rey's island

The big questions coming out of Star Wars: The Force Awakens are who Rey’s parents are and where she comes from. Daisy Ridley‘s character even quips that its “a big mystery” early on in the film, and there are certainly a lot of theories going around to who it might be. One piece of evidence that many fans seem to be holding on to comes from John Williams‘ score from the film. We’ve posted about this in the past, but fans have analyzed Rey’s theme (the best song from the new movie) and have drawn some conclusions from that piece of music.

But did John Williams even know who Rey’s parents were when he wrote that piece or orchestration? If not, surely Oscar-nominated editor Maryann Brandon must have been told when she was helping J.J. Abrams shape the flow of the story in the editing room, right? The answer may surprise you — find out after the jump.

First of all, here is the video that analyzes John Williams’ “Rey’s Theme” from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens original motion picture score and puts it side by side with the composer’s past work on the Star Wars franchise to get some clues as to what her origins are:

The video concludes that Williams has included some “intentional” callbacks to Darth Vader, concluding that this may confirm that she is indeed Darth Vader’s granddaughter. Of course, that theory is fun and they present some interesting data to back it up but does John Williams even know who Rey’s parents are?

While performing with the Boston Pops Orchestra on Thursday night, Williams admitted to the crowd in attendance at the Symphony Hall event that he doesn’t now who Rey’s parents are, but like many of you, he has some theories:

I never asked J.J. Abrams who Rey’s father is, but I think it’s Luke Skywalker. Your guess is as good as mine, though.

Of course, Williams’ theory that Luke Skywalker is Reys father is as good as any fan theory at this point… except that he has probably gotten a good amount of direction from the co-writer and director of Force Awakens when crafting the themes of the movie.

Williams regularly revisits motifs from previous films, but the moments of Vader in Rey’s theme are probably not unintentional. While we can see the anger getting the best of her in those moments, the official novelization and the released screenplay both suggest that Rey is feeling the pull of the dark side in the climactic sequences of the film. The novelization even goes further with Rey actually hearing a voice insider her head telling her to “kill” Kylo Ren. The voice is described as “amorphous, unidentifiable, raw” and “powered by “pure vengeful emotion,” but the audio book seems to reveal it’s the voice of Supreme Leader Snoke.

So I think if anything, the tones of Vader in Rey’s theme shows her inner struggle with the dark side, which is not to say that she won’t be Darth Vader’s granddaughter. This moment in the novelization and script for me seem to underscore that Rey is the inverse of Kylo Ren, who is consumed by the dark side but feeling the pull from the light side of the Force. I’ve theorized in the past in one of my ridiculous fan theories that Rey could possibly be related to Snoke, which could present a cool Empire Strikes Back-like reveal later on in this trilogy. It would also be very yin and yang to have Kylo be born from the good guys and Rey to have origins in the dark side. Again, though, it’s just a fun theory. I think it’s definitely most obvious that Luke Skywalker is her father.

Meanwhile, after a special screening of The Force Awakens at The Pollock Theater, Oscar-Nominated editor Maryann Brandon was asked if she knew who Rey’s parents were and revealed that JJ didn’t tell her either:

I actually don’t know. I am not even sure that they know. J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan weren’t talking about it. They shifted back and forth and they haven’t talked about it. Your guess is as good as mine. In some films that are serialized we change things all the time. We start with one intention and suddenly, you know what, scrap that idea, let’s change who everyone is.

I guess no one gets inside the mystery box, not even those artists working side by side with Abrams to help bring his vision to the big screen.

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