Actor Hayden Christensen has reprised his role as Darth Vader for the Star Wars live-action Disney+ series “Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
Ten years have passed since the “Revenge of the Sith” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” which means that Darth Vader has only grown stronger while the titular Kenobi, played by Ewan McGregor, is just beginning to reawaken his Force abilities after hiding out on Tatooine.
Christensen recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about how he was able to “bring something different to the table.”
Hayden Christensen Says The Darth Vader Suit Is Still ‘Very Heavy’
At the end of the second episode, Vader was able to sense Kenobi through the Force.
Hayden said, “There’s just so much history to that relationship. There is obviously a great bond that was broken, and I think Vader is still very much affected by that.”
“That first shot in the bacta tank when you see Vader opening his eyes, the idea is that Obi-Wan is connecting with him and coming to his attention again,” he continued.
Hayden explained that he’s “not the only one in the suit because of the height difference between myself and the character.”
“There’s some stuff that’s just a little bit too challenging for us to try to film with me in the suit,” he continued. “So I do what I can, and then I have the help of a couple of other great performers who do a lot of the work as well.”
Hayden said that the suit was “a little bit more comfortable” than the one he wore in “Revenge of the Sith.”
“I think they make improvements each time they make one — but still, it’s a very heavy costume,” he added.
Hayden Christensen Says There Is Still A Little Bit Of Anakin Inside Darth Vader
Although ten years have passed since Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side, Hayden says that he still sees Anakin as an “undercurrent” to Darth Vader.
“Vader is trying his best to kill off that side of him, but there always has to be a little bit of Anakin in there,” he explained. “And that presents itself, and that’s a part of the fun. I’m always thinking about the Anakin aspect of this character.”
Hayden also talked about his big encounter on Mapuzo in the third episode, where he tortures not only Kenobi, but defenseless villagers.
Hayden said. “I loved the Mapuzo fight because it reminded me of the duel in A New Hope. The confrontation was more about the meaning of the fight, rather than the battle itself.”
“I think that came as a shock to Vader to see how disconnected from the Force Obi-Wan is at this point,” he continued. “I think Vader wants Obi-Wan to be able to put up more of a fight. I don’t want to say too much [about what’s to come].”
Hayden Christensen Talks Support From Fans
Although the prequel trilogy was not well-received at the time of its release, fans have warmed up to the characters and the actors that played them.
“I’ve gotten so many nice messages from people, from friends, showing their support,” he said. “And it’s just it’s been a great honor for me to get to come back to this character and to feel the support from the fans.”
Hayden said that “it is hugely meaningful for me and ultimately, they’re the reason why we get to come back and do all this. So yeah, I value their feelings a lot.”
Hayden revealed that he “certainly went back and watched all the films again and studied Anakin as much as I could. There is just a lot going on with the character. He’s always sort of processing and trying to figure out what’s going on around him.”
“I don’t know that I have a scene that I was most proud of, but there’s a scene where Anakin goes back to Tatooine in Episode II [Attack of the Clones] and speaks to Watto,” he explained. “The script had the dialogue written in English and then, in parentheses, it said: ‘in Wattanese.’ It wasn’t until the day before we started filming that I went to George, and I was like, ‘What should Wattanese sound like?'”
“And he was like, ‘Well, you know, so long as it doesn’t sound like English or any other language that might sound familiar. You can just make it up,'” he continued. “So, I was rushing the night before to try to figure out how to make up Wattanese, and every time I see that scene, I get a bit of a kick out of it.”
Hayden Christensen Talks His ‘Sand’ Dialogue
In the prequel trilogy, Anakin makes it clear that he doesn’t like sand. When asked if Darth Vader has warmed up to it, Hayden replied, “You know, I think it’s funny people have taken such an interest in that line. Some of the dialogue is… different from what you’re maybe expecting.”
“But I never had any issue with that line,” he added. “I understood Anakin’s feelings toward sand, but maybe it was a bit of an odd time to bring it up, as he’s flirting with this girl who he has so much affection for. But, you know, he’s Anakin.”
Hayden also revealed that they didn’t have a “different plan” towards Darth Vader this time around, but added that they are “further informing this character and how we go about doing that.”
“I think it’s interesting to approach this character after all this time and at this point in my life,” Hayden continued. “I am definitely bringing something different to the table.”
When asked if he’d like to get his own Darth Vader Disney+ series, Hayden replied,
“Absolutely! To get to do more with this character would be amazing!”
The new final episodes of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” are released every Wednesday on Disney+.