SDCC 2019: Music Is More Than A Sidekick For Your Favorite Super Heroes
Composers Michael Giacchino, Pinar Toprak, and Christopher Lennertz discuss the process of creating the music for Marvel films and television!
Think back to your favorite Marvel Super Hero scene. The visuals fill your mind first, but what makes the memory become even more enhanced is the background music that accompanies those epic battles and triumphant moments.
Music does more than just set the tone for heroics, it creates an emotional connection to characters and stories. During SDCC 2019, the 7th annual "Musical Anatomy of a Superhero: Film and TV Composer" panel gave fans insight into the backstories of how their favorite Super Hero scores came to be from composers such as Michael Giacchino (Spider-Man: Far From Home, Doctor Strange), Pinar Toprak (Captain Marvel), and Christopher Lennertz (Agent Carter), among others.
Getting to create the music for a huge Super Hero film can sometimes be about a strong connection to a character. Pinar Toprak took a risk and hired a 70-piece orchestra to record her demo in hopes of getting the Captain Marvel job.
Passionate about the project, Toprak even took it a step further. “I recorded like an actor’s self audition tape and talked about Captain Marvel and what I thought about the character,” revealed Toprak. The commitment to the project paid off as Toprak went on to create the memorable music behind the first female-led Marvel film, Captain Marvel.
For Christopher Lennertz, it was all about knowing what musician would give the best results for the right scene. “In Agent Carter, Peggy [Carter] was walking down the street to go to SSR for the first time," shared Lennertz. "For that scene, I thought of Peter Erskine, probably one of the greatest jazz drummers that ever lived, and I was like, that’s the guy I want. And he was perfect.”
Michael Giacchino believes that the key to creating music for heroes is developing a custom fit to the character’s needs.
“It’s like building a suit for somebody,” explained Giacchino. “Whatever I’m doing, I’m trying to build a suit for a project. So if I’m building a super suit for the Incredibles movie, it’s going to fit that movie. If I’m building a suit for Doctor Strange, it’s a completely different idea that might fit him differently, and the same for Spider-Man.”
“You’re always trying to figure out what the character is that you’re writing for,” added Giacchino.
He believes that giving the character human qualities that you can relate to is key to scoring the Super Hero genre. “Super Heroes are people too," said Giacchino. "I’m always looking for their vulnerabilities.”