In the current Star Wars canon, we had never gotten an actual appearance of Anakin Skywalker’s Force ghost after we saw him at the end of Return of the Jedi – until just recently, that is. And it came in an unlikely place.
The five-issue mini-series Star Wars Adventures: Ghosts of Vader’s Castle, written by Cavan Scott, recently wrapped up with issue #5. The story is set after ROTJ and focuses on Lina Graf and some allies. Graf, a former Rebel and adventurer, was the focus of the previous Tales from Vader’s Castle mini-series as well. Here, Lina encounters a number of “ghosts” and is haunted by them, given her past experiences at Vader’s Castle. Vaneé, Vader’s creepy assistant, intends to lure Lina back to the Castle in an attempt to revive the Dark Lord of the Sith through a mysterious Sith ritual. He succeeds at getting Lina to come back by kidnapping her brother, Milo, and so Lina and a team of allies shows up to rescue her brother.
Just when all hope appears lost for the heroes, Lina pretends that the ritual has worked by pretending to be Vader (having possessed her body and returned from the grave), ordering Vaneé to release her. When he does, she uses a blue lightsaber nearby to free her friends and trap Vaneé in the ritual, alone with his fears. The others follow the blue lightsaber out of the castle through the smoke to safety… but when outside, Lina reveals that her lightsaber actually wasn’t working. They leave the planet, not knowing what they had actually been following – and we then see, on the final page of the issue, that it was the Force ghost of Anakin Skywalker.
It’s a really cool conclusion to this story, as the whole thing has been about ghosts and the characters coming to see that these ghosts aren’t real – only to be saved by one. But while the other “ghosts” that had been haunting them were evil and malicious and worth fearing, this ghost is friendly. And he actually helps them escape.
So one thing that this comic highlights yet again is that the path to immorality is not through the dark side but through the light. The whole plot of the issue is that Vaneé wants to bring Darth Vader back from the dead, and so he tries an elaborate Sith ritual to attempt this. But while Vader is dead, the reality is that Anakin Skywalker lives on! Not through the dark side, but through the light. That’s not the focus here, but it’s hard to miss both here and in the Skywalker Saga.
It is a bit interesting that this is the first canon appearance of Anakin Skywalker’s Force ghost, as I would’ve expected it to come in something more than a Star Wars Adventures comic. But it’s a really cool touch and it fits in well here. And though nothing specific has happened, there have been a couple of instances related to this. In the canon reference book The Secrets of the Jedi, which sees Luke Skywalker telling the history of the Jedi in a journal, he mentions talking with his father’s Force ghost – so we know that Luke did talk with Anakin. And then in The Rise of Skywalker, as Rey hears from the Jedi of the past, Anakin is one of the more prominent Jedi who speaks to her. So we knew that Anakin was still present and active in this period, but now we’ve seen our first example of it.
I guarantee it won’t be the last, however, and we might be seeing a very notable instance coming soon – since Hayden Christensen will be appearing in the Ahsoka series!