– by Joseph Jammer Medina

People give the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy a hard time. Heck, I even give the trilogy a hard time. But regardless of how poor I think the storytelling is in the films, there were plenty of great elements to make them worth watching, and like it or not, the films are still a part of the “Star Wars” canon. So much so, in fact, that there was a point in the production of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” that Anakin Skywalker was set to return as a Force ghost.

In the recent book, “The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” concept artist Ian McCaig talked about his initial pitch for Anakin to make a return in the film (via ScreenCrush).

“‘When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.’ That inspired me to propose, for the first time, that Anakin’s ghost could come back… If we see Anakin Skywalker, because he does flow back and forth between Darth Vader and Anakin, let’s see him as a character with a dark and light side. The reason Luke is this whole new entity is because he was the first to acknowledge his own dark side — that it was not separate from him.”

Take a look at some of the concept art below!

Image via ScreenCrush

Image via ScreenCrush

Image via ScreenCrush

Image via ScreenCrush

As you can see from the concept art above, this Force ghost looks nothing like the one we saw in the revamped “Return of the Jedi,” where Hayden Christensen stood alongside Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. In “Jedi,” he was his young self, which George Lucas justifies has to do with the moment he turned to the dark side. Clearly, the concept art for “The Force Awakens” took the idea of Anakin’s Force ghost in a different direction. These pieces of art are great, but at the same time, it would have definitely shaken up the canon a bit (although some would argue that Anakin showing up as Christensen in “Episode VI” already messed up the canon and logic of the Force, but that’s a conversation for another time). 

Hayden Christensen in "Return of the Jedi" as Anakin's Force ghost. 

Hayden Christensen in “Return of the Jedi” as Anakin’s Force ghost. 

Perhaps shaking up the canon of the series is part of what set it out on the chopping block for the film, but it’s more than likely that it had more to do with its place in the story. If you’ve seen “The Force Awakens,” you already know the movie moves at a neck-breaking pace. There simply may not have been time enough to justify a scene with ghost Anakin. Plus, who would this Force ghost show up to and why? Would it be Rey, Kylo Ren, or Luke perhaps? In showing up to one of them, the character may have been far too influential on the plot, not allowing our leads to make decisions for themselves.

The possibilities as to why the filmmakers never followed through are endless. At the end of the day, however, Anakin didn’t make it into the final cut of the movie.

What do you think about this news? Would you have liked to see Force ghost Anakin in the film? Do you think we’ll see him at some point in the future? Let us know your thoughts down below!

SOURCE: “The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (via ScreenCrush)

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.