'Star Wars' Buzz: How Anakin Skywalker Almost Appeared in 'The Force Awakens' and More

'Star Wars' Buzz: How Anakin Skywalker Almost Appeared in 'The Force Awakens' and More

Dec 29, 2015

Star Wars: Episode III - Return of the Sith

Of all the classic characters who were anticipated to appear in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Anakin Skywalker probably ranked near the bottom. That's largely because his character arc in the prequels was, at best, problematic; neither Jake Lloyd in The Phantom Menace nor Hayden Christensen in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith were able to deliver performances that captured the hearts of fans worldwide.

But the young boy that grew into the troubled man who would become Darth Vader lingered in the imaginations of the filmmakers charged with making the seventh installment in the series and early plans featured the return of the character. According to the new book The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (via Cinema Blend), concept artist Iain McCaig suggested "that Anakin's ghost could come back."

Star Wars: Episode III - Return of the Sith

"If we see Anakin Skywalker, because he does flow back and forth between Darth Vader and Anakin, let’s see him as a character with a dark and light side," said McCaig. "The reason Luke is this whole new entity is because he was the first to acknowledge his own dark side -- that it was not separate from him."

Here's some concept art of what he may have looked like in the film. Notice how he's part Anakin, part Vader.

Certainly that's an interesting concept, although it's one that was not pursued by J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, who took over writing duties after early drafts by Michael Arndt. It's just one of the ideas that were proposed early in the planning stages for the movie, as detailed in The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is also the source for a number of other fascinating details about changes that took place as the project developed. Our friends at Slashfilm provided a thorough breakdown, so we'll highlight just a couple about the lead characters.


Sam Became Finn

Originally described by writer Arndt as "pure charisma" and named Sam, the character's look was envisioned as more of a smuggler before it was decided that he should begin as a Stormtrooper in crisis. In time, his name was changed to Finn and he was portrayed by John Boyega.

The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Kira Became Rey

The book provides official acknowledgement of the change in names from Kira to Rey for the character played by Daisy Ridley, confirming rumors that had circulated during production of the film. Described as a "loner, hothead, gear-head, badass" by writer Michael Arndt, Kira was somewhat different than the one eventually named Rey. For one thing, Kira worked for a used space vehicle dealer, where she daydreamed constantly about leaving the desert planet of Jakku.

Further, Ridley said in a recent interview: "She changed from when we first began, she became softer. And I think that’s probably me, because Americans tend not to understand me, so it helped, slowing down the speech and everything just made it softer than I am."

The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Speaking of Ridley, her next movie is opening this week. She voices the lead character in a new English-language dub of the Japanese animated classic Only Yesterday, which opens in New York on Friday, January 1, before expanding to select cities nationwide in February.

Shooting begins soon on Star Wars: Episode VIII, which will open in theaters on May 26, 2017.

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