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.

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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?

  • 7
    And it's even worse that we do hear Ghost-Wan -- 'Rey… these are your first steps.' Jan 3, 2016 at 6:28
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    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, 2016 at 0:22
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    Because force ghosts are lame ;) Jan 4, 2016 at 0:54
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    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... Jan 14, 2016 at 10:51
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    Woah @Andres F. it wouldn't be Hayden appearing. It would be David Prowse - the REAL Anakin before Lucas butchered the films with his circus of idiocy.
    – Kai Qing
    Jul 28, 2016 at 23:37

12 Answers 12


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.”

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    @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 :) Jan 3, 2016 at 9:13
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    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, 2016 at 14:27
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    @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. Jan 3, 2016 at 15:26
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    Wait, I think I might be missing something. If he doesn't respect Anakin Skywalker (and he knows that Vader turned back toward the Light before he died), then who does he think he is praying to in The Force Awakens? What does he expect to get out of that? Is he thinking that he'll get guidance of some sort from Darth Vader from before he turned back to the Light? That doesn't sound right to me. It seems like praying to Vader is a pointless gesture if he has no respect for him after he turned back. Mar 19, 2016 at 23:47
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    I agree with @Spar10Leonidas. Also, I'm not convinced that it wouldn't do any good for Anakin to appear to Ren, or that Anakin would consider it a waste of time to do so. Let's say that when you were younger, you were a heroin addict, but you've since overcome the addition. If your grandson idolizes your former heroin-addicted self, and has also become a heroin addict, are you really going to refuse to talk to him because "you can't tell him anything he doesn't already know"? Jul 28, 2016 at 15:06

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?

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    This is really interesting, both the Ian McCaig quote and the comments on young vs. old Anakin --- thanks!
    – Praxis
    Jan 3, 2016 at 6:33
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    I would have rather seen this Light / Dark Force Ghost than the rathtars running amok...
    – Praxis
    Jan 3, 2016 at 6:36
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    +1 for the anti-"Light" baubles. I also like the idea of the conflict you describe, if he was both, and conflicted even as a force-ghost. I wonder if Vader's ghost might (have) come back separately form Anakin's - and wouldn't that be a reason for the change on force-ghosts, splitting young light and dark instead of the older ghost who has been through both....
    – Megha
    Jan 3, 2016 at 12:39
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    +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, 2016 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).

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    Anakin appeared to Luke as a Force Ghost at the end of Jedi, so even if he hadn't mastered the trick, he was definitely capable of it.
    – Plutor
    Jul 28, 2016 at 15:32
  • Wait, can Sith be force ghosts? I thought it was a Light Side only kind of deal
    – Allball103
    Dec 20, 2017 at 17:44

I think there are multiple reasons why Anakin's force ghost did not appear to Kylo Ren throughout The Force Awakens:

1. Disney wanted to reboot the franchise and did not want to mention anything from the prequels

This does not mean that the prequels aren't canon--they are. But Disney did not want to mention them due to them being hated by the majority of the Star Wars fandom. Several materials teasing a romance between Shmi Skywalker and Qui-Gon Jinn as well as the mention of midi-clorians were scraped due to Disney not wanting to upset fans. This is probably why any concepts involving Anakin Skywalker's ghost was eventually given up on. And if followed, Hayden Christensen would have had to reprise his role as Anakin which probably would have been refused by the actor who received backlash for his acting in the prequels.

2. Kylo Ren idolizes Darth Vader

Kylo Ren views Anakin as being weak and foolish, he would not listen to his ghost even if he appeared. Han Solo stepped into the role of advisor, rather than Anakin, to try to speak to Ren's conscience. Kylo Ren talks to Vader, not Anakin. Vader could not appear before Kylo since he was killed by Anakin upon saving his son. If Kylo killed Han after his pleas to come home, it is safe to assume that he would have paid no heed to his grandfather's ghost.

3. It does take effort to appear as a Force ghost

This is addressed in the canon Star Wars book, Beware the Power of the Dark Side! (by Tom Angleberger):


Like most Jedi, Obi-Wan became part of the Force when he died. But Obi-Wan did something the others did not. Guided by the discoveries of his own master, Qui-Gon Jinn, Kenobi found a way to live after death and even return to walk briefly among the living. Not for himself, not for some greedy dream of immortality, but to continue the great fight against evil and tryanny. It takes great effort, a great will, but he collects himself, pulls together the pieces of his consciousness from the endless flowing energy of the Force, and appears before Luke. He cannot do this often, only at key moments in Luke's journey, when a misstep might spell doom, not only for Luke, but for any hope of bringing balance back to the Force and freedom to the people of the galaxy.


Obi-Wan can sense his strength growing weak. He cannot bend the laws of nature any further. He must go.

