At the end of “Return of the Jedi,” Luke Skywalker turns his back on the Ewok’s victory celebration and looks on as the Force ghosts of Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and his father, Anakin Skywalker appear. Originally, Anakin was played by veteran actor Sebastian Shaw. He appeared in the scene where Vader’s mask is first taken off and appears here at the end on the forest moon of Endor in full Jedi robes alongside his former masters.
But in 2004, a full year before the release of the final installment of the prequel trilogy, George Lucas removed Sebastian Shaw from this moment in the film and replaced him with Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin in “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.”
For some, this was a bridge too far, and they swore off “Star Wars,” for at least a little while. They felt that it somehow betrayed Sebastian Shaw or the integrity of “Star Wars. Though they thought it made enough sense that Shaw’s version of Anakin could appear in Jedi robes, him appearing as a younger version of himself, the last time he was truly good and likely the way he thought of himself, made no sense.
For fans of the prequels and “Star Wars” in general, this moment enhanced the cohesiveness of both trilogies. And for people who loved the conflict and character of Anakin Skywalker, it provided a much more emotional moment for him at the end.