For as long as we’ve been talking about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, we’ve been debating whether Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker would return or not. Given that the movie was extensively billed as the conclusion of the nine-film Skywalker Saga and that it was bringing back Emperor Palpatine, fans were hopeful. After all, Anakin is the key character for the first six movies and The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi both deal directly with his legacy.
Now, The Rise of Skywalker is out in the wild and spoilers are flying about as to what’s in the film and what isn’t and it turns out that Anakin is indeed involved. Well, kinda.
You see, Hayden Christensen is in the credits as Anakin, but fans may be very disappointed with how he appears. You’ll remember in The Force Awakens that during Rey’s ‘Force vision’ you hear a new line from Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan mixed into the background. And it appears that it’s the same sort of deal here.
According to those that have seen the movie, we get to hear the voices of many past Jedi from the series, with Anakin’s line – “restore the balance, as I once did” – a little louder than the rest. Sadly, it’s a very quick moment and his voice is so indistinct that many critics have missed it, but he is there. And though Anakin is in the film, this tiny voice-only cameo is unlikely to satisfy fans who were expecting him to appear as a Force Ghost and provide some final resolution to his story.
In any case, given that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is getting slated in reviews (it’s currently sitting at 53% on the Tomatometer – the same rating as The Phantom Menace), this may go down in history as a big missed opportunity for the franchise. But the true verdict will come in a few hours, when the film opens to audiences and we get their take on it.