Star Wars: The Last Jedi propelled the franchise in a new direction, but it could have completely changed one of The Force Awakens' major moments in the process.
Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi below!
The Last Jedi saw Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) beginning to experience a Force-bond, which ultimately led to Rey boarding the First Order's ship. As it turned out, this bond wasn't caused by coincidence or some sort of family connection, but by the powers of Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). As Snoke explained, he used the Force-bond to exploit Kylo's weaknesses, and allow him to - in a roundabout way - discover the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
Considering the lengths that Snoke went to manipulate Kylo, we can't help but wonder - did he actually do the same during the Vader scene in The Force Awakens?
At one point in the film, Kylo is shown speaking to Vader's destroyed helmet. He vents about his internal conflict between the light and dark sides, something that he says Snoke has already sensed. He then asks Vader to show him the power of the Dark Side once again, which will motivate him to "finish" what Vader started and kill the remainder of the Jedi.
Since we never hear Vader's end of the conversation, we're left to assume that it's all the work of some sort of dark Force powers. While that certainly could be true, there's a chance that it was actually Snoke pretending to be Vader while communicating with Kylo, as a way of further manipulating his young apprentice.
This certainly could change the original context of the Vader scene, while also lining up with the overall canon in the process, seeing as Vader was last seen (chronologically) as an at-peace Force ghost in Return of the Jedi. It also indicates the lengths that Snoke is willing to go to to get what he wants, even if it's preying on Kylo's family issues (something he acknowledges in The Last Jedi) in the process.
And in a way, it also retroactively carries over one of The Last Jedi's core messages - the complicated idol worship that occurs within the Star Wars universe. It's no secret that Kylo goes out of his way to carry on his grandfather's legacy, but his image of it almost seems to be... one-dimensional. The focus on Vader's role in the Dark Side - and not his subsequent redemption, which Kylo only sees as a weakness - seems like an image pushed onto Kylo by Snoke, as opposed what Luke and Leia would have taught him.
In a way, this new context could prove how much Kylo idolized the image of Darth Vader (something that Snoke would've projected in these sort of Force conversations), and not the actual man that Anakin Skywalker was.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in theaters now.