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‘Star Wars,’ ‘Superman’ Inspire New ‘Avengers’ Score

Composer Brian Tyler’s score for Marvel’s “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” will try to pay homage to the music of films like “Star Wars,” “Superman” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Those films “changed the game,” the composer said during the Musical Anatomy of a Superhero panel at Comic-Con on Thursday in San Diego. “It’s the template for ‘The Avengers’ coming up.”

That’s good news for fans of superhero movie music who have seen a bi-polar split between the serious sound of more recent Batman and Superman movies at DC and the triumphant and bombastic sounds of Marvel’s films.

“Marvel’s vibe is more old school, more heroic,” said Tyler Bates (“Guardians of the Galaxy”). “DC seems darker, post-apocalyptic.”

John Ottman, who recently scored “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” said the now-classic “Superman” and “Batman” scores by John Williams and Danny Elfman served as a “resurrection of the film score. It gave license to the composer to write an original lyrical score which is rare these days.”

“They brought back themes to scores,” added Blake Neely, who also composes around 35 minutes of music for each episode of “Arrow” and the upcoming series “The Flash.” “It gave kids tunes to sing after they saw these movies, which is definitely intimidating to us. There are certainly scores that have raised the bar so high you don’t want to top it.”

With “The Avengers” sequel, Tyler (“Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World”) will attempt to reference the “Iron Man,” “Thor” and “Captain America” films in order to create a similar musical universe. “That’s the goal for sure,” he said. “You have to build in nostalgia and do it upfront so you can relate to it.”

Tyler, who also scored the upcoming “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” said that film will feature a new theme, but still provide references to the animated series. The sound is mostly made up of an orchestra and choir. “It does have moments where we give the wink of the eye for sure,” Tyler said.

For “Guardians of the Galaxy,” writer-director James Gunn told Bates “we’re making a space rock opera,” which led the composer to create “my most purely orchestral choral score ever, mostly because of time.”

The film’s music features little of Bates’ signature guitar riffs, given that he only had three hours to record queues. “I wanted to keep it purely orchestral and draw inspiration from movies of the past rather than what’s happening currently,” he said.

When asked how he balances both editing films and writing a score on his movies, with the composer recently doing double duty on “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” Ottman said “I eliminate every joyful thing in my life; all dinners out, all movies, everything interpersonal is eliminated. That’s the only way I can do it. It sounds dour but it’s true.”

Ottman initially planned to write the score for the “X-Men” film in December, but the date kept shifting and didn’t happen until the end of January. The music was recorded in April.

“The advantage is I know the film and its issues better than anyone ever could,” Ottman said. “The problem is the time to write it.”

When it comes to collaborating with directors or stars who also produce, Beck noted Tom Cruise “was definitely involved” with “Edge of Tomorrow.” “He has his fingerprints on it.”

Beck, who also scored Disney’s “Frozen,” said he gets a lot of credit for writing the film’s hit song “Let It Go,” “and now I just say thank you.”

Many of the songs already had been written, and “there are a lot of songs written for the movie that weren’t used than were used,” Beck said.

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