Earlier this week the Star Wars: Rogue One title was revealed, and we now know Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat will score the film.
With filming set to commence on Star Wars: Rogue One this summer in London, more and more pieces of the film are starting to click into place. Godzilla director Gareth Edwards has quietly been working on the movie for a while, and official announcements should continue in the coming weeks and months.
While speaking on Radio Classique’s Culture Club (via Film Music Reporter), Alexandre Desplat revealed that he will be scoring Star Wars: Rogue One. Desplat previously worked with Edwards on Godzilla to solid effect.
The hiring of Desplat is a notable decision for Lucasfilm. Not including the animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which was scored by Kevin Kiner, every Star Wars movie to date has been scored by the legendary John Williams.
Given his age of 83, Star Wars will be around longer than he will (as sad as that is to think about), and it’s interesting that he won’t be scoring every Star Wars movie until the time when he’s no longer able to work on the films. This was probably always the plan for him. After scoring Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s quite possible that Williams will return to score episodes VIII and IX and leave the spinoff films to other composers.
Stylistically, Desplat is an interesting choice to enter the Star Wars universe. When it comes to crafting a score that perfectly fits the tone of a movie, Desplat is as good as it gets. This is obvious in much of his work including his The Grand Budapest Hotel score for which he won an Oscar.
However, crafting memorable themes is a bit of a weakness for Desplat, and Williams’ Star Wars scores have always been built on new, exciting memorable themes. We need only look at Desplat’s work in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Part 2 to see an example of this. While his scores work great for the movies, few themes really stand out. The only one that instantly comes to mind is “Lily’s Theme,” one of the greatest themes Desplat has composed.
Desplat is a great composer, but his scores are very different from Williams’. That’s okay. The score for Star Wars: Rogue One doesn’t have be a mirror of William’s Star Wars scores, and perhaps the hiring of Desplat is a good indicator it shouldn’t be. Star Wars: Rogue One can be its own thing.
And from all indications, that’s how it’s shaping up to be. Star Wars: Rogue One will hit theaters on December 16, 2016. Edwards’ film will star Oscar-nominee Felicity Jones, and more casting announcements should be coming before the film begins shooting this summer. The script is currently being re-written by Oscar-nominee (for About a Boy) Chris Weitz. Previously Gary Whitta had worked on the script.
The idea for the Star Wars: Rogue One story came from John Knoll, an Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic. He, Simon Emanuel (The Dark Knight Rises, Fast & Furious 6), and Jason McGatlin (Tintin, War of the Worlds) will executive produce. Star Wars: The Force Awakens producer Kathleen Kennedy will produce with Tony To (Band of Brothers, The Pacific). John Swartz (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will co-produce.