Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is already set to feature a ton of big cameos —including Lando Calrissian, Luke Skywalker, and even Wedge Antilles — but one of the most important characters in the galaxy is still a big question mark. However, a recent post from the official Disneyland Twitter account that was quickly deleted (but not before one fan took a screenshot) may confirm that the most famous Skywalker of all could appear in Episode IX as well.
Warning! Possible spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The tweet in question showed Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) enjoying a visit to the Galaxy’s Edge theme park. That’s not particularly telling, but the fact that it was almost immediately deleted may speak volumes. Don’t forget, reports have suggested that Christensen could turn up in Star Wars: Episode IX as either the fearsome Force ghost of Darth Vader or as a more benevolent Anakin like the one we saw at the end of Return of the Jedi. And in an old interview, George Lucas even confirmed that Anakin was and always will be the “chosen one.” So he’s gotta show up at some point, right?
Christensen has largely avoided everything Star Wars-related since Revenge of the Sith because he’s gotten a lot of crap over the years for playing Anakin Skywalker in the prequel trilogy. So, avoiding the ire of the Star Wars fandom made a ton of sense in the aftermath. However, while Christensen’s made a few brief appearances at Star Wars events over the years, he’s remained off-grid for the most part. That’s recently changed following his appearance at the Star Wars Celebration back in April.
In September, the actor was even scheduled for a panel at the FanX convention, but rumors swirled on Twitter and Reddit that Disney had canceled his appearance. Presumably, the convention organizers were forced to cancel the panel so as to avoid spoilers. Sure, Disney’s a stickler when it comes to spoilers, though Christensen was still able to visit a children’s hospital with Ian McDiarmid not long after and that was fine.
Over on Reddit, u/smjurach shared a screenshot of the official Disneyland Resort account tweeting excitedly about Hayden Christensen’s reported appearance at the Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge theme park. That’s cool. However, it drew suspicion when the account later deleted the tweet altogether.
So, what’s the deal? Why exactly is Disney going to such great lengths to keep Christensen out of the spotlight ahead of The Rise of Skywalker? Well, one of the reasons could be that they’re trying to avoid confusion.
Fans have already been speculating about Anakin’s potential appearance in Episode IX so perhaps Disney and Lucasfilm are trying to manage expectations. If Christensen isn’t in the film — and it’s possible he isn’t because rumor has it that Force ghosts may have been scrapped due to reshoots — why get fans’ hopes up only to disappoint them later on?
Even if Anakin were to return, his role will likely be a small cameo. After all, if he appears as a Force ghost, there’s no reason for Anakin to show up until the end of the film to help defeat Emperor Palpatine. The new sequel trilogy may connect back to Anakin’s role as the Chosen One, sure, but the story no longer centers him.
All that said, the fact that Christensen’s been scheduled to make so many appearances ahead of the film is the biggest clue that Anakin could actually be a part of The Rise of Skywalker. Even if he only shows up to tell Kylo Ren to finish what he started before he goes off to fight Palpatine, that’s much more satisfying than Anakin not being in the film at all.
Update: The same images were later republished by the official Star Wars Twitter account. However, it’s still unclear why they were deleted in the first place, and it’s possible (if somewhat improbable) that Lucasfilm released the photos in an attempt to squash the rumors their original deletion helped spark.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters December 20.