Hayden Christensen’s ‘Star Wars’ Return “Did Not Come Lightly,” Executives Pushed Back

in Star Wars

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker

Credit: Lucasfilm

The Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series is set to change the Star Wars universe for good, and actor Hayden Christensen is finally returning to the pivotal role that caused him a world of online hate. Disney and Lucasfilm have gone to great lengths to protect the actor, and now director Deborah Chow has spoken out on Christensen.

Hayden Christensen Obi-Wan Kenobi Series
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: ‘Star Wars’: George Lucas Thought Hayden Christensen Was “Too Much”

Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen are returning to the Star Wars universe in just two months, reprising their iconic Star Wars characters in the Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series. The new Star Wars story begins ten years after the dramatic events of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005).

McGregor first appeared as the titular character in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) — taking the role from icon Alec Guinness after his appearances in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) and the original trilogy.

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Following Revenge of the Sith, Hayden Christensen received hateful comments and rude remarks from many Star Wars viewers, causing the actor to take a hiatus from Hollywood for over a decade.

Many called out his performance, but Christensen played Anakin Skywalker turned Sith Lord exactly how George Lucas envisioned it (when looking at behind-the-scenes footage of Lucas’ directing).

hayden christensen in star wars revenge of the sith
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Christensen’s return to Star Wars was heavily speculated by fans, only to be proven true when Lucasfilm officially announced Obi-Wan Kenobi.

For the first time in 17 years, Lucasfilm executives and directors are name-dropping Hayden Christensen, including director Deborah Chow:

“He’s lovely. And he’s absolutely wonderful. And Canadian!…[He knows] the character so well, which makes it so helpful in terms of the creative.”

The Mandalorian Chapter 3, 6, and 7 director Deborah Chow — who’s carrying the torch for Obi-Wan Kenobi with Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni — spoke with Entertainment Weekly about Christensen’s triumphant return in this new Star Wars story.

Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan Kenobi
Credit: Lucasfilm

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However, Hayden Christensen coming back as Darth Vader as Kenobi’s main villain “did not come lightly,” according to EW, as Lucasfilm president revealed:

“The debate around whether we should do that or not carried on for quite some time. Everybody within our creative team has strong opinions, and all of our fans have strong opinions. So when you realize that you’re under that level of scrutiny, certainly a story point like that is going to be scrutinized at a very high level. We talked about it constantly.”

ewan mcgregor (left) and kathleen kennedy (right) at d23 expo
Credit: Lucasfilm

Deborah Chow touched on the subject of “bringing back” Darth Vader with Christensen under the mask:

“Honestly, for me the starting place was that I really wanted to do something that was character-based and character-driven, because that is the benefit of the limited series, is that you have more time to sort of tell a real character story. And so for me, the starting place of character is you just start and you look at who has been important to him in his life. And it’s quite hard to avoid Anakin/Vader in that scenario, especially coming out of Revenge of the Sith.”

“So really it came out of an evolution of the character for me. It wasn’t just to sort of bring him back. It was really like, who means something and where are we at this point in the timeline with Vader?”

Deborah Chow (left) with Pedro Pascal (right)
Credit: Disney Gallery / Lucasfilm

Chow continues:

Obviously, Hayden was going to be part of this series, and when he first came on to set for us, it definitely had a very special feeling. And it was a really interesting moment for me because you really started to see the different generations and how they connect to Star Wars and the franchise, where you have a generation that grew up with the prequels first and with Hayden. It’s a totally different thing for them than a generation that grew up with the originals. And then there’s younger generations with the new ones.

So it felt really special bringing him back. And, obviously, I’m Canadian and he’s Canadian, so that was also very heartwarming for me. We were having some Canadian pride on that day.

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in 'Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith'
Credit: Lucasfilm

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It was evident to Lucasfilm that Hayden Christensen would appear alongside co-star Ewan McGregor is Obi-Wan Kenobi, but to what extent? Early reports suggested that Darth Maul (Ray Park) would be the series’ antagonist, axing Darth Vader.

Nonetheless, Christensen will be reprising his role of Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and Sith Lord Darth Vader in Kenobi on May 25th.

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

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“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.

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Credit: Lucasfilm

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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), Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), 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 Wars.

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.

Do you want to see Hayden Christensen back in Star Wars in future projects? Let us know in the comments below!

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