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.