Michael Giacchino Wants To ‘Play’ With TOS Music For Star Trek Sequel

Star Trek composer Michael Giacchino is riding high on his road to the Oscars with his score for Up. There are some new pre-Oscar interviews with the composer where he talks about Oscar and a little about the Star Trek sequel as well, see excerpts and video below.



Giacchino on Star Trek sequel

In a pre-Oscar interview with CNN focusing on Up, Michael Giacchino also talked a bit about the Star Trek sequel, here is an excerpt:

After the series finale of "Lost," Giacchino hopes to focus more on film work. One of the projects will undoubtedly be the sequel to J.J. Abrams’ "Star Trek."

Might he be willing to work in a distinct theme or two from the original "Star Trek" series?

"I don’t know. It’s hard to say," he says. "I guess it would depend on the story, and if the story allowed even for a wink to something like that, sure. There’s so much great music that came out of the original series that would be fun for me to play with."

Michael Giacchino and his team scoring "Star Trek" – looking forward to ‘fun’ with sequel
(click for more images)

Giacchino on Oscar, Up, Lost & Juggling Jobs (including Star Trek)

Michael Giacchino has won all the important pre-Oscar awards for his Up score, including the BAFTA, Golden Globe, Grammys and various critics groups awards. He is going into the Oscars as a clear front-runner. In an interview with CNN, the composer explains how his approach to music is different (or just old-school):

There’s a lot of filmmakers who prefer to have just mood music and that’s fine, it’s not to say it’s wrong," he says. "But for me, again, I kind of just draw from my childhood, … really distinct scores like Jerry Goldsmith used to do — Max Steiner, John Williams, Bernard Herrmann, Elmer Bernstein: These guys created these melodies that one by one you listen to and you go, ‘Oh my God, that brings me back to [a memory].’ They’re like the pop songs of their genre.

Here is some video from CNN as well, where Giacchino talks about his Up score:

And in another interview with New York Magazine, Giacchino talks about Lost, Up and how he had to juggle so much work last year, including Star Trek. Here is an excerpt:

Were you working on Up at the same time as Lost?
Well , there was a time when I was working on Land of the Lost, Star Trek, Up, Lost, and a documentary called Earth Days all at the same time. It was the busiest time I’ve ever had, and so it’s all about organization and scheduling. It was somewhat of a nightmare, but if I concentrate on the story and the characters for each, I’m in good shape.

Do you have a favorite character to write for?
Locke’s definitely a favorite. I love to write for Kate, as well; there’s something very Alfred Hitchcock about that character. For a composer, the show’s like going to a candy store. They allow me to do whatever I want, and I write some really bizarre music you wouldn’t normally hear on a television show.

Read more: at nymag.com

Jeff Bond handicaps Oscar Composers & Giacchino’s chances

Our old friend (and author of "The Music of Star Trek") Jeff Bond has been writing a series of articles about the 2009 composers for The Hollywood Reporter.

Here the Star Trek excerpt from a pre-Oscar nomination analysis of all the big scores of the year:

"Star Trek"
Michael Giacchino
Giacchino pays homage to the theme music from the Gene Roddenberry TV series, and to space itself — but only at the margins of this muscular sci-fi movie score. Where his predecessors focused on space opera, Giacchino targets the characters of this wildly successful reboot, writing a brooding theme for the rebellious young James T. Kirk and a surprisingly upbeat, warm melody for Spock.

And here is Jeff’s analysis of Giacchino’s chances in his analysis of the five nominated composers:

Michael Giacchino

Pros: Giacchino has racked up every major award for his score other than the Oscar. His scoring of the film’s three-hanky opening sequence is unforgettable.
Cons: "Up" has been the slow and steady winner so far, but it has to maintain momentum to voting day.



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I’d love it! Giacchino’s obviously a fabulous score writer. I hope he keeps working with Abrams’ team like he already is. (Better him than.. Erik Morales, LOL.)

There are a lot of great themes in TOS. I was hoping he would have used some of them in ST2009, but maybe he will for the sequel.

