The Star Trek franchise marks its 50th anniversary this year, as the original Star Trek TV series debuted on NBC in September of 1966. Next month will see the arrival of the latest Star Trek movie, Star Trek Beyond, in which the Enterprise confronts several different alien races that are new to the franchise.
For that entire 50 years, music has been a big part of what makes Star Trek what it is. There was Alexander Courage’s famous theme for the original series, James Horner’s memorable scores for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, and Jerry Goldsmith’s work across the early movies, the Star Trek: the Next Generation and Voyager TV series and the movies featuring the TNG cast. Michael Giacchino has also provided first-rate scores for the J.J. Abrams era of Star Trek movies, including Star Trek Beyond. Diane Warren’s theme song for Enterprise, to some controversy at the time, had lyrics. However, in all of Trek history, there has never been a theme song for a movie or TV show by a pop star – until now.
Pop megastar Rihanna has debuted “Sledgehammer”, a song from Star Trek Beyond. Released on the singer’s VEVO channel, the song comes complete with a video that features the singer on what looks like an alien Star Trek planet. The song’s lyrics don’t appear to relate directly to Star Trek, although they may be specific to the themes of the movie itself.
In addition, the singer released a short featurette in which she wears a classic Star Trek t-shirt and describes herself as a lifelong Trek fan who was introduced to Star Trek as a young girl by her father. “It just took me one episode to fall in love with this other world that I couldn’t understand but felt like I could relate to… This is something that’s been a part of me since my childhood,” Rihanna said. “It’s never left me.”
Yes, “Sledgehammer” sounds a bit more like a James Bond movie theme song than a Star Trek song. It’s a worthwhile song nonetheless and is (arguably) better than these one-off pop songs for summer movies typically are. Not to mention, Rihanna’s large international following will likely bring some positive attention to the movie.
Some backlash from longtime Trek enthusiasts is to be expected here, arguing that Rihanna’s song doesn’t really have a Star Trek feel to it and that it’s contrary to Trek‘s nerd ethos to feature a song by a glamorous pop superstar. But even if fans object to it, most likely it will wind up playing over the closing credits and not during the rest of the film.
In other Star Trek Beyond news, a new poster has been released depicting the alien character of Jaylah (Kingsman: The Secret Service’s Sofia Boutella). Its at least the third Star Trek Beyond poster to feature this character and Jaylah has been featured prominently throughout the film’s trailers and TV spots too – so clearly, she’s of importance to the actual plot of Star Trek Beyond that was crafted by co-writers Simon Pegg (who also costars as Scotty) and Doug Jung, along with director Justin Lin (Fast & Furious).
Star Trek Beyond hits U.S. theaters on July 22nd, 2016.
Source: Paramount Pictures