Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

We know that Anakin Skywalker has become a Force Ghost — at the end of Episode VI, Anakin's Ghost is a wallflower at the ewok party on the Forest Moon of Endor.

We also know that it doesn't necessarily take special training in order to commune with Force Ghosts — while Yoda mentions in Episode III that he can teach Obi-Wan to speak to Qui-Gon's Ghost, Luke can speak to Obi-Wan's with no special training.

enter image description here

In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren meditates in the presence of the helmet of Darth Vader and pleads to Vader,

"Show me again the power of the darkness..."

I assume that Anakin has not actually appeared to Kylo, for if he did, he would have surely advised Kylo to return to the Light and to give up his obsession with the dark period of Anakin's life.

Given that Kylo is Force sensitive, given the stakes involved, and given the

familial connection between Anakin and Kylo,

why hasn't Anakin's Ghost appeared to Kylo Ren?

share|improve this question
And it's even worse that we do hear Ghost-Wan -- 'Rey… these are your first steps.' – David Banner Jan 3 at 6:28
@DavidBanner - wonder what woulda happened if old Obi-Wan ghost-phoned Ben early enoigh, when it'd have helped? :) – DVK-in-exile Jan 3 at 9:15
Let me ask you this: if you were to embrace darkness, and the ghost of Hayden Christensen suddenly begged you not to, would you pay attention to that wimp? – Andres F. Jan 4 at 0:22
Because force ghosts are lame ;) – curiousdannii Jan 4 at 0:54
Why do you assume that ghost-Anakin would stay good? He's still moody old Anakin. Leia won't have forgiven the whole "killing everyone she ever knew" thing, so they'll row. As for Luke, Anakin experienced the fast pace of learning the dark side, so watching Luke struggle to teach the the slow path to being a Jedi must be excruciating ("Shut up about controlling emotions and teach them the lightning trick already! It's very effective!"), especially if Luke kept saying things like, "Don't make the mistakes Anakin made" ("Hey, I'm right here! You ungrateful little..."). Snoke, however... – user568458 Jan 14 at 10:51
up vote 48 down vote accepted

I'm afraid the answer is something unanticipatingly simple and banal: there was no point.

Assuming that you meant Anakin the Good Guy's Force Ghost from ROTJ Special Edition:

  1. Anakin's Force Ghost has absolutely nothing worth saying that Kylo Ren doesn't already know and taken into consideration.

    What is he going to say to change Kylo's mind?

    • AFG: Ben, I turned back towards the Light in the end!
    • KR: Yah OKTHX Captain Obvious, I just discussed it with my Master. Your point?


    • AFG: Ben, you really shouldn't trust Snoke, he'll use you and betray you
    • KR: My daddy told me that already. Can I stick a Force Ghost with my Christmas Tree Lightsaber too?


    • AFG: Ben, the Dark Side will lose!
    • KR: Looks like we're winning, ain't we? Because unlike you I'm a successful Dark Sider who has no flights of misguided positive emotions! Also, go Ghost-See Spaceballs, and listen to wise words of Dark Helmet who was WAY cooler than your Hayden Christiansen romcom visage.
  2. And Kylo Ren has no respect for Anakin, to boot.

    Or, as J.J. Abrams himself put it in IGN interview:

    Kylo Ren idolizes Darth Vader, not Anakin Skywalker, ... He idolizes what Vader represents and what Vader was trying to do. The idea that Vader didn’t succeed, if you look at it from Ren’s point of view, he was seduced by the enemy and failed because of that seduction. So the idea is that Ren wants to complete the thing that Vader started.”

share|improve this answer
Interesting point of view! Thanks. :-) – Praxis Jan 3 at 8:18
@Praxis - YW. There's so much retcon, trick answers, and weird facts in Star Wars, it takes a conscious effort for me to step back and just go "Wait, X is this way because it just makes common sense" :) This is one answer that I don't see any need to improve with any more quotes :) – DVK-in-exile Jan 3 at 9:13
Also from episode 2 and 3 we know that force ghosts have limitations......and if someone is bent on becoming a dark sider they can't do anything worth there....see qui gon jin ^^ – Thomas Jan 3 at 14:27
@Thomas - I think that Anakin's situation wasn't quite so hopeless in a sense of that HE didn't really know the full picture and was severely misled. Kylo Ren is far more guilty than Anakin - HE has 100% of the facts and isn't being lied to. He chose this 100% fully consciously. – DVK-in-exile Jan 3 at 15:26
@dvk I was playing on that AND on that a force ghost already couldnt do anything against anakin how should one do something there for kylo? – Thomas Jan 3 at 15:34

Not too sure about an in-universe explanation, but Star Wars concept artist Iain McCaig in Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens presented some ideas that played around with the concept of what Anakin’s “Force Ghost” was meant to represent in The Force Awakens:

Discarded and unused Anakin duel good/bad “Force Ghost” concept art.

‘When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.’ That inspired me to propose, for the first time, that Anakin’s ghost could come back […] 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. 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.