“Labour of Love” (the piece played during the final moments of the Kelvin attack) was for me one of the key moments of ST09 – heartbreakingly beautiful and evocative (and you can hear hints of it when Spock goes on the collision course with the Narada later on). I’ll never forget the soundtrack when the shuttlecrafts pull away and then the title crawl comes up with the logo and main theme – that music for me was Giacchino and Abrams defiant moment to say that ST09 had arrived and was here to stay. I have to say Up’s score was certainly wonderful, but it is good to see him getting recognition for his bold ST09 score – I look forward to seeing his future work!

Also RE: “Labour of Love” in ST09, any TNG fans think that Giacchino is slightly influenced/recalling “The Inner Light” Suite? Listen to them both and you’ll get what I mean!

I agree uktrek–that title part of the movie with the bold 3dish starfleet command emblem slowly rotating as the title come up with mike gs music booming!! Almost made me cry-i knew at that moment that trek was in great hands n that this movie would rock-and it did—it was a bold n brash thing for jj to do and damned-he pulled it off!

Composers keep redshirts on staff, too? That’s scary :)

Yeah, Giacchino’s score was totally brilliant for Star Trek. It’s kind of a shame they don’t incorporate his score into the traveling Star Trek musical show they do. It stands up with some of the best Trek has ever done.

YES! It would indeed be great to hear some of the original Trek ‘theme’s’ referenced.
Do it, do it, do it!

I was already expecting more TOS themes in the next movie. The first one was about getting the crew together and establishng the ship, so theAlexander Courage theme was pretty much out for most of the movie. In a way the right to use the TOS themes had to earned, but the movie nicely managed that.

I also loved Giaccino’s comment about Kate being very Hitchcock. The first few minutes of the episode “Born to Run,” where Kate arrives at a motel, steals some towels and sneaks into a motel room to take a shower and change her hair color is VERY Hitchcock. I absolutely love how Lost manages to push all the right buttons without having to be too obvious about it.

I am actually disappointed. I could buy how TOS music doesn’t appear in the first film because the crew was being assembled, but it should definitely be in the second film in a big way. He’s only considering using it? Please. And although the music wasn’t bad, it wasn’t nearly as powerful overall as the original music.

I just saw ‘Up’. The music was one of the best parts of the movie.

I really hope we hear the famous fight theme!
Da-raaaaaaaaa! Da-raaaaaa Da-Raaaaaaaaaa!
Da-Da-Daa-Da-Da-Daaa Da-Da-Da!

I didn’t even read this post, but I already have an opinion and I hope Micheal sees it. DO IT!!! Spice up some of the original music like you did with the end credits. Oh and add a little more bass this time please

Yes, by all means do it! Don’t know why the first didn’t. I was disappointed with that. Obvious choice and lost opportunity.

And his stuff on UP is good but I liked his Ratatouille stuff.

Yeah, it ain’t Star Trek until the Amok Time theme comes on. Frame one for Star Trek: Something Something

I honestly wasn’t as down with his score to Star Trek as a lot of people. It was big, but I didn’t find it deep like Goldsmith’s work. It was more like Horner’s, but without the same level of great timing and I got annoyed by the same theme being worked into what seemed like every bit of music. Honestly I think he should stay more away from TOS music because, well its old and dated. Even the ending I didn’t like that much, I thought it would have been better to of played off the TMP/TNG theme, the one that all of the non-Trekkies I know recognize as Star Trek’s theme. Not like my thoughts on this matter, though, but its good to vent sometimes.

I liked hte Star Trek score. It payed homage to Horner and Goldsmith. I anticipate his trek sequel work with great anticipation !

Can’t wait for the new version of the TOS fight-scene music!

“Buh buh buuhhh buuuhhh buhhh buuhh buhhhh buh buh buh buh buuh”

The STXI music was great. Thanks, Michael :-)

I loved the ST09 music. There were homages all through it that I noticed. For example when they leave Iowa ship yards for the academy and the shuttles turn and come pass the Enterprise you can hear the music do the familiar dooo dooo doooooooooo doooo then merge into another piece of music. I saw homages all the way through, was perfect!

And for the first time watching a Star Trek film I got that feeling when the titles appear for a Star Wars film, that sort of tingle with the music and everything, has that with ST09

Somewhat off-topic but related nonetheless, I’m still waitng for the rest of the TOS scores to be released on CD. I know, I know … don’t hold my breath. *sigh*

STXI was certainly Mickey G’s weakest score, IMHO. I mean, his score for “Medal Of Honor: Frontline” was more powerful and emotional. It really drew a lot of that John Williams sound. But Trek? Pah…what a disappointment. Whoever vouched for the Amok Time fight theme to be in the next one–I second that! Unless he messes up *that* song like he kinda did with the TOS theme at the end of XI. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t…that great.

