Hans Zimmer Talks ‘Dark Knight Rises’ & ‘Man of Steel’ Scores

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 9th, 2013 at 11:15 pm,

Hans Zimmer and Christopher Nolan make beautiful music together, literally. Zimmer’s scores for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (which he co-composed with James Newton Howard) perfectly matched Nolan’s moody new take on the Caped Crusader. Likewise, Zimmer’s extraordinary score for Nolan’s Inception not only added to the film thematically, but also provided aural cues for deciphering the film’s labyrinthine plot.

Clearly, the two have an excellent working relationship, so it’s no surprise to learn that Zimmer is meeting with Nolan next week about scoring Batman 3. Now that we know Christopher Nolan’s third Batman film will be called The Dark Knight Rises, should fans expect to hear an uplifting score?

In an interview with NBC San Diego’s PopcornBiz blog, Zimmer said he and Nolan “start early” on film scores and that Nolan is already “puttering around with ideas.” Zimmer went on to describe why he enjoys working with Nolan and the kind of environment the director provides for composers.

“Working with Chris, he gives me all the freedom in the world and encourages me to go and be daring and unusual and crazy and all those sorts of things and be able to be the sort of emotional center of the film. It’s very give and take. I’ll start long before he starts shooting. Our conversations start there and it goes both ways: we just have conversations about the movie and less about what the music has to do, and it really comes out of that, whereby I felt that there was a real emotional core to be had and that that was something that the music had to do and I hung on that for dear life.”

While Zimmer hasn’t officially signed on to score The Dark Knight Rises, it seems like something of a foregone conclusion given the pair’s strong working relationship. Personally, I am very excited to see the direction that they decide to go with the score for this third movie. I’m one of those people that listens to film scores instead of the radio, and few recent film scores have earned quite as much play time on my iTunes as The Dark Knight score.

Superman logo S Hans Zimmer Talks Dark Knight Rises & Man of Steel Scores

Besides The Dark Knight Rises, Zimmer may also be working with Nolan again on Zack Snyder’s Superman: Man of Steel. Recently, I re-watched Richard Donner’s original Superman film and was struck by how timeless John Williams’ excellent score is. If he does end up scoring Man of Steel, will Zimmer be tempted to mirror the classic Williams score for the new film?

Zimmer told NBC San Diego that “it’s a hard one,” but “ultimately you’re supposed to reinvent.”

“It’s a hard one, but I followed one of the most iconic things on ‘Batman’ with Chris as well, and it’s the same thing. You are allowed to reinvent, but you have to try to be as good or at least as iconic and it has to resonate and it has to become a part of the zeitgeist. That’s the job. On ‘Gladiator’ I remember people always talking about ‘Spartacus’ and I kept telling them, ‘When you saw “Spartacus” and how it affected it you, that’s how I want a modern audience to be affected by what we do now.’”

I would agree that “reinvention” is the right choice, especially because this film is intended to stand alone completely from previous iterations of Superman on screen. As iconic as John Williams’ score is, Man of Steel is a new film and deserves a fresh approach.

With the third Batman film finally getting a name, and multiple rumors coming out about the Superman movie (including plans to have a middle-aged Man of Steel), I can’t help but get excited about these movies and DC’s potential resurgence on the big screen. I only hope that Green Lantern does a good job in leading the way for these other films.

Source: NBC San Diego

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  1. :D Can’t wait!

  2. Hans is very talented i love most his scores!

  3. imo Lion King is probably the best… followed by The Rock, Dark Knight, and Gladiator. King Arthur is extremely underrated btw

    • lion king soundtrack is probly my favorite of all time :D

  4. Don’t care for a middle-aged man of steel…and I don’t care for a new Superman theme…you associate the two with one another…it wouldn’t be right

  5. This year’s best scores have to be :
    The Social Network ( by NIN )
    How to Train Your Dragon
    Tron: Legacy (haven’t heard it but you know Daft Punk is gonna make it awesome)

    • I’ll take Inception over any of them.

      Spent 10 listens on Daft’s Tron score. Do the same please.


      • I agree inception may get Oscar for the score

  6. Elfman crapped all over Zimmer’s Batman theme, he wont even begin to touch Williams iconic Sueprman theme.

    Besides compare Terminator Salvation to Predators, I think it’s safe to say using the theme associated with the series is better than coming up with your own cookie cutter CG blockbuster score.

