?

A: I really enjoyed working with Jyn’s theme, and tying that into the movie, and having it slowly develop. And it’s sort of a very emotional sweeping thing, which was really nice to do. Now, I feel like there is this interesting sort of thing going on in film scoring where it’s all about restraint. And at times I totally agree with that, but at other times it’s just nice to unleash everything and just let 110 players go for it.



Q: Did you incorporate many elements of John Williams’ score?

A: 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.


Q: Did you get to do your take on the Imperial March?

A: [Laughs] Maaaaaaybe.


Q: Can you describe the opening title theme? Do you use elements of his work there?

A: 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.



For the full interview make sure to go to Entertainment Weekly.



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Founder of SWNN, MNN and The Cantina forums.

Born on April 24, 1980.

Val Trichkov (Viral Hide)

Founder of SWNN, MNN and The Cantina forums.Born on April 24, 1980.

64 thoughts on “Composer Michael Giacchino Talks Scoring Rogue One!

  • November 23, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    So the opening theme is going to be different as well? Why would they mess with that?

    • November 23, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      Would the standard opening crawl theme fit into a film where there is no crawl to read? No, it won’t. Simple as that.

    • November 23, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      Did you watch the clone wars and Rebels?, did you noticed how the music is similar but not the same?, I think it will be that way, i think its very interesting, and feels right, after all this are not movies from the saga.

    • November 23, 2016 at 10:11 pm

      Because the opening theme, aka The Star Wars Theme, is Luke Skywalker’s theme

      • November 23, 2016 at 10:20 pm

        Luke didn’t show up in the prequels, duh.

        • November 24, 2016 at 5:44 am

          But his dad did. Then again, his dad appears in this too.

          • November 24, 2016 at 8:25 am

            His daddy appeared also in TCW and Rebels…

        • November 24, 2016 at 8:40 pm

          Luke’s theme was written 22 years before those atrocities…. duh. It IS Luke’s theme. That’s why you hear it when Beru first calls him. Even John Williams will tell you it was written as Luke’s theme.

          • November 25, 2016 at 8:24 am

            that’s not my point.

    • November 23, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      Because the Main Title is written to accompany three paragraphs of on screen text. This movie has no scroll, so you need something different.

  • November 23, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    The movie will still probably begins in space with a spaceship, a Star Destroyer maybe, just like Episode 3,4,5,6,7.

  • November 23, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Great interview. I’m not sure about writing in 4-5 weeks but definetly it has some interesting aspects: the emotion, the vision he has, the new beggining, the 5% of Williams… Probably it will be a good score.

    BTW it’s a shame Desplat being out. If there is something out there he has done for RO, could be cool to hear it one day.

  • November 23, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    95% original score. Farewell the hope I had that he would follow Williams’ orchestration.

    • November 23, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      If you want to listen to John Williams’ scores, go buy the soundtracks. This is an original score.

      • November 24, 2016 at 8:27 am

        As I said to the other guy, there’s a difference between the reuse of the original themes, and composing keeping in mind the orchestration used.

    • November 24, 2016 at 5:42 am

      If he had copied Williams’ score, fans would criticize it for being a rehash of old themes. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      • November 24, 2016 at 8:26 am

        I don’t mean that he should copy Williams’ themes, but that he would follow the orchestration Williams used.

  • November 23, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Hopefully he doesn’t recycle themes like with Dr. Strange and Star trek.

  • November 23, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    This guy sounds great. Tell me about the crap and what happened later, let me get in and do this without any external influences. What a great attitude !

    That and the emotional heart of the story (which I can guess about since I am reading Catalyst) have really given me even more positive feelings about this film now. Let me check the timer. 22 days and counting !! Can’t wait !!

    • November 23, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      Honestly, I think he knows what cracked off and is diplomatically avoiding the issue as he is well aware / has been briefed that any nugget of negativity will be blown completely out of proportion.

