Composer Sean Callery said he incorporated themes from Xbox’s iconic Halo video game into his score for the Paramount+ series. However, he added his own themes for the main characters including Master Chief (Pablo Schrieber) and Kwan (Yerin Ha).
“It really was born on one person’s description of him saying he was reaching for something,” Callery, appearing on the series panel at Deadline’s Sound & Screen concert event, said of the Master Chief theme. “He was reaching and I latched onto that word ‘reaching.’ The main title ended up being the guy reaching for something, so I caught a break there.”
Kwan is an original character on the show, a rebel who makes Master Chief question his orders.
Callery said he began writing character themes before action music.
“We really worked on the themes ahead of my starting the show,” Callery said. “Then they got richer as they go. The themes change over the course of the episodes.”
The composer, a four-time Emmy winner for his work on Jessica Jones and 24, said he just finished scoring Episode 9 of Halo 72 hours prior to the Sound & Screen event. Though not a Halo player himself, he said he respected how immersive the games are.
“There’s such an immersive quality to the music because the player is controlling the narrative and the speed of the narrative,” Callery said. “I wanted the score for a show where you’re watching it to be a little bit more immersive, as immersive as you could. The game is 21 years old, so you had to honor that, that quality and the tones of the color, and yet score it and be fresh and new and honor it and be different.”
Check back Monday for the panel video.