‘Rogue One’ Composer Michael Giacchino Talks Four-Week Deadline

Film composer, and fellow School of Visual Arts alum, Michael Giacchino only had four weeks to churn out a score for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, according to Entertainment Weekly. Giacchino’s past scores include Jurassic World, Inside/Out, Dr. Strange, and the rebooted Star Trek series.

In the interview, Giacchino states:

“…literally the last thing I expected I’d be doing this month would be this. I mean we were literally planning a vacation when I got the call asking if I could come and talk to them about it. At the time, it left me with literally four and a half weeks to write. So it was one of those decisions where you’re like, okay, well… And I was talking to my brother about it. He goes, ‘Oh, come on. You’ve been writing this score since you were 10! You can do this.'”

It is typical for film composers to have several months to write the music for a film. To meet such a tight deadline, Giacchino stuck to a schedule:

“…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.”

Of course, scoring a Star Wars movie has its baggage. The legendary John Williams is responsible for the series’ most recognizable themes. It’s only customary to include a few throwback notes to Williams. On this, Giacchino says:

“I think absolutely there are a couple of times when you want to hit upon something that was from the past. For me, even as a fan, it was about going, ‘Oh, this particular idea would be great if we did it here. I would want to see that if I were watching a Star Wars movie.’ As a kid who grew up with John’s music and who was catapulted in this direction because of what he did, I had a very specific idea of what I wanted to use and how I wanted to use it. That being said, I’d say the score is 95 percent original but with little moments [of Williams’ classic score] here or there to accent. If I were sitting in that seat and I heard that, it would totally raise the hairs on my neck.”

Unless you live under a rock, you know the basic plot of Rogue One. If you are a rock-dweller, here’s a primer: a band of Rebels set out to steal the blueprints for the Death Star.

One of Giacchino’s current projects is writing the score for Spider-Man: Homecoming. Spidey’s reboot hits theaters on July 7, 2017.

His score for Rogue One can be heard on December 16, 2016 when the film hits theaters. If you like it, buy the soundtrack.


Ryan Malik
Ryan Malik
Ryan is a screenwriter with a BFA in Film from The School of Visual Arts in New York City. He's a connoisseur of Batman, Ghostbusters, Hitchcock, Scorsese, Stephen King, and Pop-Tarts. Tweet me @Theaterfilms1