Edwards said that the pandemic gave him a lot of time to work with production designer James Clyne on NOMAD, which has a very distinctive look (which Edwards described as a blend of “a bird of prey and an all-seeing eye in the sky”) and sound. While they spent a lot of time creating the visual depiction of this ship, the sound was a really important part of it as well. Edwards, who collaborated with supervising sound editors Eric Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn (whom he’d previously worked with on “Godzilla”), said the two have “a dance, is probably the nice way to say it, between music and sound, and it’s never a fight.” That said, the sound came first.
Editor Joe Walker (“Dune”) did the first cut of the film with sound alone. “So when we watched the first version of the movie,” Edwards said, “it was nearly five hours and there was just sound. There was no music whatsoever.” That choice was a throwback to how films used to be done. He spoke about the choice and how it can help, not using music at first:
“It really exposes you, because music can hide problems in the storytelling. It can make you feel things and get you out of jail. So not having any music and having just the sounds was really difficult. But it’s kind of the way they used to make films in the ’70s: They would cut a movie together and never really have much music. And then finally, someone like John Williams comes in and it all gets elevated.”