  • November 23, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Dear Kathy Kennedy,

    Your rational for Rogue One not having an opening crawl (and I’m assuming no opening Star Wars there), is that it should be saved for the saga movies because “it’s so indicative of what the saga films are.” So you’re basically putting the saga films on a pedestal and acknowledging that Rogue One and the other stand alone films shouldn’t be on that pedestal. It sounds to me like you’re discounting the stand alone films. You don’t believe they’ll be as good as the saga films. Stand alone films will outpace saga films before long, and you’re erasing part of what Star Wars is. People want to see STAR WARS along with Williams’ opening fanfare in front of a Star Wars movie. That’s what makes it unique to any other movie playing on the silver screen. Please preserve it, and then get off my lawn.


    Crotchety old fan

    • November 23, 2016 at 11:30 pm

      Distinguishing the saga films from the non-saga films is different from saying the former are ‘on a pedestal’ while the latter won’t be as good. Not all distinctions are distinctions of quality…

      • November 23, 2016 at 11:59 pm

        Then distinguish them another way, not by eliminating what Star Wars films are arguably most famous for. The crawl is iconic. Every film should be held to that standard. And the crawl serves a practical purpose as well: Star Wars films tend to start in the middle of things, and the purpose of the crawl is to allow the audience to hit the ground running by giving them a quick synapsis on what’s going on. The distinction on stand alone movies is they will simply not have an episode number following “STAR WARS.”

        • November 24, 2016 at 12:05 am

          Of course, you’re entitled to disliking the lack of a crawl. I’m keeping an open mind, and actually prefer that the non-saga films not have a crawl. I think it’s the best way to make a stylistic distinction, because it signals a difference from the very beginning of the film, and in a way that’s much clearer than merely not having an episode number. The Star Wars identity doesn’t live and die based on this one stylistic element, for me: TCW, Rebels, and the novels don’t have it, and that never made me dislike them (although I haven’t always like these other parts of the SW universe)…

          • November 24, 2016 at 12:09 am

            I completely respect that view, and it’s a valid argument to make. I just prefer all films to have a crawl. It’d be the eventual single unifying trademark across all Star Wars films, once we have a body of 20+ films.

          • November 25, 2016 at 2:28 am

            I think the single unifying trademark of all Star Wars films will be the literal unifying trademark – the Star Wars name. To each his own, I guess.

          • November 25, 2016 at 1:34 am

            it does make sense that tv shows doesn´t have the opening crawl, don´t you think? You are comparing 2 hours movies with 20 minutes tv episodes, cartoons and……books????

          • November 25, 2016 at 5:47 am

            And? One of those does happen to be a theatrically released movie, so your argument is pretty much moot. Still all Lucasfilm productions…so again, moot.

            Have a nice day! :*

        • November 24, 2016 at 12:17 am

          Of course, this will be the 4th Star Wars film to NOT have the opening crawl, so it’s not exactly breaking new ground there.

          • November 24, 2016 at 12:18 am

            Really? You’re counting a cartoon and 2 made for TV Ewok movies? Lol

          • November 24, 2016 at 12:19 am

            Are they Star Wars movies? Yes. Time to move on.

          • November 24, 2016 at 12:21 am

            Barely, Pinche. Barely. The Ewok movies aren’t considered canon. And the cartoon was a 90 minute commercial for toys.

          • November 24, 2016 at 12:26 am

            Not debating that at all, but objectively speaking, everything I said was 100% accurate.

          • November 24, 2016 at 12:27 am

            From a certain point of view…

          • November 24, 2016 at 12:36 am

            It doesn’t.

          • November 24, 2016 at 1:02 am

            Would you rather have the quality of movie that mirrors those with or without the crawl?

          • November 24, 2016 at 1:05 am

            A crawl doth not a good movie make. Regardless, it’s not happening so some folks just need to accept it and move on with life.

          • November 25, 2016 at 1:32 am

            yup, I have this at my cottage and my 5 y.o. son demands it every second weekend. But only the second movie, in the first one he fears the ogre so he doesn´t want to watch it. That is a true torture, watch it all over again…. 🙂

          • November 25, 2016 at 4:37 am

            God whatever they did to the Wicket costume is legit FUCKING TERRIFYING on that poster.