    • I think you are very confused. Re read what you wrote.

      • I see what you mean. However, Elfman couldn’t touch Williams’ Superman theme either so even though I worded my post badly, it’s still correct.

    • elfmans score was ok for its time,maybe u should listen zimmers music a little bit more and see how pwerfull his music is

      • His Batman is quite good. Inception is simply amazing. However I feel Elfman created a very deep operatic score that could be associated with the character, it translated to the Animated series as well.

        • Oh, Elfman was firing on all cylinders! It’s ALMOST Williams level.


  7. right there with you on the listening to movie scores, Rob, i’m listening to The Dark Knight right now

  8. The is plenty of room for invention whilst
    keeping the main theme by Williams.
    Musically it is as iconic as the
    supersuit and they won’t
    be changing that.

  9. this would be a great chance for a collaboration of epic proportions.

    John Williams + Hans Zimmer = Orgasmic sound

    • Epic match!

    • Agreed…even IF I didn’t post it…

    • i agree

  10. I found The Dark Knight soundtrack to be very disappointing, it failed to build on the themes and cues from BB, which is one of my favourite soundtracks.
    As for Superman, well, John Ottman’s Superman Returns soundtrack was simply amazing, just epic in every way a score should be. He should do Man Of Steel.

    • Couldn’t agree with you more doc. I like some of what Hans Zimmer does, but he doesn’t sit right with me when it comes to Superman. Ottman’s take on the theme and the fact that he managed to merge it into new material shows me that you can keep the iconic music; (let’s face it when it comes to recognisable, it’s up there) without losing your creativity and trying something new.

      That being said, the movie does need to stand out on it’s own, but as a previous post stated, there are some things re Superman that you just don’t change.

      • Absolutely, he keeps the JW theme but added so many great parts of his own, the bit with plane crashing is brilliant music.

        • A great scene too! Showed the potential of the film. Overall I liked Returns (Routh’s performance being one of the things that stood out as well as Ottman’s score)but it failed to deliver bringing Superman into 21st Century mainstream cinema. The amount of people who call it boring or that it never really went anywhere is staggering. My wife being one of them and she has to put up with a lot of my films.

          I’ve been an avid follower of this site for some time now but I’m just getting into posting my thoughts. I’ve seen your name pop up quite a few times. I’m curious, what’s your take on Snyder directing this “Superman back to his roots” storyline?

          • yeah I post on here quite a lot. Huge Superman fan me.

            Honestly, I think Snyder’s Superman is going to be a huge failure, becuase it sounds like they are redoing the origin story and changing the character.
            I’m fine with them having a middle aged Superman, that fits well into the comics, but you just can’t mess with Superman. One of the things I’ve always found fundemental in his character is that he doesnt change, the worlds around him can be altered and the other characters can be different, but Superman himself must stay the saame character he has been for 70 years. His ideals are what make him the greatest hero of all time.

            I think Snyder will do well with the actions, if slow motion is meant for one film its this one, to Superman the entire world exists at a slow speed. One of the best scenes in Smallville was Clark out in the rain, when the drops are literally suspended as he moves through them.

            I’m a huge fan of Returns, and while I can see why some people may not have liked it, I found it to be a wonderful character piece. The effects were flawless. I liked Routh, he may have looked a lot like Reeve but he brought something of his own to the part. I also liked that both Reeve and Routh allowed something cheeky into the character, when he was Superman he smiled, and I dont see much of that going on in a Snyder/Nolan flick.

            I worry that a new Superman film, won’t be the character I admire anymore. They will give him faults and try to make him seem human.
            But there is so much potential for Superman on the big screen.

            • Total Superman fan as well. Border line obsessive but isn’t that why we’re on here?

              I’m a huge believer in trusting my instincts and my initial reaction when I heard Snyder was Oh God No! Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan but again, as with Zimmer, he doesn’t feel like the right fit. This all feels like a ploy to get a Superman film out there before they lose all rights to the character commercially. I read that they are looking to get a film done quickly and that Goyer’s story was all over the place.

              You’re right the action pieces will be amazing. Returns was good with that, the bullet in the eyeball scene. Smallville did a wonderful piece recently with Clark saving Lois in the field. (Thank god for the internet, I’m in the UK and don’t get it until Spring 2011). Well played action scenes are Snyder’s strength and that is where the film will succeed.

