Justice League Score

Danny Elfman, who has composed the scores for superhero movies ranging from Tim Burton’s Batman to Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, was hired to provide the score for Whedon and Zack Snyder’s superhero sequel Justice League a few months ago, and we haven’t heard much about his approach to the material. But today in a new interview, Elfman revealed that he’ll be including John Williams‘ instantly-recognizable and beloved Superman theme in the new film…in a way that we might not expect.

Batman-News points us to an interview Billboard conducted with Elfman, in which the composer explains his take on the new movie’s score:

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.”

Sounds good so far, right? But the bubble is burst immediately. He continued:

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.

I saw that first part of the quote and instantly hoped that including Williams’ triumphant, upbeat theme in this movie might signal a new direction for Henry Cavill‘s take on Superman. It’s no secret that Snyder’s dark, gritty vision of that character has ruffled the feathers of many long-time Superman fans. DC Films proudly announced in the wake of Wonder Woman‘s success that they want to embrace optimism and heroism in their superhero films moving forward. And Superman literally died in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, so the stars are aligned if DC and Warner Bros. want to reintroduce that character with a new and improved outlook on life. Less brooding, more saving. Keep Henry Cavill in the tights, too – allowing us to see the change in his character might even make some of the questionable moments in the earlier movies worth it.

But apparently I’m naive, because it seems like Elfman wants to use Williams’ score to continue to subvert the Man of Steel instead of announcing a return to form. But that’s what makes his next comment so strange:

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.

So even though fans go crazy when they hear the original theme, he’s going to…twist it in Justice League to the point where some people won’t even recognize it and use it as an ominous indication of Superman’s loyalties? OK then.

Elsewhere in the interview, he mentions that he’s crafted “very simple motifs” for characters like Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg that he says the studio can either choose to build on for their respective solo movies or scrap in favor of something else should they want to go in a different direction. There’s still no word about whether or not he’ll slip his original Batman theme somewhere in this movie, and finding out how he plans to use Williams’ theme actually makes it more difficult to guess how he’d use that Batman theme in the context of Justice League.

Perhaps we’ll find out when the movie arrives in theaters on November 17, 2017.

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