Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is still three months away from its cinematic release, but already its sequel, Episode VIII, is subject to some pretty massive rumors.
Filming for the Rian Johnson directed sequel started last week, and with that comes the first potential leaks from Disney's famously secret Star Wars sets. And for a first rumor, it's a big one.
According to Making Star Wars, a source has claimed that Hayden Christensen - who famously played Young Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith - will be involved in Episode VIII. They report:
A team in the U.K. are soon heading to the U.S. to begin training Hayden Christensen for a Star Wars: Episode VIII appearance of some sort.
If this is true, then it seems his role will not simply be a minor force ghost cameo, but will instead presumably involve some kind of physical action. This likely leaves us with two immediate explanations: A flashback of some sort, or the resurrection of Darth Vader.
A flashback, although seeming most likely, would also be slightly strange for the Star Wars franchise. As far I can recall, the series has never included any kind of flashback. Alternatively, the second option seems too crazy to really take seriously, although apparently fans have already developed theories which could make it work. For example, some fan theorists suggest the Darth Vader obsessed Kylo Ren could be working to clone the Sith Lord and essentially bring him back to life. The trailer for Episode VII does at least hint that Darth Vader's suit and/or body will be featured somehow.
Check out the latest trailer below:
Although the above rumor should probably be taken with a pinch of salt, there is other evidence to suggest Darth Vader will be returning to the Disney owned franchise, if only temporarily. According to more of Making Star Wars' sources, Vader could appear in the prequel spin-off, Rogue One. This 'Star Wars anthology' movie concerns the capture of the Death Star plans prior to the events of Episode IV: A New Hope, meaning Vader's inclusion seems logical. However, the source suggests only one costume for Vader has been made, suggesting the role could be a small one. They explained:
The most I have heard at this juncture is that a fully operational Darth Vader chest piece along with the helmet made it to the creature shop for the next film... The lights on the chest piece work and everything.
Hopefully, the release of Episode VII on December 18th will elucidate some of these Darth Vader claims.