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With the first trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story arriving last week, we finally got our first look at the movie. This has clarified many aspects of the film; so now it’s time to get confused. One item that we thought had been clarified previously now appears to be up in the air after all. We’ve understood for quite some time that Alexandre Desplat would be the composer for Rogue One, but it turns out that may be an open question.
To be clear, nobody has heard that Alexandre Desplat isn’t composing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but as Star Wars rumor site Making Star Wars points out, there was never actually any official announcement from Lucasfilm that he was writing the music in the first place. Desplat made the announcement himself on a French podcast a year ago. Now, MSW has learned that since then there have been some problems, which their source describes as "contentious." Apparently, as of right now Lucasfilm has no contract with Desplat to score the film and they have two composers waiting in the wings in case things fall through with Desplat.
While scoring the film is something that often isn’t completed until later in the process, as you need to have something resembling a finished product in order to know what music needs to be written, the fact that Lucasfilm may not have a contract with Alexandre Desplat is certainly curious if true. Even if this rumor is accurate, it sounds like Lucasfilm still wants to make it work with Desplat and the "back-up composers" are only there in case things completely fall apart. There’s no indication of what the contentious issues are here. The obvious problems, of money or differing creative ideas, come to mind, but we really have no idea.
Listening back to the trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the music that’s used is a little basic to say the least. It wouldn’t be surprising if there wasn’t much music ready to use anyway, but perhaps that damned annoying siren was used to help cover up the fact that they didn’t have a score to put in. Rogue One will be the first Star Wars movie to not include John Williams as the composer. Though, as the trailer showed, the themes he’s already created aren’t going anywhere.
Alexandre Desplat was the composer for Gareth Edwards Godzilla so the two have a previous working relationship. It was likely Edwards who wanted to bring in Desplat in the first place. This makes it a bit unlikely any disagreements are with him. We’ll have to keep our eyes on this rumor to see what develops.