Which Anakin are we going to get in Star Wars 9? That seems to be a question on J.J. Abrams' mind right now. One of the biggest controversies surrounding the release of the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD and Blu-ray back in 2004 was the choice to remove Sebastian Shaw's version of Anakin Skywalker and replace him with Hayden Christensen in the Force Ghost scene from Return of the Jedi. George Lucas personally directed the original Force Ghost scene in 1983 and replaced Shaw to tie-in the prequel trilogy into the original. Star Wars fans were and are still livid over Lucas' choice to take Shaw's original Anakin out of the movie. However, some new concept art descriptions from Star Wars 9 may indicate that J.J. Abrams is thinking about bringing back him back.
Original concept art for 2015's The Force Awakens featured three different versions of Anakin Skywalker. One of them was a normal-looking Hayden Christensen, the second was a hybrid of half Anakin/half Darth Vader, and the last was a hooded Darth Vader. It's believed that Anakin is still struggling between the light and dark, even in the afterlife. In some Star Wars 9 concept art descriptions, it appears that J.J. Abrams is revisiting some of those ideas. Yet, he's also toying with the idea of resurrecting the image of Sebastian Shaw like Rogue One did with Tarkin, leaving Hayden Christensen in the employment office. A description of the art reads.
"A set of three Anakin Force Ghosts behind an anonymous figure in a cave. The obscured figure appears to be Luke; however, the face is shadowed. Each Force Ghost of Anakin shows a different phase, one with short hair, one with long, and the last, an older Anakin Skywalker wearing a hood."
The Anakin Skywalker with short hair is believed to be the phase that is most common to fans from the character in Attack of the Clones while the second, long-haired version, is from Revenge of the Sith. The third is an older version of Anakin. It is rumored that J.J. Abrams is considering bringing back Sebastian Shaw's likeness for a Force Ghost scene in Star Wars 9 that would bring him back to the franchise in a fitting way, but also as a way to appease fans. This could be seen a respectful nod to Shaw's work, the original untouched trilogy, and the fans that grew up watching the movies in theaters or on VHS back in the day. It would also make the original theatrical version of Return of the Jedi from 1983 canon.
It's believed that the shadowy figure behind the three Anakin Skywalker Force Ghosts in the Star Wars 9 concept art is Luke Skywalker, which would make the most sense. Fans are still waiting to hear if Mark Hamill will be back as a Force Ghost in the final installment of the latest trilogy, and as usual, Hamill is toying with hardcore fans on social media about his possible return. It would be pretty cool to see the father and son reunited as Force Ghosts, which could be what J.J. Abrams is going for. The Last Jedi provided the reunion between brother and sister, so why not throw in another family reunion?
Unfortunately, Sebastian Shaw passed away in 1994 at the age of 89, so if J.J. Abrams is going to pull this off for Star Wars 9, it's going to have to be through digital means. If past rumors about George Lucas coming on to consult with Lucasfilm and Abrams for the sequel are true, we could end up seeing a return of Shaw as the older Anakin Force Ghost. Abrams and the studio pretty much turned their backs on Lucas for The Force Awakens, which could mean that there are some compromises this time around by both teams. This news has not been officially confirmed, but you can check out a video detailing the Star Wars 9 concept art below, thanks to Zeroh's YouTube channel.