Superman is set to fly again under the supervision of director Zack Snyder with Christopher Nolan now backing away from the project in order to focus solely on The Dark Knight Rises. We also now know that he Man of Steel’s return to the big screen comes at the expense of John Williams. The Academy Award winning composer’s iconic Superman theme will not be featured in the forthcoming reboot,
Thompson on Hollywood reported this week that composer Hans Zimmer confirmed that he’ll be taking on the new Superman movie’s musical responsibilities. Zimmer said that his work on Superman will only come after he’s completed scoring on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Sherlock Holmes 2 and Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom.
In an interview with NBC San Diego, Zimmer discussed the challenges of tackling a franchise that already has a memorable score, such as Superman.
“It’s a hard one,” said Zimmer, “but I followed one of the most iconic things on Batman with [Christopher Nolan] as well, and it’s the same thing. You are allowed to reinvent, but you have to try to be as good or at least as iconic and it has to resonate and it has to become a part of the zeitgeist. That’s the job. On Gladiator I remember people always talking about Spartacus and I kept telling them, ‘When you saw Spartacus and how it affected it you, that’s how I want a modern audience to be affected by what we do now.’ So I think ultimately you’re supposed to reinvent.”
John Williams’ score for the original Superman was such a natural fit with both the legend of the character and audiences’ expectations. His music for Superman was so perfectly placed in both the film and in the history of cinema that this score, perhaps more than Star Wars, confirmed the renaissance of the operatic orchestral fanfare to the big screen. It proved that his Oscar-nominated work for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars the previous year was no fluke, leading the composer on the journey of five subsequent years that would change film music forever. The key to the longevity of Williams’ music for the Superman legend is its timelessness and Zimmer has big shoes to fill. Nobody remembers what the Batman theme sounds like and I doubt anyone can hum the tune but everyone knows Superman. Surely a new Superman film without the classic theme will feel strange, so let us hope that Mr. Zimmer won’t disappoint.