Breaking Down the Music: From Jessica Jones to The Inhumans

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Composers panel Sean Callery SDCC

We’re two months away from The Inhumans making their big screen debut.  They made a big splash at San Diego Comic Con with signings, a panel, and a brand new trailer complete with a collection of new footage including some hair-raising action.  There was also a giant stuffed lockjaw that fans could pose with and smaller ones to purchase.

The Inhumans will be a broad and sweeping series that will hopefully start uniting the broadcast television parts of the MCU and we’re all very excited.  The show has a lot to prove, but musically it seems to be on the right track.  We sat down with Emmy winning composer Sean Callery to discuss moving from the singular world of Jessica Jones to the grand sweeping family drama that is The Inhumans. After all, we know how they sound is just as important as how they look.

The difference between Jessica Jones and The Inhumans comes down to size and scale. Jessica’s world is very much hers. It deals with some very difficult themes and topics.  The Inhumans is a family drama at its heart and Callery kept that in mind.

“I cannot imagine this story without a large orchestral ensemble. It involved two planets, all kinds of incredible powers, I think it’s a family, a royal family drama under extraordinary circumstances.”

According to Callery he used a massive orchestral ensemble to create the themes and sounds that make up the Inhumans universe.  It’s technically a two part story with part one taking place on the moon – the home of the royal family – and the other half on earth in Hawaii.  With only 8 episodes in which to tell the story, The Inhumans will be moving fast and weaving characters stories together with an accompanying collection of themes.

The Marvel Universe is famous for its different character themes.  From iconic pieces like the Winter Soldier’s Theme to the “Star Spangled Man” for Captain America, iconic characters get iconic music. Black Bolt and Medusa are no less iconic having been some of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s earliest characters.  Will we see The Inhumans with unique scores for each character? Callery was coy about it.

“It isn’t unreasonable for to look for more than one theme for the Inhumans. There were so many interesting characters right out of the gate. People don’t know where they’re going.”

Creating a Theme

With talented actors like Mike Moh as Triton and Sonya Balmores as Auran, not to mention Anson Mount and Serinda Swan as King Black Bolt and Queen Medusa,  hopefully each of these incredible characters will get their chance to shine.  It’s no longer just a world for one woman or a darker world, each of these characters has an emotional arc that will be brought to the screen. Arcs that will be filled with triumphs and tribulations and possibly negative consequences.

Callery admitted that he has difficulty with those more emotional arcs. “I only see scripts a page at a time.  I want to experience it as a fan but it also influences my music.”

“If I know someone is gonna die- I hate that. I did that on 24 once. It almost had a fatalistic quality.  The producer approached me asking me “Did you mean to make this moment so discordant?”

Callery offered no hints about any emotional moments in The Inhumans, but there will be 71 minutes of music in the first two episodes alone. Those are the episodes that’ll be happening in IMAX which has us very excited for what the show will bring to the very big screen.

Above all, The Inhumans is going to be more accessible than Jessica Jones.  Each piece of the Marvel Universe fits together and Callery praised Jessica Jones and actress Krysten Ritter, mentioning that everyone concerned is currently hard at work on season 2 (start getting hyped y’all!). And while Jessica Jones is important, Inhumans will be something that a wider audience would like.

Are you excited to see where this Royal family drama is heading? How do you think it’ll sound? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Marvel’s The Inhumans will air in IMAX September 1st. It will premiere on ABC on September 29th at 8 PM.

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