Giacchino Talks Beyond Score, Work on Past Treks

Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond composer Michael Giacchino sat down with to discuss his score for Star Trek Beyond, which just wrapped up recording last week.

“It’s interesting…I think the first two Star Trek films are really about getting the Enterprise out into deep space, and every time they try to get out something happens which kind of pulls them back and forces them to stay closer to home to deal with whatever that problem was.” Giacchino continues, “Because of that, you end up with a bit of a darker feel to the score with a little bit more of a struggle aspect. Whereas the new film, Star Trek Beyond, to me it feels a little bit more like an old episode of the show. It’s a little bit more hopeful. So as you watch it, you get this sense of “oh yeah…this is what it was like watching the old series,” which I grew up with and I loved.”

“For me,” Giacchino says, “it’s a chance to create a completely different musical landscape for the film. That’s what’s nice about each of the films, as they seem to have their own musical identity and this one, I think more than any other, will have its own musical identity.”

Giacchino also discusses the difficulties he had when sitting down to score 2009’s Star Trek, and how his first attempts at writing felt like he rehashing music from the previous films. Giacchino will conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic forStar Trek In Concert on July 8th and 9th at the Hollywood Bowl, where they will play the entire Star Trek score in front of a screening of the film

For more details about Star Trek In Concert, visit

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Unless I heard him wrong – – he said he was trying to borrow from or get the feel of the previous films. That’s the wrong source material. I wanted to hear him reference the original show. Wonderful music! Wonderful craftsmen and artists who wrote for that show! THAT’S the material that needs to emulated. Fred Steiner, Alexander Courage, Gerald Fried,…..It’s all there.

Yes. .. you are completely right. … I REALLY want to hear some of the classic musical ques from TOS

Unfortunately that’s not how art works. You can’t just hamfist in a couple of lines from fifty year old soapy music and expect it to work.

Totally correct. It’s nice to reference a couple of cues. (Like Giacchino did in Into Darkness when he used a small piece of Fried’s TV music. But the score itself needs to be the artists own work. There are very few exceptions.

korusan and ML31,

Re:can’t just hamfist in a couple of lines from fifty year old soapy music

You can if you are Quentin Taratino.

Taratino should be Tarantino.

How about Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Leonard Rosenman, and Cliff Eidelman? Wouldn’t that be neat…

I enjoy Giacchino’s work quite a bit (Enterprising Young Men especially)…. but I must agree, if I am seeing the “original” characters I YEARN for the TOS theme and music. I absolutely adore Horner’s work, and love Goldsmith, but I want to hear Courage’s theme more often. Even Goldsmith’s classic TMP score was used to death in the later films (and almost came to be owned by TNG). Let’s hear more of the classic stuff, when we have the classic characters, JJ verse or not.

I think the TOS theme was used perfectly in the two reboots’ end title. But I want to hear some other TOS-based themes. I wish they started using the theme that was composed for the second pilot “Where No Man Has Gone Before” or the Vulcan cues from “Amok Time”, not to meantion “The Doomsday Machine”…

And yes, you are right: the TMP theme was owned by TNG, not just the movies…it was basically there every episode…twice…

The thing is…TNG had its own great theme composed by Dennis McCarthy. It was used at some capacity in early Season One scores, but not enough. That should have been TNG’s signature theme, not the TMP rehash…

Can you find an example of this Dennis McCarthy theme on Youtube somewhere? I’d love to hear the bit you’re thinking of. :)

Here is a mashup of McCarthy’s alternate theme with the Season 1 TNG opening credits:

Thanks for the link. Just heard it. It sounds a little cheesy to me. Maybe it would grow on me. But it was certainly not instantly good like Goldsmith’s TMP march or his Voyager theme.

As a composer It would be a bad idea to use those old themes from the shows..You’re talking the cues during any scene. The musical landscape for films has changed since then with John Williams doing the big symphonic sound to scfi which works really well. Giacchino’s style seems to fit this nu verse and someone like Goldsmith or Dennis McCarthy wouldn’t work.People don’t realize there is a lot of thought put into who will score which movie. Once you get someone that fits the movie as a composer you will do the next film they do. As far as i’m concerned they picked the right guy. Even John Williams wouldn’t fit this Trek verse. Those old themes are kind of corny if you ask me. But again what I hear from your posts here is fans hoping for something that reminds them of the old shows since most people here don’t feel they are getting the Star Trek they remember. Closing you won’t that Star Trek anymore , it’s past ,its done ,deal with it and enjoy the new film coming out.

Thomas Vinelli,

To reintroduce the old cues and themes note for note for their cliched old purposes could be tedious, and for many of the characters, to which they would be reassigned, as ill-fitting as a poorly tailored suit. But Giacchino has demonstrated to me the skill to weave other franchises’ old cues into their spinoffs/reboots’ scores written by him in non-obvious ways that fascinate and thrill me. He has not been given the opportunity to do such for Trek yet, but I would welcome it in BEYOND much to the chagrin of those who would have a temp track of old Trek music snips serve the purpose. Not that a Tarantino couldn’t pull that off, possibly, but we aren’t dealing with that here.

yeah, this theme became something of a “Picard´s” theme of sorts.

Correction.. It was TNG who “borrowd” Goldsmith’s main march from TMP.