I want to hear the fanfare from the theme song more!

No – don’t ‘play’ with anything. The worst moment of the entire ST09 score was when they tried blending the new with the old, right at the end. Totally unmusical.

Just do new stuff Giacchino – the best stuff in the score was when you laid off and did your own thing.

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Take more cues from TOS. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In LAND OF THE LOST, I found he did some absolutely marvelous playing around with the themes from the soundtracks of some of the similar fantastical movies of Irwin Allen.

Unfortunately, I, apparently, was privy, for reasons unknown, to a rather unique cut of LAND OF THE LOST at my local theater. In the version I saw there was a titles sequence that very clearly was paying homage to Allen’s LAND OF THE GIANTS television show. I viewed a rented DVD copy to see if the DVD would be worth buying from the bargain bin for the music but its opening is radically different not just in the titles but in the opening scene and I could find nothing in the extras reminiscent of it.

Anyway, if Giacchino does play around with the many Trek themes in a similar fashion it is going to be something grand.

None of the previous Trek composers used TOS music much, other than the occasional fanfare or a few bars of Courage’s theme, and Giacchino has already done that. So let him go ahead and leave it alone except for that.

All right, NOW I’m officially hyped. :D

Like I said, we’re looking at perhaps Goldsmith’s heir.
He really gets it.

Zebonka- I could not disagree more. I thought the music in the end titles nicely blended old and new. The only moment I didn’t care for was the somewhat indulgent flourish which comes in the last few seconds of the “To Bodly Go” leading into End Credits.

To be honest, I find his main theme for Star Trek entirely appropriately. There is a haunted sense of uncertainly tinged with optimism which tells you that the JJ-verse is different than the TOS time-line, and yet this is still Trek. The juxtaposition of the original TOS theme with that new music in the End Credits drives home the dynamic tension between the JJ-verse and the Gene-verse. In my mind, it was a stroke of genius to play them back and forth like that. He musically reflected the sort of back-and-forth discussions and debates Trek fans have had in the lead-up to and aftermath of the new film.

I thought his music/theme was good, but I think his ‘score’ was still overrated a bit. When you go back and watch the movie, listen carefully.. the main theme music, is really the ONLY theme in the movie. I found it kind of annoying after a while that there really were any other themes (you know, like Klingon music always had a theme, Federation had a theme, Vulcan had a theme, Khan/Reliant had a theme, etc). But, Giacchino just used the same cadence, over and over throughout the whole movie. Just slight variations on that one theme from the opening credits.

I don’t know. Like I said, it was GOOD music, but not much as far as quantity. I would think one would have to come up with a lot more variety in order to win so much praise for an entire movie ‘score’.


That picture above, with the composer and crew in Starfleet t-shirts (in the usual 3 colors, no less!) shows the love these guys have for the work they were doing. That says a lot about what JJ Abrams and crew have accomplished.


Just give us Klingons in Star Trek: Something Something, and get back the original TMP Goldsmith Klingon vibe in there, and I’ll be very pleased. If only the Klingons hadn’t been cut in ST09. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN GLORIOUS! ;)

Giacchino did reasonably well for Star Trek, but honestly, his UP score is the superior intellect. That he’s likely to win the Oscar for it, and looks forward anyway to doing the Star Trek sequel is good for all parties.


I thought James Horner did a nice job of organically integrating TOS fanfare throught out his scores….especially in ST III. I still think of that score as what TOS music would have sounded like with a full orchestra.

For the Composewrs in red shirts. You guys are living dangerously. But keep up the good work. Loved the music for Trek 09. Not the best but good.

I’d just like stronger themes in general in the sequel instead of so much “loud crashy battle noise” music. But yeah, it’d be nice to hear TOS nods. I won’t see the sequel (hated the first one) but I’d be happy to listen to the music.

