For the Skywalker Saga to truly end, Lucasfilm will need Hayden Christensen to return as Anakin in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Christensen played the role of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Even though the actor's presence in the franchise was shorter than others, his portrayal of Anakin is crucial to bringing the story full circle.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will serve as the ninth and final chapter of the Skywalker Saga. As the Resistance and the First Order face off again, the conflict between the Jedi and Sith will also come into focus. Rey and Kylo Ren still don't see eye to eye about the future of the galaxy but they will be forced to figure out their true purpose amidst the war. Luke and Leia still have a role in the saga, but another Skywalker could be variable in the galaxy's fate–and it's not Rey.
Mark Hamill is confirmed to return, most likely via Luke's reappearance as a Force ghost due to his demise in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Leia is still leading the Resistance, although Carrie Fisher's death may have sadly lessened the character's role to some degree. Billy Dee Williams will also be reprising his role as Lando Calrissian for the first time since 1983's Return of the Jedi. Here's why the final film needs one more character reprisal from Christensen's version of Anakin to officially close out the Skywalker Saga.
Star Wars 9 Needs Anakin To End The Skywalker Saga
With the official end to the Skywalker Saga, all eyes will be on how Luke and Leia come into play in the closing chapter of a franchise that spanned over four decades. For the saga to truly end, Anakin must be involved, since it all started with him. The Skywalker Saga is as much of Anakin's story as it is Luke's or anyone else's - if not even more so. Much of Luke and Leia's journey in the original trilogy unknowingly stemmed from their father's actions. When the prequel trilogy put Anakin in the spotlight as he was pulled to the dark side of the Force, his fall as Darth Vader and subsequent redemptive action by saving Luke reinforced the notion that Anakin was the driving force behind the franchise.
With the return of Emperor Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker, it's pertinent that Anakin also a key role as the characters' narratives go hand-in-hand. In Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, Anakin grew close to Palpatine after he was tempted with intel of the dark side. By the end of the film, Anakin transformed into Darth Vader and the Emperor had acquired his impressionable apprentice. The Emperor didn't have the same luck with Luke, as the Anakin's son refused the pull to the dark side. Vader then sacrificed himself to seemingly kill Palpatine to save his son. With Palpatine back in some form, it only makes sense that Anakin returns to face the Sith Lord that lured him to the dark side of the Force.
How Anakin's Force Ghost Fits Into The Rise Of Skywalker
We know that Force ghosts will play a role in The Rise of Skywalker. It's guaranteed that Luke will have a presence in the final film as a Force spirit, and appearances by Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Qui-Gon Jinn are possibilities. The only conceivable option to reincorporate Anakin into the saga would be using the character as a Force ghost. After dying in the Return of the Jedi, Anakin became one with the Force after redeeming himself. His power of immortality was revealed as his spirit was shown alongside Yoda and Obi-Wan as the Rebels celebrated their glorious defeat. But how exactly could Anakin's Force ghost work into the final film?
Training Rey would be a plausible reason for Anakin's reappearance. With Luke no longer capable of helping Rey in his physical form, his father could take the reigns on the young Jedi's teachings. It would be even more meaningful if Anakin and Luke worked side by side to take Rey to the next level with her Force powers. Another possibility is that Anakin's Force ghost is used to help Kylo Ren come back to the light side of the Force. For a disciple of the dark side who idolizes his grandfather, Darth Vader, Kylo seems to forget the fact that the Dark Lord of the Sith eventually switched back to the side of the Jedi. Maybe encountering his grandfather's spirit will give Kylo enough motivation to embrace his life as Ben Solo.
It would also be fitting if Anakin got another chance at defeating Emperor Palpatine for a final time. The second trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker confirmed that Palpatine has returned in some kind of physical form. It's speculated that Palpatine could have transferred his essence, a tactic used by Sith Lords in the old EU to cheat death. As Darth Sidious, Palpatine had a history of essence transfer by using clones. All he would need is an able body (or an inanimate object) to wreak havoc back on the galaxy. If Rey and the rest of the Resistance could kill the Emperor's newfound physical form, Anakin could potentially fight to defeat the dark side user's soul for good. Followers of the dark side are incapable of becoming Force ghosts, but there has to be some spiritual side of the realm in which Anakin could face Palpatine.
Only Hayden Christensen Can Play Anakin In Star Wars 9
Whether fans like it or not, Hayden Christensen can be the only one to portray Anakin Skywalker. His presence in the prequel trilogies might not have won a lot of viewers over, but he is the face of the character's most crucial arc in the series. Of course, his role as Darth Vader is integral to the overall narrative, but The Rise of Skywalker must include Anakin, not just Vader. Christensen has already been incorporated in the original series when the actor was used as a Force ghost in the special edition DVD changes for Return of the Jedi.
For whatever reason, many viewers have lightened up when it comes to the criticism of the prequel trilogy, and deservedly so. In addition, Christensen has been welcomed back by the fandom. The sequel trilogy may have changed some viewers' opinions about the franchise as a whole, but either way, Christensen paid his dues and deserves a chance at reprising his role for the final installment of the Skywalker Saga. At this point, there's no way a recasting decision could be made without a ton of backlash.
Why Hayden Christensen WILL Probably Return For Star Wars 9
Before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters in 2015, there were rumors that Christensen would return as a Force ghost. That never came true, but the concept art of Anakin as a Force spirit was released after the movie's debut. Considering J.J. Abrams is back at the helm for The Rise of Skywalker, he could go back to his initial idea and incorporate Anakin, which seems like his plan all along. The fact that Christensen has been seen at various events in recent months, including Disneyland's Galaxy Edge, it looks as though Lucasfilm has welcomed him back with open arms.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will bring the conflict between the Jedi and the Sith to a climax. With Anakin being the "Chosen One" to bring balance to the Force, it makes sense that he be the one to truly close out the Skywalker Saga. But for him to rise, something much bigger might need to fall.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019