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Star Wars: Anakin Skywalker Secretly Fulfills His Jedi Dream (After He Dies)

"Star Wars" has a rich cast of characters that have depth and meaning not only in the story but also to the audience watching them. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is a beacon of hope in the darkest times, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is an example of the impact the reluctant hero can have on the world if he steps up to the challenge, and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) is a pillar of strength, fortitude, and leadership. But Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) also teaches us something: It's never too late for redemption.

Even before Anakin turns evil and becomes Darth Vader (James Earl Jones), he always wears darker robes than his Jedi brethren when fighting alongside them. While this is largely used to foreshadow his fall to the dark side, his robes are lighter when he becomes a Force spirit, hinting that once the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid) has died, he has finally brought balance to the Force and is able to obtain the rank of Jedi master.

This is touched on in the short story "Brotherhood" by Mike Chen, who points out, "Like Obi-Wan, Anakin existed in the Force wearing Jedi attire. Not the dark tunic that he wore as he fought Count Dooku or dashed stealthily into Padme's quarters. But lighter, traditional Jedi robes, the kind that so many masters of the Jedi Order wore – Yoda, Mace Windu, Ki-Adi-Mundi. And of course, Obi-Wan."

Brotherhood answers some long-burning questions

The appearance of Anakin Skywalker (Sebastian Shaw) at the end of "Return of the Jedi" caused some big ripples in the fan base simply because it raised a lot of questions that "Star Wars" loyalists couldn't answer. How did he learn to become a Force spirit? Why does he appear as his younger self while Yoda (Frank Oz) and Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness) retain the look they had when they died? Luckily for us, "Brotherhood" answers those questions.

Yoda and Kenobi learn how to become Force spirits from Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), so the fact that Anakin achieves this without training is confusing. "Brotherhood" highlights a conversation between Anakin and his former master when Obi-Wan pulls him into the Netherworld of the Force and explains to him that he was able to become a Force spirit because he chose to reject the Sith and accept the way of the Jedi in the end. The short story also implies that Anakin looks like his younger self because Darth Vader is a perversion rather than his true self, the embodiment of the Force.

Is one choice enough to offset hundreds?

Is Anakin's one decision to stand against Darth Sidious decades after his betrayal of the Jedi Order enough to offset all the damage he causes as Darth Vader? On the day he turns to the dark side alone, he murders a large number of Jedi younglings and helps facilitate the murder of Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and every other Jedi he comes across.

As horrific as these actions are, they are merely the beginning of the swath of devastation he cuts across the galaxy, killing countless people on both sides of the war, sometimes to send a message, other times simply to exert his power. He also relentlessly hunts his former master and even trains Inquisitors to hunt down and kill any Jedi they find.

However, if we are to believe the films and the novelizations that expand on the subject, Anakin's one decision to save his son and turn on his master is indeed enough to completely redeem himself, showing us that it is never too late to do the right thing.