Rian Johnson almost put Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi instead of Yoda

Anakin Skywalker Star Wars the Last Jedi
(Image credit: Disney)

There were once plans for Anakin Skywalker to cameo in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, director Rian Johnson has confirmed.

When asked whether Anakin was considered for Episode 8 on Twitter, Johnson replied he thought about it briefly “for the tree burning scene” – which saw Yoda strike a tree and burn the ancient Jedi texts on Ahch-To.

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Yoda’s act of defiance seems more in character for the wise Jedi Master than if Anakin would have done the deed. But Johnson actually revealed it was Luke’s ties to Vader rather than the Anakin we know from the prequels that forced his hand, no pun intended.

“Luke’s relationship was with Vader not really Anakin, which seemed like it would complicate things more than that moment allowed. Yoda felt like the more impactful teacher for that moment,” Johnson explained.

While he was dishing out behind-the-scenes deets on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Johnson also said that it was him – not Lucasfilm – that came up with and pitched the title “The Last Jedi.”

It’s not known if Hayden Christensen would have reprised his role from the prequels and been aged-up or whether a CGI stand-in for Sebastian Shaw (who portrayed Vader briefly with his mask off in Return of the Jedi), but it sure is interesting that the idea of a brief Anakin return has been floated around officially. Could we perhaps one day see him in the Disney Plus Obi-Wan series?

That’s a story for another day. Next up: more Mando. Find out exactly when the next episode drops with The Mandalorian season 2 release schedule.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.