Tue
Jul 9 2013 8:00am

The Ghost of Hayden Christensen: Why Anakin MUST Appear in Episode VII

Hayden Christensen Anakin Skywalker

The very end of the super-duper 2004 special edition of Return of the Jedi finds Luke gazing out to see Obi-Wan smiling, Yoda smiling, Anakin smiling, and the audience freaking out. Instead of Sebastian Shaw as an old Anakin, Hayden Christensen suddenly shimmered into view, smirking awkwardly, complete with his big Jedi mullet. And the haters began to hate. But, now with Episode VII in full development, complete with casting calls, there’s paradoxically one person I don’t think they can leave out, and that person is Hayden Christensen! Here’s why the ghost of Hayden must return!

For a vast majority of the general viewing public, the name Hayden Christensen no longer has any meaning for them, which in some ways is too bad. The prequels are replete with offensive errors in terms of how stories are best told. Why are there no likable characters? Does everyone’s motivation need to be so muddled? Must we see every single spaceship take off and then subsequently land in excruciating detail?

One of the reasons I think people are so pissed at the prequels is simply because they lack real stakes, since we already know what’s going to happen to the major players. This is in stark contrast to the old Star Wars movies, which are awesomely edited, proceed at a jarringly entertaining pace, and make us care about all sorts of silly things like exhaust ports, carbonite chambers, and yes, even Ewoks.

Hayden didn’t personally do anything to mess any of this up. He was hired to play a brooding young version of Darth Vader, and be reasonably believable as a sexy guy who could handle a lightsaber like a champ. He did this! The character of Anakin Skywalker was never written as likable, so of course everyone hated him. Sure, those lines about not liking sand and constantly saying “M’lady” with that strange cadence of his didn’t help. But, in truth, Hayden delivered not the Anakin Skywalker we wanted, but probably the Anakin Skywalker who was realistic. He’s a talented guy who is told he’s great, but then constantly also told to cool it. He’s young, horny, and powerful. Of course he turned into an asshole.

The nice thing about Anakin is that he gets to redeem himself in Return of the Jedi—which, if you’re a kid experiencing the Star Wars movies in the Lucas-order, is a pretty neat arc. Also for contemporary kids, Anakin is the focus of more hours of Star Wars than really any other character, thanks to The Clone Wars. So for better or worse, the prequel-era Anakin defines Star Wars for a big chunk of the viewing public.

If all the actors from the classic trilogy are reprising their roles, the giant space elephant in the room is how old everyone has gotten. Let’s get real, the focus of these new films will doubtlessly be on new characters, but it would be nice to have some existing Star Wars characters in there too, particularly ones who don’t look super old. Luckily, you don’t have to do any Tron: Legacy de-aging CG action on Hayden. He looks good! How satisfying would it be to see an older Mark Hamill as Luke, talking to the ghost of his father via the Force? Putting Hayden in the context of being the wiser Jedi and making him act with Mark Hamill would force him to up his game. And reconnecting Luke and Anakin in a way in which we haven’t seen since Return of the Jedi could be truly powerful stuff. One of the coolest scenes in Revenge of the Sith is between Yoda and Anakin because it helps bridge the gap  between the prequels and the “real” Star Wars films. 

The incorporation of Hayden’s Anakin Skywalker as a ghost in the new film could also retroactively legitimize the prequels in the minds of some haters. In contrast to the classic films, the prequels opened up the Star Wars galaxy, rendering it more vast and populated than the classic films ever could. And though we don’t really know anything about Episode VII, it’s a pretty safe bet to assume the scope of the movie will be closer to the prequels than the original films; despite being a sequel to the last film in the classic trilogy, Episode VII will likely not have a “back-to-basics” approach, but instead incorporate more of the prequels’ world-building. Hayden’s ghost Anakin could therefore act as a visual and thematic cue linking these sensibilities. And since some version of Anakin/Darth Vader has appeared in every Star Wars movie so far, it would be strange if he didn’t appear in some capacity.

I’m not saying Hayden’s ghost should serve the same function as Obi-Wan’s ghost did in the old films, but truly, there doesn’t seem to be any reason NOT to use him. If the new masters of Star Wars also want to throw in a ghost Yoda, or a Ewan McGregor ghost Obi-Wan, I would be excited about that too.

Not everything about the prequels was bad, and contrary to knee-jerk popular opinion, Hayden was not even close to being the reason why the movies are inferior to the classics. To put it another way, I’ve written about Star Wars from one side of it to the other, and I’ve never seen anything that made me believe Hayden’s Anakin was the all-powerful mistake ruining everything. That’s just a bunch of simple complaints and nonsense.

So, comb your Jedi mullet, get your Canadian accent going, and join the dark side. Let’s bring Hayden Christensen back!


Ryan Britt is a longtime contributor to Tor.com and does a fairly decent Hayden impression.

45 comments
Tim_Eagon
1. Tim_Eagon
To borrow Anakin's last line of dialogue from Revenge of the Sith: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO."

And while you're right that he's not the primary reason for the failure of the prequels (though his acting was still atrocious), he did nothing to distinguish himself either. Also, it makes no sense that Anakin would appear as his younger self unlike Obi-Wan and Yoda (made no sense in the RoTJ either).
Tim_Eagon
2. Dennis_H
I figured it was because Anakin "died" when he turned to the Dark Side. Therefore, Anakin appearing in the Force as a young man makes sense. Heck, even Sebastian Shaw looks significantly younger as ghost Anakin.
Chris Nelly
3. Aeryl
Because that was what Anakin looked like when he "died", kneeling at Palpatine's feet. Of course his self visualization is going to be of his younger self.

I like this idea, because I like Christensen, and I'd like do see him get some career redemption, the last thing I saw him in was Takers, which was really good but had too much Paul Walker for me.

And I agree that the prequels had flaws, but they aren't as bad as a lot of people make them out to be. The originals aren't that good either, storywise. It's still stilted and tropified.

