For composer Michael Giacchino, creating the music for Star Trek into Darkness was less stressful than doing it for Star Trek (2009).
But there was still pressure for Giacchino to get it right and to not disappoint the large Star Trek fanbase.
Working on a sequel was different than working on the first Abrams Trek film. “I feel like everybody sort of had their bearings down,” said Giacchino. “Everyone understood what they were doing, whereas before, on the first one, everybody was trying to figure out, ‘Well, what are we making? What’s our tone? What’s appropriate? What’s not appropriate?’ We were thinking about all those things and trying to figure out how to make it work. This one was a little bit more freeing. It felt like, ‘OK, we’ve got a lot of the fundamental stuff down, and now we can just build on that.’ That, speaking for myself, was a very freeing experience. I had a blast on this one. That’s not to say I didn’t have fun on the first one, but I feel like the first one was more difficult.”
Freeing or not, there was still the pressure to get it right again. “[Star Trek] is different because it is a massive franchise with a huge fan base,” he said. “So you always have that in the back of your head. Star Trek is something that I grew up with and loved as well. So not only do I not want to disappoint myself, but I don’t want to disappoint other people who love it as well. So you’re always struggling with that, though, in the end you just have to do whatever you think is best for this particular script, this particular story, for this particular movie. Also, you have to let go of what was and deal with what is.”
One nod to classic fans was using original series music for the end credits of the movie. “We used it in the end credits because I feel like every time we’d go and try to use it (elsewhere in the film), it would stand out too much,” said Giacchino. “It called attention to itself.
“But we always knew that, come the end credits, we could do it the hugest way possible and then just have a lot of fun with it.”
Giacchino is currently working on Jupiter Ascending, Planet of the Apes, and Tomorrowland.