Update (October 27, 2017): You can now hear the famous John Williams tune as featured in the "Friends and Foes" track on the Justice League soundtrack. It's quite an ominous track and it's clear that something big and epic is happening on screen. Twenty-five seconds in, the familiar theme appears; perhaps it's the first appearance on Superman in the film? You can listen to the theme in the tweet below:
When Marvel embraced the 1970s Spider-Man theme song for last summer's Spider-Man: Homecoming, fans rejoiced. Now it seems DC is taking (musical) notes.
Music choices are a hugely important part of filmmaking. A particular theme can be so perfect that it sticks with a character forever — a great example of this is John Williams's Superman theme from the 1978 film starring Christopher Reeve. It personifies the hope and freedom Superman stands for, so much so that it was later included in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Smallville, much to fans' delight.
But when Warner Bros launched the DCEU with Man of Steel in 2013, the studio wanted to avoid comparisons to previous films, and thus created its own character themes. While this may have been a noble decision — especially since some critics felt Bryan Singer's Superman Returns was too devoted to the Reeve movies for its own good — the reaction to Man of Steel was mixed due to its bleak tone. The hopeful melody of John Williams's theme may not have fit the #DCEU, but it was certainly missed.
The Superman Theme Will Make An Appearance In 'Justice League'
Justice League composer #DannyElfman has given fans a reason to cheer as he teased the inclusion of the classic theme in the upcoming film, telling Billboard:
“There are a few little fan moments. I instated a moment of the Wonder Woman theme that Hans Zimmer did for Batman v Superman, but I also had two minutes where I had the pleasure of saying, ‘Let’s do John Williams’ Superman,’ and that for me was heaven, because now I have a melody to twist, and I’m using it in an actually very dark way, in a dark moment. It’s the kind of thing that some fans will notice. Some won’t. It’s a moment where we’re really not sure whose side he’s on.”
Based on Elfman's comments, it's reasonable to assume that the theme will accompany Superman's grand arrival in Justice League. As he's been conspicuously absent from the trailers so far, it's obvious that #DC wants the Man of Steel's return to be a memorable moment in the film — and how better than to incorporate his quintessential theme into the scene?
A Dark Twist?
The other interesting element of Elfman's comments is the fact that he will be using the theme "in a very dark way, in a dark moment." While this could simply mean that Superman will return in the final act of the movie to save the fledgling League from Steppenwolf's attacks, Elfman's use of the word "dark" could partially refer to Superman's new black suit.
The black suit first appears during the classic storyline "The Death and Return of Superman" from 1992; Superman wears it when he makes his long-awaited return after being killed at the hands of Doomsday (just as portrayed in #BatmanVSuperman). This costume was designed to help Kryptonians heal from wounds, as the black colouring would absorb the sun's radiation quicker.
At first, Superman returned more powerful than ever, but it soon became apparent that prolonged exposure to solar radiation had caused his powers to become inconsistent. If Superman returns with inconsistent powers in Justice League, he won't quite be the deus ex machina that he might seem. Though a weakened Superman is still a formidable opponent, it's safe to say that he wouldn't be able to take on Steppenwolf entirely by himself — thus he'll need the Justice League as much as they need him.
While Danny Elfman is no stranger to creating perfect soundtracks (The Simpsons theme tune, anyone?), he's certainly got the right idea. Though Hans Zimmer's score for #ManOfSteel was well-received, nothing could ever beat John Williams's Superman theme. Its inclusion in the Justice League score will definitely get the fans excited.
Justice League hits theaters on November 17.