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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Will Darth Vader Be Resurrected in "The Force Awakens"?

Since Star Wars: The Force Awakens was first announced, there have been tons of crazy rumors and unconfirmed reports. Many of these actually seem pretty realistic; Luke Skywalker is missing and/or evil, Rey is the daughter of Han and Leia, et cetera. But one of the most intriguing rumors involves the franchise's most iconic figure: Darth Vader. Specifically, he's said to be resurrected by Kylo Ren, the promotional face and primary antagonist of the film. The craziest part? It actually makes sense. 
Vader's helmet in The Force Awakens' teaser 
First, let's talk about the most obvious evidence. The second teaser for the movie featured a long, dramatic shot of Darth Vader's charred helmet. The last time we saw his suit, it was being ceremonially burned on the moon of Endor during the victory celebrations at the end of Return of the Jedi. Someone must have gone to a lot of trouble to track it down and reclaim it. And thanks to director JJ Abrams, we know exactly who, and why. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly last August, Abrams revealed that Kylo Ren has some kind of infatuation with Vader. His own mask is a "nod" to Vader's, so it seems perfectly reasonable that he would want to add the original to a personal collection. But maybe the obsession doesn't end there. Maybe he's such a Vader fanboy that he wants to use his own Sith-ish powers, with help from the remnants of Vader's suit, to bring him back from the dead. Maybe that's the whole purpose of the Knights of Ren, a mysterious order that Kylo Ren belongs to, and got his surname from. 
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) with his Vader-esque mask 
Hmm, does the idea of using the Force to bring people back to life sound familiar to you? That's because it was part of Vader's motivation to join the Dark Side in the first place; in Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine (AKA Darth Sidious) told Anakin Skywalker stories of his own master, Darth Plagueis, using the Force to bring people back from the dead. Anakin had been having precognitive nightmares of his wife Padmé dying, so this convinced him that joining the Sith as Darth Vader would allow him to save her. 

Since the self-titled novel about Plagueis (that confirmed his resurrective powers) is no longer part of the Star Wars canon, we have no way of knowing if Palpatine's tales were accurate, or just lies to bring Anakin closer to the Dark Side. But if they were true, this would certainly give some background information if Kylo Ren tried to bring Vader back from the dead. 
Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker

The most recent addition to this rumor is that Hayden Christensen himself will return to play Vader. In some ways, this makes sense. Who says that a resurrected Vader would have to still be in his suit? It would make a lot more sense if Kylo Ren just needed to recover the suit for the body tissue found inside, and Vader would somehow return in-the-flesh as a young man. And if Vader was back as a young man, it wouldn't make sense if he looked any different from when Christensen canonically portrayed him in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith

But on the other hand, one of the (many) reasons people hated the Prequel trilogy was Christensen's undeniably wooden acting. The biggest doubts about The Force Awakens are because of the overall terrible-ness of the Prequels, so the film has appropriately distanced itself from them. Bringing back the Prequels' most hated star would enrage fans and cause lots of bad buzz about the movie. 

Do you think Darth Vader will be resurrected in The Force Awakens? Tell me in the comments, and may the force be with you all. 

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