Hayden Christensen on playing Darth Vader for ‘Obi Wan Kenobi’: Anatural continuation of my journey

05:27 PM May 25, 2022 | PTI |

New Delhi: George Lucas’ 2005 movie ”Revenge of the Sith” marked the end of the road for Hayden Christensen’s ”Star Wars”character Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and over the years, the actor said he missed being part of the franchise, a wish that got fulfilled with ”Obi Wan Kenobi”.


Christensen was a relatively obscure figure in Hollywood before he was cast by Lucas to play Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader in two ”Star Wars” movies — ”Attack of the Clones” (2002) and ”Revenge of the Sith” (2005).

Though the movies were not well-received by the critics, the global limelight followed the Canadian actor after he played the part.

When he completed ”Revenge of the Sith”, Christensen said he knew his time with the character and the franchise was over but seeing his peers reprise their roles in different ”Star Wars” projects gave him some hope.

”When we finished doing the prequels, it had a real sense of finality to it. So it kind of felt like the end of the road for me and my journey with the character was complete at the time. It was such an incredible experience and I was very sad to have it conclude and come to an end.


”Over the years, as much as I enjoy just getting to watch these new ‘Star Wars’ stories like everyone else and just kind of going back to being a fan again, I missed it. I was just beyond elated when I got the invitation to come back,” the 41-year-old actor told PTI in a Zoom interview.

When the time to reprise the part for Disney+ Original series came, Christensen said he had an ”easy entry” with it as it was a character that he ”spent a lot of time with, knew very well, and cared about a lot”.

”Obviously, this is him at a different time in his life. And he’s dealing with different struggles. And that was an exciting opportunity to get to explore, the mindset of Darth Vader. It all kind of felt like a natural continuation of my journey with the character.” ”Obi-Wan Kenobi”, directed by Deborah Chow, is set 10 years after the events of ”Revenge of the Sith”, in which Anakin Skywalker had succumbed to the dark side and became Darth Vader, while Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan went into hiding on the fictional planet of Tatooine.

Christensen said the show will present a darker version of Darth Vader as well as explore his mental headspace.

”A part of what I found really exciting about this opportunity was that we were going to get a glimpse into what it’s like to be Darth Vader at this point in time. His sort of mental and emotional state are very much informed by where we left him at the end of ‘Revenge of the Sith’.

”He is a fully realized Vader and we’re going to see a very powerful Vader, but there’s also a lot of internal conflicts there. A struggle for identity is what I think makes this character so compelling. You have Anakin Skywalker and you have Darth Vader, and there’s a sort of reckoning that he’s trying to solve for himself.” With shows like ”The Mandalorian” and ”The Book of Boba Fett” doing wonders for the ”Star Wars” series, Christensen said he has noticed that there has been a shift in the way stories from the franchise are being presented in front of the audiences.

”What has changed is, I think, the approach to telling these stories and the sort of respect and reverence for these characters, the ethos of it too. That’s why these stories continue to resonate as much as they do.

”The technology is also completely different. Earlier, we were in front of blue screens and green screens, and that was a unique thing. And now they have the environments displayed for you. It’s amazing. Like I remember the first time I walked into the set and just looked around and you’re there, you’re immersed in ‘Star Wars’,” he said.

”Obi-Wan Kenobi”, a six-episode series, will premiere on Disney+Hotstar on May 27 in India.

Showrun by Joby Harold, ”Obi-Wan Kenobi” also features Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Moses Ingram, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, and Sung Kang.


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