The Reason Why George Lucas Replaced the Original Anakin with the Prequel Anakin

This has been a debate among fans for some time, but George Lucas has answered the question in an interview he did some time ago with Hayden Christensen. I’ve never really thought about it, but I can now understand why some original trilogy fans were unhappy about the change to Anakin’s Force ghost. And I can understand why it looks like the original trilogy Anakin played by Sebastian Shaw was kind of “erased” from the trilogy because of George Lucas’ actions.

Personally, I prefer the younger Anakin Skywalker portrayed by Hayden Christensen. Even though I am primarily a fan of the OT, I consider myself open to new things and I’m not closed off as some fans are. In that respect, to me, the change that George Lucas made makes sense.

I made an edit of the scene in question from Return of the Jedi. I also have another question for my readers, and I’m keen to know what you think. If you notice in the clip below, Anakin is looking back and then turns to face Luke and Leia. Who do you think Anakin is looking at? I’ve read some theories, but I’d love to hear what you think about this scene?

Hayden Christensen Force Ghost

Hit me up in the comments if you can and as always, stay safe, keep creating, and I’ll see you in the next one!

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14 thoughts on “The Reason Why George Lucas Replaced the Original Anakin with the Prequel Anakin

  1. Actually it does not make any sense. Anakin did not die when he was young. Because Obi Wan image was when he was old and was killed by Vader. So why it is not the same for Anakin who was also old and was killed by the Emperor?

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    1. Yeah you’re not the first person to mention that to me 🙂 Someone on my Insta said the same thing but that’s what George Lucas said in his interview. He wanted Anakin to be portrayed by Hayden Christensen as a Force ghost because Anakin turned to the dark side when he was young. And yeah, he eventually turned back to the light just before he died and that was technically how he should have appeared as a Force ghost but George didn’t want it that way, I guess 🙂

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  2. Hi Julie, I am afraid (and I think I might have mentioned this before) I am a Sebastian Shaw/old Anakin ghost fan. The transition to a Force ghost happens when the person who dies “earns/becomes” worthy and selfless. That happened for Anakin when he sacrificed himself to save his son – not when he was in his 20’s-30’s. Sorry, plus it was a bit off editing Mr Shaw out of the final scene when he had acted out the redemption of Anakin. (and don’t mention the eyebrows)

    Oh and Hayden was probably distracted by Frank Oz talking as Miss Piggy! “Oh Ani, Ani, Ani mon chéri….the cameras are rolling!” 😄

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    1. Hi ya 🙂 And yeah, that’s what I’ve read – I don’t think it’s ever been confirmed but fans say he’s looking at Padme. The thing is she wasn’t a force user so I am guessing he could still see her in the afterlife. It’s the only thing that makes sense 🙂

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  3. I vaguely remember when this change was made people being annoyed because Lucas was, once again, editing the Original Trilogy for the 1,789th time. Personally, it doesn’t bother me, but I haven’t really though about it much either. My sole opinion on the matter is that it kinda stinks for Sebastian Shaw but it is also easy to pop in my copy of ROTJ with him in it.

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    1. Yeah well I recall a lot of backlash over it. Which didn’t help Hayden Christensen’s situation at the time either. He was already getting crucified for playing Anakin Skywalker and then this happened. Poor Ani… 😛

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      1. Oh I recall that backlash, too. Some of that was definitely centered around a general dislike for the Prequel Trilogy, although I did feel like Hayden was pretty solid in ROTS. But after AOTC the damage was done. I think a lot of people had pretty strong feelings about Hayden/Anakin from AOTC that overshadowed some of his stronger moments in ROTS and allowed people to over emphasize some of the bad moments in ROTS.

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      2. Revenge of the Sith will always be one of my favourite films of the prequels and is ranked highly in my overall list of the movies in general. I always see it listed quite low on lists that people share on Twitter and I am just like lol there is no way that Rise of Skywalker is better. Just, no. 😛

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