Everyone's muddled motives is the one part of the plot I truly enjoyed, as this failure on everyone's part to trust one another is what leads to this whole thing in the first place, making it really tragic, IMO.

The council doesn't trust Qui-Gon, leaving Obi-Wan to train to Anakin.

They don't trust Anakin, prompting him to "save" Palpatine.

Anakin doesn't trust Obi-Wan, who could've taught him the technique he needed to save Padme.

In addition, the council had been so corrupted by it's proximity to power, that it had to be brought down, this was made evident in Phantom.

So it's easy to say that there are no stakes, because we all saw where this was going, but for me personally, that doesn't affect my investment in the story, so long as it unfolds in a way that makes it feel earned. And the only thing I didn't feel was earned, was the impact of love story. I couldn't accept that a woman like Padme would fall in love with a man like Anakin was in Clones, too immature. Perhaps if they'd been older in Phantom, and developed more of a relationship then, or older in Clones and Anakin had become more the man he was in Sith. But as the story stands, I couldn't buy it, and that's sad because it is pretty much the most crucial part of the story.
Adam S.
4. MDNY
What we need is better writing, better directing, and then address getting better acting. The original trilogy, which barely managed to get enough funding, still got a few established actors and a couple of unknowns, and it worked. The prequels, with all the money they needed and a name that drew stars easily, severely fell short in the acting department, even by some actors that we KNOW are good from other movies. It was the reliance on CGI and action over pacing and filming. We saw more worlds and cities, but none will ever have the harsh reality of the tatooine desert or ice of Hoth, or even the forests of the moon Endor. The prequels were poorly conceived, poorly written, and as a result poorly acted.
As for Christensen himself, he was not good enough to warrant an appearance, IMHO. And his other films since haven't exactly revealed him to be another Cary Grant (or Harrison Ford!). I particularly hated when they replaced the real Anakin with Hayden at the end of ROTJ. Bad enough changing classics, but replacing the actors? Unforgivable. Please, Never Again! I've seen enough prequel actors, bring back geriatric Han and Luke and Leia. Oh, and Chewy, C3P0 R2D2, Lando....and bring in new characters that are WRITTEN WELL, that's more important than the actors. Star Wars has proven that great actors can be terrible if the writing is bad.
Tim_Eagon
5. C Oppenheimer
R2-D2 and C3PO are the only characters that have to be in Episode VII. They are the surrogates for the audience.
Tim_Eagon
6. mktesq
I think we all can agree that we need better "something" than the prequels gave us. I think the choices for both Anakins were awful, and as the central figure to the story, it's almost unforgiveable (regarding their casting) how bad of actors they were.

My two cents about the postquels: I cannot tell you how much time and money I spent on novels and comics involving the Star Wars Universe, not to mention the chronologies and compendiums. I've read 75% of all the books starting with the Old Republic through to the Legacy of the Force series. That number would be closer to 90%, but for the acknowledgment that all of that is going to be thrown in the garbage for these new movies. How are they going to square the Thrawn trilogy, the Yuzhan Vong, Darth Caedus, etc., with the movies? They already indicated that these movies are going to be stand-alone. So, I fear and find that all that time and effort is meaningless. I know you can say that I should have enjoyed the process of reading so it isn't wasted, but I read these books not only for the entertainment, but also for the pseudo-history of the Star Wars Universe.

And after reading the Game of Thrones series, I can't justify suffering through poorly written books by a series of disconnected writers that go on far too long with little purpose other than to fill out a super-trilogy (9 books) series.
Adam S.
9. MDNY
@8 LOL I never feel that old until I see fans of the newer Star Wars. But they view it the same as X-men, or below Harry Potter. Star Wars DEFINED my childhood, now it's just one of many, and not even the best. Darned kids...
Chris Nelly
10. Aeryl
@9, Yes as the parent to one of those newer SW fans, they don't have the same attachment to their SW that WE have to ours.

They have a plethora of riches when it comes to geekiness(my spawn and I had to spend an hour narrowing down which comic book movies we were gonna go see this summer).

While we love SW with the passion of a first love, they remember it fondly as that relationship that only lasted a little while, but eventually someone new came along....
Fake Name
11. ThePendragon
ALL of the prequels were better than RotJ and RotS was as good as Star Wars. The prequels were fine. The originals weren't as awesome as people remember them. Both trilogies have their strong points and their audiences. Kids who grew up then love their Star Wars, and kids growing up now love THEIR Star Wars. Unless their parents poison their view, which many seem to be hell bent on doing. I'm really getting sick of all the nerd rage on this topic.
Tim_Eagon
12. Kasiki
Lets be honest, The prequels lacked direction in its writing. It has been saaid for years Lucas needed someone else to write the screen plays. At the time the prequels began everyone wanted to be involved so the scripts didn't matter. I can't fault the actors, many of whom have a proven record, for the faults that were in the story.

The worst of these faults was who was the story about? The origional trilogy was Luck story with side arcs of Han, Lea, and others. The prequels... was it Obi-wan's story? Anakins despite not being around for half the first movie. Padime's?

Then added to that murkiness, they simply kept pilling on extra stuff and it felt really forced. We need an action sequence here, wouldn't it be cool to add these other character or story arcs there, r2-d2 action sequence simply to give him rockets. Bottom line is that the scipts each needed an major editing job, then a re-write.

@5 C Oppenheimer- R2-D2 and C3PO aren't needed especially if they are written the same way they were in the prequels aka comic relief. There are much better ways, and now that lucas isn't writting the scripts, there is more hope.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
13. Lisamarie
Excited to see a Ryan Britt article!

I agree it would be nice to see a bit of continuity with the prequels. I didn't like Hayden much in Episode 2 (although I completely agreed he played Anakin as a too-realistic, creepy teenager - that said, I did not buy at all that Padme would fall in love with him. I still find all those parts painful to rewatch) but I think he rocked Episode 3. Also, I pretty much fell in love with the long hair, heh.

