Hayden Christensen Praises “Bold” and “Shocking” Decision That Changed ‘Star Wars’ Forever

in Entertainment, Star Wars

Anakin Skywalker turning to the dark side

Credit: Lucasfilm

The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy is getting some much-needed love thanks to Empire Magazine, whose latest edition celebrates the 25th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999). In his exclusive interview with the outlet, actor Hayden Christensen opened up about his experience playing Anakin Skywalker and also shed some new light on his feelings about that gruesome Order 66 scene from Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005).

Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala (left) and Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker (right)
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Disney+ Doubles Down on Hit ‘Mandalorian’ Replacement Series

George Lucas’ Star Wars Prequel Trilogy might not’ve been a home run with critics upon its premiere in the late 1990s. However, in more recent years, it’s enjoyed something of a renaissance thanks to the enduring legacy of spinoffs like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. 

Yes, the origin story of one of pop culture’s most iconic villains, Darth Vader, and the fall of the Jedi Order might not have appealed to the masses then, but now, the Prequel Era is back and better than ever. In 2022, Ewan McGregor reprised his role as the titular Jedi Master in the Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries, while Christensen returned to the franchise for Obi-Wan Kenobi as well as Season 1 of Ahsoka after a whopping 17 years.

Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan fighting Darth Vader
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Gina Carano Sues Disney for ‘Mandalorian’ Firing, Demands to Be Recast

Pod-racing, trade disputes, pesky inter-planetary negotiations, and countless memeable moments aside, it’s easy to forget just how somber the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy really is, with the story leading up to the rise of the Galactic Empire and the collapse of the once-mighty Republic. And as those who have seen the movies likely recall, you can’t reach that heart-wrenching end without, well, watching Anakin slaughter a temple full of Jedi younglings first.

Speaking with Empire Magazine, Christensen reflected on his time in the galaxy far, far away, admitting that he was “a bit overwhelmed” when he was cast for Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) at just 19 years old, adding, “if I were to have some advice for me during that general time in my life, it would be: ‘Patience.'”


Hayden Christensen reflects on the #StarWars prequels 25 years on, in a major new Empire interview and photoshoot.

‘I think those movies have held up well,’ Christensen says. ‘It feels like vindication for the work we did.’

READ MORE: empireonline.com/movies/news/ha

Although he’s “in a good place” in terms of his relationship to the sci-fi franchise today, Christensen described his Star Wars journey as “at times bumpy,” which makes sense given the harsh reactions to his performance as teenage Anakin Skywalker.

Christensen then touched on how surreal it’s been to meet younger fans who adore Anakin, considering he isn’t exactly remembered as being good with kids. Speaking on those gruesome final moments of Revenge of the Sith, the actor said, “There was a lot of talk about us doing that scene, and I love that George did it. It was a bold move. And it’s shocking. Kids seem to forget about that scene when they meet me! There’s not any fear or intimidation. They’re just excited to meet Anakin.”

Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) Force Ghost in 'Ahsoka'
Credit: Lucasfilm

It certainly was a bold move on George Lucas’ behalf to show the brutal murder of innocent younglings onscreen. Still, there’s no denying that it effectively illustrated Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader at the hands of Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), making the tragedy of his fall to the Dark Side all the more palpable.

Still, the overt horror of the scene is often undermined by the endlessly quotable — and accidentally hilarious — line, “Master Skywalker, there are too many of them. What are we going to do?” Plus, humanizing Anakin in The Clone Wars TV show allowed audiences to resonate more with him, meaning when it finally comes time for lucky fans to meet Christensen, they tend to remember this version of the character — not the one who brutally slaughtered younglings.

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker
Credit: Lucasfilm

While his Star Wars future remains uncertain, the craze for Christensen and his iconic Star Wars role is at an all-time high, thanks to his standout performances in Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka. Although Anakin is well and truly dead following his redemption at the end of Star Wars: Episode VI -Return of the Jedi (1983), he was able to teach Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) one final lesson from beyond the grave, suggesting that he could pop up again down the line.

Any future Anakin Skywalker appearances would undoubtedly be met with praise from fans, but as Disney and Lucasfilm continue to move away from the Skywalker Saga, it’s hard to say if we’ll ever get to see Christensen step into his Jedi robes again or if it’s time for him to bid farewell to the character for good. Either way, fans can rejoice knowing they can relieve the magic of The Phantom Menace soon, as it returns to theaters this May.

What upcoming Star Wars project would you like to see Anakin Skywalker in next? Let us know in the comments below!

Comments Off on Hayden Christensen Praises “Bold” and “Shocking” Decision That Changed ‘Star Wars’ Forever