He may be the daddy of the Star Wars Universe (well, he's Luke and Leia's father at least) but it seems that wasn't reason enough to keep references to Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
Not in JJ Abrams' eyes, anyway.
If you watch the early trailers for the film closely you'll notice that among the flags flying among Maz Kanata's castle tavern there's a familiar sight – the symbols that appeared on young Anakin Skywalker's podracer in Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace.
Redditor Aero-Space noticed that the flag sporting the reference to the young Skywalker had disappeared while watching a Blu-Ray cop of the film (below) and headed straight for the internet to share the find.
Surely there had to be a simple explanation for all this, right? It was just an oversight? It was necessary editing? They just changed things around for the DVD release?
You might think that, until you do what the internet did. You track down an old JJ Abrams interview about the film from Rolling Stone, and read what he had to say about podracing.
Abrams, fresh from his speech about the importance of details, sits at the center of the editing room…They begin by reviewing a shot shown in the trailer, where dozens of flags appear on a castle that belongs to Maz Kanata […]. The flags are designed to drive superfans nuts with references to the earlier movies, but Abrams tells Guyett that too many of them allude to the first of Lucas’ prequels: “I don’t want to be too about podracers,” he says. “I’d rather come up with our stuff.”
And boom, there you have it, all nods to Anakin are gone. Well, other than all that Darth Vader business, obviously.
Perhaps this explains why they ultimately decided not to bring Luke and Leia's dad back as a Force Ghost either.