Qui-Gon discovered how to become a force ghost after death and talk to the living (if they are receptive). At the end of episode 3, Yoda had learned that from him and told Obi-Wan that he would teach him as well. That worked, apparently, and Kenobi knew the trick.

But when and how did Anakin learn to do that and appear at the end of episode 6?

  • 6
    Well, how did Qui-Gon learn the trick in the first place?
    – Kalissar
    Nov 24, 2013 at 23:42
  • ...and if Anakin is strongest in the force, then surely he's able to independently discover the same thing as a weaker Jedi did? I'm not certain that this even needs the usual level of EU convoluted explanation/retconning...
    – user8719
    Apr 23, 2014 at 18:20
  • 4
    The Clone Wars shows the trials Yoda goes through in order to learn to become a Force Ghost, and they were all very heavily focused on a reaffirmation of being a light side Force user. So, this question is even more emphasized to the point where "Yoda spent weeks going through a variety of trials while Anakin just does it upon death after decades of embracing the dark side."
    – Ellesedil
    Feb 15, 2016 at 19:36
  • Qui gon was taught by the monks on Jeddah Jan 11, 2017 at 15:31

6 Answers 6


According to Wikia - which is unsourced so take this with a grain of salt! -

Darth Vader learned of this ability through Darth Sidious, and upon his death, the spirits of Kenobi and Yoda completed his training by granting him the last step in becoming a spirit.

I think this may be sourced from The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader book but need to re-read it to confirm. Also, this book is not yet considered canon. It is still in the legends category. But the explanation seems to make the most sense.

  • 2
    That grain of salt is small enough for me - makes sense.
    – Olaf
    Nov 26, 2013 at 13:22
  • 5
    Then why did Anakin's body not disappear when Kenobi and Yoda completed his training? Dec 16, 2013 at 21:40
  • 19
    So why didn't Darth Sidious show up as a blue spirit and start shooting lightning at the three other blue fellows?
    – Oldcat
    Nov 7, 2014 at 18:33
  • 10
    @Oldcat He was so angry with everybody - with Luke, for swaying Vader's loyalty (or reawaken Anakin within if you prefer), with Vader for throwing him down the shaft and with himself, for leaving an open shaft in his throne room - that his blue spirt just exploded in a blue gas cloud and dissipated (which is clearly shown in ROTJ)
    – BMWurm
    Apr 8, 2015 at 21:42
  • 2
    With the Clone Wars TV show, this answer can't be possible according to canon.
    – Ellesedil
    Feb 15, 2016 at 19:42

It had been said that Anakin learned to become a Force ghost due to the timely assistance of ghost Obi-Wan and/or ghost Yoda. Lucas said as much on the Return of the Jedi DVD commentary:

"This little scene where he burns his father's body, it wasn't originally in the script. But I decided it gave more closure in terms of Luke's relationship to his father, letting go of his father. Even though later on, as we get to the end of the movie, as he joins the Force, he was able to retain his original identity, it's because of Obi-Wan and Yoda, who learned how to do that: how to join the Force at will and then retain your identity. But it was his identity as he was when he died as Anakin Skywalker."

In Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays, the act is attributed in ROTJ's rough draft to Yoda specifically:

In the rough draft… Ben explains that… if "Vader becomes one with the dark side of the Force, he will lose all identity. If he turns to the good side, he will pass through the Netherworld" and in the revised rough draft, Yoda "will rescue him before he becomes one with the Force."

Though they are no longer canon, the same idea ( referring only to Obi-Wan ) was presented in the Ryder Windham books The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader and The Life and Legend of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

"Anakin, listen carefully," Obi-Wan interrupted. "You are in the netherworld of the Force, but if you ever wish to revisit corporeal space, then I still have one thing left to teach you. A way to become one with the Force. If you choose this path to immortality, you must listen now, before your consciousness fades." (The Life and Legend of Obi-Wan Kenobi)

Now that we've seen Yoda's "vision quest" in TCW season 6, the situation is perhaps less clear. However, it is clear that Vader did not learn the ability from Darth Sidious. The script and novelization of Revenge of the Sith both made the point that Sith are unable to attain the power:

QUI -GON: (V.O.) Patience. You will have time. I did not. When I became one with the Force I made a great discovery. With my training, you will be able to merge with the Force at will. Your physical self will fade away, but you will still retain your consciousness. You will become more powerful than any Sith.

YODA: Eternal consciousness. 