4. Han Solo said everything that could be said to Kylo

As I said before, Han Solo stepped into the role of advisor and in place of Anakin's force ghost. If Anakin's ghost appeared, there would not be as much of an emotional stake as we have not had any interaction with the two of them. By keeping Anakin out of the way, there is more of an emotional tie to the character to know how he would view his grandson's actions. But it also creates an emotional bond to the character of Han Solo, his development as a character, and his relationship with his son. Han said everything that needed to be said: how much Ren was still loved by his parents, they were willing to forgive, Snoke's true intentions, and that there was still good in him. It reminds the audience of Han's heart of gold, raises the stakes, and will form Kylo Ren's path to the light or the darkness. It also bonds the audience to Anakin Skywalker, not Darth Vader, to know how the character would view his grandson's actions.


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.

  • "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. Jan 22, 2016 at 1:46
  • @neilfein wish i could find a source on this but I believe Revan was supposed to appear as a force ghost in a Clone Wars episode, but after discussing with Lucas they cut it because Dark Side users can't be force ghosts?
    – Allball103
    Dec 20, 2017 at 17:45

People need to remember Anakin's ghost, old or young Prouse or Christenson, appears to Luke to narratively confirm that Luke has succeeded in redeeming his father, Anakin. It's more about the story's needs than being consistent about how the Force works.

All this talk of Darth Vader and Anakin as "different people" is merely taking semantics as reality; they were NOT two people, they were one person who desperately (and hopelessly, possibly even clinically depressed) telling himself that his old life is over and his new self is all that is left.

Remember, he killed every person he ever loved or cared about only to learn that it was all for nothing. He was consumed with self-loathing, hatred of everyone except possibly his master [in some comics, he seems to actually love or revere his master, which is either a brilliant way to show that some part of Anakin's old self is within him, or just made for a better story], and the pathetic need to make everyone around him submit or suffer as he was suffering.

He's a deeply pathological personality after his fight against Obi-Wan. I think people are making a mistake being too literal about the Sith Lords' habit of taking a new name. The Dark Side twists you into a new form, it doesn't change a person irrevocably; otherwise, redemption would be logically impossible.

Vader no longer exists; he ceased to exist when Anakin's real persona asserted itself. Praying to the ashen ruin of Darth Vader's mask is just a pathetic but brilliant way of showing how obsessive Ren is about his hero; he's a pathological fan-boy with major daddy issues.

IMHO, he's way too much mentally ill to be very sympathetic. As others pointed out, Ren is in full possession of all the facts about the Dark Side and what his grandfather did; how you then decide killing your friends, destroying everything your uncle is trying to do for the galaxy, betraying your mother and ultimately murdering your father just to prove to yourself that you're committed to an illogical and self-destructive support of the most evil regime in galactic history ... even if Anakin had received the training Yoda and Obi-wan had, would you want to talk to this little snot?

As a post-script:

They better give one hell of a good reason for why Ben Solo is so full of hatred and resentment and neediness in the next film. Having famous and probably inattentive parents, one of whom is probably not the galaxy's best dad, just not seem adequate explanation. Anakin was lied to and manipulated by a person who had been doing it and playing on his character flaws for years; he was weak and foolish and power-hungry, but he did think he was saving the person he loved most in the world. Ben Solo had nothing selfless about what he did. He wasn't trying to save anyone. He just wanted power, and to hurt his parents. Sad.

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    Could you please edit your answer to be... more easily comprehensible? It's hard to see how exactly your post answers the question. Feb 1, 2017 at 8:33
  • Agree with @Gallifreyan, this needs re-writing so it answers the question.You have maybe two paragrpahs talking about the ghost and a lot that appears to be answering another question or is opinions bordering on a rant. Ive tried to change the layout and highlight what could be seen as an attempt to answer the question. Feb 1, 2017 at 10:22

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.


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.

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    Can you find an in-universe answer that doesn't speculate regarding Anakin's sense of guilt? Mar 19, 2016 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, 2016 at 7:39

The Force Ghost is that of a Jedi, one who has crossed to the light of the Good side of the force. Kylo has not crossed to the Light, he has embraced the dark and in doing so, prevented any Jedi Force Ghost from crossing to him. It has also been interpreted that when Obi Won was struck down, he was not killed, he was already dead, and came about to help Luke, as was his life's mission. The same with Yoda, when Luke returned to the plant, it was the return of the Jedi, if you listen to what Yoda says, it eludes to how he can't hang on to the physical anymore. The metaphysics Lucas used were vague, and most likely intentionally so, so as to provoke thought, and avoid explanations.


That's like asking why Yoda and Obi Wan don't appear as force ghosts at Darth Vader. The story doesn't include good force ghosts tormenting bad Jedis.

Remember when Luke insisted on going to rescue Leai and Solo. Obi Wan said if you do that "I cannot interfer".


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.


The reason why Kylo Ren cannot have a " force vision " of Anakin is quite simple. It's quite a sad story after Anakin returned back to the light side of the force after Luke saved him from the dark side Anakin then became one with the force and with that became available only to Luke because of the very strong " Force bond " between father and son and that's why.

I hope this has been helpful.

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