The popular thing to do for Star Wars and all of geekdom these days is to come up with a crackpot theory about a thing, and to find enough truth from the source material to make it believable. I gotta admit, I’m a sucker for these things. I love how far down the rabbit hole some dedicated fans will go to delve in to something that probably wasn’t there to begin with. I love even more when the theories are backed to the point that I question the validity myself.
So, needless to say, I’ve been drinking up the musings on Star Wars: Episode VII like that weird pig-hippo thing on Jakku drank up slop water.
And lo, dear geeks, methinks I have come up with one of my own.
Now, to be fair, this is a semi-amalgamation of bits and pieces of other theories I’ve read here and there, and I’ll try to reference those sources as they come up. In the meantime, strap on your tinfoil hats, kids, because I think…
[heading style=”subheader”]The Emperor Isn’t Dead[/heading]
This is kind of the lynchpin to this theory, so hear me out.
The Emperor, Darth Sidious, reaches what appears to be a fairly decisive end at the hands of Vader in episode VI. He is cast down a shaft in the Death Star II, which causes a massive explosion of sorts and ultimately brings about Anakin’s demise.
The problem I see here is the explosion. We don’t see that happening with any other Sith lord, no matter how powerful (Count Dooku, Darth Maul, etc.). Yes, there’s something to be said about how much more powerful the Emperor is, but that’s just it. Death is the end of that power, there isn’t a release. On the Light side, when Yoda passes (arguably one of the most powerful Force users ever), there’s nothing. He simply becomes one with the Force.
So, maybe the Emperor didn’t die at all. Maybe he found a way ’round death a long time ago, when he went by a different name:
For those of you unfamiliar, Plagueis is an old Sith lord only referenced in the prequels by the Emperor himself as his Sith master, telling a young Anakin of his great powers. Powers that could, at the Sith lord’s will, bring back the dead.
That tale of the power of the Dark Side of the Force is really what lured Anakin in the first place, but most have disregarded the whole story, thinking it was just a fabricated tactic to sway the future Anakin.
But what if it wasn’t? What if Plagueis really did discover such a power, and his longevity required a name change to avoid suspicion? What if Plagueis became his own, “apprentice”, allowing him to carry on as the Emperor?
It’s a stretch, to say the very least, but the story almost doesn’t make sense without it. According to lore, the Emperor is the one who eventually killed Plagueis, taking him out in his sleep. But this is the most powerful Sith in history we’re referring to here. I don’t think his apprentice would be able to gain the upper hand so easily. It’s almost more logical to assume the Emperor to just be the next edition of Plagueis.
With that assumption in mind, what was the explosion at the Emperor’s death? I theorize that it was Plagueis escaping death, losing his physical form to, “become more powerful than we can possibly imagine”.
I think we witnessed the creation of a Sith Force Ghost.
Moreover, I think we witnessed the survival of the Emperor, able to affect the world after his passing. Almost like a living consciousness, inhabiting part of the Dark Side of the Force.
So, what’s a near-omnipotent entity to do? Well. What he’s always done. Take an Apprentice, and begin to rebuild. But whom would he take? Probably someone he already has a connection to. An since he’s all about bringing people back…
[heading style=”subheader”]Vader Isn’t Dead Either… Kinda[/heading]
As pointed out by @RyanHigginsRyan, there’s something eerily familiar about Supreme Leader Snoke’s scarring in Episode VII. Just take a look at this side-by-side:
Look at that scar on their heads. Weirdly similar, right? Also, look at the markings along Snoke’s left jaw. Then, take another look at Vader’s scorched helmet:
Almost like something burned through?
So here’s the idea. The Emperor, floating in the Force ether, pulled his remaining power to bring back his great Apprentice from death to serve him again. Vader, now Snoke, takes over the remnants of the Empire, and forms the First Order, in an attempt to rule again.
Of course, this raises many questions. Why Vader again? Why not just train Kylo or someone else directly? Why the fondness for ol’ Anakin?
What if it has to be Anakin? Maybe his destiny is not fulfilled yet. A destiny set in motion by none other than the Emperor himself.
Early in Episode I, we learn a fascinating tidbit about Anakin’s parentage that is quickly glossed-over. Namely, that there was no father. He seemingly was born of the Force to his mother, Shmi Skywalker, who just happens to be extremely Force-sensitive, if untrained. It’s implied that power in the Force can be passed on biologically, quite easily.
Now, if Anakin was born of the Force, and was destined to bring “balance”, we need to look at how that would work in relation to Shmi. From our limited interaction with her in the prequels, two things are fairly apparent. One, she is powerful enough with the Force to have premonitions and other Jedi-related tricks, and two, she very clearly aligns with the Light side, even if she hasn’t consciously made the choice to do so.
In all things, the Force seeks balance, and harmony. For there to be a balance in the child of prophecy, there must be equal parts Dark and Light. If biology is to determine the balance, and Shmi is already providing ample Light, then the remainder must be Dark. Namely, a powerful Dark Force user, eager to bring about a “balance” of his creation.
The Emperor may be the supplier of Dark Force to create Anakin. Which, in a weird way, would make him Anakin’s father. And Luke’s grandfather. And Kylo’s great-grandfather.
So, if we now have the strong connection as to why the Emperor would bring back Vader, to fulfill the continuing prophecy that he began, why is Snoke back to 100% Dark side? At the end of Episode VI, he comes back to the Light long enough to throw the Emperor, save his son, and die. That side of him should still be there.
Unless the Emperor has found a way to just bring back Vader, and leave Anakin out of it entirely. But, again, with the Force, there must be balance in all things, which brings us to our next point…
[heading style=”subheader”]Anakin Isn’t Dead Either. As Well. Sort Of.[/heading]
The other big source of mystery in Episode VII is the shrouded parentage of Rey, a scavenger from Jakku and RIDICULOUS Force-user without any training. The prevailing theory is that she may be Luke’s child, but that seems too on the nose for my liking.
There’s another theory floating around out there, (of which I could not locate the original source), that Rey may not be Luke’s child, but still a Skywalker. Their thought is that Rey may be the rebirth of Anakin, born again in the same way he was before, to bring balance once again. But, if you follow our theory, that role has already been taken by Snoke.
But not entirely.
If the Emperor succeeded in bringing back Vader, keeping only the parts he liked, perhaps what he left came back as well. Rey may in fact be the remainder of the Light in Anakin, the perfect balance to Snoke’s Dark. Anakin would then have fulfilled the prophecy, becoming the perfect balance in two people. An awakening of both Dark and Light.
And it makes sense, too. Rey picks up Jedi tricks that Anakin would have known very quickly, using them with no training. Moreover, in her Force-induced flashback (brought on by ANAKIN’S lightsaber, no less), she hears the voices of Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Here’s where we dig in to the rabbit hole.
Many have speculated that hearing those particular characters ties Rey to Luke, but I think the choices in which actors are used connects more to Anakin.
Ewan McGregor, who played Obi Wan in the prequels, was brought on to record new dialogue for the flashback. This is the Obi Wan that Anakin would have known, and had the strongest connection to. There is one word in the sequence from Alec Guinness, the original Kenobi, but it’s actually not a word he said to Luke, or ever said at all, really. Using original recordings of the older Kenobi, they pulled “Rey” out of the word “afraid”, creating an entirely new line out of words spoken by the now deceased actor. A word that would never have been spoken to Luke, but would logically be spoken by Anakin’s former master, calling out to him by her new name.
So, what do you think? It would certainly make for a compelling round end for the story, bringing Anakin back in an interesting way. I’m sure that there are holes, and I’d love for you to point them out. Comment below!