Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is Disney’s final chance to get the franchise back on track following the backlash to its predecessor, The Last Jedi, and box office flop Solo. As a result, we can expect JJ Abrams to call upon some familiar faces in order to appease fans — regardless of whether they’ve been killed off before.
Mark Hamill recently revealed he would be playing a Force ghost in the movie — to the surprise of absolutely nobody. We now look at the ghosts we’d like to see make an appearance in the final blockbuster of the trilogy, as well as those who we would rather go without.
10 Want: Luke Skywalker
Hamill revealing Luke will be back in episode 9 is absolutely no surprise whatsoever. In Star Wars, if you’re a Jedi, you can return with a nice, shiny blue hue around you and it is widely expected that he will be dishing out advice to protagonist Rey as she continues her quest to become a fully-fledged Jedi and get to the bottom of the mystery regarding her parents.
Luke is likely to be what Obi-Wan Kenobi was to the character during the events of the original trilogy. And given how criminally underused he was in the 2015 blockbuster The Force Awakens, we’re definitely on board with Hamill reprise his role one final time.
9 Want: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Speaking of Obi-Wan Kenobi, how great would it be to see the Jedi return to the franchise? While Alec Guinness is sadly no longer around, Ewan McGregor has expressed interest in reprising his role amid widespread calls for him to get his own solo movie.
McGregor even recorded fresh dialogue for The Force Awakens, with his voice heard calling out to Rey when she touches the lightsaber of Luke Skywalker for the first time. Given how wise he is, his words would no doubt benefit the wannabe-Jedi. And the prospect of seeing the characters of Obi-Wan and Luke on screen for one last outing is simply too good to turn down.
8 Want: Yoda
While The Last Jedi has been repeatedly criticized in the 18 months since its release, most can agree on one thing: that the return of Yoda as a Force ghost, voiced by Frank Oz and back in puppet form rather than the CGI mess that was the prequel trilogy’s take on the character, was a masterstroke from director Rian Johnson.
Everybody was on board with the former Dagobah inhabitant returning to give Luke a good whack with his stick, particularly given how sullen Skywalker was during that movie. He gave his former apprentice some useful advice and more of the same would go down a storm in the Rise of Skywalker.
7 Want: Anakin Skywalker
Sure, Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker was a decision slammed by critics of the prequel trilogy. But time has been a healer for the actor and, with many now more-appreciative and understanding of his take on the Jedi who would go on to become Darth Vader, there’s simply no better time to return to the big screen in the role that has defined his career to date.
Kylo Ren has been talking to Vader’s helmet and it would be fascinating to see a scene where the First Order leader converses with his grandfather. Similarly, one of Luke and Anakin ruing the transformation of Ben Solo and even one of Leia reaching out to her father through the force. Disney really needs to make it happen, especially with his old master, Emperor Palpatine, coming back.
6 Want: Han Solo
Yes, yes, we know that only Jedi can become Force ghosts. Or, rather, Force-sensitive users can acquire the shiny blue hue. But come on, forget canon. How awesome would it be to see Harrison Ford’s legendary Han Solo back for one, final swansong?
There are even theories out there that Han could be Force-sensitive. It would certainly explain his unnerving ability behind the wheel of a spaceship and his remarkable ability to down foes with a blaster without even looking at them. Having Han and Kylo interact would be an emotional masterstroke and be the perfect way of showing the true stance of the First Order leader, who continues to hold his cards close to his chest.
5 Want: Leia Organa
Carrie Fisher is tragically no longer with us, but her spirit and character of Leia Organa certainly lives on. The Rebel Alliance legend and former Princess will be in the Rise of Skywalker, but we’re not sure how much screen time she’ll have given Disney are relying on old footage from both The Force Awakens and Rise of Skywalker to give her a satisfying final outing.
Should Leia die—and there’s a possibility she may do for narrative reasons—it would make sense for her to come back as a Force ghost. Having her stand alongside father Anakin and brother Luke, perhaps at the end of the movie, would definitely prompt audiences into having to pull out tissues to wipe away their tears.
4 Don’t Want: Emperor Palpatine
While we’re on board with Star Wars bending the rules slightly with force ghosts if it means having Han Solo swagger back onto the screen, we’re opposing any decision to give Emperor Palpatine a shiny blue hue of any kind.
Don’t get us wrong, Palpatine in spirit form is an idea that makes sense, particularly if they then use the big, bad villain to try and transfer his essence into somebody else. But as a ghost? No way. That should only be reserved for the Jedi — and Han. Sith Lords are a different breed entirely and it would take away from the villainous aspects of their personality if they were to return in ghost form.
3 Don’t Want: Mace Windu
Samuel L. Jackson was recently asked which character he’d love to have another crack at playing. He responded by saying: “I’d really love to give one more run at Mace Windu in Star Wars.” When reminded that Windu had been killed by Palpatine in the prequel trilogy, he added: “There’s a long history of one-handed guys that were Jedis, that have lightsabers, that still made it. Jedis can fall from incredible heights and not die, like cats.”
While we can’t fault his logic, it’s definitely something that would be better suited to a spin-off movie or TV series rather than the Rise of Skywalker. He’s been long gone now, so many years have passed that bringing Windu in, even for just a brief cameo, makes no sense from a narrative perspective.
2 Don’t Want: Darth Vader
We’re fine with having Anakin Skywalker back because the Jedi had reverted back to his old safe by the time he passed away in Luke Skywalker’s arms on the second Death Star. We’d seen him at the end of the movie, reunited with old mentors Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, meaning he had done enough to earn redemption and a new glow.
But Vader is dead now and having him back as a ghost would be the wrong move. JJ Abrams toyed with the idea of an Anakin-Vader hybrid for The Force Awakens but it would just be foolish to have the Dark Side of the character remain. Plus, imagine how he’d look? In that big, clunky suit and heavy mask? Definitely one that Disney should swerve.
1 Don’t Want: Qui-Gon Jinn
The prequel trilogy has been criticized and The Phantom Menace still remains a blot on Star Wars’ copybooks in the eyes of many diehard fans. But Liam Neeson’s character of Qui-Gon Jinn was popular at the time and expanded material has made it known that he himself succeeded in becoming a Force ghost and learning how to live on after death.
But, like Windu, Jinn is a character who has no place in the story of Rey, Kylo Ren, the Resistance, and the First Order. Neeson’s man should really have made a fleeting appearance in Revenge of the Sith in 2005 but that didn’t happen and it shouldn’t take place now either. His story has been told.