One of the stranger rumors that’s been making its way around the internet lately is that Darth Vader will return—in some form or another—in Episode VII.
While that may sound ridiculous at first, a few people have made some interesting arguments, and they could be supported by some evidence that we’ve seen. Let’s take a look.
Some of the Vader-returning theories center on Kylo Ren, the Sith that we’ve seen in the trailer; he’s the one with the much-discussed red lightsaber (or at least that’s what we assume so far—we know he’s a villain). Some of the speculation of Vader’s return is almost certainly a result of Ren’s helmet, which bears an undeniable resemblance to the Dark Lord’s:
This has led a few people on Reddit to speculate that Ren somehow personifies or channels Darth Vader; it’s also been suggested that this actually was Vader’s helmet, and that Ren has stolen it from his grave as part of a quest to gather Sith artifacts to increase his power.
Another piece of concept art has people thinking Vader himself will be back:
While that definitely looks like Darth Vader, the Disney Wiki says that this is Kylo Ren, looking even more like Darth Vader than we’ve seen him yet. Interesting. One Redditor suggested that Ren will believe that he is Vader returned, and looking at the image above, the theory is understandable.
Nothing is certain at this point, but I’m leaning toward “no” to the first two questions. Lawrence Kasdan, JJ Abrams, and Disney are definitely going to go all-out on the story for Episode VII, but bringing Vader back from the dead seems like too much.
The events at the end of Return of the Jedi allude to a turning away from the dark side, and it’s very clear that he was dead at the end of the film. Not only that, but he was burned—there’s no body left to come back to.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Vader won’t play some role in the movie. As we’ve seen, characters who have passed away can make a reappearance via the Force, and the Dark Lord was definitely powerful enough to make that happen.
A lot of people are throwing around ideas about Vader coming back, but it’s clear that we don’t really have any idea. Kylo Ren is holding Vader’s mask in a few pieces of concept art, so it looks likely that the helmet is back. And if Ren is collecting Sith artifacts, it makes sense that he’d be wearing the helmet.
But going as far as to say Vader will be back? I think it’s a bit early for that.