@6, I relate so very very much, but I've started to try and mentally loosen up a bit and just accept all the different stories as two alternate universes. After all, NONE of it is real. But I understand, really, I do. Even within the EU there is quite a bit of discontinuity...and there is also stuff in the EU I really wish WASN'T part of it (most of the stuff NJO and beyond).
Tim_Eagon
14. Defiant
I respect your opinion, but I completely disagree with everything you say in this. I still wish that they never had changed the ending ghost scene of ROTJ. Darth Vader AKA Anakin Skywalker, went BACK to the Light side of the Force when he picked up the Emperor and threw him off the platform. So it was at THAT point when he went back to the Light side as an adult is the reason why his ghost should be his adult ghost. Bam.
Chris Nelly
15. Aeryl
@14, The Force manifestation is obviously a manifestation brought about by the person itself, and they would project their appearance as they visualize themselves. Anakin hasn't seen his own face since prior to Mustafar, so he looks like he did before Mustafar.
Tim_Eagon
16. billie
Hi Everyone, my name is billie & I am a prequel Anakin hater.
But, Britt, you totally convinced me. It wasn't HIS fault the script was terrible. And tThe idea of a old Luke/young Anakin scene sounds so cool.
Tim_Eagon
18. jake S
I am sick and tired of these prequel haters. Blaming I, II, and III for close-up shots of spaceships taking off and landing? (Transformers, overusage of unnecessary CG closeups? Nah, let's not insult Transformers, let's keep insulting the Prequels!) Bashing I, II, and III because we already know what happened? (cough- Hobbit- cough-).

This article has ONE redeeming quality: it begs the question "how can Anakin Skywalker NOT be in it?" As he was a ghost at the end of VI. I have been saying this for months. Lucasfilm is in a pickle. Storywise, they should include Christensen, but so many people (like this article's author) hate him, it would be a self-inflicting gun to the head to include the actor.
Tim_Eagon
19. thomass
@Kasiki

Who was the main character in Avengers? Answer quickly.
Tim_Eagon
20. Karen Robinson
I totally agree that hayden should back even if as a ghost,i think he did anakins character so good :-)
Tim_Eagon
21. Penster
"One of the reasons I think people are so pissed at the prequels is simply because they lack real stakes, since we already know what’s going to happen to the major players."
If you only knew how wrong you "think" you are :/
Tim_Eagon
22. joebell
I really want to see Hayden and Ewan back!
Tim_Eagon
23. Chris Nate
In the words of Wedge Antillies: "Cut the chatter, you prequel trilogy haters." Here's the REAL truth... The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones are two of the best entries ever in the entire saga, because IT SHOWS THE GALAXY THE WAY IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE. We have a REPUBLIC, not an Empire ruled by a freakin' Sith megalomaniac. Anakin Skywalker is out and about enjoying his life, first in Podracing, then when he saved Naboo, then you get his training at the Jedi Temple in the Jedi Quest series, and then in Attack of the Clones, hey... let's face it: Anakin and Padme's love story was perhaps the most iconic moment in the entire story (No, I do NOT mean this in a sexual context.). What you have are two young friends who leaned on each other's shoulders and stood by each other during a time of great upheaval. Lastly, you gotta hand it to Anakin: It may have looked sad when he lost his right arm at the hands of Dooku, and then learned that a war had indeed begun, but for Anakin, getting to marry Padme back on beautiful Naboo was undoubtedly a wonderful, blissful moment for him. Consider John Williams' title for the love theme music "Across the Stars": It expresses Anakin's loveliest aspect as a person: His ability to appeciate the beauty and gentleness of a woman like Padme is an empowering thing to him. It is a thing more dear to him that his Jedi training. For all intensive purposes, Anakin was by no means a defeated man by the end of Attack of the Clones. The concert orchestra's final reprise of "Across the Stars" during the wedding was all about Anakin making the bold choice of marrying his lovelife, which was arguably the best thing for him after dealing with Dooku on Geonosis. It's a scene which stands in stark contrast to the "Beugn, the Clone War has" scene that preceded it. THIS is the Anakin that should be remembered, not the deformed Darth Vader. So, YES. Hayden 100% deserved his apperance at the end of Episode VI, and he needs to return for Episode VII. And NO, I strongly disagree with the notion that the prequels lack stakes. Episodes I and II were very new and adventurous to me, and there was very little I could predict, so I was always just into the moment, all the time. Only Episode III had me brooding and wringing my hands over the inevitable, but even then, there were still some surprises along the way, like how CLOSE the Jedi came to victory before Palpatine finally takes over the galaxy. I'm sorry, but to me, the Prequel Trilogy shows viewers that when they begin Episode IV: A New Hope, things are pretty screwed up... with the Empire and all. Oh, and Episode III also shows us Obi-Wan is like the galaxy's biggest liar. Whenever I hear him tell Luke: "Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn't allow it.", all I can think is "bull... shit". Poor, poor Luke... I feel so sorry for him.
Tim_Eagon
24. Christopher N
In the words of Wedge Antillies: "Cut the chatter, you prequel trilogy haters." Here's the REAL truth... The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones are two of the best entries ever in the entire saga, because IT SHOWS THE GALAXY THE WAY IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE. We have a REPUBLIC, not an Empire ruled by a freakin' Sith megalomaniac. Anakin Skywalker is out and about enjoying his life, first in Podracing, then when he saved Naboo, then you get his training at the Jedi Temple in the Jedi Quest series, and then in Attack of the Clones, hey... let's face it: Anakin and Padme's love story was perhaps the most iconic moment in the entire story (No, I do NOT mean this in a sexual context.). What you have are two young friends who leaned on each other's shoulders and stood by each other during a time of great upheaval. Lastly, you gotta hand it to Anakin: It may have looked sad when he lost his right arm at the hands of Dooku, and then learned that a war had indeed begun, but for Anakin, getting to marry Padme back on beautiful Naboo was undoubtedly a wonderful, blissful moment for him. Consider John Williams' title for the love theme music "Across the Stars": It expresses Anakin's loveliest aspect as a person: His ability to appeciate the beauty and gentleness of a woman like Padme is an empowering thing to him. It is a thing more dear to him that his Jedi training. For all intensive purposes, Anakin was by no means a defeated man by the end of Attack of the Clones. The concert orchestra's final reprise of "Across the Stars" during the wedding was all about Anakin making the bold choice of marrying his lovelife, which was arguably the best thing for him after dealing with Dooku on Geonosis. It's a scene which stands in stark contrast to the "Beugn, the Clone War has" scene that preceded it. THIS is the Anakin that should be remembered, not the deformed Darth Vader. So, YES. Hayden 100% deserved his apperance at the end of Episode VI, and he needs to return for Episode VII. And NO, I strongly disagree with the notion that the prequels lack stakes. Episodes I and II were very new and adventurous to me, and there was very little I could predict, so I was always just into the moment, all the time. Only Episode III had me brooding and wringing my hands over the inevitable, but even then, there were still some surprises along the way, like how CLOSE the Jedi came to victory before Palpatine finally takes over the galaxy. I'm sorry, but to me, the Prequel Trilogy shows viewers that when they begin Episode IV: A New Hope, things are pretty screwed up... with the Empire and all. Oh, and Episode III also shows us Obi-Wan is like the galaxy's biggest liar. Whenever I hear him tell Luke: "Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn't allow it.", all I can think is "bull... shit". Poor, poor Luke... I feel so sorry for him.
Tim_Eagon
25. Christopher N
Um... sorry. Didn't mean to post that twice. The controls were rather confusing to me.
Tim_Eagon
26. Brian J
Nothing will ever legitimize the prequels. And I won't be satisfied until they release a decent un-messed-up version of the original trilogy. The "special edition" with late 1990's CGI, Han Solo not shooting first, and a muddle of useless garbage that prove totally redundent to mess up the perfect pacing of The Empire Strikes back, is unacceptable. Release the real movies so we can actually see the trilogy that changed movies. The Star wars prequels don't exist in my mind.
Tim_Eagon
27. i xirtus
I don't think I'm alone when I say Hayden Christensen is the single worst thing that happened in the prequels. I actually like episode 1, and I don't find jar jar nearly as annoying or painful to watch as Hapden Christensen. How he got cast is beyond me, from the moment he enters screen in episode 2 you can tell he's going to ruin the character, lack chemistry with padme, brood monotonously and distract from the authenticity of the world around him. I seriously contemplate motion tracking Matt Lanter from the Clone Wars as Anakin because the prequels are not that bad if you just cut out Hayden Christensen. I know it might sound like a lot of work but it wouldn't be the first time they changed Star Wars. I think we would all pay to see it again and be stoked.
Anthony Pero
28. anthonypero
@26:

