After years of anticipation, The Flash has raced onto the big screen, bringing action, adventure and musical magic from Benjamin Wallfisch. The talented composer is no stranger to DC. He previously worked on the score to Shazam! (heck, we even spoke with him about it.) Nor is he new to the visions of director Andy Muschietti. That’s his work on the disturbing soundtracks to both chapters of IT. But The Flash—a superhero who has made a mark on television and as part of the ensemble DCEU, yet has never had a solo film prior to now—is arguably his biggest challenge yet. After all, it also features appearances from iconic DC heroes that stretch all the way back to the 1950s.

In this exclusive interview, Wallfisch shares his insights on establishing a musical identity for DC’s Scarlet Speedster and incorporating themes from other composers and films, as he gives us a glimpse into his journey of composing The Flash’s remarkable soundtrack. (Warning: Slight spoilers for The Flash follow.)

Ezra Miller’s Flash has appeared in other projects prior to this film. Did you look for anything in those to help in composing the score?

I love those movies and one of the first conversations I had with Andy [Muschietti] was how to create continuity whilst still ensuring we did something completely bespoke. But in the end, the story of our movie has such a personal emotional core motivating everything: Barry’s attempt to bring his mother back to life and reinvent his own identity in doing so. Finding a way to tell that story musically became the top priority as a starting point.

Back in 2020 when Andy Muschietti called me about coming on board the film, the script wasn’t finished, so I downloaded the original Flashpoint comics. Reading them, I got this powerful sense of a young man searching for his own identity and the first thing that came into my head was this restless undulating piano motif accompanied by driving asymmetrical string patterns, and a melody that keeps building and modulating. I wrote that as a sketch and presented it to Andy, and two years later, it ended up evolving into the cue “Run,” which you hear as Barry discovers the Chronobowl for the first time.

You’ve worked with Andy Muschietti before. How has your partnership evolved?

Andy is a genius and a true friend and creative partner. He creates a feeling of family among his collaborators and enables us to do our best work by creating this inspiring environment where all ideas are heard, whilst there’s also this incredible and vivid vision that is always beyond anything any of us could imagine. Andy’s also a fantastic musician, and there’s a real trust that’s built up between us over the seven years or so of us working so closely together. I love working on changes and suggestions he gives after hearing a cue for the first time as it always results in more color, interest and unexpected surprises. Also, his emphasis on emotion, and the deeper human level of the storytelling, makes my life so much easier as a composer, as that’s where music naturally lives most comfortably.

Even when working on the IT films together, which are of course built around intense horror, the priority was to turn those films into adventure movies, with a strong emotional core. The same is true in The Flash—Barry’s relationship with his mother motivates everything else that happens in the story. So, even with all the spectacle of a time-bending superhero movie, Andy always makes sure emotion drives the core musical decisions. It’s a collaboration I love and am very grateful for.

This film has so many interesting characters. What was it like creating motifs for each of them?

As ever, it was super collaborative with Andy and a really fascinating process. Of course, there are two Barrys in most of the movie and towards the end the Dark Flash appears, who is in fact, a third iteration of Barry himself. I love to create little musical games that function under the surface with the way the themes interplay with each other, and I did that with “The Dark Flash Theme,” which is in fact the “Flash Theme” but in literal reverse.

“Supergirl’s Theme” needed a nobility to it to echo the way Sasha played the character, and of course, I needed to find a way to honor the sound of Affleck’s Batman music from previous movies, but evolve it to fit the world of The Flash, which meant coming up with something new with a ton of propulsion and forward motion whilst still honoring the sound. And then of course, finding a way to connect Affleck’s Batman with Keaton’s, through a new theme which focuses on Bruce’s backstory, which you hear in a couple of key dialogue scenes.

There’s also a theme for Nora, of course, which is at the heart of the score, a new theme for Zod, who has a new mission this time, and as we go further into the paradoxes and chaos caused by the time travel and Barry attempting to fix the past, the “Worlds Collide” theme aims to draw all the threads together with a simple melody played over colliding harmonies that never quite settle. And I haven’t even started talking about how much fun it was to celebrate and reinvent Danny Elfman’s iconic Batman theme for Michael Keaton! It was an absolute joy having the chance to work with so many characters and story points and finding ways to connect it all together.

On that subject, what was it like recreating Danny Elfman’s iconic Batman theme?

I’ve been a huge fan of that theme from the moment it hit me as a ten-year-old back in 1989. Alongside John Williams’ Superman theme, it’s the tune that turned me into a lifelong DC fan. It was about celebrating it, respecting it and finding a way to reinvent it for our story in the context of a love letter to all DC fans young and old.

Keaton returns to this role with more complexity and is more sage with the wisdom of age. But at the same time, he’s also much more physical in this movie and the action sequences he is involved in are off the charts spectacular. So, his music needed to reflect all that, whilst still finding its core DNA in the world of Tim Burton. Andy encouraged me to go all-in with the process of reinvention, mining all kinds of alternative harmonizations, melodic variations and so on from those iconic six notes. You can hear them both full tilt, but also planted as Easter eggs.

Are there any other musical Easter eggs fans should keep their ears open for?

So many! They’re everywhere in fact. But I don’t want to give them away!

Which scenes were the hardest to score?

Probably the sequence at the end with the worlds colliding. But it was such a fantastic and exciting process of iteration to get it to where it is now in the movie. We recorded it over several scoring periods, as the sequence itself kept evolving and growing in scale and scope, even after we did our original scoring sessions. And even as we were recording it, Andy kept having fresh ideas, including how to musically honor probably the most iconic cameo of the movie. That’s one of the things I love about working with Andy. There’s always room to take things to another level at every stage in the process.

I always love the names given for the track listings. Talk to me about coming up with those.

That’s always a fun final stage of the process. I tend to look to lines of dialogue for inspiration, and also try and capture the overall tone of the movie in the title choices.

There are a couple of hidden meanings in the titles, which you’ll only get if you listen very closely, like “Batdoneon,” and for those who buy the three-LP version of the album, I also wanted to do something fun with the shape the typography creates when you see the list of titles for Side A. I’ll leave that for people to go discover!

The Flash: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is now available for purchase or stream.

The Flash, directed by Andy Muschietti and starring Ezra Miller as Barry Allen, is in theaters June 16th. Visit our official Flash hub for more news, interviews and videos about the Flash!