Hans Zimmer and Bassist Yolanda Charles performs on the Outdoor Theatre during day 3 of the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival.
By Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Hans Zimmer is having quite a year. From touring the world with his orchestra to shredding his Coachella set to providing Christopher Nolan with another winning score for Dunkirk, the composer is perhaps the film world’s biggest rockstar. Which is why it’s not surprising that he’s taking on scoring duties for Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, the most hotly-anticipated sci-fi of the year. What is surprising is that Zimmer is reportedly taking over from longtime Villeneuve guy Jóhann Jóhannsson.
VF HWD has reached out to representatives for Zimmer and Villeneuve for comment.
You might not know Jóhannsson’s name (no relation to Scarlett) but if you’ve seen Sicario, Prisoners, or last year’s Arrival, you’ve heard his work. All three of those movies were also directed by Villeneuve, so the news of Jóhannsson’s involvement with Blade Runner 2049 was not at all shocking. But it looks like he’s stepping down, possibly in favor of another project, according to Studio Ciné Live (via Film Music Reporter). He has three other films on his 2017 slate, including Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, and the most exhausting thing anyone can ever do is overextend themselves. This isn’t an unheard-of move in the film composing world, either: John Williams gave up scoring Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One in favor of Steven Spielberg’s The Papers.
Jóhannsson will still be involved with Zimmer and his collaborator Benjamin Wallfisch in the composing process for Blade Runner 2049 (Wallfisch also contributed to Zimmer’s Dunkirk score). It’ll be interesting to see how much Zimmer’s own bombastic, BWAAAAM-heavy style makes it into this movie, and how much of Vangelis’ original vibe will be in the sequel. Some of that band’s familiar synth-infused soundtrack has made it into Blade Runner 2049’s trailers. Maybe it’s time for Zimmer to get into synth. He sure knows his way around an electric guitar.