19, 26, 29 agreed. And I vote against using the TNG/TMP theme. It’s one of my faves but a) it’s already been well used (tng, 5 films) b) I don’t think it fits with TOS/the reboot. My favourite Trek scores have been the original ones which introduced their own themes for characters (tmp, twk, tvh, tuc), while weaving in the courage stuff once or twice at key points. In TMP, when they’re watching v’ger destroy epsilon 5(?) and you hear the something-terrible-has-happened-dah-dah! taken straight from TOS, well, it doesn’t quite fit. But when it’s done well (shuttlepod approaching the enterprise in Twk), it works beautifully.

Giacchino did a pretty good job, the main theme fits because it sounds like Trek, but not quite. Keep in mind, we’re now in an alternate reality. If there’s any piece of music that I’d like him to feature in the next film it would be Spock’s guitar theme. The Klingon theme should stay the same to, its just too classic to change.

We definitely need some more music from TOS in the next film. Don’t get me wrong, I loved what they did, but one Star Trek’s music is a BIG part of the experience. It would be great to recognize it more this time around.

BTW: I’m not against the TNG theme either. :-)

definitely get some more TOS music please Michael

More cowbell… and blaster beam for the sequel.

Okay, everyone.

Time to be honest.

Did you sing along when you read #12 cpelc and #18 KingDaniel’s comments as well?

I have to admit I did!

More music cues, please!

I loved the STXI music. But it would have been still better, IMHO, had there been more riffing on the original music.



But that incessant IKEA commercial stealing the intro for its “START THE CAR! START THE CAR!” harangue has almost succeeded in sucking all the joy out of it for me….

TMP music, not TOS music please. In later TREK films Goldsmith was able to weave some of the TOS flavor in without making it cheesy and dated.

I also would like a return of the TMP/TNG theme. It’s the best one ever for a star trek series and its got just the right amount of Grandiose and energy for the big screen. Plus it makes you want to wave your arms about like a conductor :D

As someone mentioned above, Amok Time. What happens this time around as there will be a lot of horny Vulcans with not as many females or males. No mention of male/female percentages left in the Abrams timeline. Maybe Nurse Chapel has a chance in this one. Uhura + Chapel = Catfight! Meow!! This timeline has some great possibilities! Oh and BTW, Loved the music score!

YES!!! I say BRING IT ON, the original series music will forever be an unforgettable staple for Star Trek, no matter what ST film/series it is used in.

I think Michael Giaccino should create original music for the sequel. I wouldn’t mind having themes reminiscent of pieces from “The Original Series” sprinkled in, but for the most part, since J.J Abrams made this new movie as a reboot and reimagining, it would defeat the purpose by copying the style of what came before. The “Amok Time” theme or “The Klingon Fanfare” would work, but the “TMP”/”TNG” theme would be out of place. “Enterprising Young Men” should be the main theme for the J.J Abrams movies.

I love the original music for Star Trek. It was a main course of its own where the spin offs’ music was mere salad dressing for a corporate franchise.

There is no need to copy note-for-note the 1960s scores, but there are some wild ideas in it that would work well because they are classic.

– the TV Western-influence of rough and tumble, of civilization brought to the savage wilderness of the Frontier (i.e., “The final frontier”)

– obvious leitmotifs for all characters and situations (including the Enterprise herself), perhaps necessitated by budget considerations and union contract clauses, but effective, adding a Wagnerian flavor across the years

– wind ensemble orchestrations with unusual tonalities suggestive of the future and of the unknown, slightly menacing context of Star Trek’s setting and circumstances. I noted the awesome “tetrachords” in NuTrek during the BEM scene. Brilliant!

– the musical heritage of the melodrama, abandoned by Hollywood during TNG but which emphasizes the story, the characters, and the conflict rather than the underlying the situational “wall of sound” realism of the 1980s – onward. (Don’t you find the throw away blabber and pointless tangents a poor use of time?)

Some of the themes and songs written for Star Trek are classic in their own right. I think of the Pike/Boyce theme from “The Cage”, the picnic music from same, Ruth’s love song, the humourous fight scene from “The Trouble With Tribbles”, and of course the Vulcan music including Spock’s theme and the fight song among others. It would be nice to hear them in the same way Bach, Beethoven and Brahms are quoted in popular music.

C.S. Lewis

Some nods to those familiar cues will only make those who are “in-the-know” smile ear to ear. They did it in MI3 to great effect, they can do it again in the next Trek movie.