There’s been a really stupid rumor about Star Wars: The Force Awakens that just won’t die, and it’s time to clobber it once and for all. For more than a year and a half, a certain film blog has been doubling down on us seeing a Force Ghost of Emperor Palpatine (and now Darth Vader) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The problem with this line of rumor mongering a click bait is that is goes against established Star Wars canon, and it even flies against what was established in the now defunct EU canon. First, lets look at the official George Lucas canon that all of the movies and television shows adhere to.
On the March 21 2014 episode of Rebel Force Radio, Dave Filoni explains flat-out that the Sith do not come back as Force Ghosts:
“Thatâ€™s the important thing that I would bring up. Sith donâ€™t live on after death; that doesnâ€™t happen. So, thatâ€™s kind of your big clue that that instigation, Baneâ€™s apparition, those are things (and the priestesses say as much) they’ve been in control of, and have brought into being, much like the Father on Mortis brought things into being, different states of reality.”
The Clone Wars is canon. The stories and concepts in the series come directly from George Lucas. If Lucas tells Filoni that the Sith do not come back as Force Ghosts, then they don’t.
Prior to the Prequels establishing that Qui-Gon taught Obi-Wan and Yoda how to become Force Ghosts, the EU came up with the idea of Holocrons/Force Ghosts for Jedi and Sith to pass down knowledge. In the old EU as the Sith could not become Force Ghosts, they would use a Sith Holocron to pass down knowledge to other Sith. That’s of course “Legends” status, but the existing canon that Sith cannot be Force Ghosts doesn’t conflict with it.
This is the sort of thing that happens when people who aren’t really Star Wars fans attempt to make up Episode VII rumors to bring people to their site.