Accidental Composer Has Big Star Wars Shoes To Fill

By October 31, 2016
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Did you know the last time fans watched a Star Wars movie without the composing work of the great John Williams was … never?

Yet, for the first time ever, the 50-time Oscar nominee won’t be shaking the conductor’s stick for a Star Wars film as Rogue One goes before the orchestra. Instead, it’s heading to a composer some say is the next generation of Williams’ dominance in movie scores: Michael Giacchino.

With a plate almost as full as Williams (even today), Giacchino has had to work extra hard on Rogue One because of the impossible shoes to fill – even working through his recent 49th birthday earlier this month, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“I didn’t want to go to work that day, but I had to because our schedule was so tight. So I go and sit down and turn on the screen to work, and all of these Stormtroopers are running around, and I thought to myself, ‘All right, this is not a bad birthday.'”

Giacchino, who has earned just two Oscar nominations (and one win, for Up), wasn’t even supposed to be scoring the film. Although he’s always been attached to J.J. Abrams the same way Williams was with Steven Spielberg, Abrams chose to continue tradition with Williams for Star Wars: The Force Awakens as expected.

When Rogue One was announced and it became clear Williams would not have the chance to write music for it, Lucasfilm and Disney instead went with a different composer to work with director Gareth Edwards: Alexandre Desplat. He’s an eight-time Oscar nominee, finally winning in 2015 for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Yet, when Lucasfilm ordered a number of reshoots, that pushed the scoring schedule back significantly, and Desplat no longer was available to do the work.

Giacchino stepped in, despite a busy schedule this year with films like Star Trek: BeyondDoctor Strange and next year’s War For the Planet of the Apes.

Williams is not out of Star Wars, as he’s slated to work on next year’s Star Wars: Episode VIII. But the composer has created an amazing canvas for Giacchino, one he can’t wait to pick up his brush for.

“John and I have known each other for a while, and he’s always been a great giver of wisdom. He is a great teacher, even when he is not directly teaching you. Growing up listening to him, he was one of my biggest indirect teachers.

“Working on this film, I am constantly reminded that it was Star Wars that pushed me in this direction.”

Rogue One, complete with Michael Giacchino’s Star Wars score, hits theaters Dec. 16.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael has spent more than 18 years of his way-long journalism career in entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based in New York City.