The Chosen One

Anakin Skywalker might return to Star Wars way sooner than you think

We know Anakin/Vader is back for the Obi-Wan show. But what about sooner?

You can’t keep a bad Jedi down. Although the story of Anakin Skywalker has been told from so many different angles (and by at least eight people), Star Wars just can’t quit the young Darth Vader.

Case in point: while we already knew Hayden Christensen is returning for the live-action series Obi-Wan Kenobi, now it seems like the other very prominent Anakin actor is also making a huge comeback.

Recently, Matt Lanter — the voice of Anakin Skywalker from The Clone Wars, who enjoyed a brief guest role in The Mandalorian Season 1 as a New Republic guard — revealed that his version of Anakin is coming back.

“You’ll see Anakin again,” the actor tells Entertainment Weekly. “There's some new Lucasfilm Animation going on. I've been a part of some things I can't talk about yet.”

But what are these “things” he can’t quite talk about yet? Could a post-Order 66 Vader already be coming to The Bad Batch? Here are some possibilities for Lanter’s return to Star Wars as the animated Anakin Skywalker.

Is Anakin in The Bad Batch?

The most immediate new Star Wars project on the horizon is The Bad Batch, the animated series taking place directly after Order 66 and the end of The Clone Wars. Set to debut on May 4, 2021, The Bad Batch is an interesting confluence of Star Wars canon insofar as this part of the timeline has never really been explored. We know Tarkin will be involved, but what about Darth Vader?

An appearance from Darth Vader in The Bad Batch isn’t entirely out of the question. In theory, because of the timeline, Darth Vader would have only stopped being Anakin a few weeks or months prior, leaving the door open for his return here.

When Vader and Ahsoka fought in the Rebels episode “Twilight of the Apprentice,” we heard not only the voice of James Earl Jones, but also Lanter as Anakin. Basically, when Ahsoka damaged Vader’s suit and helmet, we heard some of Lanter’s voice mixed with the more familiar Darth Vader voice. In other words, because The Bad Batch will take place right after the events of Revenge of the Sith, you could, possibly, have a glimpse of Anakin Skywalker, still adjusting to his new status as Darth Vader.

To be clear, Lucasfilm hasn’t given any indication that Vader or Anakin will appear in The Bad Batch, but because of the unique place in the timeline, it could be the next place we hear from Lanter as Anakin.

Where else could the animated Anakin appear next?

Anakin and R2-D2 in The Clone Wars.Lucasfilm

Beyond The Bad Batch, there are a few possibilities for Lanter’s secret project.

Among the various new Star Wars TV shows in development, one that hasn’t been talked about a lot is the anime anthology series Star Wars: Visions. We don’t know a lot about this series, other than it will bring anime perspective to a variety of different Star Wars stories. Obviously, Anakin could be the focus of one of those stories.

Another animated option is A Droid Story, designed to “introduce us to a new hero guided by R2-D2 and C-3PO." We’re not sure which era this movie takes place in, but if R2-D2 and C-3PO are involved, you could have Anakin appear either in the movie’s present tense or in some kind of flashback. Unlike C-3PO, R2-D2 didn’t have his memory erased, meaning, even in The Force Awakens, he theoretically remembers Anakin Skywalker. Could some of Darth Vader’s familiarity with C-3PO and R2 be explored in A Droid Story? It’s possible!

The Bad Batch hits Disney+ on May 4, 2021, with or without Anakin.