              Nolan may be the saving factor here. He may realise the mythos of the character and realise that just as you don’t change the recipe for American Pie, you don’t change the essence of the character. A hero that knows his power but never strays from his ideals and how he struggles.

              • I live in UK as well, I have to download Smallville.

                • How cool was the 200th episode!? There were some moments that were truly spot on!

                  • This new season has barely put a foot wrong in my mind, Homecoming was one of the best episodes of the whole show!

                    • True. Liking the direction it’s going in. Welling has really done the role justice.

  11. I would hate it if they did a whole new theme for Superman. John Williams is amazing. It is hard to picture a new theme for him. Even the cartoons, as good as the theme was for SAS, it still didn’t have the power that theme did.
    As for Batman Begins and the Dark Knight themes. Total Garbage. I hated both of them. I have really nothing bad to say about the movies themselves. The music was stupid. I loved the themes from the Tim Burton movies and the Animated Series. Those themes have real power. You can almost literally see the Dark Knight rising from the shadows and ready to pounce. It would be alright for Black Panther or maybe even Wonder Woman cause they are very War Drummish.

    • I accept your opinion, but honestly I think you are wrong. The Dark Knight soundtrack won so many awards, including an grammy. It has been called one of the best soundtracks of the decade.

      As someone who has been a musician for a very long time, I can tell you Zimmer’s work is absolutely brilliant. I grew up watching the older Batman films, and I loved Elfman’s score, it felt like Batman. I even went as far as learning the original Batman theme on piano, several years back, and I remember it to this day.

      But Zimmer’s score for BB, and especially TDK and TDKR, was so much deeper. The Elfman score was amazing as a theme for Batman, but after that it didn’t go any deeper. Zimmer’s score shows all of the facets of Batman’s character, it is so powerful. Listen to the song “A Dark Knight” on the TDK soundtrack. It is such a beautiful and moving track, because of the emotion, it shows the complexities of Nolan’s Batman that the older films never touched.

      The haunting music in Batman Begins is mesmerizing, the music in TDK portray’s themes of escalation, nihilism, and beautifully portrays the emotional elements, and TDKR’s music shows the deep hopelessness of Bruce’s situation, Bruce’s redemption and perseverance, total war, sacrifice, and finally a new hero rising.

      I expect Zimmer to blow us away with his MOS score.

  12. I can’t help but to say John William’s score with be the best Superman one made. I never got tired of hearing the music while watchin the opening credits when the bigs S comes up and you can hear the music say Superman. Brilliant composed. Even Ottman’s Score for Superman Returns was pretty good. Its’s one of the reason i hated to see Superman rebooted because i feel they’re gonna change the score. I also loved Danny Elfman’s score for Batman 89 film. Got both scores from both movies on cd.

    • Elfman’s Batman is just a fantastic soundtrack, the new Batman OST’s pale in comparrison. It’s certainly Elfman’s best work.
      I still find myself humming or whistling his Batman theme, can’t say the same for Zimmers.

      • elfmans music sounds the same,listen to spiderman/sounds like batman,you can pretty much put both of them together

        • listen batman begins and king arthur of hans zimmer they sound the same…all composers do it…john williams superman, indiana jones and starwars have technically the same notes just put different

      • Oh, most definitely not! The new stuff works for the new films, but Elfman’s best theme of all time destroys everything but Williams! The new Batman stuff is nowhere near Hans best.


      • I think, it’s become more than just an iconic score, JW Superman theme is as much part of the character as the red cape.
        Most Superheroes don’t have their own well defined theme tune, but Superman does, and I think if they change, they will lose people.
        Do what John Ottman did, incorporate the theme into your own work. The new Star Trek did a great job of being a brand new score but kept the beats of the original tune.

          • Not because of the theme tune though.

            • maybe not cause of the theme tune but that movie was a damn Donner tribute movie. nothing about that was different the music stayed the same, they choose a actor that looked like chris reeves, etc.

          • The Star Trek theme is heard four times during the course of the movie itself.

            • The Star Trek theme is a different story. There are already 5 different versions of the theme, not to mention the number of movie scores.

              I would say that the same conversation would be had if someone tried to change the Star Wars theme.

