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How Brian Tyler Composed The Score For 'Thor: The Dark World'

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Joanne Leung
Joanne Leung

Marvel doesn't have its John Williams just yet, but Brian Tyler might be the next best thing. The composer handled score duties for the studio on this summer's "Iron Man 3" and also replaced Carter Burwell as music maestro on "Thor: The Dark World."

"We'd just had a spectacular experience with Brian Tyler on 'Iron Man 3,' and he enthusiastically stepped into this, and delivered what I think is the best score we've had in a Marvel movie," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told The Playlist about Tyler's "Thor 2" contributions. What goes into making a score for the world's biggest franchise machine? HuffPost Entertainment asked Tyler during a recent phone chat.

1. Pay attention to the story


The score for "Thor: The Dark World" sounds nothing like what composer Patrick Doyle did on "Thor," and there's a reason for that. "In this film, he is fully realized," Tyler said, noting that the God of Thunder had gone through an entire "Thor" movie as well as "Marvel's The Avengers" before landing on "The Dark World." "We needed a mature character theme, where he's regal, he's epic, and the romance with Jane [played by Natalie Portman] is kind of melancholy, because she's this mortal that he's fallen for, which could not be further from his side of the train tracks."

2. Take advantage of your setting

thor the dark world

Unlike "Thor," which put the title character on Earth for much of its length, "Thor: The Dark World" keeps the major focus on Asgard, his home planet. "There's spaceships and lasers. So you have that element of the 'Star Wars' influence, which we all grew up with," Tyler said. "It's science-fiction, but within it they wear capes and fight with swords and ride horses. There's almost a 'Lord of the Rings' feeling as well. The music had to reflect these things. Those were not elements really present as much in the first one. So it required something different. I think my score for 'Thor: The Dark World' would have been out of place in the first film and vice versa."

3. Listen to Marvel


"Marvel wants themes that are recognizable and that kind of, more or less, give a branding, personality and a musical thematic hook [to these characters] that you can hang your hat on, post-'Avengers,'" Tyler said.

Not that collaborating with Marvel is a chore. "I love working with them. Kevin Feige is someone I feel simpatico with," Tyler said. "I just really feel he always has the best interests of the film at heart. We're just trying to make films that we would love to watch ourselves. I was a fan long before working with them. A lot of the people at Marvel now were just like me: kids who grew up collecting Marvel comics."

4. Give the audience nostalgia

If the theme from "Thor: The Dark World" sounds familiar, that's intentional. "Something that I find is the hardest thing about composing, but also the most rewarding, is writing something that instantaneously has nostalgia," Tyler said. "You want it to fit so well that the audience thinks it always had to be that way."

5. Have friends like John Williams

Tyler, who grew up listening to John Williams' "Star Wars" score, has become close with the famed composer during the last several years.

"His mantra is that it's all about the music. 'It's all about the music, Brian.' It's true!" Tyler said about the advice he's taken from Williams. "There's so much other stuff that goes on -- box office and politics and awards season -- but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. You should just do what you think you should do, and you're always going to have people who throw stones -- there are going to be people who don't like what you do -- but there will be people who also enjoy what you do. You can't worry about whether there's going to be an award or if the movie is a hit. It doesn't matter."

"Thor: The Dark World" is in theaters now.

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