The Rise of Skywalker is primed to bring an end to the nine blockbusters that have featured elements involving every member of the famous Skywalker family to date. The original trilogy focused on Luke Skywalker, the prequel trilogy focused on Anakin Skywalker but, as of yet, we’ve yet to see a member of the pack that Disney has chosen to fully get behind.
There’s been plenty of chatter about Anakin returning of late, particularly after Hayden Christensen was stopped from doing a fan convention where he would be talking about the series. Here are 10 fan theories as to how any return would be possible for Christensen’s character.
10 To Make The Saga Complete
Let’s face it. If this is meant to be the end of the Skywalker saga—and Disney is insistent it will be—then you can’t have the final movie of the entire franchise omit arguably it’s most important character.
Anakin Skywalker, or Darth Vader, as he would later be known as, is crucial to the entire series. It was he who paved the way for the Sith and Galactic Empire to rise during Revenge of the Sith, and he who brought balance to the force in Return of the Jedi when he threw Palpatine down the Death Star and saved son Luke Skywalker in the process. It is, therefore, understandable why fans feel he should be in the next installment of the franchise.
9 To Bring Han Solo Back
But, like Anakin possibly appearing in The Rise of Skywalker, there have been plenty of rumors about Han Solo making a cameo in the final blockbuster of the franchise. He’s dead—mercilessly killed by son Kylo Ren—but fans have claimed he could return if Anakin were to use his force ghost abilities to bring him back in some way to save Ben Solo from turning to total darkness. As arguably the most powerful Jedi in the franchise, this isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.
8 To Preach to Luke
Luke Skywalker’s character was completely transformed during The Last Jedi, with the hero of the original trilogy being turned into somebody who didn’t seem to care about his friends or the greater good as Kylo Ren and the First Order tightened their grip on the galaxy.
So daddy Darth Vader could be called into play to help the hero of the original trilogy get back on the right path. Both Luke and Anakin have now moved onto something bigger, and it would make perfect sense if the latter was to return to help his son make amends for his failure regarding Ben Solo. Sometimes, parental advice is needed.
7 To Help Leia And The Resistance
Luke isn’t the only child Anakin had, however, with the former Jedi Knight also being the father of Leia Organa. And, with the Resistance left in such a dire situation at the end of The Last Jedi following the battle of Crait, they’re sure to need all the help they can get in order to defeat the First Order once and for all.
That’s where Anakin could come in. Leia showed during the previous movie that she was able to use the force and who better than her father to help her on the path to being stronger and better than ever before? Certainly the leader of the Resistance being powerful with the force would aid their cause.
6 To Clarify His Own Parentage
One of the reasons Anakin Skywalker could return to the big screen a whole 14 years after his last cameo is to clarify something that’s always got fans thinking. How exactly did he come to exist?
Mother Shmi Skywalker said in The Phantom Menace that there was no father, but, for years now, there have been rumors that he could have been conceived by Palpatine using midichlorians. Comic books have done nothing to dampen talk of this, with it heavily implied in one Darth Vader series that this was the case. Given this question has never been answered, it would be a shrewd move to finally put fans’ minds at ease.
5 To Mentor Rey
Rey seems to be something of a course given that both of her mentors have died in the short time she’s known them. First, Han Solo was murdered by his son Kylo Ren shortly after befriending the Jakku scavenger. And then, in The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker perishes, having managed to instill some of his training in her.
With both of them out of the picture and Leia Organa likely to be spending much of her time whipping the Resistance into shape, Anakin could act as a mentor. He could even be Rey’s secret weapon when it comes to winning the war and bringing peace to the galaxy.
4 To Save Rey
If there was one scene from the footage released at D23 that stood out, it was the image of Rey with a double-bladed Sith lightsaber. Some believe it to be a vision, but others genuinely think the hero of the sequel trilogy could be about to change sides at the very last minute?
Should that end up being the case, then that’s where Anakin Skywalker could step back into the fold. He knows all about the temptations of the dark side having been wooed by Palpatine during the events of the prequel trilogy and some words of wisdom could ensure that Rey doesn’t make the same mistake he did.
3 To Redeem Kylo Ren
Kylo Ren absolutely idolizes his grandfather. Despite knowing that Darth Vader shed that title to become Anakin Skywalker once again 30 years previously, he’s spent the first two movies of the sequel trilogy attempting to emulate his relative by carrying out a reign of terror and tyranny.
What he doesn’t seem to know, or care, about is the fact that Vader DID change sides. With Ben Solo likely to continue to be torn between both the light and dark side of the force, it may be left to Anakin to take action and remind his grandson of where his allegiances should really lie.
2 To Defeat Emperor Palpatine
Kylo Ren wants to finish what grandfather Darth Vader started—at least according to the First Order leader himself. We’re two movies into the sequel trilogy, and we still don’t know what he means. But, what if, after everything, he’s known about Palpatine’s return and wants to stop the Sith Lord once and for all?
Well, he may need a little help from Vader himself. This is where Anakin’s return makes the most sense. He may try and intervene to ensure that Palpatine doesn’t hurt or corrupt any other members of the Skywalker bloodline.
1 To Bring Balance To The Force
Fans have spent the last few years debating whether Anakin Skywalker really was the chosen one. The prequels claimed he was destined to bring balance to the force—and he kind of did—but throwing Palpatine down the Death Star and bringing the Sith’s time at the top to an abrupt end.
Others have suggested Luke was the one who brought the balance, but, regardless, the force is now in flux again. Anakin may be needed to finally fulfill his own destiny, saving the Resistance and the entire galaxy from more years of trouble and turmoil. If he’s definitely the one the prophecy was referring to, then it makes all the more sense he would be in The Rise of Skywalker.