Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has come and gone with no sign of Anakin Skywalker’s return. Fans had long speculated that he would appear as a Force ghost in Episode IX. But Anakin was barely a footnote in the new trilogy. However, a fascinating new theory might help to explain the reason for Anakin’s absence. Let’s dissect.
The last we saw of the Chosen One was at the end of Return of the Jedi, where young Anakin returns as a Force ghost. While George Lucas has maintained that Anakin is central to Star Wars lore, his complete absence in The Rise of Skywalker came as a shock. Was there a reason behind Anakin’s absence in the new sequels? Was there something wonky going on with the Force?
Reddit user flamingspidercock suggests Anakin didn’t appear in Episode IX because someone “closed off his Force connection” years before The Force Awakens.
The theorist explains that there’s no way Anakin wouldn’t have returned to help redeem Kylo or, at the very least, prevented him from turning to the Dark side altogether. His absence is a confusing oversight, so the theory surmises that the villainous Palpatine severed Anakin’s ties to the Force, preventing him from returning in Episode IX.
After all, we know Palpatine was plotting his return for a long time, so it’s not a stretch of the imagination to think he took certain measures to keep Anakin from thwarting his nefarious plans. Palps and Darth Vader have too much history and bad blood between them. But, knowing that the villain had his sights set on his family should’ve spurred Anakin into action, right?
The fact that it didn’t is suspicious on its own, and this theory offers a clever workaround for Anakin’s absence. Of course, Palpatine is only one of the options for why Anakin was missing in The Rise of Skywalker. The theorist posits that Supreme Leader Snoke and, yes, even Baby Yoda (!) might have also been the culprits behind Anakin’s inability to access the Force. In this instance, however, Palpatine is the most sensible option.
Unfortunately, we may never learn why the new sequels left Anakin out of the loop. Perhaps it was because Hayden Christensen didn’t actually want to return. Or maybe the filmmakers simply felt Anakin’s story was done and over with. Either way, it’s just one more thing fans can add to the list of grievances against The Rise of Skywalker.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is currently playing in theaters.