Wild ‘Star Wars’ Fan Theories Call for the Return of Hayden Christensen, Anakin Skywalker

Just like their compatriots over at Marvel, Star Wars is famous for resurrecting characters. One could argue the franchise did so with its very first movie in 1977, when Obi-Wan Kenobi came back, if not in body, as a disembodied voice. The Force will be with you always, indeed. 

So perhaps it wouldn’t be so surprising that there’s a fan theory going around that none other than Anakin Skywalker will somehow factor into Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.

At first, bringing Anakin back may sound like a spectacularly bad idea. But on the other hand, it could make sense depending on how it’s played. Let’s look at the case for and against. 

Hayden Christensen onstage at Star Wars Celebration
Hayden Christensen | Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

Why Anakin should not return to Star Wars

Well, for one thing, his story is done. He was born, fated to be strong with Force, did his best to live the good life, was led astray anyway, stayed evil for awhile before finally being redeemed by his son and killing the entity responsible for mucking up his destiny. And he died honorably doing so. There’s nowhere to go.

And on top of all that, Anakin was one of the most despised aspects of the prequel trilogy. Fans endlessly mocked both Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen’s performances, arguably ruining their careers. Lloyd was bullied so much that he soured on acting altogether.

Meanwhile, Christensen, who has given good performances in movies like Shattered Glass, has struggled to be taken seriously as an actor since. Fans jeered when Christensen became the Force ghost for Anakin in the special edition of Return of the Jedi

Screen Rant gave a list of reasons as to why Anakin could come back, and one of them was “to bring Han Solo back.”  Yeah, sure. That has about as much chance of happening as Last Jedi detractors welcoming the news Rian Johnson’s planned trilogy is still going forward. 

Here’s why Anakin coming back might work

Well, the new film is called The Rise of Skywalker. Could Anakin be the Skywalker referred to? It’s all but confirmed that’s Palpatine laughing in the trailer, and if he makes an appearance, then bringing Anakin back could conceivably work as well. Perhaps Anakin could finish what he started once and for all. 

If Anakin has remained on the right side of the Force, as his Return of the Jedi ghost indicated he did, then he could conceivably become the advisor to Leia, Rey, or maybe even Kylo Ren.

Having him mentor Rey in some way would make some sense of the “dark Rey” image that’s been the talk of the Internet. Or maybe Anakin is the nefarious force behind C-3PO’s red eyes?

Besides all that, if Anakin does come back, whose voice would we hear? Christensen’s? James Earl Jones’? This scenario raises more questions than it answers, but then, so do most Star Wars fan theories. 

Don’t ask George Lucas — or maybe do …

Reports surfaced this week that Star Wars mastermind George Lucas has been none too pleased with Disney’s Star Wars movies.

A new memoir by Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that Lucas felt “betrayed” when Disney decided not to use the plot outlines he offered for the new movies, and Lucas specifically knocked The Force Awakens for not being original or innovative enough. No wonder he referred to Disney as “white slavers” shortly after the sale. 

However, IndieWire reports that Force Awakens and Rise of Skywalker director JJ Abrams said that Lucas assisted with the script for the final chapter of the Skywalker saga. Whether that involves using Anakin we cannot say, but we do hope that it’s more the Lucas of the original trilogy than the Lucas who wrote about sand being so coarse and annoying.

Some fans may cheer Lucas’ involvement, but as the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.”