Hayden Christensen is donning that iconic black helmet once again for Obi-Wan Kenobi, returning as Darth Vader after he last played the character way back in 2005. The new series marks the third time the actor has played Anakin Skywalker (barring a brief voice cameo in 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker), following on from Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Both of those prequel films were directed by Star Wars creator George Lucas, but in the new Disney Plus show, Deborah Chow is at the helm.
We sat down with Christensen and asked whether he’s been in touch with Lucas about the series or his return as Vader. “I have not, no,” he tells Total Film. As for why, though, that all comes down to Chow.
“I really felt like this was Deborah Chow’s story, and I really just wanted to follow her lead on this one,” Christensen continues. “I think what she’s done here is just incredibly exciting.” Before Obi-Wan Kenobi, Chow helmed two episodes of The Mandalorian, so this isn’t her first foray into the galaxy far, far away.
But, while Christensen didn’t talk to Lucas before filming the show, he did explore his character’s appearances outside of the live-action movies, including the animated series. “They did a lot with these characters in that show – Clone Wars and Rebels,” the actor explains. “And it’s just useful information to have. So I went back, and I watched all that stuff, I read some of the comics, and I just tried to immerse myself as much as I could.”
Despite how much time has passed since Christensen last wielded a lightsaber, he had no trouble stepping into Anakin’s shoes again. “It came back very naturally for me,” he says. “This is a character that obviously I spent a lot of time with in the past when we were doing the prequels. It was a good four to five years of my life, and so I know him very well. And it’s a character that’s stayed with me over the years, too, and one that I’ve continued to think about.”
For much of those years making Star Wars, Christensen was playing Anakin outside of Vader’s imposing armor, sporting it only briefly at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Was getting to wear the suit again a nostalgic experience, then? “Very much so, yeah,” Christensen says. “It brought up a lot of emotions. It was cathartic in a lot of ways. I didn’t spend too much time in the suit when we did Episode 3, but getting to come back and do more with it now was just an incredible opportunity.”
Choosing to return to the saga also wasn’t a difficult decision. “Just the idea that I get to play Darth Vader at this point in his life, it was just a really unique opportunity,” Christensen says of what drew him back. “It really didn’t take much convincing.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi debuts exclusively on Disney Plus from May 27. For much more on the series, check out our interviews with McGregor and Christensen on their favorite memories from filming the show and how Anakin and Obi-Wan’s relationship has changed, as well as Moses Ingram on playing the newest Star Wars villain, Reva.
For everything else coming soon from the galaxy far, far away, see our guide to all the upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows.