The Star Wars universe is vast and ever-expanding. Still, with the return of Hayden Christensen in Obi-Wan Kenobi, every Star Wars fan needs a refresher on the legendary Anakin Skywalker and the man behind the Darth Vader mask.
Who is Hayden Christensen?
Making his rise in Hollywood with Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), Christensen is one of the most beloved actors within the Star Wars collection.
Sticking to primarily low-budget films before and after making his Star Wars debut, Christensen believes in the fine art of acting, often undergoing “method acting” with various roles to stay in character.
While his Hollywood future looked bright upon his humble beginnings, harsh criticism from fans and critics turned the Jumper (2008) towards the outskirts of Tinsel Town until the limited series Obi-Wan Kenobi opened a new door.
Star Wars wiki writes:
Hayden Christensen (born April 19, 1981) is a film actor from Vancouver, British Columbia. Christensen is best known for his portrayal of an adult Anakin Skywalker in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Christensen also portrayed Darth Vader in the final prequel, in both the character’s suited and unsuited forms. He later returned to voice Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker, the concluding chapter in the Skywalker Saga. He also wrote the foreword for The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. He will reprise his role as Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Out of 400 possible actors, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio, George Lucas chose the unknown Canadian actor as his Anakin Skywalker:
On May 12, 2000, Christensen announced that he would be starring as the adult Anakin Skywalker in the next two prequels, Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (2005), succeeding Jake Lloyd, who played the character’s younger self. The star was chosen by director George Lucas because he felt that Christensen had raw talent and good chemistry with actress Natalie Portman. Lucas said he “needed an actor who has that presence of the dark side” that was essential to solidify the story of the origins of Darth Vader. Lucas stunned the movie world by picking the then-unknown actor after he had turned down such big names as Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonathan Jackson, as well as 400 other candidates.
In the final two films of the prequel trilogy, Christensen was the only actor portraying a Jedi who was not allowed to customize his character’s lightsaber. This was because in Episode II, Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber was built to be reminiscent of Darth Vader’s lightsaber in the original trilogy, while in Episode III, Anakin’s lightsaber was designed to match the lightsaber that Obi-Wan Kenobi gives to Luke Skywalker, in Episode IV—canonically, the same lightsaber.
17 years later, Hayden Christensen would return alongside Ewan McGregor as their respective characters in Obi-Wan Kenobi, an all-new streaming series on Disney+.
The Fall of Anakin Skywalker
With Jake Lloyd taking the young Anakin Skywalker role from Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) to Attack of the Clones, Hayden Christensen’s performance engaged audiences.
Though the actor faced intense backlash for both of his Star Wars performances, it’s clear that Christensen met the vision of George Lucas after watching behind-the-scenes footage and reading extra material that explains what Anakin’s fall of the Force exactly looked like.
Destined as the “Chosen One” by Jedi prophecy, the Jedi Order completely ignored all warnings and signs of what Anakin Skywalker might grow into: the greatest Jedi in history.
Denied the rank of Master after countless successful military operations and even taking a Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, under his wings at an incredibly early age, the Dark Side of the Force led by Darth Sidious/Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) became ever so enticing.
Anakin Skywalker fell for Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) and the Dark Side.
Star Wars wiki writes:
Anakin Skywalker was a legendary Force-sensitive human male who was a Jedi Knight of the Galactic Republic and the prophesied Chosen One of the Jedi Order, destined to bring balance to the Force. Also known as “Ani” during his childhood, Skywalker earned the moniker “Hero With No Fear” from his accomplishments in the Clone Wars. His alter ego, Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of the Sith, was created when Skywalker turned to the dark side of the Force, pledging his allegiance to the Sith Lord Darth Sidious at the end of the Republic Era.
A vergence in the Force, Skywalker was believed to have been born on the desert planet of Tatooine in the Outer Rim Territories in 41 BBY. He was the son of Shmi Skywalker, a slave who conceived a child without a father. His blood contained over twenty-thousand midi-chlorians, surpassing that of Grand Master Yoda and all other Jedi in the galaxy. Qui-Gon Jinn, the Jedi Master who discovered Skywalker during the Invasion of Naboo in 32 BBY, theorized that Skywalker was conceived by the midi-chlorians. Following the Battle of Naboo, the Jedi High Council admitted Skywalker into the Order as the Padawan of Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi despite feeling that he was too old and emotional to adhere to the Jedi Code. During the early days of the Clone Wars, Skywalker served as a Jedi General in the Grand Army of the Republic, commanding the clone troopers of the elite 501st Legion against the Confederacy of Independent Systems. He also oversaw the Jedi training of his own apprentice, Ahsoka Tano, after receiving his knighthood. Although Jedi doctrine prohibited personal relationships, Skywalker had a secret wife, Senator Padmé Amidala of Naboo.
