Composer Michael Giacchino Didn't Know Nirvana's 'Something In The Way' Before The Batman [Exclusive]

While it was adorable watching TikToks of Zoomers discovering Nirvana because of "The Batman," it's a genuine surprise that composer Michael Giacchino had never heard the band's haunting classic "Something in the Way." While the song was never released as a single, it gained a special place in the early '90s pop culture subconscious when the band performed it on "MTV Unplugged." The acoustic concert was recorded in late 1993, but was not released until a year later, after the death of Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain. For many young people in the 1990s, it was an anthem of existential angst that didn't really need introducing.

In an interview with /Film's Jack Giroux, Giacchino revealed that prior to working with director Matt Reeves on "The Batman," he had never heard the Nirvana tune, which plays a major role in the film. Not only that, but he had started work on the score before ever hearing it, which could have led to some serious tonal inconsistencies. In the end, everything came together beautifully, but it could have been messier than the Riddler's lair.

A bit of musical magic

When asked if the Nirvana song influenced how Giacchino composed the theme to "The Batman," because they interweave together so well, the composer had a surprise in store:

"This is really embarrassing, but I did not know that song. I did not know that song at all. I feel like an old man saying that I did not know. Of course, now I know it. At the time when I was writing, I had no idea. I didn't know. It was eternal luck that those two were able to, in some way with a little tweaking, live together for the trailers the way they did them. It worked out really nicely."

That's right, Giacchino had the theme composed before he had ever heard "Something in the Way," but the two tunes go together very well. It really was a matter of luck that things worked out the way they did, though if they had been far too different I'm sure the talented and incredibly experienced Giacchino would have found a way to make it work. 

A theme that was there from the beginning

Not only did Giacchino write the theme early, he wrote it really early. As in "the theme was written before Battinson was cast" early. He explained the history and origins of that killer new bat-theme:

"It wasn't something that was planned ahead of time, it was just sort of, I wrote that theme after talking with [director Matt Reeves] for so long about the script and talking about the characters and all of that. The theme was written, I don't know, two years before the movie was even finished. Matt had that theme before they officially cast Robert Pattinson. I mean, that was crazy to have it that early. It's rare that happens. It all worked out. It was just serendipity. The main Batman theme that is just that dun dun dun, in certain ways they kind of just live together so nicely."

Hmmm... if the theme was written that far in advance, then could Reeves have heard it and recognized tonal similarities to "Something in the Way," maybe even subconsciously, and then put them all together? It's possible! However this minor musical miracle came to be, I'm thankful for it. Grunge, Giacchino, and Gotham are a match made in heaven.