Everyone is busy talking about Luke and the role he’ll play in Star Wars: Episode IX, but there’s another Skywalker we should be much more concerned with: Anakin, aka Darth Vader.

This week, the in-canon Marvel Star Wars comics established Darth Vader’s reasons for building his super creepy castle on Mustafar, and they’re even creepier than what we all previously believed. Before, we just thought he was being macabre about having an evil castle right next to the place where he lost all his limbs, but the real reason was that he was trying to contact the spirit of the dead wife who he betrayed. It remains to be seen if Vader got in touch with the spirit of Padme Amidala, but what about the spirit of Vader himself? As Episode IX threatens to wrap up the entire saga, it seems impossible that the most popular Star Wars character of all — Darth Vader — won’t make an appearance.

Speculating on Force ghosts who may or may not appear in future Star Wars movies is a customary pastime among hardcore fans. Back in 2005, when the prequels were still coming out, I passionately argued that Qui-Gon’s spirit would appear in Episode III, which didn’t actually happen. However, in Episode III, Yoda mentions he’s been talking to Qui-Gon’s ghost, which has to be the only time in movie history that a famous ghost is neither seen nor heard and yet somehow essential to the plot. Star Wars can’t make this mistake again. The Force Awakens showed us Darth Vader’s helmet. Episode IX has to show us Darth Vader.


Three reasons we’re all but guaranteed to see Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode IX are below. But first, check out this Vader video:

Darth Vader's Craziest Moments in the 'Star Wars' Comics

1. We Already Know Kylo Ren Talked to Darth Vader’s Ghost

Back when concept art was being commissioned for The Force Awakens, one idea J.J. Abrams was floating had to do with Anakin Skywalker’s ghost appearing to Kylo Ren. But, because Anakin was only turned back to the Light side right before death, this ghost was going to morph from being Anakin to Vader’s ghost.

Kylo Ren
Kylo Ren

This sounds trippy, and the art is even trippier. But the thing is, this idea is already kind of canon. Remember how Yoda talked to a ghost we never saw in Revenge of the Sith? Well, Kylo Ren did the same thing in The Force Awakens. “Show me again,” Kylo says to the helmet of Darth Vader, implying that yes, he has spoken to a Dark side spirit. If it turns out Kylo Ren is just crazy and has literally been talking to a burnt-out plastic helmet, well, that will just be awful.

2. It Would Be Truly Shocking

Despite the idea of Darth Vader’s ghost having some kind of vague precedent, the other reason why it would be awesome is that everyone has pretty much forgotten about the mere possibility Vader’s ghost could show up. Why? Well, probably because we’re all so fixated on Luke Skywalker’s ghost.

luke skywalker
Luke Skywalker

Yes, Mark Hamill is totally in Episode IX despite the fact that Luke is dead. So, conventional wisdom suggests Luke will appear as a Force ghost in Episode IX.

Well, not necessarily. Luke could be in the movie but only appear in flashbacks, kind of like the flashbacks that occurred in The Last Jedi. We already saw Yoda’s ghost in that movie, meaning a comeback there seems like old hat. So, how will J.J. Abrams dazzle us this time? By not having Force ghosts of Luke or Yoda, but instead, freaking everyone out with a surprise Darth Vader ghost.

3. Darth Vader Is the Whole Reason These Movies Exist

Abrams has previously been quoted as saying that Episode IX will “unite the trilogies,” which has been taken to mean the movie will connect the events of all the saga films together. That means, on some level, Episode IX is about the legacy of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.

I mean, technically, if you take the whole canon seriously, all the movies with episode numbers are about Darth Vader’s family and how he personally changed the history of the galaxy, for better or for worse. If the classic trilogy is just Vader being Vader, then the prequel trilogy is the story of how he got there, and the sequel trilogy is all about what happened after he flipped back to the Light side of the Force at the last second.

Spoiler alert: Darth Vader is the father of Luke Skywalker.
Spoiler alert: Darth Vader is the father of Luke Skywalker.

The point is, the actual plots of all the saga Star Wars movies are literally reliant on what Darth Vader does. Even Rogue One — a movie that exists as a “standalone” — relied on Darth Vader to move the plot forward at the very end.

No character has greater agency or importance in Star Wars than Darth Vader. For that reason alone, the idea that Episode IX will include Vader’s spirit in some way, shape, or form seems almost certain.


Star Wars: Episode IX is out everywhere on December 20, 2019.

Photos via Lucasfilm, IMDB