– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Image via Lucasfilm

Image via Lucasfilm

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is looking to be an increasingly-interesting beast for Lucasfilm. In addition to all the drama of it being the first standalone Star Wars flick, it will also be the first of the theatrical films not to be scored by film legend, John Williams. But the intrigue doesn’t end there.

Rogue One was originally set to be composed by Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat. Given Rogue One’s reportedly extensive reshoots, changes likely had to be made to the postproduction schedule, and with that, it apparently fell outside of Desplat’s open window he had to work.

Luckily, Lucasfilm was able to replace Desplat with another talented composer: Michael Giacchino, who is best known for such films as Star Trek, The Incredibles, and the more recent Doctor Strange. In a recent interview with EW, the composer opened up about his thoughts on Rogue One, and the approach he used in creating the score we’ll get to enjoy in the film, starting with addressing how little time he had to create the score (four weeks):

“It’s not [a lot of time,] really. But you work with the time you have. And I’m not a person that has a bunch of other composers working for me, so it’s just me sitting up here in this room doing it. But I’m pretty good at focusing and getting down to business. I saw the film and I really, really, really enjoyed it, so there was no lack of ideas or inspiration, that’s for sure. The only worry the whole time for me was just the schedule. But I mapped it out and I thought, okay, if I do this much a day and I get this done that will leave me time to go back and improve if I need to before having to orchestrate.”

Giacchino was then asked whether or not he had a chance to listen to some of the work Desplat had already created for the film, and surprisingly enough, Giacchino seemed adamant about going in cold:

“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.

“I got a call one day. I was on a plane next day because I had two days left of Doctor Strange scoring to do in London. And the day after my last day of scoring with Doctor Strange, [Lucasfilm] said can you come out to Pinewood? So I went out to Pinewood Studios and I met with everyone. They showed me the movie. And literally I came home with the movie.”

Nothing ever stops the train of filmmaking once it gets rolling, and as much as we love to sit back and analyze the artistry behind film, more often than not, projects are created under tight deadlines and in a forced fit of desperation. That’s not to say it takes the fun out of it. On the contrary, sometimes the tight deadlines restrictions are what make the project fun. If nothing else, it forces one to find a way to train one’s self to get from zero-to-inspired. Luckily for Giacchino, the inspiration seemed to come easy for this particular film.

“What I liked about this movie is it didn’t feel false to me. It felt real, and I was able to just draw upon those emotions, whether it be sadness, loneliness… All of those things wrap into what we’re doing within the score. That was important to both Gareth [Edwards and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy] as well.”

Lastly, Giacchino spoke to one of his favorite tracks on the score.

“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.”

Less than a month until we get to witness this grand experiment that is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. We can hardly wait.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16, 2016.

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.