Thor: Ragnarok score composer Mark Mothersbaugh reveals that Led Zeppelin would not allow the production to change their iconic Immigrant Song in the movie. The Led Zeppelin song was a huge piece of the original trailer and the pairing was almost too perfect. As it turns out, Immigrant Song was always a part of Ragnarok as director Taika Waititi used the song as the soundtrack to his sizzle reel for the project, which left a lasting impression on Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige who has since called the reel "amazing."
Ragnarok score composer Mark Mothersbaugh recently spoke about his work on the score as well as the use of the Led Zeppelin track. "Immigrant Song" worked so well in the movie that they ended up using it twice and had to reach out to songwriters Jimmy Page and Robert Plant who agreed (and got paid a lot of money) to let the song run twice in the movie. Page and Plant reportedly saw the movie and the use of their song and loved it. Mothersbaugh had this to say.
"I love that song. So great. And fits so perfect in the film. They did it in the trailer. How many months ago was that? Four months ago? Five or six months ago? And it was such a hit that they knew they wanted to see if they could talk Jimmy (Page) and Robert (Plant) into letting them put in the movie and they had to see the movie and they loved it, they really wanted it to be in there too. So that's how we ended up getting it for two uses."
The production of Thor: Ragnarok was on a roll and decided to press their luck with the legendary British band. Mark Mothersbaugh recalled that they had an idea to embellish Immigrant Song with a hundred-piece orchestra conducted by Mothersbaugh, but Jimmy Page and Robert Plant flat out denied any changes to the iconic song. One could see why Mothersbaugh and crew wanted to update a little bit of the song that was originally released in 1970 to better fit the futuristic score, but the mighty Led Zeppelin blocked the idea. Mothersbaugh explains.
"If there was only one regret, we threw it out there, what do you think about the idea of letting Mark put his 100-piece orchestra over the second use on the bridge. And they were like 'no one's allowed to touch our song in any way musically'. They have these rules of what you're allowed to do. It was an idea... maybe on the next film..."
Aside from the amazing use of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song, Thor: Ragnarok has a fun immersive score, courtesy of Mark Mothersbaugh. A lot of the score was composed on vintage synthesizers and echoes much of Mothersbaugh's work with his band Devo. Mothersbaugh channels the sounds of the 1970s and 1980s all the way to the future, while utilizing an orchestra as well. The composer had this to say about his process.
"So, what I did to try and protect him (Taika Waititi) is I wrote the score totally as if it was just the strongest, most memorable possible Marvel film you could think of, but then I also in a parallel universe I wrote the score that you could dial back and forth how much electronics and how much human orchestra you wanted and so I gave Taika and Kevin the opportunity to, at their final mix, when they're seeing everything that I haven't even seen yet, I gave them the ability to take it further in to a new direction with new electronics, or they could pull it back out and stay in the world that was you know, the world that everyone knows as a Marvel universe. I think they did a good job of giving it a new sound. I think they did a good deal of giving it something new that's still rooted and it's got its foundations in the sound of Marvel that everyone expects."
Thor: Ragnarok is currently out and smashing the box office with a little bit of help from a strong comedic tone throughout the movie as well as the use of music in the movie. The soundtrack and score are similar to James Gunn's approach in Guardians of the Galaxy, but completely fresh and innovative in comparison. You can read more about Led Zeppelin's refusal to let Mark Mothersbaugh tamper with "Immigrant Song" via Screenrant.