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So, is Anakin going to be in Rise Of The Skywalker or not?

Screenshot: Star Wars: Return of The Jedi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDqgJye7hyc)

While the rest of you are weeping over C-3PO’s last stand or whatever the hell’s going on with the droid in the new Rise Of The Skywalker trailer, a certain sect of the internet is mourning another character, one who didn’t even appear in the trailer. Yes, we’re talking about Anakin Skywalker, the character who’s perhaps better beloved as his alter-ego, Darth Vader. “Apparently, JJ Abrams lacks the testicles to truly bring the saga to a close in an actually satisfying way,” remarked one Redditor angry at the trailer’s lack of the character. “Because a truly satisfying conclusion would involve Anakin.”

They’re not alone, either.

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Stanikins, to borrow a phrase, are holding out hope nevertheless, with many pointing at the close-up of Rey shrouded in spectral blue as evidence that she’ll encounter a Force ghost. Sure, it’s probably Luke, but who knows?

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Inverse, meanwhile, is reporting on a theory excavated from Reddit that could justify Anakin’s return, one that centers around Emperor Palpatine’s return and Anakin’s role as the Chosen One whose destiny it was to bring balance to the Force. Here’s how they sum it up:

In Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine explains that his master, Darth Plagueis, used the Force to influence “midi-chlorians to create life”.

Likewise, in the Star Wars comic Darth Vader #25, we learn Darth Sidious himself made use of the Dark side to influence Anakin Skywalker while still inside the womb. Redditor u/TheSlightlyOddGuy contends that this is where the Force imbalance stems from and is the reason behind Anakin’s rumored return in The Rise of Skywalker .

“The imbalance is Plagueis and Sidious’s attempts to use the Force in order to create life. That such an act has resounding waves within the Force,” the theorist writes.

Although it’s never been confirmed in canon, this theory offers an intriguing explanation for the Force imbalance. Moreover, if Anakin’s sole reason was to restore the Force and he died before that could happen, this unfinished business might be the key to his return in The Rise of Skywalker.

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Truthfully, the return of Palpatine is reason enough to believe that Anakin could come back, what with the fate of the two being so intertwined. Throw in Kylo Ren’s spiritual connection to Darth Vader and it does start to feel as if the film would suffer without a return of some sort for the character. Of course, it could also suffer from the return of Hayden Christensen’s performance, but we digress.

Star Wars: Rise Of The Skywalker hits theaters on December 20.

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.