In the 2004 DVD edition of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Sebastian Shaw is replaced by Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker's Force Ghost.

But why? The other Force Ghosts appear to be the same age as they were at their time of death, and the same was true for Anakin until the 2004 alteration. So why was this change made?

  • 1
    Rumor has it that it was done so people familiar with prequel trilogy immediately know who the third guy is. Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 16:00

2 Answers 2


Because, as per Obi-Wan, that is what Anakin looked like when he died.

Obi-Wan makes sure to create a distinction between the Jedi Anakin Skywalker and the Sith Darth Vader, going so far as the claim that Darth Vader killed Anakin.

In reality, we know that

Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker are the same person

but the creation of this distinction answers your question - Anakin died when he was killed by Darth Vader, and as such his Force Ghost at the end of the film reflects what he looked like when he died.

  • 5
    Wow, that's a...surprisingly reasonable explanation.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 15:27
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    @NapoleonWilson It's nonsense of course, as the titular Return of the Jedi was the return of Anakin Skywalker to the light-side of the Force in my eyes, but I think this is what George Lucas was going for, in all his infinite wisdom. Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 15:30
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    I like the spoiler tag for the 30 year old movie :P Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 16:02
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    @DavidGrinberg You can never be too careful! Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 16:09
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    @NapoleonWilson I don't know, I think it's probably just as good as "bs alterations". Obi-Wan was twisting the truth and he knew it. That's what he told Luke - So, what I told you was true... from a certain point of view. Of course, this answer could be right... from a certain point of view ;) Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 18:40

George Lucas has a history of constantly changing his past works, this is no exception.

Most of the changes are just for the sake of change (under guise of "improving" the older films). However, in cases such as this, it serves to add nothing additional to the movie (unlike improving special effects that were already present in the film).

In essence, George Lucas couldn't resist keeping his grubby hands off the film, leaving it "finished" as it were.

  • 5
    You aren't getting any love, but you're in the ballpark of the actual reason. Lucas needed SOMETHING to do to the post RotS original trilogy re-release. He had already fixed most of the actual issues up with the remastered re-release about 10 years prior, so the changing of Anakin was one of the handful of things he used to justify selling another recut. If it makes him a buck, he will do it, then go back and figure out how to change canon to justify it. Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 23:02
  • This is the correct answer. Lucas just came out with a change so he could make more money from that movie.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 8:43

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