In a new interview with Billboard, Danny Elfman says he’ll be using the 1978 Superman theme with a dark twist in this November’s Justice League. It’s no surprise he’s working with Zimmer’s themes from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, Elfman says he was able to utilize a part of John Williams’ Superman theme along with his own Batman theme from 1989.
Here he goes into detail about incorporating previous themes into his work:
There are a few little fan moments. I instated a moment of the Wonder Woman theme that Hans Zimmer did for Batman Vs. Superman, but I also had two minutes where I had the pleasure of saying, ‘Let’s do John Williams’ Superman.’ and that for me was heaven, because now I have a melody to twist, and I’m using it in an actually very dark way, in a dark moment. It’s the kind of thing that some fans will notice.
Elfman also talks about using his previous and current work with DC:
It was like I never left because I’m using the same thematic material that I used back then. It never actually went away… The people at DC are starting to understand we’ve got these iconic bits from our past and that’s part of us, that’s part of our heritage — we shouldn’t run away from that.
Finally, DC are learning a thing or two. It’s encouraging that Elfman is championing bridging DC past with the current films. They have a remarkable well from which to draw amazing music and visual styles. Referencing their rich and long film history is nothing to shy away from. Considering Danny Elfman is a huge part of that past, it’s no surprise he’s been able to convince DC to use their past work.
John Williams is arguably the greatest film composer of all time. His themes are the most memorable in film history. From the elegance of Harry Potter and Schindler’s List to the electrifying Star Wars and Indiana Jones. The maestro’s music has pleasured audiences for almost half a century.
That Elfman is so enthusiastic about using other composer’s themes is a testament to his class and talent. As a master craftsman his concern is what’s best for the film, not the size of his own contribution.
Like Patty Jenkins and Joss Whedon, Danny Elfman is another talent that’s leading DC in the right direction.