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Why Did George Lucas Replace Anakin’s Force Ghost in Return of the Jedi?

Star Wars force ghost

What are your thoughts on this scene from the 2004 special edition release of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi?


Personally, I think it was a stupid idea. Sure I can see what George Lucas was trying to do, and that’s tie in the original trilogy with the prequels - still, it’s never made sense to me why they'd swap Sebastian Shaw’s Anakin Skywalker with Hayden Christensen’s, other than to have some continuity between the newer and older movies. Seeing the older Anakin in the original release makes way more sense to the story.


Lucas explained a while back that the reason Anakin’s force ghost appears young at the end of the movie is because he “metaphorically” died when he turned to the dark side and became Darth Vader in 2005's Revenge of the Sith.


To a point I get that, but surely the fact that he turned back to the light and defeated the Emperor (let’s not talk about The Rise of Skywalker), thus saving his son, Luke, means that the old (and good) Anakin was still alive at the end. It’s all just a bit weird.



Whatever explanation is given, I just think this was a way to link the prequels to the original trilogy and nothing else - an idea I’m sure they thought was good at the time but have no doubt come to regret since.


What do you think? Do you like that Hayden Christensen appears at the end of the movie or do you think it was a dumb move that disrespects the original actor? Let me know in the comments.

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