5:30am PT by Byron Burton
'Avengers: Endgame' Composer on Finding a Poignant Ending for the Journey
It's the endgame for veteran composer Alan Silvestri.
Silvestri has scored Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers and Avengers: Infinity War — and ends the current chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with this week's Avengers: Endgame.
To prepare, the composer spent some time on the Georgia set with the cast and crew.
“I was there witnessing these elaborate action sequences, which were being shot on three separate stages,” Silvestri tells The Hollywood Reporter. “The added challenge was of course that they were working on both films [Infinity War and Endgame] simultaneously.”
The time and effort put in by filmmakers The Russo Bros. was something that inspired Silvestri as he worked on the scores for both films.
“Joe and Anthony [Russo] worked night and day for three years on these films, and their dedication became a driving force for me to deliver a moving and purposeful score," Silvestri says.
In Infinity War, the Avengers went up against Thanos on multiple planets and failed at each attempt. Thanos acquired all the Infinity Stones and enacted his cruel plan to erase half of all living creatures in the universe. In Endgame, the remaining team must try to come back from their failures. For the Russos, Silvestri's music has been a key component of their saga.
“Alan’s one of the greatest composers in the history of the film business,” co-director Anthony Russo says. “His music gets married to the film in the editing process and it’s just unimaginable that the scenes could exist without it.”
Russo adds that fans can expect to hear a number of callbacks in Endgame.
“In terms of preserving themes from the MCU, we wanted to harness Alan’s themes from Captain America as well as his previous Avengers work, specifically Infinity War, which has one particular cue tied to one of the stones," says Russo.
The Russos directed Silvestri toward an operatic score for both films.
“They said to not be afraid of making bold choices,” Silvestri says. “These are big films where life, death and love are all on the line. It needs an aggressive approach musically.”
Recalling the death of Loki, Silvestri depicted the brutal strangling with a powerful string run.
“That is an example of where I just went for it, and I trusted the Russos to tell me if it was too much," says the composer.
That scene set the tone for the film, showcasing both the power and cruelty of Thanos.
The Russos consider Infinity War to be Thanos’ film, and the majority of the score was written around the purple Titan. Silvestri assures fans that Thanos’ themes are very present and intact in Endgame.
“He’s still wearing the same cologne, we aren’t going to reinvent any of the antagonists’ cues," he says.
Silvestri wrote several themes around Thanos acquiring the Infinity Stones, one of which will come back for an emotionally charged scene midway through the film. Silvestri hopes that fans of the MCU will cry during the film for a myriad of reasons.
“My hope is that they tear up… these are long-term relationships between the audience and these characters… people have grown up with Iron Man, Captain America and Thor,” Silvestri says. “I hope that tears come during the sad moments, as well as the victorious and heartwarming ones.”
For the Quantum Realm and particularly Ant-Man/Scott Lang’s involvement, Silvestri was able to mix things up with the score.
“Without going into details, those sequences in the film allowed for more of a minimalist, jazz score. This has the most versatile tone in terms of music of any of the Avengers films," says Silvestri.
Silvestri found the change of pace invigorating, after having thunderous percussion and powerful brass propelling the massive battle sequences.
Chris Evans has indicated he would retire the role of Captain America after Endgame (though he later clarified he wasn't being definitive when he sent out a farewell tweet in October.) When asked about Captain America and Evans’ stance on finishing with Endgame, Silvestri offered his feelings on what could be his last time scoring the character.
“It was very enjoyable and poignant, as I’ve been on this journey with him since the beginning," said the composer.