Dave Filoni Fought Disney to Bring Hayden Christensen Back as Darth Vader

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George Lucas Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader

Credit: Lucasfilm

Filoni just revealed his true powers behind Obi-Wan Kenobi and how he fought to save a fan-favorite character in the upcoming series.

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Hayden Christensen is officially back as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, and Dave Filoni may thank for that.

Following immense and unfair backlash from critics and some fans, Christensen stepped out of the spotlight following his run as the Jedi Knight in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005).

dave filoni on the mandalorian set
Credit: Disney+

17 years later and Lucasfilm unveils the first look at Darth Vader with Hayden Christensen under the mask following the groundbreaking trailer of Obi-Wan Kenobi featuring Ewan McGregor back as his Jedi Master.

It’s hard to imagine anyone else being the antagonist of Kenobi. Still, The Clone Wars director Dave Filoni just revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that he “fought” to bring Darth Vader and the Inquisitors into this new Star Wars story:

Dave Filoni pushed for Darth Vader to be the main villain of the Obi-Wan series and for the Grand Inquistor to return

THR writes:

Sources note that Filoni and Favreau were concerned about Obi-Wan covering similar ground as Mandalorian — the Lone Wolf and Cub-like story of Kenobi coming out of hiding to protect a child-aged Luke Skywalker. Maul was one of the villains who would participate in the hunt for the pair; Vader was nowhere to be found in this faraway galaxy at this stage, according to those with knowledge of the project. Also, Filoni and Favreau pushed Chow and the show to “go bigger,” according to several sources. In any case, those concerns made their way to Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, who pressed the pause button.

dave filoni disney gallery
Credit: Disney+ (Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian)

THR continues:

In the overhaul, however, Maul was written out. One source says it was Filoni that conceptually keyed in on a way for Vader to be brought back as the big bad, with the Grand Inquisitor, a character made popular by Filoni in the animated series Star Wars Rebels, also put into the story.

Hayden Christensen Obi-Wan Kenobi Series
Credit: Lucasfilm

Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau will serve as the executive producers of Obi-Wan Kenobi, with Deborah Chow returning to the Star Wars galaxy as the series’ principal director (no longer a different director per episode practice).

darth maul cameo in solo a star wars story
Credit: Lucasfilm

THR reveals that Darth Maul was initially planned as the main antagonist for Obi-Wan Kenobi, but a creative overhaul between Lucasfilm and Disney ultimately and unfortunately saw the legendary villain scrapped:

Darth Maul, a chief antagonist of Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi who first appeared in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, is not expected to appear in the series. But, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, not only was the Sith Lord initially slated to return to the live-action Disney+ series as a key villain, actor Ray Park was in active prep to reprise Maul.

That, however, was before those scenes were scrapped amid a creative overhaul that ultimately saw other antagonists, including Darth Vader, added to the show.

disney gallery the mandalorian dave filoni with din djarin
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Move Over Baby Yoda, Baby Darth Maul Is Here to Stay!

The article confirms that actor Ray Park, who originally played the Sith Lord in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), was billed returned to the role for Obi-Wan Kenobi, confirming countless rumors, but Maul was regrettably cut from the final storyline.

darth maul phantom menace
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: ‘Kenobi’, ‘Andor’ Casting Leak Seemingly Confirms Satine Kryze

The Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni have an overreaching reach of the Star Wars universe, as they’re the new George Lucas of this beloved saga.

Every Star Wars fan has Filoni to thank for bringing Hayden Christensen back as the beloved Darth Vader; a role fans have been waiting to see once again for nearly two decades as the Dark Lord and his Inquisitors hunt down the remaining Jedi.

More about Obi-Wan Kenobi

The story begins ten years after the dramatic events of “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith,” where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his most significant defeat—the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: You Can Unlock A Secret “Chewbacca Mode” on Millennium Falcon

McGregor recently stated that the most “annoying” part of returning to his Star Wars role was that he knew the series was happening years before Lucasfilm even announced its development in 2019:

“That was annoying. Every interview I ever did for, you know, years, people would say, ‘Well, are the rumors true?’ And I’d have to sort of, I’d have to lie. I’d have to say, ‘Well, you know, I don’t know. I’d be happy to play him one day again.’”

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: ‘Kenobi’, ‘Andor’ Casting Leak Seemingly Confirms Satine Kryze

The world of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Darth Vader (James Earl Jones), Jedi Master Yoda (Frank Oz), Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), Darth Maul (Ray Parker), Anakin Skywalker (Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch/Temura Morrison), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), Jedi Knight Grogu (AKA “Baby Yoda”), Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff)Koska Reeves (Sasha Banks), Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), and Moff Gideon’s (Giancarlo Esposito)the Millennium Falcon, the Death Star, and the Clone War.

Within the Star Wars franchise, Lucasfilm is moving past Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) or the controversial Rian Johnson Star Wars film The Last Jedi (2018) as we dive into the Old Republic or explore new realities of the Star Wars universe with each new TV show or the upcoming Star Wars game like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order 2 or Star Wars Eclipse.

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Credit: Lucasfilm

“The rematch of the century” teased by Kathleen Kennedy, director Deborah Chow, and Lucasfilm will be supported by Moses Ingram (Inquisitor Reva), Joel Edgerton (Uncle Owen), Bonnie Piesse (Beru Lars), Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell, and Benny Safdie.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is directed by Deborah Chow and executive-produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Deborah Chow, Ewan McGregor, and Joby Harold.

Are you excited to see Hayden Christensen return to Star Wars? Let us know in the comments below!

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