    • November 24, 2016 at 12:01 am

      Get over it. Why does an opening scroll indicate whether a film will be good or not? Do you really need 3 paragraphs of text to tell you what is going on in the film other than – the script??? Of course not. There’s nothing wrong with doing something different for a change, especially after people whined and complained about The Force Awakens not doing enough different things.

      • November 24, 2016 at 12:07 am

        Nobody complained about TFA having an opening crawl though. And nobody would complain if Rogue One had an opening crawl. I’m ok with Star Wars venturing into other genres. But there are certain staples I feel (my opinion here) all Star Wars movies should maintain, and that’s the crawl. If you erode the things that made Star Wars great, you’ll eventually wind up with Jupiter Ascending.

        • November 24, 2016 at 1:36 am

          Three paragraphs of yellow text floating in space is not what made Star Wars great.

          • November 24, 2016 at 2:17 am

            It most certainly is a piece of what made it great.

          • November 24, 2016 at 5:40 am

            I believe the film’s quality and creativity is what made it great, not 3 minutes of floating letters, lol.

          • November 24, 2016 at 7:42 am

            Name a better opening in cinema history than the Star Wars opening crawls.

          • November 24, 2016 at 10:47 am

            Bond films.

          • November 25, 2016 at 2:26 am

            The opening stingers of Indiana Jones movies.

    • November 24, 2016 at 1:10 am

      “People want to see STAR WARS along with Williams’ opening fanfare in
      front of a Star Wars movie. That’s what makes it unique to any other
      movie playing on the silver screen. It’s what makes Star Wars STAR WARS.”

      The film hasn’t been released yet. How do you know that they won’t make the openings of the stand alone films as iconic as the Saga films? Rouge One has the capacity to be better than some of the films in the saga already, don’t condemn something that you know nothing about. I’m looking forward to this film, with or without an opening crawl. I’ve been a fan since 1977 and am as giddy as a schoolgirl knowing that I’m getting at least 5 more Star Wars films in the foreseeable future. Just relax and wait and see what will happen, I hope we will all be pleasantly surprised.

      • November 24, 2016 at 2:16 am

        I’m not condemning the film itself. I agree, I think it’ll be better than the prequels. What I’m condemning is the lack of an opening crawl/opening theme.

        • November 24, 2016 at 8:51 am

          That’s what I’m talking about, you condemning the opening crawl/theme. How can you condemn something that hasn’t seen the light of day? For all you know it might be the best thing ever committed too celluloid.

          • November 25, 2016 at 1:27 am

            Probably because we saw the opening crawl the whole life at the beginning of every movie or videogame so far, we know it, we love it and, francly, we may think that it´s difficult to have a better Star Wars music than the Star Wars main theme from John Williams. But that´s just my opinion, if the opening is better, I´ll be here the first to celebrate it.

          • November 25, 2016 at 5:00 pm

            I’ve already read reports of how it opens. And it isn’t better. Different, yes. But not better.

    • November 25, 2016 at 1:24 am

      Can´t agree more and this is why I´ll go to the theather already dissappointed – because of the beginning….I know there´s lots of worshipers who will fight to death and insult you for your different opinion. Don´t worry. Not everyone worship every single idea from Kennedy and co. and we are still lifetime fanboys.

  • November 24, 2016 at 5:39 am

    Please be a good composer Please be a good composer Please be a good composer Please be a good composer Please be a good composer Please be a good composer Please be a good composer

  • November 24, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    I’m very concerned about the time constraint… 1 month for basically 2 hours of music? Think about it… it’s like writing 4 minutes of music a day. Maybe hollywood composers can do that easily, but I know that working @ that pace wouldn’t produce the best results.

    • November 24, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      James Horner wrote and recorded the score for Star Trek 2 in 28 days, when he was still a relative newcomer to movie composition. With Giacchino at the helm, I have no worries.

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