The spirit of Anakin Skywalker has returned to the galaxy far, far away. But why has it taken so long?
The spirit of Anakin Skywalker has returned to the galaxy far, far away. But why has it taken so long for Hayden Christensen’s redeemed Jedi to make an epic comeback?
Some things are better left unsaid. The name and homeworld of Yoda’s species is a prime example. Yet, one of the unicorns of Star Wars that has always eluded appearances and has always been wanted by fans is the Force ghost of Anakin Skywalker. This specter appeared at the end of Return of the Jedi, in that heartfelt, warming scene, beaming at his son, restored and back in the Light. Yet, after that, there really hasn’t been any depiction of him in any of the massive material that Legends accumulated from 1983-2014.
Believe it or not, in Legends he actually briefly appeared a day later to his daughter Leia, asking for her forgiveness. This occurred in the book ‘The Truce at Bakura’. Which in the Legends continuity, takes place a mere 24 hours after the end of the Emperor. And it bombarded fans with an extremely dire situation, in the form of the Ssi-ruuvi. A scary, soul-stealing dinosaur alien species who came to claim the galaxy for themselves with the death of Palpatine.
Palps telekinetically contacted them years ago, recognizing the dangers of their abilities, and formed an alliance. He would supply them with Force-sensitives to drain their life force from to power their war machines. Quite terrifying if you ask me. Anyway, in 2014, the slate was wiped clean and the Ssi-ruuvi were no more.
Back to Anakin; he just never appeared again in Legends. Except as an ambiguous disembodied voice to his grandson Jacen Solo during the Yuuzhan Vong War. Which was coincidentally another threat from a horrifying alien race. So why, did Anakin literally “ghost” his son and his friends? Perhaps, he was embarrassed to appear as he put his children and son-in-law through a lot of pain during the Galactic Civil War. Maybe, he thought he should just stay away.
Over a century after his death, he kinda appeared to his descendent Cade Skywalker. But it was as an illusion of his former dark self, Darth Vader so I don’t think it counts. Cade was equidistant enough that I guess Anakin felt a little less guilty to face him. Now Legends is gone. Canon is the new standard, and many expected the ghost of Skywalker to appear at the end of The Rise of Skywalker. Perhaps to guide an errant Ben Solo, his canon grandson to redemption. Yet he didn’t appear and only made himself known as a voice in Rey’s head as she resisted the power of her dark grandfather.
STAR WARS ADVENTURES
The Sequel Trilogy ended and many fans were disappointed that they didn’t get a Hayden Christensen ghost cameo. But apparently, fans were not left holding their breaths for long. Because they received a Halloween 2021 gift with Anakin in the flesh (no not really), appearing at the end of the Star Wars Adventures IDW comics; appearing to Lina Graf and her brother at the location of his once infamously owned dark castle. The castle was haunted by echoes of his alter-ego and was basically the galaxy’s most spooky haunted house.
This is the first new appearance of Hayden Christensen’s Anakin albeit it as a spirit. And we see how Anakin has resumed his heroic, goodly personality. He also has a Force ghost lightsaber ta boot! Is this a harbinger for more Anakin in the future? Shadow of the Sith is coming in 2022 and will recount the adventure Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian took in order to find the assassin, Ochi of Bestoon. And then his dark master, the resurrected Emperor Palpatine.
Anakin dealt with Ochi as Vader and discovered his master’s ghoulish lab on Exegol in between ESB and ROTS. It makes total sense then that Anakin would guide his son with helpful information. And even though it’s weird he appeared to a bunch of kids, it WAS in his old castle, and perhaps felt a responsibility to shepherd the innocents through his former “mistake”. It was an enormous surprise to see Anakin after almost 30 years, and I must thank Cavan Scott for giving it to us.
Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!