In otherwords: "Get of my lawn!!!"

@27:

He did fine, except when they let him talk. I doubt any teenager would have been able to carry the weight of that part though. Lucas should have thought that through and made Anakin in his late 20s when he fell to the darkside. Then they could have used an experienced actor in his 30s as Anakin.
Tim_Eagon
29. Thomas Bolt
I agree Hayden Christensen is a fin actor under right direction. And with Abrams how could you go wrong?

Plus Anakin Would have a lot to say to his grandkids cause he's been through hell. Spending his life as an artifical man with no humanity. Thats somthing to say to them.
Tim_Eagon
30. Danfromthebucket
there were rumors of resurrecting darth vader. while for right now i dismiss these as rumors there could be a scene in say episode VIII (yes 8) where anakin's ghost appears to luke to warn him that darth vader will be returning to take over the galaxy. luke may dismiss this as total nonsense because why would his father appear to him to tell him he's coming back from the dead only to become darth vader again. that would have made his total redemption of his father a waste of time. HOWEVER, like obi-wan told luke, "darth vader murdered your father". so when anakin turned to the dark side a whole other personality was adopted which completely turned against anakin. so somehow the spirit of 'darth vader' could somehow be resurrected by a cult of dark jedi/sith. so we COULD see the familiar form of darth vader via the breathing suit (im sure there was more than one) being animated by the spirit of vader with anakin no longer in the picture. so just like anakins physical body needed the breathing suit to survive, vader needed anakins physical body in order for him to exist. but now the dark jedi/sith cult has found a way to resurrect the spirit of vader from the sith underworld or wherever the sith go when they die and use the suit as sort of a vehicle for vaders spirit. remember it's vader thats being resurrected not anakin. and now vader no longer needs anakin for his plot of galactic domination.
Tim_Eagon
31. MuffinYum
It s easy to blame everything on *1 Man* , who had nothing to do with either THE STORY nor THE SCRIPT ! If you're asking me , Hayden did a damn good job (THINK AT THE FACT , 1 OF THE FIRST BIGGEST MOVIES OF HE S CARRER , EARLY 20s) So yes , I wanna see all this *Haters* do it better , once they do , they can actually *Blame Hayden* . I m not a Hayden fan , but it's pathetic to blame *EVERYTHING* on a Man (Man ? You can actually call him a Teenager.) If you wanna blame anyone , blame the *Writers* . as far as the Characters goe (Ep l,ll,lll) They did a great Job (Not compared to the prequels, but still a good job.)

A lil example:
Ppl blaming Obama for *messing* something up ? No folks , blame urselfs. YOU VOTED FOR HIM,YOU TRUSTED HIM !


Ppl should really look at the *whole* not just at 10% .
Tim_Eagon
32. David aka Sum Gui
Okay, I’m weighing in on Star Wars VII. Total nerd, I am, and good story too… would like to see. *best Yoda voice*

This is my first ever nerd rant about Star Wars... at least online it’s my first… so I hope you enjoy. :-) I am up typing at 2:30am, so yeah…. could be I recant the whole thing when I wake up in a few hours…….. in a galaxy far, far away.

