Grammy-nominated composer Austin Wintory, best known for his work in video games and in particular for the award-winning PlayStation game Journey, has revealed he was in the running to score Star Trek: Discovery. Writing on Medium, the life-long Trek fan revealed what he called his “amazing experience” tying to land the Trek gig which eventually went to Jeff Russo.
Austin Wintory says after learning that Star Trek was returning to TV he implored his agent to get him in the running. They decided the first step would be for him to develop a theme which could be presented to the Discovery team back in 2016. So Wintory quickly developed an idea and hired an orchestra to perform what he called “a sort of love letter visual montage to the legacy of Star Trek,” which you can see and hear below.
As noted in his account, Wintory knew that without any experience working in episodic television, his chances were long, however the demo piqued the interest at CBS and he was asked to pitch an idea for the music for what would become the SDCC 2016 teaser, featuring the USS Discovery coming out of the dock. You can listen to that demo below.
Another composer was selected, and Wintory moved on saying “I was STOKED. I had had my hat in the ring on a real Star Trek show!” However, a few months later he was surprised to again be approached because “things hadn’t worked out with the composer they’d hired, and they were once again looking.”
This time he was invited in to speak with co-creator and showrunner (at the time) Bryan Fuller. Wintory describes the direction he was given to develop what would be his third demo in attempt to land the Discovery gig:
Bryan also told me something immensely exciting: “for the new demo, please don’t hold back. Give us full, unreserved Wintory. We want something musically aggressive and unique.” (and, as a side note, they hinted a quasi-religious, almost ‘spiritual warrior’ concept for the Klingons in the show, which was a great musical leaping-off point).
You can listen to that last demo titled “Another New Frontier” inside Wintory’s Medium post.
Shortly after recording the third demo Bryan Fuller stepped down from Discovery, but Wintory was asked to still submit the demo. In early 2017 he was told he wasn’t selected as the composer, but he had no regrets and was happy to be “seriously considered for a major show, one with massive childhood and personal significance.”
Wintory’s tale has some parallels with Star Trek VI composer Cliff Eidelman who revealed late last year he also was in the running to get the job for Discovery. There are likely more composers out there who were up for the job before Jeff Russo eventually was chosen, and maybe they too will come forward and share some of their music for what could have been.
Star Trek writer is a fan
After Wintory revealed his story on Medium, Discovery staff writer Bo Yeon Kim had a fangirl moment, showing her excitement over having the Journey composer pitching for Star Trek.
Okay I'm trying to calm down but BUT JOURNEY AND @awintory'S SCORE FOR THE VIDEO GAME MADE SUCH A HUGE IMPACT ON ME AS A WRITER
— Bo Yeon Kim (@extspace) February 19, 2018
Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on the Space Channel and is available on Netflix everywhere else.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.