'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Was Not The Original Title, Plus Will Anakin Skywalker Appear In Episode VIII? [Spoilers]

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens continuing its epic box office run, many fans might be surprised to learn that the film almost had a slightly different storyline. In fact, along with the film originally being titled something completely different, there was also supposed to be an appearance by Hayden Christensen's Anakin Skywalker and a larger role for Anakin's son, Luke.

According to Indie Wire, the movie was originally supposed to be titled Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire. However, the name was too similar to the 1996 book written by Steve Perry, which was named Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire.

At the same time, the film was also set to include the ghost of Anakin. According to Vanity Fair, one of the concept artists for the movie, Iain McCaig, revealed that Anakin's ghost might still crop up in a future film.

"I love that quote from A Wizard Of Earthsea, the fantasy novel by Ursula K. LeGuin: 'When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.' That inspired me to propose, for the first time, that Anakin's ghost could come back," McCaig stated. "If we see Anakin Skywalker, because he does flow back and forth between Darth Vader and Anakin, let's see him as a character with a dark and light side. The reason Luke is this whole new entity is because he was the first to acknowledge his own dark side — that it was not separate from him."

Meanwhile, if fans do get to see Anakin return in ghost form in the next movie, the only question remaining is which character Anakin will haunt. Although Rey might be a likely candidate, another character Anakin may visit is Luke.

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker [Image via LucasFilm]
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker [Image via LucasFilm]

Interestingly, Michael Arndt, the screenwriter for the movie, recently shared that Luke was originally slated to have a larger role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

"Early on I tried to write versions of the story where [Rey] is at home, her home is destroyed, and then she goes on the road and meets Luke. And then she goes and kicks the bad guy's ass," he stated. "It just never worked and I struggled with this. This was back in 2012."

The biggest problem with including Luke early on in the movie was how the character overshadowed anything else that was going on.

"It just felt like every time Luke came in and entered the movie, he just took it over," McCaig explained. "Suddenly you didn't care about your main character anymore because, 'Oh f**k, Luke Skywalker's here. I want to see what he's going to do.'"

While Rey and Luke may very well come into contact with Anakin's ghost, it is possible that Kylo Ren will also be connected with Darth Vader's spirit. As fans may recall, Ren was featured in The Force Awakens having a heart-to-heart chat with Vader's old and destroyed helmet. Was this a clever hint that Ren might have been talking to something else besides the old relic?

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren [Image via LucasFilm/Disney]
Adam Driver as Kylo Ren [Image via LucasFilm/Disney]

"Forgive me. I feel it again... the call from light. Supreme Leader senses it. Show me again the power of the darkness, and I'll let nothing stand in our way," Ren said in the film. "Show me, grandfather, and I will finish what you started."

Is the "show me, grandfather" line an indication that Ren will be visited by Vader's ghost? At this point, it is not clear what will happen in the next Star Wars film concerning Anakin/Vader's ghost. Whatever avenue the filmmakers choose to go down, fans can expect Christensen to at least make a quick cameo, if nothing else.

Tell us! Do you want to see Hayden Christensen return as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode VIII? Let us know in the comments below.

[Image via LucasFilm]