A number of Force Ghosts are likely to appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, although just because Disney could include them, doesn’t necessarily mean they should. Directed and co-written by the returning J.J. Abrams (who has penned the script alongside Chris Terrio), Star Wars 9 will end the Skywalker Saga as well as the Mouse House’s Sequel Trilogy.
In order to satisfyingly do both, Abrams is bringing back a lot of familiar faces. While the main thrust of the story will still revolve around new heroes and villains such as Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), there’ll also be some more of the old guard, including the return of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), another outing for Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian, and one last appearance from Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker.
That might seem pretty full as is, but The Rise of Skywalker is set to be the longest Star Wars movie ever, and it’s also got to tie up nine-movies’ worth of storylines and character arcs. There are a number of fallen Jedi spanning the entire Saga who could well play a part in Star Wars 9, especially as the fight is once more against their old enemy the Sith, and more specifically Palpatine/Darth Sidious. It’s the kind of fan-service Abrams will likely want to deliver too, so here are all the Force Ghosts who could appear in Star Wars 9, and who the story actually needs.
This one already feels like a sure thing. While the marketing for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is, like The Force Awakens before it, hiding the appearance of Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, this time around there are far fewer possibilities for just how he will fit into the story. Luke’s death in Star Wars: The Last Jedi isn’t going to be retconned, but we know that Hamill is definitely back. That means Luke either appears in flashbacks, or as a Force Ghost (or both!). Hamill himself has hinted he’s a Force Ghost in Star Wars 9, and the way his voice is used in the trailers – as though communicating with Rey – strongly support the notion too. At this stage, it’d be more surprising if Luke wasn’t a Force Ghost.
Yoda made a surprising return in Force Ghost form during The Last Jedi, which on one hand has established him in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, setting the stage for further appearances, but on the other means Disney may not want to repeat the same Jedi trick. There have been rumours of Yoda being in Star Wars 9, but always in motion, the future is. Still, as Rey trains further and Luke himself joins the ranks of the Force Ghosts, there’s certainly room for another appearance from Master Yoda. Yoda went into exile in Revenge of the Sith, and died in Return of the Jedi. If Abrams is looking to rhyme some more, then he could well give Yoda one final goodbye in The Rise of Skywalker.
Obi-Wan Kenobi has already featured in Disney’s Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, albeit only as a voice, with both Ewan McGregor and Alex Guinness audible in Rey’s vision during The Force Awakens. Now, though, the time might just be ripe for the real thing. Obi-Wan is kind of the Force Ghost; he might not have discovered how to do it, but he’s the first Force Ghost most Star Wars fans meet. And with Yoda getting a turn in The Last Jedi, for which Obi-Wan was considered, then it seems even more likely that Obi-Wan will appear in The Rise of Skywalker. That was all evident before the Disney+ Kenobi series was announced: now there’s not only a solid character and story reason, but all important brand synergy too, introducing him to a whole new generation ahead of following his own adventures.
There have been rumors of Anakin’s return since before Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and concept art of a Force Ghost mash-up of Anakin and Darth Vader was later revealed, although it obviously didn’t make it into the finished movie. Even without an appearance, however, the specter of Anakin – or more specifically, Vader – has hung over Disney’s Sequel Trilogy. Darth Vader has been the driving, er, force behind Kylo Ren’s journey, and with Palpatine now returning, it makes more sense than ever before for Anakin (and Hayden Christensen) to finally come back. With questions over Kylo’s future and the Skywalker Saga as a whole ending, there’s a good chance of it happening. Christensen has been spotted at Galaxy’s Edge, there’s been talk of his appearance, so this one seems to have some strong potential.
In contrast to the other characters mentioned here, Leia Organa is still alive heading into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. However, there is a good chance that Star Wars 9 will see the character killed off, since she is one of the last remaining Skywalkers, and it’s hard to end the Skywalker Saga while leaving even just one of the family members alive. J.J. Abrams reportedly had just 8 minutes of Carrie Fisher footage to use, but even still, based on what’s in the trailers there might be enough for a Force Ghost appearance too (especially after The Last Jedi confirmed Leia’s Force powers).
Among some of the names mentioned above, there are a number of other Jedi from the Prequel Trilogy (or at least the Prequel era) who Abrams’ might decide to revisit for one last hurrah. Qui-Gon Jinn was, in terms of in-universe chronology, there at the beginning of the Skywalker Saga, so he could return at the end (his dismembered voice also made him the real first Force Ghost). Samuel L. Jackson has long claimed Mace Windu didn’t die; him being a Force Ghost could be a fun riff, although perhaps not quite fitting with his character. Disney could also bring animated heroes into the fold; Clone Wars and Rebels veterans such as Ahsoka, Kanan, and Ezra could all be brought to live-action. After all, they’re an important part of the Skywalker Saga too, and it’s not impossible that animated Star Wars characters leap to live-action. It might not mean much to general audiences, but would be fun for fans of the shows, and make Star Wars TV feel more connected.
For all there are a variety of Force Ghosts who could appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (none of whom would be explicitly bad), there are only two characters whose returns feel completely necessary in order to satisfying round out this story: Luke and Anakin Skywalker. This is, through the soon-to-be nine movies, their story, with Luke’s established in the Original Trilogy and built upon in the sequels, and the Prequels cementing Anakin as the Skywalker who started it all. If Leia does pass away during the movie, then seeing her as a Force Ghost, reunited with Luke, would be a special moment too, but the rest of the potential Force Ghosts, while they’d be nice dressing, aren’t completely necessary. With Anakin and Luke, it feels impossible to conclude this saga without the two of them, whether that’s helping Rey, redeeming Kylo, defeating Palpatine, or some mix of them all. This is called Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and that means the rise of Skywalker Force Ghosts too.
Read more: screenrant.com