Listening back to the soundtrack of The Force Awakens, it suddenly struck me that Rey’s bright but yearning theme actually maps on top of the Force theme John Williams has established across the saga. I don’t know why this hadn’t jumped out at me earlier – but the chord changes are the same, which cannot be an accident.
(For those who don’t know what this “chord changes” nonsense means, it just refers to the underlying musical design of a melody. If this is the same between two themes, it’s just how you can hum, “It’s a Small World” and “76 Trombones” on top of one-another and they’ll ‘fit’ together.)
PopSugar actually identified the relationship long ago, but they completely misidentified the themes (and botched the interpretation as a result):
What they identify as Luke’s theme is actually the Force theme woven together with Rey’s. Luke’s theme does actually show up in this clip, but it’s at the very end of the suite in the harp/vibraphone, just for a brief moment… just like Luke’s appearance the movie. (Never let it be said that Williams didn’t have a sense of humor!)
So, what does this all mean? Well, it strongly suggests that Rey is “one with the Force” in a way we’ve never seen before. And up until now, who has been the most Force-infused person? It just so happens to be another young, desert-bound prisoner of circumstance who was extraordinarily good with mechanics… and piloting.
Yep, I mean Anakin, the alleged “Chosen One.” But, how could Rey be more One with the Force than the Chosen One? Brace for the plunge into the rabbit hole.
What we know about this Chosen One is sparse.
- A virgin birth arising from the Force, the Chosen One is foretold (somewhere) to be the one who will “bring balance to the Force,” whatever that actually means. (Ep. I)
- Anakin Skywalker had the highest Force reading in Jedi history (according to Qui-Gon), and he was a virgin birth; according to his mother, “There was no father. I can’t explain it. Can you help him?“
- Believing Anakin to be the Chosen One, Qui-Gon commits Obi-Wan to training him as a Jedi, despite’s Yoda’s premonitions of danger. (Ep. I)
- Palpatine takes specific and targeted note of Anakin as soon as he is made aware of the boy: “And you, young Skywalker – we will watch your career with great interest.” (Ep. I)
- Palpatine reveals prior to Anakin’s fall that an ancient Sith Lord wielded the power to “influence the midichlorians to create life” – effectively to create Force virgin births! (Ep. III)
- Obi-Wan cries out in despair that the prophesy had gotten everything so wrong about the Chosen One: “You were the Chosen One! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness!” (Ep. III)
Well, with all of this in mind, what Williams has done here in musical parlance is suggest that maybe it wasn’t the prophesy that was wrong… maybe it was Qui-Gon’s choice in the Chosen One.
Envision a scenario where the Jedi are duped by a Sith facsimile of a Chosen One – A corruptible Force-demigod who would be instrumental in overthrowing the galaxy if properly trained, prodded, and seduced away from the light, producing an Anti-Chosen One who destroys the Jedi and brings the entire galaxy into darkness.
Doesn’t this look exactly like the saga we have?
So, by extension, is Rey the real Chosen One? This is what Williams appears to be subtly suggesting. Signs certainly seem to point in that direction. …And the clues mount when movie details viewed through this lens:
- The elderly ally in the Jakku village makes a point to bring up Chosen One Prophesy lingo: “Without the Jedi, there can be no balance in the Force.” (Ep. VII)
- Even the title The Force Awakens could literally refer to Rey, herself – a Force-conceived child of prophesy – awakening to her destiny as the Chosen One.
- Rey confounds a stormtrooper with no training and without even a hand motion – something we’ve never seen before, even amongst the most powerful Jedi. (Ep. VII)
Another interesting thing about this idea is that it’s a way out of (and a way to explain) all of the prophesy references in the prequels that don’t result in the prophesy just being plain wrong, or arm-waving it away as something Vader did when he killed the Emperor. I’ve never found that wholly satisfying.
So, while I’ve been on Team Rey-is-a-Skywalker for the longest time just in terms of symmetry, I think this musical choice has convinced me away. Rey may be something, and someone, truly new: The child of prophesy long ago foretold to bring balance to the Force. And what about her parents? Galactic nobodies, probably. (Who was Shmi Skywalker but a slave on the outer rim?)
And in this light, not only would it still be a family saga in a global sense, (Rey is 1/2 Force, like Anakin, while Luke is 1/4 Force, and Kylo 1/8th Force), but the operatic themes here ramp up the epic level to 11:
- Son of the Anti-Chosen-One trains the Chosen One for a cosmic confrontation with the grandson of the Anti-Chosen-One in a duel for the fate of the galaxy.
Or even better in terms of Symmetry:
- Prequel Trilogy: Obi-Wan trains Skywalker as Chosen One, who falls to the Dark Side.
- Original Trilogy: Obi-Wan trains new Skywalker to defeat the old Skywalker.
- Sequel Trilogy: Old Skywalker trains the Chosen One to defeat a new Skywalker.
I’m in. I’m now Team Rey-is-the-Chosen-One.
Will we get the big reveal in The Last Jedi? I don’t know – but now that the thought is out there, keep an eye out for the clues.