Jupiter's Legacy is a story about kids who never asked for superpowers, wanting to live their own life. Imagine your relationship with your parents, now add capes. After its premiere on Netflix, May 7th, fans are going crazy trying to figure out who is right among The Utopian (Josh Duhamel), Skyfox (Matt Lanter), and Brainwave (Ben Daniels). In the series, The Union must not only battle supervillains but also struggle with the next generation of supers in a world that has somewhat outgrown their antiquated ideals. Based on Mark Millar and Frank Quitely's acclaimed book Jupiter's Legacy isn't about battling evil super villains or stopping runaway trains for eight episodes. It is first and foremost a superhero show, but it's a grounded story about complex family dynamics and the cyclical nature of history. Composer Stephanie Economou (Manhunt, Whiskey Cavalier) creates a superheroic theme that feels satisfyingly epic and yet is versatile enough to twist and turn through the diverse range of emotions throughout the series.
A long-time collaborator of composer Harry Gregson-Williams (The Martian, The Meg), Economou leads a new class of composers who (much like the heroes in the show) carry on the legacies of the greats who came before while also establishing their own unique, equally-powerful, lyrical voice. After producers heard her work on The Meg, they felt her music really lends itself to the aesthetic they were looking for. Taking a break from scoring the upcoming Assassin's Creed: Valhalla DLC titled Siege of Paris, Stephanie joins Bleeding Cool for an exclusive chat about how she crafted the epic Jupiter's Legacy score and much more.
Bleeding Cool: How would you describe the show to someone who has never seen it.
Stephanie Economou: I'd say that it's really a family drama about the dynamics and the complexities of relationships between parents and children and relationships between siblings and relationships between lifelong friends, but they're superheroes. And they're living in a world that is constantly changing. The rules are changing and it's a unique look into how that affects a family on a very basic level. Despite the fact that they have powers and save the world from time to time. I think at the core of it that's really what it is.
BC: Mark Millar his characters are usually amalgamations and analogs of other superheroes. Is there any past superhero music that influenced this score?
SE: No. I actually made it a point to not listen to Superhero scores. I really wanted to. Obviously, I have seen my fair share. Not too many superhero movies, embarrassingly, but I didn't want to listen to any iconic superhero scores in preparation for this. I really just wanted to be influenced by the story they were telling and their onscreen interpretation…. kind of do what felt right and what came naturally being inspired by that.
BC: Like the show itself the "Jupiter's Legacy" score is new and unique and stands apart with its own characteristics. Did you use anything from Mark Millar's original text to further connect the music and the show to the adapted source material?
SE: We got to approach it more like a longer feature film as opposed to an episodic season. That was really important to them, to kind of take that sort of outlook on the music. So Episode Seven, obviously, is really a wild epic episode that is kind of a stand-out of the series as they take their journey to the island and it results in them being granted their powers… I decided that I wanted to write a big choir piece. Like a choral requiem piece using the main theme of the show, which is Sheldon's Union theme. It just felt like a time to take a bold step and to do something different… So I went into Mark Millar's original comic book series and I found these scenes and I took his text from the comic book series and translated (it) into Latin for the Choir to sing on. There's lots of other weird experimental vocals throughout the series so it made sense to translate it to Latin, but it felt like a nice way to kind of round out the storytelling. Starting with a little bit of a nugget from the original series using his words. … it's from when they're in Morocco right before they charter the boat the rest of it was taken from lines when they were on the island. I think that comes from volume three.
BC: Is there a separate score or sting for each character?
SE: Yeah, there's so many characters in the series so it was important to me to give our main characters some sort of theme or signature or motif. So you'll hear Sheldon (Josh Duhamel) the Utopian's theme (Union of Justice) which is the main show theme. Chloe (Elena Kampouris)got a theme which is kind of that kind of industrial rock theme. Raikou (Anna Akana)has a theme, she's such an awesome character. There's a theme for Grace (Leslie Bibb) and Walter (Ben Daniels) and George (Matt Lanter) and now there's an adventure theme. So there's lots of musical motifs happening throughout. That was important just because the scope and the scale of the show is really changing.
Sometimes it gets to that scale where it's the big superhero action sequences against Blackstar (Tyler Mane) or it's really intimate family drama moments that are sensitive and dark and painful… we're also hopping time periods. We're going from modern-day into the 20s and 30s, or we are going to Morocco. There were a lot of moving elements to this story. And I wanted to establish this thematic material for these characters, so that regardless of where we are or what time period we are in, that thread is still there. That musical signature for that character is still there and it's evolving through their origins and into the modern-day. I think that was a good way to kind of tie all of the stories together without making it a period score in the 20s and then modern in the modern-day. It was kind of all sort of just one.
BC: Who is your favorite superhero from "Jupiter's Legacy"?
SE: Raikou she's just the coolest. I don't like to throw this word around a lot but she is very badass. She's got her own thing going on. She's a bit of a criminal. She is totally self-sufficient, witty, mean. I just loved it. I loved her performance- Anna Akana- I loved scoring her awesome little action sequence. That was really a good time overall.
Jupiter's Legacy is currently streaming on Netflix. For more info check out www.netflix.com/JupitersLegacy