In light of the most recent trailer for episode 9, I thought now might be a good time to talk, yet again, about why Anakin Skywalker should be in this movie. Not only should he be here, it would be a massive mistake to leave him out of the conclusion of this 9 part saga. You can see Matt Dallas’ video on the subject for further elaboration:
POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 9 FOLLOW…
There’s been rumors swirling of Hayden’s presence on sets, canceling cons etc… but we’re not here to really discuss that. I want to look at this purely from the lens of what we know about the saga films thus far.
Anakin Skywalker is the Chosen One. Now whether or not that remains the case when the movie releases is up in the air, but right now he is. The recent book, Master and Apprentice by Claudia Grey expands on the prophecy, but does not change anything about Anakin’s story(at least yet). So if Palpatine is not dead, then Anakin never fulfilled the prophecy…unless they recontextualize it with 9 to make this a moot point.
I want to take the following into consideration for the rest of my arguments:
- Anakin Skywalker is capable of manifesting as a force ghost(Return of the Jedi)
- Anakin Skywalker is in contact with Luke. Source: (https://www.starwars.com/news/the-secrets-of-the-jedi)
- Palpatine is alive in his physical form(most recent trailer – taken at face value)
- Palpatine is the monster that has haunted the Skywalkers since Anakin was a child(Darth Vader Volume#2 issue #25)
Anakin Skywalker, in the concept art stage for The Force Awakens was going to appear as a half Vader/half Anakin force ghost hybrid. More to that, it seems lots of that early concept work is being incorporated into episode 9.
Part of what made Anakin’s turn back to the light such an amazing moment was not just because he was saving the day…it was also because he conquered the evil that has tormented/enslaved him his entire life. Now that Palpatine is back, he didn’t really defeat his ultimate evil. He did save his son and the galaxy in that moment, but part of that sacrifice is undone with the new film.
We know Anakin is a guy who deeply cares about others, we’ve seen this in the films as well as in The Clone Wars television series. I find it extremely hard to believe that knowing how much pain and suffering he has directly and indirectly caused, that he would just sit idly by, and let not just his grandson continue that dark legacy, but also Palpatine, his devil, his monster, manipulate the galaxy again and do nothing to help stop it. Palpatine is poised to turn the galaxy asunder again because he didn’t finish the job the first time. Wouldn’t you want to help if you knew you had the power to do so?
The Last Jedi tells us that force ghosts can interact with the physical world in some capacity, so it stands to reason that one of the most powerful Jedi ever could as well. We don’t know the exact mechanics of how force ghosts work, but as far as we know in the films… if one wants to interact and the individual they’re appearing to is receptive to it they can. We know from the excepts we’ve gotten from the Secrets of the Jedi book that Luke has been in contact with his father once he reconnected with the force. So, at the very least, he should be up to speed with the current events. It’s because of this we know Anakin has the ability to do things after Return of the Jedi.
Luke may have forgiven Anakin for what he did as Darth Vader, but now Leia’s son is taking after his worst qualities and failings. I would think, logically, Anakin would want to help and maybe even feel responsible to a degree (Not to the levels that previously drove him to the dark side mind you, but to a certain extent, yes). Frankly, he owes it to Leia to try and do something, at least in this nobody’s opinion. I also believe that Anakin reaching out to Ben would make for a powerful and moving moment. Ben idolizes the monster Anakin turned into, but not the good man he once was, Anakin could show him where this dark path leads that could also be a key piece for Ben’s turn back to the light(Ultimately, I still believe it will be Rey to pull him back to the light fully). On a side note, I’ve always liked the idea that the pull to the light that Ben is experiencing is actually Anakin trying to reach him.
So we know he can manifest as a force ghost – we know the monster that has now haunted his family for three generations is alive – I don’t see an episode 9 where Anakin does not help Rey, and presumably Ben to stop him. So if he turns out to not be in the movie, it begs the question of why? Why is he not there? His character is far too integral to the saga to be left out entirely. Not only should he provide some sort of guidance for our trilogies force-user heroes(Rey and hopefully Ben by the end), but he should be instrumental in taking Palpatine down for good.
Moreover, the first 6 saga films are about his rise, fall, and subsequent redemption at their emotional core. If episode 9 fails to include the Skywalker that started it all and put forth this difficult path for the rest of them, then the sequel trilogy will feel like an addendum to the original six movies. I say this as someone who’s really enjoyed the new movies up until this point. This isn’t just the 9th saga Star Wars movie, all of these films are now being billed as the Skywalker saga, so it stands to reason that the one at the center of it all would play a role in the last one as well.
Ultimately, I think episode 9 will be a good movie, regardless of whether or not Anakin’s presence comes to pass. I’m not a fan of the whole fandom menace movement nor the people who dismiss the valid misgivings people have had about the new movies. However, no matter how good it is, if he’s not in the film I’ll be left feeling like something is missing. Crossing my fingers for the Rise of Skywalker.