David Buckley was the composer attached to The Wheel of Time series back in December 2019, but in January of this year, we reported that he has since moved on from the production. A replacement has not yet been announced, so we thought it would be fun to present five composers we would like to work on The Wheel of Time — one favorite pick from each of us followed by the composer we think is the most likely to replace David Buckley.
Composer: Bear McCreary
Other work: Battlestar Galactica, Black Sails, Outlander
Why they would be a good choice: I’ve been a fan of Bear McCreary ever since the Battlestar Galactica remake. That score uses leitmotifs on a level that rivals cinema greats like Lord of the Rings (Howard Shore) and Star Wars (John Williams). Leitmotifs will be crucial in the Wheel of Time score; character arcs, locations/cultures, and aspects like the One Power, the taint, balance, etc are central to the story, and music is a perfect opportunity to portray those intricacies. Bear is also a master at integrating a variety of instruments and musical styles. Given that Wheel of Time pulls inspiration from many real-world cultures, the musical score should reflect that diversity. Finally, his scores are incredible at evoking emotion and setting a particular mood for a scene.
Composer: Christopher Tin
Other work: Civilization IV, To Shiver the Sky (album)
Why they would be a good choice: If my work ever requires focus, which is quite often, a film or tv series score playing in the background is almost a requirement. Of late, Christopher Tin has been one of my top go-tos. We all want a score that is unique and iconic, reminiscent of Ramin Djawadi’s main title for Game of Thrones, but looking beyond the obvious, I’m hoping for a composer who can offer up some powerful and devastatingly anthemic pieces. Christopher Tin does that really well. He also seems to pull off writing vocal melodies so they’re part and parcel of the song and the orchestration, as opposed to a separate layer that sits on top of it all. There are so many places where his style can shine, think Aiel or Ogier songs. I also believe he has the experience to give us music authentically representing the many cultures of the Wheel of Time universe.
Composer: Jeff Russo
Other work: Fargo Season 3, The Night Of, Legion Vol. 2
Why they would be a good choice: Russo is very good at creating themes or leitmotifs in his scores. In his writing process he starts by making themes for characters or the show that he will use throughout the entire series and then builds the score out from there. An example of this is with the show Fargo, where he has to come up with new themes every season due to the anthology structure of the show. Russo is also very good at knowing when and when not to have music for a scene so that when he does have music it has the maximum impact possible. According to Russo, “Music really can push a story in one direction or another, and I feel that the less of it you use, the more important music becomes. Using music sparingly is a great way to maximize its effectiveness, and that’s how I try to treat a score.”
Composer: Bruno Coulais
Other work: Wolfwalkers, Coraline, Himalaya
Why they would be a good choice: Bruno Coulais is a master of setting the proper mood with his music. Whether the tone is light and whimsical, creepy and unsettling, or epic and haunting, he’s able to create music to match in a way that complements the visuals without overshadowing them. He also has experience writing music inspired by different cultures, which I believe is vital to a sound that reflects the world of The Wheel of Time.
Our Most Likely Choice
Composer: Lorne Balfe
Other work: His Dark Materials, Mission Impossible – Fallout, Assassin’s Creed III
Why they would be a good choice: Lorne Balfe is a Grammy-award winning composer for movies, television series, and video games. He is a protégé of acclaimed composer Hans Zimmer, and while he still does collaborate with him, Balfe is a prolific composer in his own right. He has composed for many different genres, including fantasy, and has experience with the type of leitmotif work we believe is vital to The Wheel of Time.
It’s worth noting that Lorne Balfe follows Rafe Judkins and Rosamund Pike on social media. 14th Street Music, a music production company founded by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe, is also following the official The Wheel of Time account on social media. This is particularly intriguing because 14th Street Music follows a number of other film/television productions, all of which were scored by Lorne Balfe or an associate. Coincidence? Maybe…
At any rate, we hope to get official confirmation soon. We can’t wait to find out whose score we’ll hear when The Wheel of Time graces our screens.
Until then, what do you think of our choices? Write your thoughts in the comments below!
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