Like you reading this, I do the usual nerd review of all the latest star wars news, and like many of you, dream up my own "wouldn't that be cool if they did that" scenarios... The possibility of staying with Anakin’s story has me fascinated because it seems very few see the potential here for a real twist that could take things to the next level for the Star Wars story... which is in fact Anakin's story, despite the expanded universe’s apparent need to fill in gaps around this central character.

I see here a way of tying this all together and bringing great coherency to what could otherwise become very fractionated story telling………

I see the potential for a d!@# nice new story arc here... and yes... with the big bad guy in black back in action… suit/voice optional, as much as I love cyborgs and James Earl Jones.

So here is the random thing that kicked this thought off for me… Some of the more interesting reads I have come across lately have attempted to take George Lucas' fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants form of story/character development and pin it against reality. Fun thing to do in your spare time. :-) For example, a pretty cool article analyzing the skeletal x-ray images from the electrocution scene at the end of Return of the Jedi. It went into specifics about what vertebrae were damaged, what mechanisms were located in the shoulders/arms, and all kinds of random stuff like that. I also found another one in which our friend Anakin was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder… met enough of the criteria plus a couple to land a firm diagnosis. THIS is the one that really got my juices flowing…. So let me ask you all the same question I was asking myself… if we are trying to keep our fiction as realistic as possible, how on earth are we buying this whole last minute redemption stuff? Hard to see, the dark side is……….. Easy to see, BPD is……… ;-P

So work with me… Darth Vader, as usual, allowed his emotions to lead the way just as the dark side calls for. He, in a fit of passion, attempts to end the Emperor, ***WHO HE WAS PLANNING TO OVERTHROW ANYWAY***, in an effort to continue reaching out to his son who had great dark side potential. NOW REALLY THINK ABOUT THIS… I want to challenge what we commonly believe about that “death of Anakin” nonsense from ROTJ……..

*thinking*

*thinking more*

*scratching head some*

*ready to continue*

SO…. Are we, as the audience, REALLY ready to believe a little bit of well-placed force shock (not enough to hurt Luke, keep in mind) and a re-severed (yes, re-severed) hand actually kicked off the events leading to Anakin’s death (yeah… the guy who survived getting set on fire and having his limbs severed in ROTS!), then fine… he died and became a force ghost. (Return of the Jedi seems to have concreted this plot point… so fine… I’ll work with it). Knowing that he was hit and seeing the only path for him to truly take over the galaxy is through his son Luke… he devised the ultimate plan for his survival and return to even greater power. Think about it… he learned from the best!! Palpatine plotted and planned and schemed WELL UNDER THE JEDI RADAR for quite some time, so why wouldn’t Anakin be similarly talented being the subject of our story??? He could have seen something we as the audience hadn’t yet (yes, this is the same guy who can see things ahead of when they happen, so work with me here)…. he saw the winning play and he took it.

I personally vote for a better interpretation of the ROTJ Anakin dying thing…….. Raw evil gut instinct, master deception, stunning manipulation, and a deep desire for ultimate power preying even on his son to get it…. NOW THAT’S THE DARTH VADER WE ALL KNOW AND LOVE!! This is a character who is absolutely geared with a need to control, and is just misguided enough to think he is doing the right thing… when he is in control he can establish “peace” in his empire, and he can have his son at his right hand helping him on his (not so) noble quest for tranquility in this galaxy far, far away.

“The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be… unnatural.” Add a dash of midichlorians (life forms inside the cells of ALL living things... allows one to commune with the Force) and you have an instant recipe for the path to greater darkness. I can practically hear Vadar’s march playing in the background.

So yeah…. Anakin is focused on Luke as his heir AND as his new apprentice… father and son ruling the galaxy is the dream for Mr. Vader, right? And just like the great Sith Lords before him, he KNOWS how to lure his prey and KNOWS how best to bend others to his will. Whether Luke eventually falls or not… either way… ruling the galaxy is and has always been Anakin’s intention since the moment he turned more dark than light that fateful day at the lava pit. Question now is, can he use his son to return to even greater power?

Vader dies… Luke is convinced he is good… he communes with him as a force ghost… meanwhile Anakin subtly, under the radar of even the audience begins to manipulate. I wouldn’t really want the audience to totally catch on until somewhere near end of Episode VIII, but he plays a big role as a force ghost in VII if I had my way. By end of VIII he is back to full form baddy and Luke is caught in a Dark rift… he starts to fall as well… the audience is in shock as it is now about the possible redemption of Luke in IX… and the next generation fighting to undo the new threat to the galaxy. Anakin’s story is one of tragic success… it looks powerful, it claims to be working in our interests to stabilize the galaxy for the peace of all… and we’re stuck dealing with it. The evil won and there is nothing but a small shred of hope going into Episode X. I want to see an Anakin that is slick, polished, totally evil, manipulative… and I want to NOT SEE IT COMING UNTIL IT IS TOO LATE!!! I want to FEEL LIKE I DID WHEN LUKE LEARNED VADER WAS HIS FATHER… and THIS betrayal could do it. The redeemed… even in the mind of the audience here... is nothing more than a rotted, festered, and molded spewing forth a new type of power-hungry evil the galaxy had never before thought possible… slithered in like a polished snake and bit you before you knew it was there. Good didn’t die… it morphed into true evil. (BPD will do that to anyone with intense Jedi powers. Too bad the therapists way, way long ago in that galaxy far, far away couldn’t catch and diagnose it in time! Jedi counsel should have had a shrink on it is all I’m saying here. ;-P )

I know at least some of you are cursing at me by now. You die hards! Trust me… it would be a fascinating approach and more than enough to develop a fascinating story and character arcs for Episodes VII, VIII and IX, leaving room for X even without growing old or stale. :-) I would love to see Episode X as the climax to all this. We were all expecting IX since the announcement, but imagine the kind of cliff hanger they could leave for us at IX with the arc I just presented??? I would be hanging on the edge of my seat waiting with baited breathe!!!!!!!

