From the first moment that Ewan McGregor stepped out onto the stage to announce his Star Wars return with the Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ series, anticipation was high to see the iconic Jedi back in action. This excitement only grew after a rematch with Darth Vader was promised, particularly since Anakin Skywalker actor Hayden Christensen was coming back to play the part.
Christensen played Skywalker in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, but only appeared as Darth Vader for a short period, and spent a matter of seconds in the legendary suit. Naturally, fans were elated to hear McGregor would be reuniting with his prequel trilogy comrade.
With both stars having spent 17 years away from the Star Wars saga, Obi-Wan Kenobi required a lot of preparation to understand the character, master lightsaber combat, and get into the right shape once again.
Hayden Christensen Talks Gaining Weight for Darth Vader
Anakin Skywalker actor Hayden Christensen recently spoke with Fatherly to discuss his return in Obi-Wan Kenobi and revealed just how he prepared to become Darth Vader again. Alongside his few scenes as Anakin, Christensen donned the Vader suit for the series but shared the in-suit duties with stuntmen Dmitrious Bistrevsky and Tom O'Connell.
While the prequel trilogy actor may not be in the suit all the time, he shared that it was "very important for [him]" to encapsulate the role even though he would rarely be visible. In order to prepare to become Darth Vader, Christensen revealed he put on "25 or 35 pounds" over nine months, but quickly worked it off after filming:
“I think that process was very important for me. I needed to become that character again, physically. I just consumed as many calories as possible. I put on 25 or 30 pounds to fill out that [Darth Vader] suit. I try to avoid the dad bod thing. And I was trying to maintain that Vader body after we finished. But, honestly, I pretty much just went back to my old diet. I kind of deflated after that.”
Discussing the importance of the prequel trilogy to Obi-Wan Kenobi, Christensen insists the series is "still a standalone thing:"
“If you haven’t seen the prequels, or didn’t like the prequels, this show is still a standalone thing. Plus, it’s got that nice recap at the beginning. That’s all you need to know.”
Has Hayden Christensen's Return Been Disappointing?
With just how long it's been since McGregor and Christensen appeared in the Star Wars galaxy, their reunion has truly been a treat for fans. While Obi-Wan has naturally been at the forefront of the series, there's some argument to be made that Vader has been something of a letdown.
After all, Reva and the Inquisitors have generally proven to be the main antagonists, and the only battle with Vader so far has been called lackluster by many. Even in terms of Christensen, the prequel trilogy actor has only been visible in a few brief flashes and the fifth episode's duel flashbacks - an unfortunate caveat of Vader being bound to his suit at this point.
Since stuntmen look to have filled the Darth Vader suit for a significant portion of the series, Christensen's role has been somewhat limited so far. Perhaps the finale will deliver more flashbacks to the Clone Wars era that will allow Christensen to express himself in a bigger way.
Either way, Obi-Wan Kenobi only looks to be the beginning of Christensen's return to the galaxy far, far away as rumors point to his appearance in the upcoming Ahsoka series. With Vader deceased by that post-original trilogy point in the timeline, chances are he will either appear as a Force Ghost or in flashbacks to his time with Ahsoka Tano, something that has never been shown in live-action.