June 14 2024


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Giacchino: Making Trek Music

2 min read


For composer Michael Giacchino, creating the music for Star Trek into Darkness was less stressful than doing it for Star Trek (2009).

But there was still pressure for Giacchino to get it right and to not disappoint the large Star Trek fanbase.

Working on a sequel was different than working on the first Abrams Trek film. “I feel like everybody sort of had their bearings down,” said Giacchino. “Everyone understood what they were doing, whereas before, on the first one, everybody was trying to figure out, ‘Well, what are we making? What’s our tone? What’s appropriate? What’s not appropriate?’ We were thinking about all those things and trying to figure out how to make it work. This one was a little bit more freeing. It felt like, ‘OK, we’ve got a lot of the fundamental stuff down, and now we can just build on that.’ That, speaking for myself, was a very freeing experience. I had a blast on this one. That’s not to say I didn’t have fun on the first one, but I feel like the first one was more difficult.”

Freeing or not, there was still the pressure to get it right again. “[Star Trek] is different because it is a massive franchise with a huge fan base,” he said. “So you always have that in the back of your head. Star Trek is something that I grew up with and loved as well. So not only do I not want to disappoint myself, but I don’t want to disappoint other people who love it as well. So you’re always struggling with that, though, in the end you just have to do whatever you think is best for this particular script, this particular story, for this particular movie. Also, you have to let go of what was and deal with what is.”

One nod to classic fans was using original series music for the end credits of the movie. “We used it in the end credits because I feel like every time we’d go and try to use it (elsewhere in the film), it would stand out too much,” said Giacchino. “It called attention to itself.

“But we always knew that, come the end credits, we could do it the hugest way possible and then just have a lot of fun with it.”

Giacchino is currently working on Jupiter Ascending, Planet of the Apes, and Tomorrowland.

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7 thoughts on “Giacchino: Making Trek Music

  1. I’d love to see Star Trek 3 open in space, music notes building up – being part of the (‘human adventure’) story. Make it internationally sound 😉

  2. Hardly a hack, but I have not warmed to his music the way I hoped. If his Star Trek theme wasn’t the main theme to a headache of a movie, I’d like it a lot more.

  3. I think you do him a disservice. One could easily have said the same about James Horner back in the day, with motifs he reused un every film before they found a perfect home in Star Treks II and III. Giacchino’s more flexible and diverse than Horner was back in the day. Give a listen to the scores for the Incredibles, Super 8, even John Carter, and Up, especially if you like Miyazake.
    Giacchino’s no Jerry Goldsmith, to be sure, but he’s a far cry from Hans Zimmer (Inc.). Now there’s a hack; to his/their credit he/they make(s) no pretense otherwise.

  4. Just talking about the music to JJ-Trek, it’s not bad. I wish the original film themes from the first 10 films were more present, but being fair, the music may be the strongest thing about JJ-Trek.

  5. His scores are good but I wish he would make more use of the Trek theme other than at the end of the movie. Movie scores in general are not what they once was because they’re no openings to movies anymore. Movies now have to start with the action right away and themes are relegated to the end of the film. I miss enjoying those epic opening to get you pumped up for the film, thanks to the PlayStation and Xbox generation of a.d.d. people those days are over.

  6. Giacchino and Zimmer, the one note wonders of movie music. Movie soundtracks are definitely on the decline these last few years and the fact that these 2 are the ‘go- to’ guys for movie music explains it all.
    People in the business call Zimmer’s soundtrack for Man of Steel ‘iconic’. I call it ipecac for the ears, because it makes my ears want to reject what they are hearing.
    In 10 years, when you think Superman, will you think of Zimmer’s plodding thump-thump- thump industrial score or John Williams’ soaring paeon to the Last Son of Krypton? Williams, of course. I don’t think John Williams’ music is appropriate to this version of Superman- who isn’t the Superman we know at all. His Final Solution to the villain in Man of Steel? Murder him. I hope he doesn’t run into Lex Luthor in MOS 2. It’ll be a helluva short movie.
    Everything Giacchino does sounds the same, even worse than James Horner ‘s repetitiveness.
    The loss of Jerry and Joel Goldsmith was a stunning blow to movie music. John Williams is still going strong, but he is in his 80s now. How much longer?
    I surely hope some new talent steps forth soon. Some real talent.

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