VII – We, as an audience see Anakin’s influence over Luke as it has developed over the last 30 years. We, as an audience see that government and relations between worlds and peoples do not magically mend just because the Emperor’s death star blew up (presumably with him in it). It has been a struggle for the former rebels/supporters of the old republic. Luke has lead a long life and is warn, yet dedicated to helping restore balance. Leia takes after her mother… an ever dying believer in the Republic and it’s values. Luke just sees the damage left by both the Republic and the Empire. And of course, Han and the bots are more than willing to dive into action with Luke when needed. Leia tends to her governance duties (whatever her role may be) and is a loving doting mother to her and Hans children…… strong personalities to say the least, with the same inability to stay out of the action as the rest of their bloodlines. Anakin the Force Ghost guides and fools everyone into believing his involvement from beyond is all nice and light side……. Nobody has a clue yet, but he does seem to have keen knowledge of the way things are playing out.

VIII – We the audience, experience the merciless and cruel death of Leia at the hand of a new Sith threat being hunted by Luke. Everything twists from this point forward. Luke is grief struck. Han is pure anger and retribution. Leia’s children step it up a notch and turn to Luke to learn more of the Jedi way, just as Anakin learns to………… materialize, after which he learns to………… be in control and handle the situation, teaming with his son, twisting his mind slowly, subtly, with only the most keenly observant audience member gaining even half a clue until the next film gives it away a little more. Anakin back in full form appears all the hero and returns to a level of respect and authority one could imagine after coming back from the dead and having a good part of the structure they built (the Empire) still standing. He says all the right things, and brings diverse factions back into the fold… all in the name of rooting out the evil in the galaxy… those evil sith!!! They did this!!!

God is Han angry these days……. And Luke….. impressionable and in awe of his father, who he is geared to revere on many levels…. Emotions striking him in ways unexpected…. Especially after Leia… oh Leia…. Why!!?

IX – Time has passed and Anakin rises to greater and greater power, has warped Luke the way Palpatine had warped him…….. uses Luke……. Leia’s children growing concerned as Anakin is nearly dismissive of them and starts to play “two sides against the middle” with Luke and the kids. Near the end of the film, Han smells bad coming and has for some time.. he has been secretly preparing, getting ready the resistance. He is old, tired, cranky, feeling his end is near… but won’t die without avenging Leia’s horrific final moments. He has a bad feeling about Anakin. He’s street smart, and he knows how to talk to people. He sees it. He tries to get Luke to see it. His kids don’t want to believe him, for as much as they love their father, they believe him to be eccentric and half mad at times… not handling Leia’s death well at all. The kids also want to learn the ways of the Force, and don’t want doubt casted on their mentors. Han loves his kids, but they are grown and he feels they don’t need him…. They hardly respect him some days…. Until they do…. Until they see for themselves he was right all along and even without the power of the Jedi he used good as a tool of power for all… to his dying moment. Again and for the final time, Han saves the day for many including his children who watch his death with their own eyes and hear his final words to them with their own ears… he warns them off the path of Luke and Anakin. “Fight the good fight, but remember who you are… what you stand for… and don’t EVER let that change. Your Mom didn’t. I didn’t….. Your Mom and I love you. (Pause…. Sudden explosive death by his own choice… a choice which saves countless others and pays back the slayer of Leia, because our Han wouldn’t have died for anything less!!)” I’d like to think our hero Han is blown to bits in a way that leaves a profound impact on both the audience and the kid characters, and sets the stage for the ultimate showdown between dark and light in Episode X. Questions in Episode X will be how does it end, and just how messy is this family going to get before it’s over??? Where will the values fall??? Where will the loyalties fall??? What of the fate of the universe??? Lots of action and dramatic storytelling in Episode X on this arc!!

The rise, fall, redemption and return of Anakin Skywalker…. Lord Vader. (Still leaving room for an epic winner takes all battle in Episode X). So yeah…. Tell me Vader ain’t still got some potential people!!?

Lots of opportunity to story tell, to draw meaningful parallels to our modern day real life, and to continue developing characters that are known and loved to a HUGE worldwide audience. We get our surprises and twists back that we have been missing since IV, V and VI. I know everyone wants little Ani a good boy and in his resting place of heavenly (last minute) redemption, but I want a more fleshed out version that’s real, raw, devious, truly dark. I want this character to be the ultimate study in how a character can lose their innocence and gain a new hope in something far more dark and horrid. I mean, really… nobody wants this type of character in the neighborhood but we will ALL watch him on TV/film, right?

So yes… for me… younger Anakin as a force ghost, eventually near end of VIII manipulating the midchlorians to regain a hold in the physical universe, manipulating and using an older Luke Skywalker who eventually falls himself… the only hope being the younger cast who will pull this story forward… they chase Vader and Luke while Luke and Vader hunt down and kill the remaining Sith in their self-deluding attempt at using the dark side to establish the family brand of peace… You really thought all the Sith were gone???! Hehawww space cowboys and cowgirls!! *best Han Solo impression* And yeah… I want Leia leaving her legacy on the light side of the force, though feel the character is about as developed as she can be and wouldn’t mind seeing her sacrificed in trade for good story telling and better development of the other characters. Imagine this affect on Luke, and on Han? Imagine the character development opportunities all around if she died in XII? Imagine how Anakin can use her death to further manipulate and twist Luke’s brain?? Imagine a jagged, edgy Han who wants nothing more than to avenge his slain wife with his very last breath?? Imagine when he gets the chance and actually does them some damage??

NOW THIS THESE ARE SOME STORY POSSIBILITIES HERE!! BRING BACK THE BADDY!! IT’S NOT STAR WARS WITHOUT HIM!! HIS STORY IS NOT YET COMPLETE!!