I think it can be very tricky to go back and utilize previous source material. I know it happens to be what we’re all clamoring for, but imagine if the composer’s of previous films had reached back and used the TOS material. We wouldn’t have Goldsmith’s new theme for Star Trek on the big screen, nor Horner’s swashbuckling score to The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock, nor my personal favorite…Eidelman’s dark soundtrack to The Undiscovered Country. Each used elements of Courage’s main title, but set a distinctive new chapter for the franchise. My only problem with Giacchino’s work on Star Trek is that, beyond the Kirk/Enterprise theme and Spock’s theme, everything else tends to get lost and resemble things he’s composed before, such as Lost.

I really hope this movie will have its own musical identity… not just another rehash of the PERFECT ST09 score as was STID’s score. But who can blame Giacchino for that? Goldsmith’s TMP score, ripped of four times but the master himself. Horner’s TWOK score, rehashed for TSFS. John William’s has done the same for various Star Wars scores… I guess it has to be like that… sometimes it’s just due for a new composer now and then. Giacchino is a demi-god, but even he can only deliver a limited number of individual scores within one and the same franchise. Maybe it’s time for Brian Tyler or Tyler Bates to take over at some point…


I agree that Horner has the talent and skill, but I’d advise you to listen to his BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS’ score before you crown your rehash/reuse king.

Here is the thing… You criticize “re hashing” old themes from movie to movie. This is a conscious choice. A movie has a main recognizable theme that is expected to be used. Like the 8 note fanfare for Trek. The main Star Wars march that was used as Luke’s theme in the first movie. Those sounds are expected to be in the movie. Composers use those familiar voices and then add to it as needed for future versions. For Trek, when a new composer comes in he does his own thing. Horner had a different voice than Goldsmith. Eidelman was different from Courage. Giacchino is different from Rosenman.
Side note… Williams has said that knowing what he found out much later about the full story of the Star Wars saga that he would like to go back and re-score A New Hope. Make it work more in line with the rest of the series. It never happened even for the remastered versions.

It’s Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary as a nod, I think think there should be a at least hints of Horner and Goldsmith’s Themes. Even turbo-shaft music. LOL

Not a fan. They should get Cliff Eidelman back. His score for TUC was original and brilliant. Seriously, he had to live up to the Goldsmith score (one of the best of all time) and the Horner score (which was perfect) and he succeeded wonderfully.

The video says the Hollywood Bow Concerts take place on July 8th and 9th,
The article sys June 8th and 9th.
Somebody might want to correct that.

I know Cliff ,I asked that very question. They just went in another direction with the next film.He never heard from them again.

Always liked his score for TUC. I think it’s underrated.

agreed, “The Undiscovered Country”, specially the end titles, are awesome

Eidelman was good. But I felt his main themes were really close to Stravinsky’s Firebird. Which may have been his intent. Not sure….

Then again, Horner borrowed liberally from Sergei Prokofiev’s Aleksander Nevsky score in TWOK (as well as his own Battle Beyond the Stars) and Goldsmith from Aaron Copland in ST:FC. John Williams was strongly influenced by Holst, among others, for Star Wars.

All of these films scores also owe a debt to Richard Wagner’s distinctive use of leitmotif.


I suppose you are saying there is a fine line. And there is. Williams says he was influenced by Max Steiner and his sound my at times be reminiscent of Holst. But a Williams score is unmistakably a Williams score. Eidelman’s UC opening was so very much like Firebird that it darn near should have had a credit! This is not putting down Eidelman. He has had some good original stuff. And pretty much just the main theme (opening titles) had the Stravinski feel.

I wouldn’t get my hopes up for a lot of new material or quotes from previous Trek. Aside from the opening strains of the TOS theme, the themes and motives from the first two films are well established for the characters and will likely be used in the new film throughout. There will of course be a few new themeatic elements given the new characters, but they’re likely to be dominated by the Trek themes of those characters who interact with them.

I agree , they will stick with what works

The video says that the Hollywood Bowl Concerts take place on July 8th and 9th.
The article says June 8th and 9th.
Somebody might want to correct that.

I’m not a fan, but that’s not to say some of his scores have their good moments.

Yes a few memorable cues but otherwise forgettable. Watch him get yet another Oscar nomination this year — for a project other than Star Trek.


Nomination? Didn’t he win the Oscar for UP joining the club of other STAR TREK composers who won Oscars but never for Trek?

I enjoyed Giacchino’s score to Trek 09 more than any film score I’ve heard in the last 20 years or so. Like the classic William’s scores of the late 70’s and early 80’s, the music when heard on it’s own chronologically, tells the story. They have the “right guy” in my view and I’m glad he’s back scoring Beyond. He has created a musical identity for nu-trek, which is popular with film score and classical music enthusiasts (charting well on the classical sales listings here in the UK), and I’m glad he has gotten the opportunity to develop his themes further. As for incorporating music from some the great scores from the original series, he did of course give it a go by incorporating a few snippets of the classic fight theme (from “Amok Time”) in STID at the 1:50 point in the album track “The San Fran Hussle”.

So he’s just going to repeat the same material.. Again. I wish I could bring back Goldsmith, he was a genius.

Reading the posts, it seems like there are many who do not really understand the concept of what goes into when writing a score for a film. Especially one as operatic as Trek is.