Danny Elfman's newly released theme from the upcoming Justice League score includes a subtle reference to one of the most beloved musical cues not just in superhero lore, but in all of film history: John Williams' iconic Superman theme.
The soundtrack listing for Justice League - DC's much anticipated team up film that brings together Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg to take on Steppenwolf in the wake of Superman's death - has been released online, prompting massive fan speculation over its cryptic track titles. Elfman, who replaced Junkie XL as Justice League's composer late in the production process, had previously teased his use of Williams' immortal Superman theme in the film.
Spotted by Twitter user SindarOath, a subtle, dark reprise of Williams' Superman theme at about the 0:22 second mark in the Justice League theme. Have a listen below:
Someone just sent me the FRIENDS AND FOES track from #JusticeLeague.
SMALL hint of John Williams in there.
LOVE this. pic.twitter.com/FCQ2k2YRXT
— ﾑ (@SindarOath) October 26, 2017
This is a very cool moment for hardcore DC fans, and could mean several different things for Henry Cavill's Superman. The decidedly more menacing version of the classic theme could play into the rumors that, for at least part of the movie, the revived Superman is a foe to the other League members. Conversely, evoking the theme of the earnest, morally uncomplicated Christopher Reeve version of the character could potentially be setting up a less gloomy, reborn version of Cavill's Man of Steel.
Elfman, for his part, is something of a legend in the pantheon of comic book film composers. He's honoring Williams' Superman score here, but an argument could be made his score for Tim Burton's Batman films is equally as iconic. He's also done excellent work on the Spider-Man films, and worked with Justice League's writer/reshoot director Joss Whedon on Avengers: Age of Ultron.
It will be interesting to see if Elfman might pull from other past DC themes. Hans Zimmer - who scored Man of Steel on his own and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice with Junkie XL, as well the Christopher Nolan Batman films - has said he's retired from superhero films, but it seems likely his themes for both Superman and Wonder Woman will live on in DC's shared cinematic universe. Junkie XL's Batman theme is decidedly less beloved, so perhaps Elfman could invoke his own work on the Caped Crusader, who is also experiencing something of a heroic rebirth in Justice League.