If anyone from Disney is reading I am for hire!! ;-) If anyone else is reading, please be kind with your comments, and may the Force be with you.

p.s. End of Episode X I want to know the droids are still around and I want to have a clue what becomes of them after the film. I feel they have always served as an odd kind of a framing device, almost as if they are symbolically the ones telling us the story from long, long ago……. Would be a cool feeling to have an indication of this in the close of the Anakin Skywalker story. Disney can do all the spin-offs they want around these main 10 installments, but leaving these 10 focused on the Anakin arc would just be plain awesome in my book!

p.p.s. Going to sleep now…. Good night! :-)))

p.p.p.s. Noticed several punctuation and grammar errors I am too tired to fix.... but I did notice them so please ignore them for me, k?

p.p.p.p.s. Really going to sleep n....... zzzzzz. (Good night)
Tim_Eagon
33. Muff Tarkin
The problem with the SW Prequels was that George Lucas conceived of their pacing all wrong. Fine, have a kid Anakin episode, but start the episode with the podrace and finish with the young kid by midpoint of the movie. I adore Liam Neeson - he's one of my favorite actors. He shouldn't have been in Phantom Menace. Obiwan should have been on his own scouting the kid on Tattooine - which would have provided nice symmetry for the old Obiwan living on Tattooine for decades knowing Anakin's son was nearby but NOT scouting Luke.

Then you switch to young Haydie mid film. He is not creepily younger than Padme, and they meet as peers, at least in age. He is not brooding yet, his mother is not dead yet, he is a happy, ebullient kid with a big crush on the prettiest girl in class. Together, Obiwan heroically defeats Darth Maul, letting his adoring padawan fill with admiration and respect for his young Master. The bond between them is the reason he trains Anakin rather than Yoda. There isn't all this weird, perverse rejection of Anakin as unworthy, especially by all those douchey Jedi Council members.

Then the second film , let Anakin be the young hotshot that we can ADMIRE for a while, engaging in heroics like those at the end of Attack o the Clones and the beginning of ROTS. Instead of implying that he goes postal because he doesn't get his due, have EVERYONE, except maybe Yoda, thrilled with him,certain that he will bring balance to the Force, yada yada. Palpatine - who ismore obviously evil, I mean, come on, you think we are too stupidto recognize Ian M?! - zeroes in on Anakin and plays on his ego and hubris, not on his 'anger and hatred'.

That's another thing. What is this weird thing Lucas has about anger and hatred? Hasn't he heard of Jeebus casting the moneylenders out of the temple, and God himself hating stuff like blasphemy? (I don't know his religious background, but regardless, these are well known in Western culture.) If you have ever been in therapy, you know that the average therapist could be a Sith Lord in terms of encouraging patients to own their anger and other negative emotions. As the Neurotic Outsiders once put it, "Feelings are Good!" Anakin's downfall should have been ambition, self-righteousness, pride, etc. - other deadly sins. Padme's being the reason only opened up a big ole plot hole based on the OT's placing Padme's death somewhere at toddler age and implying that Leia had a relationship with her before she died.

So, no Clone Wars TV show.Real adversaries, not freaking cutesy poo droids. A second film full of Anakin heroics, full of camaraderie with Obiwan (who is NOT written as a human C3PO), with a passionate relationship with Padme that threatens the films with a PG13.

THEN, in the third film,Palpy makes his move and the ENTIRE film, not the last hour, focuses on Anakin's downfall. He isn't duped into the Dark Side - as with misunderstanding Mace Windu's attack on Palpy and attacking Mace to stop what Anakin saw as the slaughter of an unarmed old man. Anakin chooses the Dark Side, and we have real doubt that there is any good left in him.Isn't that the entire point of the OT?

As for Hayden, he is a talented actor who would have been fine with the prequels asI have laid them out above, especially if GL had allowed a period of4 years between films,to give his actor timeto mature and to take speech and diction lessons so that he could gradually take on the inflections of Darth Vader over the course of the series. Hayden, in his early 30s, now has a voice to hit the girls right between the legs. Unlikes many of the possible replacements I have seen suggested for him, he does have the vocal endowment, with the right kind of coaching, to "do" Darth Vader convincingly. Yeah, so he's a little pretty and a little skinny. He bulked up nicely and looked just fine in that hairdo!

I have no idea what Abrams will do in the sequels, but I hope he keeps the characters individual and consistent. And I hope that if there are Force Ghosts, that Hayden Christensen is there as Anakin.
Tim_Eagon
34. Katie R.
Muff Tarkin ^^ That was spot on PERFECT!
Tim_Eagon
35. Forcechild
I couldn't agree with this article more. I think Hayden appearing as a ghost in the next episode is a fantastic idea. I'm one fan who doesn't think he ruined Star Wars. In fact, he made the saga even better in my opinion, especially considering the huge shoes he had to fill.

I can see no reason why he shouldn't be included among the cast in Episode VII, but according to interviews he's given, he hasn't been asked. It's a shame Disney is excluding him due to a few fans ridiculous comments. Most SW fans found no fault with Hayden's performance in the prequels and I don't believe anyone could've done a better job.

