As a figure known the world over for the better half of a century, it seemed impossible to truly capture Batman on film while staying true to the dark origins of the source material. Some of the most iconic writers claim that director Christopher Nolan did it best (if not better), but in this modern age of superhero blockbusters and shared movie universes, The Dark Knight Trilogy is already making way for a new caped crusader in Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
After adding yet another iconic musical score to Batman’s legend, it was no surprise to see composer Hans Zimmer (a frequent collaborator of Nolan’s) be tapped by Snyder to help do the same for Superman in Man of Steel. A similar return for the sequel was all but assumed, but when Batman – a brand new version played by Ben Affleck – became part of the deal, Zimmer’s involvement seemed less certain. Now, the team has found a solution.
At the time Zimmer confirmed his role on Dawn of Justice, he admitted that the thought of crafting a new musical identity for the Dark Knight was “a dilemma.” Now the composer has explained to SpinoffOnline that the idea of “betraying” his past work has been solved with adding another composer to the mix:
You know something? I have agonized over it. I agonized over it, so much so that finally, I went, I don’t want to betray what Chris, James Newton Howard and I did. And so I asked Zack [Snyder] if it would be OK if I called a friend in. And I’m going to be working with Junkie XL, who really is a great friend. He just finished the Mad Max score. I said to him, “You take care of Batman. I’ll do the other guy.” And Zack loved that idea. It’s a way out.
For those who may not know, Junkie XL (a.k.a. Tom Holkenborg) is no stranger to either blockbusters or Hans Zimmer, having handled composer duties on the likes of 300: Rise of an Empire, Divergent, and Mad Max: Fury Road, and collaborated with Zimmer on The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel. And with Snyder clearly on board with the two taking on credits as co-composers, there’s yet another reason to expect something new from Dawn of Justice.
Besides being “a way out” for Zimmer, it’s a compelling approach to bringing two distinct leads to screen in one story. From the very start, nobody has underestimated just how difficult it will be to introduce a new Batman to mass audiences, with Christian Bale’s take still so fresh in popular culture. Details as minor (to some) as Ben Affleck’s ‘Bat-voice’ will be scrutinized more than Bale’s ever was, which is why reports that the first Batman V Superman trailer will be ‘Batman-heavy’ were no surprise – a sign WB and Snyder were tackling the questions head on.
Even if Christopher Nolan has moved on from DC’s Justice League universe (although he isn’t ruling out a return just yet), and his own trilogy won’t be included in the shared fiction, Zimmer remained one of the few creative figures saddled with both the old and new. Thankfully, Zimmer offered some insight into his plans for adding to “the other guy”s musical landscape for the sequel, speaking with HuffPo (via ComicBook.com):
I celebrate humanity. My big thing with Man of Steel is that rather than doing this big splashy thing, I was looking for a human element. I thought, why can’t I think of this character as someone who has these powers but what he really wants is to be more human. I think the whole thing with Kryptonite is that it’s an easy way out — but that if you really want to destroy Superman, you break his heart.
Audiences may get their first sense of how Junkie XL will be portraying Affleck’s Batman (and Bruce Wayne) when the first trailer arrives, rumored to be coming before the end of this year. He has some lofty competition, but many would say his theme and score don’t need to be the best; simply right for Snyder’s Justice League.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters on March 25, 2016.
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