If you’ve hung around the Star Wars fandom long enough, you’re probably familiar with “Force ghosts.”
Harrison Ford (Han Solo) infamously knew nothing about these beings, expressing his absolute distaste for the Star Wars franchise, despite spending over 40 years of his life deeply entrenched in the galaxy far, far away.
In certain cases, powerful Jedi Masters are able to live on, in a way, after death, as an actual part of the Force. Over the years, there has been much debate and discussion surrounding these ethereal beings.
The first known Jedi to learn the secret of becoming one with the Force after death was Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), who trained under a Shaman of the Whills.
Unfortunately, he had not completed his training when he was killed at the hands of Darth Maul (Ray Park) in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), so he could was only able to manifest himself as a disembodied voice for quite some time.
However, Jinn was able to complete his training under Grand Master Yoda (Frank Oz) after death, thereby giving him the ability to appear to his former Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) on Tatooine following the execution of Order 66.
Despite the fact that Force ghosts are a known entity within the Star Wars galaxy, questions about these non-corporeal beings still exist.
One of the most confusing things about Anakin Skywalker, for example, is that his Force ghost — despite presumably being immensely powerful following his redemption as Darth Vader — did not intervene earlier in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. As one recent article noted:
That’s particularly strange given the sequels are essentially an exploration of his legacy, with Kylo Ren [Adam Driver] and Rey [Daisy Ridley] representing different visions of who Anakin Skywalker really was. One sought to honor the way of the Sith, the other the way of the Jedi, and the tug-of-war between the two symbolically shattered Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Palpatine [Ian McDiarmid] used visions of Darth Vader to manipulate Kylo Ren, while Rey claimed the Skywalker name in the end. And yet, despite all these connections, Anakin Skywalker remained silent.
Now, Adam Christopher’s new novel, “Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith”, has hit shelves and is delivering on its promise to clear up some of the plot holes in Disney’s divisive sequels. The book is set 17 years after Return of the Jedi, the same year young Rey winds up on Jakku.
Among the many immediate reactions to the story is the fact that it seems to explain the deeply confusing fact that Anakin’s Force ghost never intervened to help his children, Luke and Leia, in their continued fight against the First Order.
In “Shadow of the Sith,” Luke visits the “Seeing Stone” on Tython — the very same one Grogu visits in The Mandalorian — to try to catch a vision of Exegol, but he is unsurprisingly ambushed by Sith spirits. Anakin’s Force ghost appears to protect him, but the effort leaves him exhausted and, as the aforementioned article notes, he “hints the dark side forces on Exegol are affecting him.”
The article goes on to note:
Star Wars tie-ins have hinted the Sith knew how to capture Force Ghosts. It’s possible, then, that whatever happened to Anakin during his confrontation with the Sith spirits on Exegol led to his being imprisoned by the Sith, and he was unable to continue intervening in galactic events.
This would also explain why Palpatine was able to psychologically torture Ben Solo for years without fear of his grandfather’s wrath — this would explain yet another sequel trilogy plot hole.
Some found the story in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019) to be stale and too reliant on nostalgia. Others thought the main characters — Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and ace pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) — were much too similar to the original trilogy’s core trio of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Ford’s Solo.
Many fans felt that all of these issues could have remedied — at least to a certain degree — by more backstory surrounding what had happened to various Star Wars characters between the end of the original trilogy, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), and the start of the sequels approximately 25 years later.
This is where projects like Christopher’s new novel can truly shine.
More on “Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith”
The official description of “Shadow of the Sith” reads:
The Empire is dead. Nearly two decades after the Battle of Endor, the tattered remnants of Palpatine’s forces have fled to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. But for the heroes of the New Republic, danger and loss are ever-present companions, even in this newly forged era of peace.
Jedi Master Luke Skywalker is haunted by visions of the dark side, foretelling an ominous secret growing somewhere in the depths of space, on a dead world called Exegol. The disturbance in the Force is undeniable . . . and Luke’s worst fears are confirmed when his old friend Lando Calrissian comes to him with reports of a new Sith menace.
Have you read “Shadow of the Sith” yet?