A Star Wars panel featuring Hayden Christensen and Ian McDiarmid was canceled this weekend at the FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention, sparking rumors of spoiler concerns for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. McDiarmid made his first appearance as the Emperor in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi and also returned for all three of the prequel films. Christensen on the other hand, was the star of the prequel trilogy, appearing as Anakin Skywalker for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.
At this year's Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, fans were expecting a lot of news about The Rise of Skywalker. At the time, the subtitle for Episode IX wasn't even known and fans still didn't have a trailer for The Rise of Skywalker. The trailer gave fans a first look at what's in store for December, including the reveal of an older Lando Calrissian as well as the shocking return of Emperor Palpatine. Unfortunately for fans attending the FanX event, not much was revealed about The Rise of Skywalker since the Star Wars panel was canceled.
First reported by True Life Lessons Learned (via Barbara), Disney wouldn't allow Christensen and McDiarmid to attend the Star Wars panel at the FanX event. No explanation was given as to why the panel was canceled, but Disney cut it close by prohibiting the panel an hour and a half before it was supposed to start. Christensen and McDiarmid were still available for photo-ops, but only at their respective tents at the celebrity section of the event. Screen Rant reached out to Disney for comment on the canceled panel.
FanX Star Wars Panel with Hayden Christensen and Ian McDiarmid canceled by Disney with no explanation, causing spoiler speculation. Even photo ops around the stage were prohibited. @starwars @DisneyStudios https://t.co/vNW3Y7f9cW via @YouTube— barbara (@haydenfannews) September 7, 2019
It's been known for about five months now that McDiarmid will return for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but Christensen's Anakin Skywalker has not been confirmed for the sequel. Since Episode IX is the last movie in the Skywalker saga, there has been a lot of speculation that Christensen could possibly return as a Force ghost or in a flashback in the upcoming movie.
While it was surely disappointing for fans that the panel was canceled, it makes sense why Disney made their executive decision. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will conclude multiple storylines and Disney of course wants to keep any twists a secret until the film is released. While it hasn't been confirmed, having Christensen in The Rise of Skywalker would make a lot of sense. His acting was heavily criticized by fans and critics, but part of the reason fans failed to connect with the character was because of poor writing. Having Anakin return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker would not only connect the sequel trilogy to the prequel trilogy, it could also bring closure to Anakin's failed sacrifice while bringing a proper end to the Skywalker saga.