QUI-GON: (V.O.) The ability to defy oblivion can be achieved, but only for oneself. It was accomplished by a Shaman of the Whills. It is a state acquired through compassion, not greed.

(Revenge of the Sith script)

 Yoda did not move. “Eternal life …”  

The ultimate goal of the Sith, yet they can never achieve it; it comes only by the release of self, not the exaltation of self. It comes through compassion, not greed. Love is the answer to the darkness.

("Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith", novelization by Matthew Stover)

  • That scene was always strange to me. Vader committed war crimes but apparently all is forgiven and they can have a little moment together.
    – user
    Jun 23, 2020 at 17:46

According to the now-noncanonical book The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader, Obi-Wan taught him just after Anakin died:

Closing his eyes as he slumped back against the shuttle ramp, Anakin Skywalker had every reason to believe that he was finally about to embrace perpetual darkness.

Not for the first time, he was wrong.


Initially, there was darkness for Anakin Skywalker, a boundless shadowy realm, like a universe without stars. But then, from somewhere at the edge of his awareness, he perceived a distant, shimmering light, then heard a voice say, Anakin.

The voice was familiar.

Although Anakin no longer had a body or a mouth with which to speak, he somehow answered, Obi-Wan? Master, I'm so sorry. So very, very-

Anakin, listen carefully, Obi-Wan interrupted, and Anakin was aware that the distant light was either growing brighter or closer, or perhaps both. You are in the netherworld of the Force, but if you ever wish to revisit corporeal space, then I still have one thing left to teach you. A way to become one with the Force. If you choose this path to immortality, then you must listen now, before your consciousness fades.

Knowing he was beyond redemption, Anakin said, But, Master... why me?

Because you ended the horror, Anakin, Obi-Wan said. Because you fulfilled the prophecy.

The light was very bright now.

Anakin's first thought was that he might be able to see his children again. He said, Thank you, Master.

Taking the Imperial shuttle, Luke Skywalker had escaped with his father's remains from the Death Star only a moment before the battle station exploded. After landing on the Sanctuary Moon, Luke prepared a very private funeral in a forest clearing.

Night had fallen by the time Luke placed Anakin Skywalker's armor-clad body atop a pile of gathered wood. As he ignited the pyre, Luke said, "I burn his armor and with it the name of Darth Vader. May the name of Anakin Skywalker be a light that guides the Jedi for generations to come."

Luke was unaware of the spirits who watched him from the shadows of the lambent woods. But later, when he rejoined his allies for their victory celebration in the treetop village that was home to the Ewoks, Luke saw three shimmering apparitions materialize in the darkness. They were Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda... and his father, Anakin Skywalker.

The Jedi had returned.


in the Star Wars the Clone Wars 2009 t.v. series, in season 6 Yoda is learning to have the ability to become a force ghost. He had to defeat his inner self to do so, and so I believe that when Anakin killed The Emperor he had defeated his inner-evil self thus allowing him to join Yoda and Obi Wan. Yes i definitely believe that because Anakin was 'the chosen one' and having the highest force midi-chlorians, that at least Qui-Gon had seen before, it must have been much easier to retain his self even in death.


This is hypothetical. But, what if Vader already was technically a force ghost (like Sion and Nihlus). Anakin Skywalker was dead, it was his hate and anger that kept his body alive. In a sense being a zombified tortured spirit preserved by the unnatural energy of the Dark Side. Only when he let go of that hate could his spirit finally become one with the Force.


Per Anakin Skywalker's entry on Wookieepedia:

Though Skywalker did not know about Qui-Gon Jinn's secret of joining the Force, and was surprised when Kenobi's body vanished right before he killed him, he was still able to retain his personality when joining the Force. Jinn had been outspoken in life about the Living Force, and taught Yoda on Dagobah that the secret to eternal life via the Force, was with love. Thus, according to Jinn, a Sith could never truly attain it. As he passed from life, Skywalker's love for his son consumed him completely, transforming him into a spirit like his Master had before him.

  • 2
    Wookiepedia is not canon. What is the canon source backing that statement up? Dec 16, 2013 at 21:43
  • @DVK The question does not specifically request canon. It would, however, be nice to get a canonical source.
    – Jax
    Oct 23, 2015 at 19:21
  • 1
    @DJMethaneMan - by default, 100% of questions on this site assume requesting the canon. If someone wants non-canon answer, they specify explicitly. The whole point of the site is canon answers. Oct 23, 2015 at 20:11

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