A few months ago, some reshoots on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story forced original composer Alexandre Desplat to drop out of the film, with Up composer Michael Giacchino stepping in to replace him. Coming in at the last minute to write the music for any movie, let alone a Star Wars movie, would be a daunting task, but now Giacchino has revealed in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly just how tough of a gig it was.
For starters, he had only four-and-a-half weeks to write the whole thing, which took up the time he was originally going to use on a vacation between working on Doctor Strange and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Still, Giacchino explains that “you work with the time you have,” so he decided to just buckle down and get it done. Thankfully, he was able to see the movie and “really, really, really enjoyed it,” so he made a conscious effort to ignore the stress and the pressure and just focus on how cool it was to be scoring a Star Wars movie.
As for the music itself, Giacchino says he focused on the movie’s emotions rather than what kind of music needed to go where. He explains that Rogue One is like a “really great World War II movie” but with a “huge, huge heart at the center of it,” so he wanted to make sure he played up that angle. Giacchino also points out that he tried to pay homage to John Williams’ classic Star Wars work, but he wouldn’t say whether or not the film features his own spin on the “Imperial March”—though his coyness seems to indicate that it does.
Going back to the original split that got him the job, Giacchino says he doesn’t know anything more about Desplat’s reasoning than we do. He didn’t listen to any of the music Desplat had already prepared, preferring to go in totally fresh and do his own thing. He also wouldn’t allow anyone from Lucasfilm to tell him why Desplat left (beyond the official “scheduling difficulties” story). That kind of implies that there was something more to it, but Giacchino doesn’t know or care.