Yesterday, reddit user raptorman76 dumped a massive amount of supposed spoilers for [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](movie:711158) that was originally shared by a mysterious poster calling themselves "Spoiler Man". Among an overall synopsis on the characters, details, and events in Episode 7 (honestly, if it's what this guy is describing, I am all about it) came a very vague and brief description of something we've been only lightly informed of beforehand - and one that I certainly hadn't seen before. Potential, but completely unconfirmed spoilers below. That's a warning, folks...
Still here? Let's proceed.
The Return of Darth Vader
While we've known a bit about this for a while, Spoiler Man went into a little bit more detail about a flashback that would see the return of Darth Vader.
According to Spoiler Man:
Carrie Fischer's real life daughter, Billie Lourd, plays Leia in a flashback sequence. Darth Vader appears in this flashback as well, which apparently takes place on Endor.
Outside of the detail about Endor, Billie Lourd's casting came with the rumor that this flashback would be happening. But, flashbacks? In Star Wars? That's almost unheard of. So, friends, it's time to speculate. I've got two guesses on what's happening here, so I'd love to hear your thoughts on it too.
Possibility One: The Flashback
Let's take this at face value and call it a straight-up flashback. From this perspective, we'd see it through Leia. Given that Leia was very familiar with Darth Vader by the time A New Hope rolled around, it's pretty obvious that they had met personally before. This could easily be a flashback that involves an interaction that Leia attempted to forget - in my mind, it's one where her interaction with Vader is positive in some way.
Most of the time, Vader ordered Stormtroopers to disable and capture rebels, not kill them, which one very clever commenter brought up in my last article. The stormtroopers' misfires were mostly intentional, and when it comes to Leia, I'm positive that the reasons went beyond her value as an enemy hostage.
Could this Star Wars 7 flashback see Vader pulling a favor for his daughter by pulling her out of chaos, or sparing her from death?
Possibility Two: The Vision
In the expanded universe, Vader - as Anakin - attempts to apologize to Leia as a force ghost. He reaches out, explains his regret, and hopes for some kind of forgiveness from the daughter that was his enemy for her entire life. This hits Leia hard, and while her opinion of him softens, she is always upset at him for the chaos he brought upon her people, and she knows that it was Anakin's selfish and brash turn to the Dark Side that orphaned herself and Luke. But despite her ongoing grudge, she names her third child after her father, and seems to seek out the good in him just like Luke did.
If this flashback was, instead, a vision or representation of Anakin reaching out through the force, it might easily be seen by more than Leia. Setting up Leia as a teenager in an isolated situation with Darth Vader, but in an encounter that's never actually happened, opens this supposed memory up to being seen by the likes of the force-sensitive people related to Leia. This could easily be Luke's vision, or as it is in the EU, a representation of Anakin trying to make amends with his daughter. With an undetermined amount of force-sensitive characters in the upcoming films, this also opens up the path to demonstrate any other character's ability through this situation.
Beyond this possible spoiler, of course, is the return of one iconic character that has appeared in nearly every single Star Wars movie (save for A New Hope)...
Jedi Master Yoda is back!
As a force ghost, of course. See, according to these rumors, Luke has reached a level of understanding with the force that rivals his former master - and because of that, he's able to communicate with some very familiar faces.
Luke speaks to Yoda's force ghost in the film. (Spoiler Page One)
He is also said to be in contact with Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon in addition to Yoda. (Spoiler Page Two)
Yoda and Obi-Wan, sure: Luke has spoken to Obi-Wan as a force ghost before, and both of them appeared to him at the end of Return of the Jedi. But Qui-Gon? What would the purpose of Anakin's intended Master be?
All of this leads me to thinking that a good deal of this story will focus on unraveling the mysteries of Anakin Skywalker to his children, and showing them the side of him that they were barely shown: the side that gripped hard, but failed to return to the light side of the Force.
I hope we get to see this happen in the films, honestly. Like I've said before, Star Wars films are very centrally focused on the Skywalker family, and it all started with Anakin (well, technically Shmi, but Anakin was the family's first Force user) so this sequel trilogy would be a great way to round out that story by giving a sense of closure to Luke and Leia.