              • Precisely. The JW Superman theme is associated with the character not just with the films, they used it in Smallville several times and thats a different continuity

            • the famous “Star Trek” theme music plays at the end. the other music used in the movie was not the famous “Star Trek” theme music it was new song

        • the originall star trek tune was only played at the end of the movie,but yes great score

        • I have to mention this dude because we got into it on another thread. That Trek score pales to every other movie. The ONLY good track is his rework. Reworks are easy, trust me. It’s a good rework, too.


  13. I think the John Williams score is EPIC, but then I really love the Smallville theme (not the title song – I love that too) but the tune that plays when Clarks running around as the blur.

    I think what would be awesome is not to use the original JW score at the beginning of the film to distance itself from previous incarnations) but instead to use it during a monumental scene in the film (maybe the first time we see him as Superman) and then again to close the credits. The rest can be all new, reinventing, etc.

    It’s creeped into Smallville once or twice, and I’d also love to see the show close with the JW theme.

    • Yes the Smallville Superman theme as I call it is very similar to the JW version, which is a good thing. And they used the original theme 3 times I think, twice when Chris Reeve was in the show and one other time I think.

      • Hey speaking of smallville… whats tomorrows episode gonna be about?

        • clark still not flying

        • Tonights episode looks to be a corker, Halloween themed, but you know what the coolest part seems to be? That for the first time in years, it’s not in the studio or on a set, it’s filmed out on s physical location.
          Which is great, because it gives the episode a very specific look, and I think they are trying to make it look like a horror movie.
          The scene where Clark changes the tyre is priceless, using his powers in front of Lois.
          Not sure how Clark loses his powers though…. It’s looks like he gets gutted on the trailer.

  14. I wish he wouldn’t make a new Superman theme. John Williams’ is classic and should not be touched/removed!!!!

    • Totally agree.


  15. I think a Superman reboot shall be clarified through the SUPERMAN: Secret Origins for Zack Snyder to get into. I didn’t like the idea how Superman was Clark Kent during the time he aged and gained Super Powers ? This Superman reboot will make every Superman fan feel desperately confuzed. Dont get me wrong People. “The Man of Steel” should face his true identity to the world who he really is ? Its not like Lex Luther or Lois Lane discovering his secret origins. Its all about Clark Kent wanted to keep all of this to himself and be left alone privately. See if Clark, doesn’t know how to be mature who he is ? The whole world will not be a safer place without Superman. Its time for Clark Kent to move on to his destiny. And stand up to his father Jor-El’s greatest choice. See in SMALLVILLE what we are watching on Friday nights. Clark Kent is not just an average man who he is ? He is trying to keep all this to himself, so no enemy will reveal his true identity.

  16. Looks like I’ll be adding a new CD to the collection of Zimmer soundtracks (Sherlock Holmes, Crimson Tide and Inception) I’ve already played to death.

  17. I love what Zimmer has done with the Batman films, and also the Prince of Eygpt and all the other films he done music too. I am looking forward to seeing how superman will sound, I have to say it would be very hard for him to drop the John Williams score that we all love. Hopefully there is a chance that Williams could team up and deliver something amazing. Tho i think Hans will deliver with possible variations on the superman theme,then again when it came to doing Batman Begins the soundtrack was brilliant awesome,, so it will be a challenge and I think it will be good what ever he composes.

    when I think of inception oh my God the music on that was incredible, mind altering, another level, I have feeling somewhere that superman will have that kind of sound to it.

    keep up the good work hans God Bless and take care

    • Inception is totally brilliant. Have you heard the live performance of 20 minutes of it?


  18. In my opinion, you can never go wrong with Hans Zimmer, especially blockbusters.
    He is the true definition of epic and modern film composing.

  19. James Horner is another great composer, especially his score for James Cameron’s film Titanic. Music was great throughout the film and i thought Celion Dion’s single hit song wasn’t needed other than to sell soundtracks of the film.

  20. OMG more epic music from Hans Zimmer, especially the batman trilogy has one of his best works yet.
    Hope he really gets to work with James Newton Howard again, and possibly do the new Superman as well. Nothing wrong with John Williams soundtrack, but new envisioning could help revive the Superman series.

  21. Love the article,l to am one that has worn out itunes with darknight score and many others,that is all I listen to,especially when it comes to Zimmer his music is so powerful,I look forward to all of his new scores,especially bat 3,and superman,I am one that will purchase the score before the movies come out,l am proud to see I’m not the only soundtrack guru out there great article.