The sequel trilogy of Star Wars films was faced with not only introducing audiences to new characters to tell new stories, but also to connect those stories to the franchise's past, with Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson recently detailing how he had considered using Anakin Skywalker's Force ghost on Ahch-To, but that he ultimately went with Yoda to connect with Luke Skywalker. Due to this unexpected return of Yoda, some fans hoped to see Anakin make an appearance in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, leaving audiences to settle with hearing his voice in a scene in which Rey receives encouragement from great Jedis of the past.
"Briefly for the tree burning scene, but Luke’s relationship was with Vader not really Anakin, which seemed like it would complicate things more than that moment allowed," Johnson shared with a fan on Twitter when asked about ever considering Anakin's involvement. "Yoda felt like the more impactful teacher for that moment."
Briefly for the tree burning scene, but luke’s relationship was with Vader not really anakin, which seemed like it would complicate things more than that moment allowed. Yoda felt like the more impactful teacher for that moment.— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) December 1, 2020
The inclusion of Anakin surely would have changed the impact of the sequence, with fans likely to disagree about which character would have been more appropriate. As Johnson pointed out, it might not have made sense for Anakin to appear, but with movie audiences only having seen Luke interact with Anakin in the moments leading to his father's death, surely some would have enjoyed seeing how such an interaction would unfold.
Fans largely only knew Vader from his villainy in the original trilogy, while actors Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen played the young Jedi before he had turned to the Dark Side in the prequel trilogy. Understandably, reactions to this younger version of the character were mixed, as a more innocent Anakin wasn't entirely something fans were demanding, though, in the years since the release of those prequel films, Anakin's following has grown more passionate. Specifically, fans have shared their love of Christensen's portrayal of the character and have anticipated his return to the series in some capacity.
While there are currently no confirmed plans for more Anakin, some rumors claim he could make an appearance in the upcoming Disney+ series focusing on Obi-Wan.
Prior to the release of The Last Jedi, Lucasfilm announced Johnson would develop his own trilogy of Star Wars films.