Star Wars creator George Lucas has always maintained that Anakin Skywalker is the Chosen One meant to bring balance to the Force. With The Rise of Skywalker fast approaching, fans have long wondered whether Hayden Christensen would reprise the role of Anakin in Episode IX, perhaps as a Force ghost or in the form of a vision to Rey or Kylo Ren. Though Lucasfilm has yet to offer any official confirmation Christensen will be back, The Rise of Skywalker screenwriter Chris Terrio strongly suggests that he will.
Darth Vader’s decision to save Luke and toss Emperor Palpatine to his doom in Return of the Jedi was an iconic moment of redemption, the triumph of the Light side of the Force over darkness. The subsequent prequel films detailed Anakin’s past and how he came to join the Sith. We already saw Anakin’s ghost once on Endor — The Rise of Skywalker seems like the perfect chance for him to make another cameo.
In an interview with Uproxx, screenwriter Chris Terrio explains how Episode IX “honors” the prophecy of the Chosen One and Vader’s sacrifice, strongly implying Anakin might return in Episode IX, after all. “We don’t take the end of Return of the Jedi lightly at all,” he explained.
He expanded on this idea elsewhere in the interview:
“We decided pretty early on that we wanted to really think of this as the Skywalker Saga. And from the beginning, the chess game has been between Palpatine/Sidious and the Jedi. Specifically, the Jedi as represented by Anakin and the Skywalkers. So, we were convinced someway or another Palpatine had to be a presence in this film.”
Terrio repeatedly mentions thatThe Rise of Skywalker will “honor” Anakin’s sacrifice in Return of the Jedi, which might hint at Kylo’s potential return to the Light side of the Force. He also emphasizes that the films are “family saga,” so it would make sense for Anakin to return to help his grandson defeat Palpatine. After all, Anakin is the Skywalker patriarch and was the first to fight alongside — and later betray —Palpatine. If we’re to believe that Palps and Anakin are two sides of the same coin, then it’s possible Anakin’s return is being set up to somehow fulfill the prophecy that was outlined all the way back in The Phantom Menace and finally succeed in bringing balance to the Force once and for all.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20.