Anakin Skywalker Was Originally Going to Appear in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’
As it stands, Star Wars: The Force Awakens mostly ignores George Lucas’ prequel trilogy. The only significant nod to those films was the voiceover work by Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi during Rey’s Force vision (saying, “Rey…these are your first steps”). But, the original plan was for Obi-Wan’s apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, to also make an appearance.
According to the Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens book, Anakin would have appeared as a Force ghost in the film. It’s unclear whether Anakin would have presented himself as Darth Vader to Kylo Ren, or as Anakin Skywalker to Rey or Luke.
Concept artist Iain McCaig told the book:
‘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.
Here are some concepts for what Anakin’s Force ghost may have looked like in the film.
You can see there are various iterations of what Anakin would look like. One, would be a very traditional Anakin, not unlike the Force ghost that was added to Return of the Jedi. Another looks like a version that is very much half-Vader/half-Anakin.
At the end of the day, it looks like this was removed from the film, because it was a little too much information for one film. If Anakin was appearing to Rey, it might’ve been too much confirmation that she were a Skywalker (which we still have no idea whether that’s true or not). Luke has so little screen time in the movie, we can’t imagine there’d by much, if any, time to include a convo between Luke and his father.
If this art was created, and not used, for The Force Awakens, there still remains the possibility that Anakin, and Hayden Christensen, could return in some capacity for Star Wars: Episode 8.