With Star Wars, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi just two weeks away, I'm offering my predictions on the film and its music.
To be clear: I have not read ANY spoilers and there are none in this blog (I don't know any spoilers, so I can't spoil them!). All the thoughts I'm writing down are my own speculations and there's no guarantee that they're accurate.
Prediction #1: Kylo Ren's lightsaber
Kylo Ren's lightsaber is particularly peculiar. And it's not because of the cross guard style of emitting three blades (the large primary blade with two smaller blades extending horizontally to protect the hands of the user).
Rather, it's the jagged edges of the blades that catch my attention. This is observable in the photo above, but it's much more noticeable in movie clips. In the video below, notice the difference between Ren's constantly flaring blades vs. Rey's (Luke's) solid blade.
It's as if Ren's blades are made of flames - constantly rippling - instead of solid.
Now, maybe this means nothing - perhaps it's just a lightsaber design and nothing more. It's possible I'm contriving meaning where there is no meaning. But I rather doubt it. Because this is different from EVERY OTHER sith lightsaber seen in the movies (Maul in Episode I, Dooku in Episode II, Sidious in Episode III, Vader in Episodes IV-VI), who all have solid-bladed sabers:
I'm guessing the horizontal "mini blades" are merely a distraction. Viewers would have easily picked up on the lack of solid blades had Ren used a non-cross guard lightsaber. But by adding those cross guards, viewer attention is focused on this new style of saber, and so deflected away from the blades themselves.
I'm guessing that Ren's lightsaber's lack of solid blades is symbolic of his lack of solid commitment to the dark side. And I strongly suspect this tenet will be a major factor in the upcoming film.
Prediction #2: Rey's parents
There are, of course, dozens of theories on Rey's parentage:
And my personal favorite:
Unfortunately, no matter how this plays out, I imagine a great many people are going to be disappointed.
So here's my guess: Everybody has it backwards. Rey's parents aren't what's important. Rather, her offspring are what's important.
Every theory I've read assumes a linear progression of time and so only characters who appear older than Rey can be her parents. That is, of course, entirely logical. But I suspect it's wrong! I'm suggesting that, by implementing time travel into the plot, Rey might actually be the mother of a significant character (Shmi Skywalker? Obi-Wan? Palpatine? Jar Jar?).
Frankly, I hope I'm wrong with this prediction because time travel never quite makes sense (too convoluted). But I won't be surprised if time travel is involved in explaining Rey's family situation.
Prediction #3: The Music
In my Music of Star Wars presentations, I cite a few examples of organic musical development. The "Luke and Leia" theme, for example, grows organically out of the main theme. And "Augie's Great Municipal Band" at the end of The Phantom Menace grows organically out of the Sith Theme from Return of the Jedi. These relationships help tell the story through music. And I'm betting there will be similarly organic musical development in The Last Jedi with Rey and Ren's themes. I'm not sure of the details in how that will work (how could I be?), but given Williams' previous work, I strongly suspect to find more organic narrative growth in the new soundtrack.
In The Force Awakens, Rey's theme is much more prominent, substantial, and developed than Ren's. So I suspect that, although Rey's theme will continue to be developed, Ren's theme will undergo more development since it has more room to grow.
Am I right - about any of this? We'll find out in two weeks!
The Music of Star Wars
These posts will help focus and develop my analyses of John Williams' film scores.