The ideas were ultimately discarded, but to me it shows that somehow the idea of Anakin appearing to Kylo as some kind of “Force Ghost” adviser was tossed around. Looking at the concept art one can assume that the idea would be that even in the afterlife Anakin is conflicted with the light and dark side of himself. Which might actually explain Kylo’s conflict as well; if Anakin was not 100% good or evil, then who is to say what really destroyed him?

But the more you think about this, the more mucked up and confusing it becomes since the whole concept of Anakin being “young” as a “Force Ghost” in the reworked ending of Return of the Jedi was meant to convey he was “good” when he was that age… So then if he’s conflicted shouldn’t half his face be the old Anakin (aka: Sebastian Shaw)? And then what does that mean even from a visual standpoint?

Better just show the burnt mask and then explain some kind of… I don’t know… Some crazy necklace or bracelet Kylo wears that blocks any “good” things from reaching him. You can market anti-“Light” baubles easier than some “two-face” mask right?

share|improve this answer
This is really interesting, both the Ian McCaig quote and the comments on young vs. old Anakin --- thanks! – Praxis Jan 3 at 6:33
I would have rather seen this Light / Dark Force Ghost than the rathtars running amok... – Praxis Jan 3 at 6:36
@Praxis A deeper questioning of the whole concept of “young” versus “old” can be gleaned from this other question I posted and Richard’s really perfect answer. The formal Lucasfilm line is “young” Anakin is Anakin when he was good. But if you look at my question and the comments, I believe it’s all really just agism and an attempt to make sure they market the story/toys/etc to the youth market. The more you think about this stuff the less the in-universe logic makes sense. Far less sense than you can imagine. – JakeGould Jan 3 at 6:36
@JakeGould Actually "as old as you feel" is a pretty common concept, and ghosts reverting to age they felt most "self" happened in other stories, fairytales and books. Most prominently in paintings about Christian Heaven. Usually young people there. So it's only traditional to be rewarded with youth when you're good. But this shouldn't really be discussed here, sorry. – Mołot Jan 3 at 18:30
+1 Wow... I love the idea of an ambiguous Vader/Anakin ghost which would fluctuate between sinister and friendly. A shame they discarded it (or postponed it?). – Andres F. Jan 4 at 0:28

The passage from the Thrawn Trilogy novels (now considered Legends canon) where Obi-Wan's Force Ghost bids farewell to Luke Skywalker implies it requires some effort by a deceased Force user to sustain themselves as a separate spirit, and that eventually they merge with the Force.

In addition, I thought it was stated in Legends canon that Obi-Wan and Yoda had mastered the trick of preserving their spirit as a Force Ghost, while Anakin had not (although some Sith were capable of existing as Force Ghosts).

share|improve this answer

I would like to be proven wrong on this but I suspect the following.

There are explicit dark and light side techniques. The ability to produce a Force Ghost is explicitly a Light Side technique. The ability to communicate with Force Ghosts may also be a Light Side technique. Whether or not Kylo Ren is capable of it, he may not be willing to perform a Light Side technique to be swayed by a Skywalker.

share|improve this answer
"The ability to produce a Force Ghost is explicitly a Light Side technique." That's debatable, given that Darth Bane may have appeared to Yoda in the final arc of the Clone Wars TV series. – neilfein Jan 22 at 1:46

Like has already been said, Kylo Ren idolizes Darth Vader, NOT Anakin Skywalker. Kylo Ren likes the powerful and evil things that Darth Vader did, and considers his pull back to the light side a weakness. In Kylo Ren's chambers, he apologizes to Darth Vader for feeling a pull to the light side again. He obviously thinks that Anakin was weak for choosing the light side and Darth Vader was strong for being a part of the dark side.

share|improve this answer

Both men of the Skywalker- Solo clan (Luke and Han) went MIA instead of staying and dealing with Kylo. It would make sense that, after doing what he did as Vader, Anakin also goes into some sort of self banishment out of guilt. If that is the case he likely has no idea that his grandson has fallen to the dark side. This would also explain why Obi-wan tells Rey "these are your first steps" instead of Anakin as 1. it's Anakin's lightsaber and 2. Rey is possibly Anakin's granddaughter.

share|improve this answer
Can you find an in-universe answer that doesn't speculate regarding Anakin's sense of guilt? – rosesunhill Mar 19 at 6:59
Seeing as how Disney has done away with the old EU and the only thing that's considered canon now is the movies and a few books that have nothing to do with Anakin (to my knowledge), no I can't. I base my theory on the fact that 1. It's weird that Obi-wan is talking to Rey even though it's Anakin's lightsaber and 2. that one episode in the Clone Wars cartoon where Anakin gets shown the future by the Son. The look on Anakin's face is the look of someone who feels great guilt for what he did. – Severa Mar 19 at 7:39

It could be that Anakin has tried and Kylo Ren is unable to hear and see him due to him turning to the dark side.

share|improve this answer

Maybe Snoke's faking Vader's ghost through the mask to fool Kylo Ren and blocking any attempts by Pop-pop's real Force Ghost to get any where near him.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.