Even not knowing what the next episode will be about, I think it's important to carry on the theme of the saga where it left off - having Anakin keep in contact with family members (Luke?) through the Force.
Tim_Eagon
36. Hayden fan
Great article! Finally, after all the bullshit, someone who actually gets that Hayden was brilliant as Anakin. And I like your thinking about the new film direction. Yes, I'd love to see Hayden return and I'd pay good money to see him as Anakin.
Tim_Eagon
37. Samantha D.
I am so sick of hearing these prequel haters. If you hate the prequels, then you don't appreciate the ACTUAL story behind Star Wars, which is strictly about Anakin/Darth Vader and the tragedy behind it all. Yes there were some errors in the prequels and some things could have been done differently, but that can easily be said about the sequels as well, try and find a movie that doesn't have errors or something that you wouldn't change.
People have to remember that the prequels and sequels are in completely different time eras, there are completely different governments, theres a Jedi Council in the prequels and not in the sequels, in a way its two different films in regards to setting and mood of the films AS IT SHOULD BE.
I believe that people who watched the sequels long before the prequels came out are so biased and feel that thats the way the sequels should have been...BUT HOW. How would the sequels come to be without the story line of the prequels. You haters are unrealistic. George Lucas needed to show how the dearly loved sequels came to be, and if you haters were truely star wars fans, and loved the STORY ITSELF you would understand that.
I do believe the love story between Anakin and Padme could have been portrayed a little better for sure considering thats is one of main reasons Anakin made the choices he made and became Darth Vader but that is how George Lucas envisioned it I guess and since we all loved his previous creations we can respect the choices he made.
In regards to you Hayden Christensen haters, once again I'm sick of hearing it. Hayden played that roll to the T. He completely got into character and I felt his pain, and his conflict and turmoil. He made me feel like I was going through all of those emotions with him and I dont think ANY actor could have played a better Anakin.
Hayden Christensen MUST make an appearance in episode 7 I completely agree. Like I previously stated, and it came from George Lucas' mouth, Star Wars is about the tragedy of Darth Vader, you cannot move on with the other movies without Hayden appearing aas a guide ghost or something along those lines. I understand if theres gonna be another trilogy and more movies to come, it cant be centred around Vader anymore but he MUST play a roll even if its a small roll, which means Hayden has to be involved, rightly so. He earned his roll, he played it to the best of his and anyone else's ability.
If you haters read this and don't agree, then I have no problem stating you are not true Star Wars fans, you're a Sci Fi fan, but not a TRUE SW fan and ignorant :)
Tim_Eagon
38. murph
First and foremost sepearate views of Christensen and Vader/Anakin. Was Christensen the best choice maybe not but he was a somewhat unknown. And it was a good thing. Secondly as Anakin he did a great job of playing the frustrated Jedi that felt he was not being used properly. He got caught up in a web that he eventually chose to follow because he was told he would make a difference as he did twice. In my mind Luke was a catlyst for Anakin to redeem himself. I am looking forward to the next trilogy because as a scifi nerd that has read every extended universe story line Abrams has a vastly diffrent level to play of off.
Tim_Eagon
39. StarWarsWife
I loved the originals. I love the prequels. Heck, the scripts in both are pretty appalling (seriously, do NOT listen too closely to the dialogue....its terrible). I enjoy them for what they are. The effects, the aliens, the whole universe. The fun and diversity of it. The concept of the force. The good vs evil tale told in glorious technicolour. Yeah, we could all get bogged down in the failings but I think its all about keeping the child-like wonder - I see my kids watch it and I remember the excitement of it!

I question a lot of the acting - Harrison Ford can't act for toffee. He was just muscle and nice on the eye. Hayden? He's hot. He's frustrated and he kinda gets the whole un-hinged thing. Its not a delight to watch but it works. Stuffing him next to Ewan and Natalie probably didn't help but the director has a lot to answer for there too. Lucas just can't write romance! Those scenes in Episode II on Naboo are dreadful - but that's not down to the actors. Again, though, seen in the context of the whole film its all good viewing.

I can't forgive the casting in Episode I mind you. That kid. And Jar Jar. The rest is so good......hence why when its bad its really bad.

I can't wait for the new lot of films. Bring it on. I had a thing for Mark in the originals; I rather like Hayden and Ewan. Keep the eye-candy coming JJ.
Tim_Eagon
40. Kylee T.
I'm only in eighth grade, but I've read all of the start wars books. Luke Skywalkers dad Comes back as a ghost. Luke is more powerful than his dad Anakin. Layas son from the book can look at a world and blow out up with his mind.
Then her daughter is smarter then Yoda. Well I think that it would be weird talking to a dad that is younger than you. My dad owns all of the star wars books. Hayden Christensen NEEDS to up his game. Girls just fall in love with him because he's hot. He needs to be more of an Anakin Skywalker. Not a sexy teen. He is older than that. Look at Mark Hamill he was more of an actor than Hayden Christensen. He actually got into character. I just read this so.
Tim_Eagon
41. fawkes
@Samantha D.-THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! You have reiterated what I've been saying for YEARS. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only TRUE SW fan amongst my peers. It is a long, and sometimes lonely battle, but I will never back down! It's so awesome to know that someone (a fellow woman at that) is crusing on the exact same brainwave as myself!
Rock on girl, I got your back ;-)
Tim_Eagon
42. Brandon Salazar
Hayden Christensen has to return as a force ghost since Hayden Christensen replaced Sebastian Shaw in the 2004 version of Return of the Jedi. In addition to that, all the actors who had Jedi roles in the prequels have to return. Including Liam Neeson and Samuel L. Jackson. Besides, the prequel films are part of Star Wars whether you like it or not. Disney will not release the original versions of Star Wars. Disney will release both trilogies only in the 2011 versions. SO PLEASE STOP DEMANDING FOR THE ORIGINAL VERSIONS OF STAR WARS!
Tim_Eagon
43. Brandon Salazar
By the way, I posted that the comment that I posted just now to let you know that we must face reality that we can't force Disney and Lucasfilm to do something that they don't want to do.
Tim_Eagon
44. Aviel1000
I agree strongly with bringing anakin/hayden back.
A council of jedi for luke to commune with.
max von sydow would be great obi wan.
Anakin ceased to be anakin at his fall and became darth vader. When he died on the light side and became him self again his ghost is the age of his pre vader self.
Anthony Pero
45. anthonypero
@44:
Anakin ceased to be anakin at his fall and became darth vader. When he died on the light side and became him self again his ghost is the age of his pre vader self.
If that were actual what they were going for, then Obi-wan and Yoda would have been correct: The good man that was Anakin Skywalker was gone.

Luke rejects this out of hand, and its this faith that Darth Vader was STILL Anakin Skywalker deep inside that allowed Anakin to destroy the Emperor and fulfill his destiny.

If Anakin had truly been gone, then he could not have come back. That's kind of the whole point ROTJ was making.
Tim_Eagon
46. b boy
Haters hates but the fact is that hayden played the part just as lucas wanted if you're looking at someone to blame blame lucas he's no Peter Jackson. Look at the clone wars animation other jedi calling anakin master he was just a knight they and general Skywalker in the films they NEVER trusted on counted on him noon blame lucas and his lame ideas and lesser groups of writers.

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