- The Marvels brings together Captain Marvel, Captain Monica Rambeau, and Ms. Marvel, with a unique challenge of creating music that supports their teamwork.
- Composer Laura Karpman integrated a distinct soundscape for each character in Ms. Marvel, but in The Marvels, the focus is on creating continuity and character among the three leads.
- The score for The Marvels incorporates a single theme for the three superheroes, emphasizing the energy and dynamics of their powers and teamwork. The film also explores space and the emotional journey of the characters.
Carol Danves, aka Captain Marvel, is investigating a strange wormhole with ties to the Kree in The Marvels. Her estranged niece, Captain Monica Rambeau, is working for Nick Fury’s SABER and also investigating this anomaly that somehow entangles their powers with each other and teenage Jersey City hero Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel. The heroes try to work together, learn to use their entanglement to their advantage, and face off against Captain Marvel’s old enemy, the Kree.
The Marvels will bring together storylines introduced in Captain Marvel, WandaVision, Ms. Marvel, and Secret Invasion. Nia DaCosta directed The Marvels. She also co-wrote the script with Megan McDonnell and Elissa Karasik. The Marvels stars MCU veterans Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, and Samuel L. Jackson, with newcomers Zawe Ashton and Park Seo-joon joining the cast.
Screen Rant exclusively interviewed composer Laura Karpman about The Marvels. She explains how the soundscape for The Marvels is unique from other projects she has worked on, including Ms. Marvel, and how she created a sound unique to this team. Karpman also breaks down the space opera element and seems to confirm that What If…? season 2 is coming this holiday season.
Laura Karpman Talks The Marvels
Screen Rant: Hi, Laura. First of all, you are phenomenal.
Laura Karpman: Oh, thank you.
With a character like Ms. Marvel, whom you worked on before, she had a very unique soundscape. Can you talk about integrating that into The Marvels?
Laura Karpman: Ms. Marvel and The Marvels are very different projects. They share a character, a lead, but where they’re at in their spaces are very different. In Ms. Marvel, you’re introducing a Jersey City teen, who’s also got South Asian roots, right? Who also, by the way, is a Marvel superhero in training, so to speak. So, the challenge of that was to create all three of those things to work with that particular character. Marvels is a different beast because with The Marvels, the challenge is to take the three leads and to create continuity and character among them, and to create music that supports and augments their teamwork.
Even though you’ve got the same people, you’ve got them in really, really different circumstances. And I think when you look at a score, you’re not just looking at like, “Oh, person tag theme,” you’re looking at, “Okay, where are we conceptually in the life of somebody? How are we supporting this emotionally? How are we supporting this team? What journeys are they going on?” And they’re different than what Kamala did in Ms. Marvel.
You are working with three different superheroes. Can you talk about weaving their sounds as they’re swapping and making that kind of cohesive?
Laura Karpman: Right, it’s hard, and basically the idea was to create a single theme for the three of them. So, think about it like Captain America to the Avengers, so that you’ve got a team of superheroes, they have their own sound profile as a thing, but then they’ve got all these places where it doesn’t quite sync up. So it’s not about, “Oh, I see Carol, I see Kamala, I see Monica,” it’s not about that. It’s about, what’s the energy that’s going on? Are their powers working? Are they not working? How are they working together? So, I think it’s less about IDing each of them individually than about tying them together as a team, a functioning team, and at the beginning, in the swaps, not so well.
Working with a character like Ms. Marvel, it’s a lot different from what we saw in her own series, but how do we see the character evolve through music?
Laura Karpman: I think that she joins up with two other people who come from different places, who are in an emotionally different place. So, she grows into that as well, and I think that it’s beautiful to watch her in this film and to watch how she evolves and grows.
I watched the trailer, and I saw an extended version of a few scenes together, and this seems like the most fun Marvel movie. Can you talk about some influences you used to key into the fun that we see in this film?
Laura Karpman: I think there’s a lot of that, there’s a lot of action, there’s a lot of physicality to the film that needs score to accompany it. So I think in terms of some of the stuff we’ve been talking about it, the score has a lot of percussive elements, has that physicality embodied musically. I think another aspect of this, which we haven’t talked about is they’re in space.
People are in space, and so what does space sound like? What is that groove? What is that vibe? How does that affect the music that our characters are functioning in? And then of course, you’ve got a lot of emotion. So, you’ve got to think about also, how can you be emotionally resonant with the journey, with this formed family, with this found family, chosen family in fact?
I was looking at my press notes, and I did come across something that I found kind of unique. The X2 and Days of Future Past theme. Was that in conjunction with a theme for Ms. Marvel since we got that kind of X-Men ’90s theme in her series, or is that something completely different in The Marvels?
Laura Karpman: I think I’m going to let everybody go and enjoy the film and see what they see as far that goes. You’ll have some fun with that.
I certainly hope so. I love the X-Men, so that’s my number one thing. Can you talk to me about the collaboration process of working with Nia to create the proper soundscape for a film of this scope?
Laura Karpman: I think the very first thing that Nia said is that she wanted a theme for this particular team. She wanted something that sat in the MCU, that was iconic and hummable, but the other thing that she said, which doesn’t necessarily conflict with that, is she wanted it to be a space opera. So, what does that mean? So, immediately I thought of course of voices, and how could we use voices, not in a generic kind of way, but in different functional ways?
So, one of the first things that we started to do was record different kinds of singers, singers who come from totally different musical backgrounds, not ask them to blend as you do in a lot of choral writing, but ask them to really be themselves and have their own personalities. So, that’s very much kind of in synchronicity with the way that our superheroes function in this film. I think that there’s a lot of that.
You see a film, and you think about what’s going on organically story-wise in a film, and then how can that reflect back on the score? How can that become an organic part of the DNA of the musical score? So, definitely voices were that. I did some other cool stuff, like I commissioned sonification, which is basically taking space data and changing it into music.
I used this really cool computer scientist composer to help me do those things. So that was super, super cool to create that sound of space, as well as recorded a whole huge array of percussion instruments, but I think for the most part, you’re trying to have music that can rise to this massive landscape, visually, sonically, and emotionally.
It looks so much fun, and I’m excited about your work on What If…?
Laura Karpman: Oh, thank you, season 2 coming out right around Christmas, I think. It’s really fun.
About The Marvels
Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, has reclaimed her identity from the tyrannical Kree and taken revenge on the Supreme Intelligence. But unintended consequences see Carol shouldering the burden of a destabilized universe.
Check out our other The Marvels interviews here:
The Marvels arrives in theaters on November 10.
- Release Date:
- Nia DaCosta
- Brie Larson, Zawe Ashton, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani
- Adventure, Sci-Fi, Action
- Disney, Marvel
- Captain Marvel
- Marvel Cinematic Universe
SOURCE : screenrant.com