Star Wars Episode VIII will be chillingly subtitled The Last Jedi, we learned last week. Now YouTuber Chris Hartwell has a convincing case (via THR) for why Anakin Skywalker must return—as a Force ghost. With recent proclamations that Star Wars Story movies like Rogue One and the upcoming Han Solo origin story are standalones, the numbered episodes explicitly detail "the Skywalker saga." Rey, the majority of credible theories say, is Luke Skywalker's daughter.
"In The Force Awakens, they rang the Anakin bell," says Hartwell of the moment when Luke's lightsaber calls out to Rey. "They jumped into the Chosen One waters and opened a new chapter in [Anakin]'s life." At that moment, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda's voices called out directly to Rey from the afterlife. "If that's the case, then there's no logical reason to leave Anakin out," considering he is the only other Force ghost witnessed in the films. (Qui-Gon Jinn appeared in spirit form in the Clone Wars CGI TV series.)
Also significant is Kylo Ren's Episode VII chat with his grandfather Darth Vader's charred helmet, and how Anakin—who rejected the Dark Side before dying in Return of the Jedi—would want to stop little Ben Solo from misinterpreting his grandpop's mission. "He'd be speaking to a grandson who's been obsessing over him for years, without ever truly knowing or understanding him," Hartwell says.
Hartwell also suggests the development may unite fans who live in opposite camps regarding George Lucas' oft-maligned prequels, Episodes I-III.
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