Welcome to Right on Cue, the podcast where we interview film, TV, and video game composers about the origins and nuances of their latest works.
The third season of Star Trek: Picard had a lot riding on its shoulders. It was the final season of its own series, as well as a bombastic, blockbuster-level bow for the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation and a signpost for this current era of Star Trek on Paramount+. For its first two seasons, Patrick Stewart and the showrunners shied away from Starfleet uniforms and shiny utopias, and Jeff Russo’s score reflected that (as we’ve discussed with him on this very show). But showrunner Terry Matalas had a different vision in mind for Season 3: Celebrate the crew whose adventures captured generations of fans, with a big, brassy sendoff meant to give them the finale they finally deserved.
And that they did, thanks to the tireless work of composers Stephen Barton (Titanfall, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor) and Frederik Wiedmann (The Dragon Prince). Together, they handled hours of big orchestral sounds, crafting new themes for ships and characters like the Titan and Jack Crusher. At the same time, there was decades’ worth of callbacks to Star Trek’s musical legacy that needed acknowledgment, from Jerry Goldsmith’s TNG theme to the movie-esque sweep of James Horner and Dennis McCarthy. Through plenty of blood, sweat, and tears, they pulled it off, crafting an immense body of work that fit snugly within the legacy of Star Trek while incorporating musical Easter eggs big and small into its superstructure.
This week on the podcast, Barton and Wiedmann join me for a nice long chat about the hectic production process, the many Trekkian cues they had to blend together, and the value of having creative collaborators (like Matalas) who know exactly what they want.
The entirety of Picard Season 3 is available for streaming on Paramount+. You can also listen to the score on your preferred music streaming service courtesy of Lakeshore Records.