Kylo Ren speaking to the ghost of Anakin Skywalker basically happens in The Force Awakens, except for the fact that Anakin’s ghost is both invisible and mute. But, if Hayden Christensen returns to play Anakin in The Last Jedi, several fans are arguing that it’s not as crazy as it sounds.
Both Aaron Couch of the Hollywood Reporter and Chris Hartwell of The Heart Beat are throwing their hats into the ring on a Force Ghost Hayden re-materializing in The Last Jedi. The argument is pretty straightforward: The six films prior to The Force Awakens are ostensibly about the journey of Anakin Skywalker into darkness and his eventual redemption in Return of the Jedi. In his new YouTube video, Hartwell concedes that George Lucas probably didn’t always intend for all the films to be about Anakin, but canonically, it’s what the films are totally about. Early concept art for The Force Awakens revealed an unused idea of Anakin’s ghost appearing to Kylo Ren and briefly having Hayden’s face before morphing into a grotesque Darth Vader ghost. This implied that even in death, Anakin’s ghost wasn’t quite as happy has he seemed at the end of Return of the Jedi.
So, with all of that in mind, the question isn’t about the reasonability of Hayden as Anakin’s ghost in The Last Jedi, but instead: Why wouldn’t it happen? The easy answer is that Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker is one of the most unpopular aspects of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, right behind young Jake Lloyd as Young Anakin and Jar Jar Binks. But, some fans and critics — including this one — have argued for Hayden’s return even before The Force Awakens was released. Not having Hayden Christensen as Anakin’s Force ghost in one of the new trilogy films would come from the creative team giving in to spurious pandering. It wouldn’t be a legitimate plot decision.
In short, if you hate Hayden Christensen, that’s okay. But as far as him returning as Anakin’s ghost, the going argument now is this: Hate the game, don’t hate the Jedi.
To be clear, as of right now, there is NO confirmation that Hayden Christensen will appear in The Last Jedi. Though, like the young digital Carrie Fisher in Rogue One, it stands to reason that if Anakin did return, such a fact would be kept under wraps for as long as possible.
Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi will hit theaters on December 15, 2017.