Now that you’ve seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens — because you’ve seen Star Wars, RIGHT?? — it’s time to talk about what we didn’t see in the movie. Spoilers ahead if you’re one of the last three people on the planet who hasn’t checked it out yet.
As we’ve learned in the last week since its release, Force Awakens is full of little Easter eggs and call backs to prior Star Wars movies and characters. There’s actually one scene in the movie where, while we don’t see them, we hear the voices of Yoda, and two versions of Obi-Wan Kenobi (both young Obi-Wan, played by Ewan McGregor, and wise-old Ben Kenobi, played by Sir Alec Guinness). These two go together like master and padawan, and the third member of their trio almost made it into the movie as well, Anakin Skywalker.
It’s not clear how and where he would have showed up in the movie, but according to The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, concept artist Ian McCraig explains that the idea was to have both sides of Darth Vader present — the black helmet version (we see that one chilling with grandson Kylo Ren), and also the younger Jedi version before he’s turned to the Dark Side, and played by Hayden Christensen in the prequels.
In early Star Wars meetings, McGraig proposed, “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.”
One of the original drafts of Force Awakens had Luke playing a much larger role himself. Early on, the script was changed and drastically reduced Luke’s role up until the final moments of the film. With that, more than likely, everything about Force ghost Anakin was cut, too. Or maybe Anakin was supposed to show up in Rey’s lightsaber-induced flashback, but there’s already so much happening in those quick few minutes that it might have been simply too much. Or maybe young pre-Dark Side Anakin was the one actually pulling Kylo Ren towards the light.
This is all still solely speculation, because whatever was planned for the OG guy supposed to bring balance to the Force, it clearly didn’t make it into the final version of Force Awakens. Good thing there’s Episode VIII coming in a short year and a half. There’s always potential for Anakin to drop by for a visit then, and for the next Star Wars installment to quickly become that father-son road trip across the galaxy we’ve always wanted.
Image via Lucasfilm