The concept of a Force ghost is one aspect of the Original Trilogy that I think we have nearly forgotten. It was only hinted at in the Prequel Trilogy and The Clone Wars television series. In fact, we are led to believe that becoming a Force ghost is a new development by the end of Episode III. Plus, it's been all but ignored in the Expanded Universe.
So if you're asking me, I think it's almost inevitable that we will see Force ghosts of some kind. This is my reasoning. In the six film saga we see a progression to the concept of Force ghost. For example,
- Episode I: We have...nothing at all.
- Episode II: In Attack of the Clones, we hear a single line from Qui-Gon. However, this is neither explained nor understood by any of the characters within the film.
- Episode III: Yoda reveals that he has communicated with Qui-Gon, and will teach Obi-Wan how to do this.
- Episode IV: Obi-Wan hints that killing him will cause him to "become more powerful than you can possibly imagine." He disappears at his death, and we hear his voice several times guiding Luke.
- Episode V: This is the first time we actually see a Force ghost, but it is distant and vague. The second time we see Obi-Wan in this film, he is clearer, but still fuzzy.
- Episode VI: Luke interacts with Obi-Wan's Force ghost like talking to another friend. Obi-Wan even interacts with the environment around him. He has never been more visible to Luke. This is also the only film where we see more than one Force ghost.
So there is obviously a progression to the involvement of the Force ghosts in each film. I believe Episode VII will continue that progression. How? I don't know.
Mystery vs. Revelation
I still think they should keep the concept of Force ghosts under a shroud of mystery. J. J. Abrams seems to like mystery, so that shouldn't be a problem. The last thing I want to see is the netherworld of the Force explained in detail. We don't want another disappointment of midicloric proportions.
That said, I would like to see more than we have. Keep the mystery, but maybe tease something else. Here are some examples. Obi-Wan mentions that by striking him down, he would become powerful. Perhaps the main villain wants to know more about that power. Or perhaps, the Force ghosts learn to come back to life, like in earlier drafts of Return of the Jedi. They could also have a counsel of Force ghosts, maybe something that Luke interacts with from time to time. I honestly don't care much about what they do, I just want to see more.
Who do You Want to See?
So now the question is, who would we like to see as a Force ghost. Well, here are the options that I think are possible.
Obi-Wan is the most obvious choice. He appeared as a Force ghost to Luke in the past, and it's likely that he will continue to do so. The only big problem is that Sir Alec Guinness is sadly not around to play the part. The alternative would be to cast Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan, but I imagine this would stir up a lot of controversy from the purists who have a problem with Hayden Christensen being included at the end of Jedi. But honestly, what other option is there? If there's a good story reason for including Obi-Wan in Episode VII, only Ewan McGregor should be cast in the role. If there's not a good story reason, then leave Obi-Wan out altogether.
This would be the second, most obvious choice to include in the Sequel Trilogy. After all, Yoda was Luke's primary master, even if it was Obi-Wan who got him started. And Yoda is incredibly old and may have knowledge that many other master's lack. He might be able to help Luke or other Jedi learn more about the threats they are facing. Plus, he would likely be CGI and Frank Oz is still around to do the voice, making the process of casting the character much easier.
I'm going to go controversial here and say that Anakin is the Force ghost I want to see the most. And yes, I want him to be played by Hayden Christensen. Unlike some people, I actually think Hayden can do a good job acting when properly directed. After all, Natalie Portman was also horrible in the Prequel Trilogy but has since proven herself as an amazing actress. Abrams has shown exceptional skill at directing his actors in the past. I think Hayden Christensen would be in good hands. Plus, nothing gives me chills more than thinking about Luke having a nice conversation with his dad. The original six films were all about the Anakin Skywalker legacy. If we want that same legacy to continue, it would make sense to include Anakin as a Force ghost.
Since Qui-Gon is allegedly the first Jedi to learn how to become a Force ghost, it might make sense to see him in the sequel trilogy. This is especially true if we see more than one Force ghost. Personally, I like the idea of having a council of Force ghosts. Luke would probably have a conversational relationship with all of them by the time of Episode VII.
I don't think this one is likely, but Mace Windu was one of the most powerful Jedi on the council. He also represents a lot of what caused the Jedi Order to fall in the first place. He was a bit short sighted and didn't really give Anakin any room to breathe. He could act as a good warning to the new Jedi on what to avoid doing.
I seem to bring Ahsoka up whenever I can, and I plan to keep doing so. I really want to see more cement between the films and Lucasfilm's other mediums. With the story group in charge of continuity, this seems more and more likely. Perhaps Ahsoka isn't even dead at the time of the sequel trilogy, but if she is, I think it would be a great nod to the award winning series to include her as a Force ghost. If there's a group of Force ghosts, she could even be in the background somewhere. Fans would love it.
That's just what I consider to be the top possibilities. There may be many others. If they decide to stick to the EU, maybe we'll get a glimpse at Mara Jade in Force ghost form. Or maybe we'll see some new characters we haven't met yet. Considering what we know about Episode VII, I think anything is possible at this point.