Why Does Anakin Die in ‘Return of the Jedi’?

On a recent re-watch of ‘Return of the Jedi’ something occurred to me about Anakin’s death.

Originally I had always just assumed that he died because his suit got blasted by Palpatine’s lightning, but as we have seen in the Charles Soule ‘Darth Vader’ series, Vader has survived such attacks by his Master before after he was freed from the operating table wher he was put in the suit.

Then something just clicked in my head (so this could just be head-canon).

As Palpatine ones said, “The Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.” Of course, the body-hopping spirit of Palpatine is evidence of this, but there has been long believed speculation that, as well as frequent trips to the Bacta Tanks, Vader also used the Dark Side to keep himself alive.

Recent speculations have also come out where it is believed that Palpatine intentionally gave Vader outdated technology in the suit so that he would be in constant pain, which would fuel his hate and anger.

When Vader turns on Palpatine, becoming Anakin once again, his anger and hate would have disippated, his Light Side outlook being one of love for his son in that moment. In doing so, his ability to maintain his healing and ease the pain of the suit would become overwhelming, an, theoreticaal

Anakin knows that he is going to die, he has been stuck in the suit long enough to know that without his use of the Force to keep his pain in check, there would be no way to survive, long enough even to transfer into another, more modern life support system, the unbearable pain that he would be in, on top of injuries sustained by Palpatine (I’m not saying this didn’t play into Anakin’s death, just not the direct cause).

As well as his physical deteroiration, once he returned to the Light Side, I imagine that once he had fulfilled the Prophecy, that the Force was calling to him, pulling him away from the physical realm which would explain why he was able to become a Force Ghost without the training that Yoda and Obi-Wan had to go through in their respective exiles.

I think we all knew that his death was inevitable, much like Ben Solo’s. They may have been redeemed in the eyes of those most important to them and the audience, but had they attempted to return to normal life, their actions during their time on the Dark Side would have meant that they would have been incarcerated for the rest of their lives, because I doubt that any ruling body would allow either of them to go into exile.

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