Here is a guide I put together for 2022 scores:
It has been said that Zimmer and RCP dominate the action adventure genre in the past 2 decades, and this year looks to be no different. After a derisive 2021, Holkenborg starts things off with the all-female spy film The 335. Man of Wrath’s Christopher Benstead returns with Operation Fortune: ruse de guerre, an action comedy undercover mission film. Can Lorne Balfe continues his ascension with Michael Bay action thriller Ambulance and Mission Impossible 7? Speaking of rising stars, Ramin Djawadi looks to capitalize on popular video game adaption Uncharted and action-comedy assassin film, The Man from Toronto. Dominic Lewis speeds ahead with David Leitch’s Bullet Train, while Tyler Bates geared up for John Wick: Chapter 4. Fan favorite Pinar Toprak returns from space to score Sandra Bullock’s The Lost City. Even Mark Isham joins the fray to carry The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Finally, Hans Zimmer and Harold Faltermeyer enters the danger zone with the much delayed and anticipated score, Top Gun: Maverick.
These genres have had yielded some of the most beloved scores from the community and there are several titles in 2022 that scream Score of the Year. Scream is exactly what Brian Tyler hopes to accomplish early on while hit-and-miss Thomas Wander aims to deliver big impact with Emmerich’s disaster(alien?) film Moonfall. Holkenborg looks to subvert expectations with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Michael Abel say yes with another Jordan Peele horror collaboration, Nope. Giacchino continues his prehistoric romp with Jurassic World: Dominion while Elfman looks for answers on a mysterious planet with sci-fi thriller 65. Two films will probably dominate most of the conversation: James Newton Howard’s expected follow-up, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and Simon Franglen’s monumental follow-up, Avatar 2.
As usual, this genre is a blender of the familiar and the unexpected. Patrick Doyle finally brings back the intrigue with Death on the Nile while Benjamin Wallfisch rescues Ron Howard from a too-busy Zimmer with the Tham Luang cave story Thirteen Lives. Brian Tyler promised to bring his upmost passion in Redeeming Love, while Nathan Johnson steps into his comfort zone with Knives Out 2. Oscar sensation, and rising prospect Justin Hurwitz reunites with Damien Chazelle to score the golden age drama Babylon while little known composer Elliot Wheeler will tell the biopic story of Elvis. What Nick Cave and Warren Ellis will conjure up for the Marilyn Monroe’s biopic Blonde is anyone’s guess. Not so much guessing with John Lunn’s Downton Abbey: A new Era. Where we will likely find more bang is in Robin Carolan and Sebastian Gainsborough’s score for the historical Vikings epic The Northman.
With the MCU, DCEU in full swing, and a legion of films in development, this genre is not slowing down anytime soon. And 2022 looks to be just as fertile as before. What will Jon Ekstrand bring to Morbius? Horror? Gothic terror? Generic Action? We will find out soon enough. Giacchino has a chance to create a career defining score with The Batman while cementing his fingerprints on another icon with Thor: Love and Thunder. Benjamin Wallfisch will zoom ahead with The Flash, perhaps inching closer to becoming the go-to composer for DC superheroes. Ludwig Göransson returns to his Oscar winning soundscape with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, while Rupert Gregson-Williams looks to generate more waves with Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Last but not least, Danny Elfman looks to capture old magic as he enters the Multiverse of Madness with Doctor Strange.
In a genre where most film composers can’t do any wrong, Ludwig Göransson will dip his toes in the pool with Pixar’s adolescence chaos film Turning Red, while Steve Jablonsky looks to turn back the clock with DC League of Super-Pets, a movie about…super pets. Yes, we have another Minions movie, Minions: The Rise of Gru, scored by Heitor Pereira and yes, we have another Hotel Transylvania movie, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania, with Mark Mothersbaugh. And believe or not, we also have another Spider-Man film, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part 1) scored by the returning Daniel Pemberton. Away from the superhero blitz, Alexandre Desplat and Guillermo Del Toro will reunite to put more shine on another classic, Pinocchio.
Looking for those 3-hour long albums? There are too many TV shows to name, but here are some new scores to watch out for. Harry and Rupert Gregson-Williams’ historical 1880s New York drama The Gilded Age. Clint Mansell and Kevin Kiner’s superhero satire Peacemaker. As a fan of Nicholas Britell’s Succession, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with for Winning Times: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. Ramin Djawadi will try to add to his storied television legacy with Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon. Will The Last of Us by Gustavo Santaolalla enthrall all of us? And how glorious will Howard Shore’s music for the Lord of the Rings series be?
Films and TV Shows with Unknown Composers:
Films: Will James Newton Howard reunite with Jaume Collet-Serra on Black Adam? Will Randy Newman return to score Lightyear for Pixar? Will Ludwig Göransson return for Jordan’s Creed III? Who will score the untitled Super Mario film? Will it be a Japanese composer or a familiar Hollywood name?
TV Shows: Will Hans Zimmer and his team return to score BBC’s ambitious Planet Earth III? Who will Disney tap to score shows like Moon Knight, She/Hulk, and Ms. Marvel? What about Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Remember Bear McCreary? He is back in the realm of epic norse fantasy with God of War: Ragnarök and narrative driven adventure, Forspoken. Olivier Deriviere returns to score A Plague Tale: Requiem, after scoring the acclaimed original. Sekiro, Dark Souls III, and Bloodborne composer Yuka Kitamura will score the anticipated fantasy game Elden Ring, while Elder Scrolls veteran, Emmy and BAFTA winner Inon Zur will score the new action role-playing adventure Starfield. Fan favorite Gareth Coker will tackle Vin Diesel starred Ark II while videogame scoring titan Austin Wintory will anchor the part narrative-driven adventure part interactive musical, Chorus: An Adventure Musical.