“The first time that I saw Ewan as Obi-Wan again, that was a very special moment for me.”
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Hayden Christensen rose to mainstream fame for his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker.
The three Star Wars prequels — which track Anakin’s journey to becoming Darth Vader — were released between 1999 and 2005, with Hayden making his debut in the second installment, Attack of the Clones, in 2002.
However, despite ultimately being some of the highest-grossing movies of all time, the prequel trilogy didn’t quite meet fans’ expectations and was famously criticized as a result — with the majority of the backlash being leveled at the writer and director, George Lucas.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter last year, Ewan McGregor — who starred alongside Hayden as Obi-Wan Kenobi — explained that it was “hard” for the cast when the movies weren’t well-received. “That was quite difficult. They were universally not very much liked,” Ewan said.
And, as fans will know, Hayden subsequently distanced himself from the franchise, and unlike his costars like Ewan and Natalie Portman, wound up taking a step back from the limelight all together.
However, at long last, Hayden is finally set to reprise his iconic role in an upcoming Disney+ series, Obi-Wan Kenobi — set to debut in May — which will pick up a decade after the events of the third movie in the prequels trilogy, Revenge of the Sith.
And so, in spite of having spent 17 years away from the franchise, Hayden said that coming back to the Star Wars universe felt like it was meant to be.
“It was mostly a lot of excitement because I had spent enough time with this character and felt like I knew him, and coming back to it felt very natural in a lot of ways,” the actor told Entertainment Weekly earlier this week.
Despite having found fame as Anakin, Hayden will be returning to screens under the mask of the iconic villain, Darth Vader (although, let’s not rule out the possibility of Anakin flashbacks). And so, after having briefly sported the costume during Revenge of the Sith, Hayden said that returning as Darth Vader felt like a smooth transition.
“I was just really excited to get to come in and play Darth Vader at this point in the timeline because it did feel like a natural continuation of your journey with the character. And that was very meaningful for me,” he said.
But, when asked about stepping back into Darth Vader’s iconic suit, the actor kept his card close to his chest.
“Well, without getting into too much detail, it was amazing,” he recalled of getting reacquainted with the legendary costume. “It’s a great honor to get to put that suit on.”
Of course, one aspect of the upcoming series that is bound to spark all kinds of nostalgia is the much-awaited reunion of the galaxy’s most iconic duo, Obi-Wan and Anakin. Speaking about their comeback, Hayden recalled the emotional moment on set when he saw Ewan in character for the first time.
“The whole experience was very surreal. Just the nature of coming back after all this time. It’s such a unique opportunity — one that both Ewan and I were very grateful for,” he said.
“I don’t know what I can share in terms of behind-the-scenes type stuff because I don’t think they want me saying too much,” the actor added. “But I can tell you the first time that I saw Ewan as Obi-Wan again, that was a very special moment for me and one that I’ll remember for a very, very long time.”
It goes without saying that over the course of its immense run, Star Wars has become synonymous with fanfare, which, according to Hayden, makes coming back even more meaningful.
“One of the things I loved so much about working on Star Wars projects is just that shared excitement,” he said of the feeling on set. “Everyone’s real excited to be there. You feel that energy, and that’s a really special thing.”
And just like Hayden, it sounds like his costar is equally excited to return to Tatooine.
“I’m really excited about it,” Ewan told the Hollywood Reporter. “Maybe more so than the first ones, because I’m older — I just turned 50 — and I’m just in a much better place.”