Most fans agree that one of the best things about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is the fact that it hardly references the pre-quel trilogy at all. However, concept art revealed in "The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens," a now coffee table book about the seventh installment in the saga, shows that concept artist, Iain McCaig, presented several ideas to how they might have let Hayden Christensen appear in the movie.
Christensen infamously played Anakin Sykywalker. Love him or hate him, the American-Canadian actor has been immortalized as Anakin. And although his performance of the character that fell to the Dark Side of the Force to become Lord Darth Vader fell quite flat, the story of the rise and fall and rise again of Anakin is still an important theme in "Star Wars" and one which follows the entire Skywalker clan.
The conflict between the Light and the Dark was heavy within the Jedi, Anakin, and that interplay between opposing forces also plagued his son, Luke. As evident in “The Force Awakens,” even Anakin's grandson via his daughter Leia, also struggled with the light and the dark within him.
“‘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 […] 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,” said McCaig about the concept art he created for the movie.
One version of Anakin is in the style of the so-called Force Ghosts which appeared at the end of “Return of The Jedi.” The other imagines him as a menacing half-Anakin-half-Vader figure which more clearly underlines the delicate balance that waged war within this important man in the Skywalker family.
It is hinted that this Anakin appearance might have been placed during Rey's vision sequence when she first puts her hand on the blue lightsaber that once belonged to him.
Although the final cut did not include the light side of Darth Vader, they did manage to include Yoda as voiced by Frank Oz, and Obi-Wan Kenobi in a voice cut from Ewan McGregor as well as Alec Guinness from their portrayals in the pre-quel trilogy and the original trilogy.
Even though many are happy not to have had Christensen in the new movie, the theme of light versus dark that his character carries is still a central theme in “Star Wars” and some are not dismissing the possibility that these concepts might be visited by Rian Johnson when he takes over the directing helm for “Episode VIII” when it comes out in 2017.