The second season of "The Walking Dead" might have ended weeks ago, but its fiery, foreshadowy teases linger on. While you're mourning its hiatus and mulling over new cast members, we chatted with composer Bear McCreary, who might be cooking up that prison theme for Season Three at this very moment.
First off, how ahead of the action is McCreary with regard to when he knows who lives and dies?
“Well, I can read the scripts. I try not to because I like my initial reaction to be the same as the fans," he told MTV News recently. "If I’m watching an episode and I know a character is going to die, it discolors my experience. If I don’t, and I’m just watching it, and its raw and I get to feel that emotion when I see it happen, it helps give me ideas. With that said, it’s almost impossible not to know, because when you’re talking to people, you just kind of find out."
McCreary added that sometimes, he drew inspiration from knowing a character's full arc. For example, knowing in advance that Shane would not make it out of season two alive was very helpful in composing music around the character.
"In a way, certain characters that died this season, Shane, it actually, it colored the way I started to write his theme in very early episodes, long before audiences even suspected this would happen," he said. "Knowing that he eventually reaches the point that he reached, it allowed me musically to kind of help guide his increasing psychosis. You know, knowing that we will eventually reach this fever pitch, I could start planting that seed early. So, it does help to know. There are exceptions, but it really just depends on what the project is.”
Creators often don't like to play favorites, but for McCreary, he had to admit that there's one "Walking Dead" character he particularly enjoyed: little Carl Grimes. McCreary was a fan of Carl's continued loss of innocence, and created a special theme to support the character's progression.
“I was thinking about music to 'To Kill A Mockingbird' when I wrote it, elegant and sparse and childlike. Once that’s established, then you can f--- with it," he said. "And now, it’s so weird and haunting and long. It’s really a great symbol for his innocence being destroyed, which is the arc that his character unfortunately must endure."
Do you listen for McCreary's personalized character themes in "Walking Dead? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter!