Apparently, the outcome at Mustafar wasn't expected by Palpatine. He seemed to have expected Anakin to come home intact, in one piece and not needing a full body suit to keep himself alive - the future Lord Vader that Palpatine envisioned the galaxy to see in the coming decades was supposed to look like the man who marched into the Jedi Temple to execute Order 66.

If Vader had returned from Mustafar of good health (missing nothing more than the hand he already lost in Geonosis), and thus easily recognised by all who set their eyes on him to be Anakin Skywalker, does that mean he wouldn't have been covered up as having died defending the Temple?

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I know of no source (Legends or otherwise) that addresses this. That being said, a few scenarios seem possible:

  1. Since Anakin's personal relationship with Palpatine was relatively known, the story could have been told that he was the lone Jedi that stayed loyal to Palpatine (which is true, from a certain point of view). Instead of being "the emperor's enforcer" that drove fear into everyone who saw him, he would be a "shining beacon of justice" as he hunted down the remaining evil Jedi. It was already known (at least among the clones) that he did things that a Jedi wouldn't normally do. This would just serve to say that now he wasn't under the yoke of the Jedi Code and thus could do whatever he wanted, in the name of the Empire. This is assuming that Anakin would play along with the Emperor and not try to overthrow him.

  2. Anakin could have worn a Reven/Kylo Ren style mask that wasn't required for health, but just looked cool. The rest of the story would remain the same. However, he could never take it off in front of someone or they could recognize him.

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    Sounds possible. I doubt he'll wear a mask though. Having an unmasked and very recognisable Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One, is a very important political boon that will severely demoralise surviving Jedi when they see how name in the news...or he could bait them into coming out of hiding, believing the hunt is over. After all, only two Jedi actually knew of his fall. Apparently none who escaped the Temple knew. Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 0:51
  • Ooh, I love "the story could have been told that he was the lone Jedi that stayed loyal to Palpatine (which is true, from a certain point of view)." So cool. That does make sense too! Commented May 10, 2021 at 15:53

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