Danny Elfman Discusses Scoring "Justice League" Soundtrack

by by Neil A. Cole

Composer Danny Elfman returned to the DC Cinematic Universe for the first time in 25 years to score to the soundtrack for "Justice League" and, in the process, provide music for not just one hero, but a full team's worth.

In a new interview with DC Comics, Elfman discusses composing inarguably one of the more fun and exciting superhero scores to come around in quite a while as well his history with DC and thoughts on scoring franchises. His an excerpt from what he had to say:

Back in 1988, the superhero genre as a whole was still pretty new in film. That’s definitely not the case now. Did that change how you set about writing the score for Justice League?

Well, yeah. Styles change over the years. Back then I took it into what Tim used to call “the march.” Well, we wouldn’t do that now. That would be corny by today’s standards. So, I wrote stylistically how I would write now, not then, except for a few moments where Joss [Whedon] was very consciously like, “Let’s do the old thing right here!”

There are definitely nods throughout the movie to previous successors. I do use Hans Zimmer’s Wonder Woman theme a couple of times. Joss loves including a few of those moments in the music that you know the fans are going to love. So, there’s maybe, MAYBE one moment that’s dead-on 1989 Batman.

The one song that’s been released so far, “Hero’s Theme,” certainly sounds rousing and uplifting, but it ends with some pretty unique sounds that are almost discordant. Were you signifying anything there, or did you just think it sounded cool?

Oh yeah, that was just me having fun. “Hero’s Theme” is an overall heroic theme for the Justice League, and as I mentioned, there’s also a secondary theme, which represents the team. That’s how the logos start right at the beginning of the film.

It sounds complicated, but when I put it together, I hope it’s not complicated. The problem is that it’s the kind of thing where if you deconstruct it—if I put it on a big board in front of you—you’d go, “Oh my god, this is so complex.” But the trick with scoring in a situation like this is how to make it not feel complicated to a listener or an audience.

Read the complete interview at DC Comics.

The "Justice League Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" is currently available digitally and on CD on November 10th.