Although he didn't appear in [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158), Darth Vader's presence was definitely felt. This is mostly thanks to the fact that our new Dark Side villain Kylo Ren is a giant fanboy for Vader, collecting relics and even spending some downtime chatting to Vader's charred helmet.
The helmet's appearance in The Force Awakens is the source of much speculation for fans. How did Kylo Ren know the helmet was on Endor? And how did the helmet survive for so long?
But this new fan theory suggests that the helmet wasn't the only thing Ren took from Endor, and he might have used his grandfather's remains in a very interesting way...
Darth Vader's Ashes Were In Ren's Lightsaber All Along!
This is the idea put forth by intrepid Redditor visijared, and to be honest it's actually pretty cool.
In the Knights Of The Old Republic and other Star Wars games, players could add items to their lightsabers to increase Force power and dexterity. Visijared has taken this idea and run with it, suggesting that Ren actually incorporated Vader's ashes into his lightsaber:
"We know Kylo is Vader-obsessed, and had access to Vader's remains at some point. He turned the helmet into a shrine, so its not a huge leap to assume he would also revere Vader's ashes. He would add them to his blade thinking it would bring him closer to Vader in spirit and in purpose."
Yeah, this totally sounds like something Kylo Ren would do. That nerd.
Visijared did note that, after the events of Return Of The Jedi, Anakin Skywalker probably didn't appreciate being used as a force for evil — again.
Anakin Lends A Hand
This might just explain how the final battle of The Force Awakens went down:
"In reality though, Vader's spirit has been redeemed so I doubt he appreciates having his remains kept inside an instrument of evil. It could be why Kylo is not as effective with his lightsaber turned on. When Kylo and Rey are locking blades, its possible Vader's spirit 'recognized' Luke's blade and his (alleged) granddaughter holding it, and gave her the burst of force-attunement she needed to win."
While Rey is an accomplished fighter who is a formidable match for Ren, it's true that she did struggle in her fight against him until she harnessed the full power of the Force.
Many people have theorized that Anakin Skywalker is actually really frustrated to see his grandson make the same mistakes he did. Visijared's theory means that Anakin was able to help Rey and the Light Side in the final battle of The Force Awakens, even if it was just a small nudge in the Force. And that's pretty cool.
But There Is One Problem With The Theory...
Visijared concludes by suggesting this:
"It could also explain why his blade appears unstable."
While this is a neat idea, we actually already know why Ren's blade is unstable: a cracked kyber crystal at its core.
The crystal provides the saber with its power and the crack means that the energy field is unstable. This gives Ren's lightsaber its distinctive appearance.
All in all, this is one of Star Wars VII's simplest, and yet most compelling theories. It's nice to think that Anakin was present at the final battle, in some small way at least. And who knows, if this is true then maybe we could see Anakin as a Force ghost in Episode VIII!