How much can you accomplish in four and a half weeks? That’s about all the time Michael Giacchino had to compose his score for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Alexandre Desplat was the first choice but he became unavailable due to reshoots. Hearing a Desplat Star Wars score would be terrific and I hope he’s considered for another film in the saga. Considering the short time span, we’d excuse Giacchino if his score sounded rushed or generic. It doesn’t.

In fact, he works in several of John Williams original themes and motifs to make a score that sounds like Star Wars. You don’t hear the callbacks often but you don’t need to. Giacchino’s new themes and pulsating strings echo Williams’ compositions without sounding too Star Trek-esque. Save for a few moments everything sounds like it belongs in the Star Wars universe.

In terms of orchestrations, everything you’d expect returns: fast and complicated brass sections, whirring strings, dynamic themes, and the big crescendos/decrescendos. There’s so much new music that sounds like a Williams piece you may have to double-check the composer. Giacchino does have a few marks present that sightly downgrade things. The choir is a definite pull from his Star Trek scores, as well as his now-obligatory piano solo and one or two motifs.

I’ve said for a while Giacchino is Williams’ probable successor. Of course, Giacchino’s no Williams but that doesn’t stop him from trying. After the underwhelming Doctor Strange score, Rouge One proves Giacchino can still be a top-tier composer. And that’s wonderful news.



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