Anakin Skywalker was one of the most powerful Jedi and Sith in galactic history. The Force was especially strong in the Skywalker bloodline, which culminated in Anakin’s grandson, Ben Solo, Organa’s son who was born by the end of the Galactic Civil War in 5 ABY. Solo would turn to the dark side as well, becoming the dark warrior Kylo Ren during the rise of the First Order. Like his grandfather, however, Solo found redemption by sacrificing his life for the love of another—the Jedi apprentice Rey, who heard Skywalker’s voice telling her to restore the balance, as he once had, during the Battle of Exegol in 35 ABY. Solo’s death ended the Skywalker bloodline, although Rey, the granddaughter of Sidious, rejected her true heritage and took their surname to honor their legacy.
After Skywalker’s faith in the Jedi High Council was shaken when Tano left the Jedi Order in 19 BBY, Skywalker learned that Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine was Darth Sidious, the elusive Dark Lord of the Sith who orchestrated the war in order to take over the galaxy. Manipulated into believing that the Jedi had failed him and coupled with his fear of losing Amidala in childbirth, Skywalker betrayed and turned against the Jedi Order, believing Sidious had the knowledge to cheat death. Consumed by the persona of Darth Vader, the fallen Jedi Knight marched his legion on the Jedi Temple of Coruscant where they executed its inhabitants, including Jedi younglings, as part of Order 66 and the Great Jedi Purge. Vader was then sent to Mustafar to exterminate the Separatist Council at the behest of his Sith Master, who became the self-proclaimed Galactic Emperor. Vader subsequently sustained severe injuries in his duel with Kenobi, and was rebuilt as an armored cyborg while his wife died of a broken heart, though not before giving birth to the twins Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa who were hidden from their father and the Emperor as the Galactic Empire rose to power.
Sith Lord Darth Vader rose from the ashes of the dying Anakin Skywalker as he turned to Sith Master Darth Sidious for wisdom on how to save Amidala from death in childbirth. Fueled by rage and fear, the newly titled Sith Lord Darth Vader slaughtered innocent Jedi, younglings, and more to prove to his new master, Palpatine, that he was worthy to earn the guidance in saving Padmé Amidala.
Deceived by Palpatine and left for dead by Obi-Wan Kenobi after their fateful duel on Mustafar, Anakin Skywalker drifted into the shadows, leaving only Darth Vader to purge the galaxy of all Jedi after Order 66.
The Rise of Darth Vader
According to Wookiepedia:
Vader enforced the rule of the New Order as the Emperor’s Sith apprentice throughout most of the Imperial Era. In the aftermath of the Battle of Yavin in 0 BBY, he discovered the existence of his son and was determined to turn Luke to the dark side. Luke sought to become a Jedi, like his father before him, and believed that Vader had the potential to turn back to the light side of the Force. Vader was defeated by Luke during the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY, but the young Jedi refused to strike down his father in anger, causing the Emperor to torture Luke with Force lightning. The pain inflicted on his son awakened the part of Vader that was still Anakin, resulting in a redeemed Skywalker killing Sidious at the cost of his own life. Having destroyed the Sith and fulfilled his destiny as the Chosen One, Skywalker made peace with his son and became one with the Force.
Although Vader survived, he was horrifically scarred, both physically and mentally, and had damaged lungs due to the hot ash in the air. Shortly afterward, the Emperor (having sensed his apprentice’s peril) arrived on Mustafar, where he found the severely wounded Vader and took him back to Coruscant, in a medical capsule. As the Emperor could not afford to lose Vader, he turned to the Republic’s best scientists, among which was Cylo, who in doing so, gained private access to Vader’s cybernetics), and by the Emperor’s orders, Vader was put into a life-sustaining black suit of armor and outfitted with three new robotic limbs by numerous droids skilled in both cybernetic reconstruction and medical surgery. After two days of nonstop labor, he was finally sealed within his new armor. His eyes showed a brief flicker of fear before his mask and helmet locked together and he drew his first breath.
Vader’s rebirth was complete. Upon regaining consciousness, Vader asked the Emperor what had become of his wife, and he told Vader that he had killed her in his anger. Unbeknownst to either of the two Sith, Amidala gave birth to the twins Luke and Leia before her death. Overwhelmed by his despair in the belief he had killed Amidala and their unborn child, which fulfilled his prophetic dreams of her death, Vader incidentally destroyed the medical droids and severely damaged the entire room through the Force. He broke free of his bindings on the operating table and, despite struggled to walk under the sheer weight of his new prostheses and armor, let out a cry of despair over losing everything he had loved.
Lost to Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker died with Padmé Amidala. Driven by love, Obi-Wan Kenobi could not help his apprentice, his brother.
With Luke Skywalker destined to destroy his father, Darth Vader terrorized the galaxy for decades as the Galactic Empire grew to new heights.
Return of the Jedi
Through all of this, fans believe that Hayden Christensen’s face is under that Darth Vader mask. Following the departure of the Prequel Trilogy cast from Star Wars, fans didn’t see the face of Christensen or Ewan McGregor in Star Wars for nearly 20 years.
The Obi-Wan Kenobi series would change everything.
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.
“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.
The world of George Lucas is expanding beyond (Mark Hamill), (Carrie Fisher), (Harrison Ford), (James Earl Jones), Yoda (Frank Oz), Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), (Ray Parker), (Boba Fett (/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 GGideon’s(Giancarlo Esposito) the , the Death Star, and The Clone Wars.
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