Actor Hayden Christensen is best known to Star Wars fans as both Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader. Although he rose to fame during the prequel trilogy, he has since reprised his role in the Disney+ series, “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” which aired its penultimate episode earlier this week.
Just after the episode aired, Hayden sat down with Fatherly to talk about life as a dad right in time for Father’s Day.
Hayden Christensen Compares His Experiences With Fatherhood To Darth Vader
Thinking ahead to Father’s Day on Sunday, Hayden reflected, “It’s pretty tragic that he was unaware of his children.”
Hayden has had a lot of time to reflect on his role in the prequel trilogy and who those films were made for.
“Back when we made those films we didn’t really hear much from young fans,” Hayden recalled, pointing out that social media didn’t exist at the time.
“But now that they’ve grown up and have more of a voice, and the younger generations have been introduced to them, these films are seen differently,” he continued.
Hayden Thanks The ‘Young Generation’ For ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’
Hayden told Fatherly that the only reason the Disney+ series was made was due to the interest of younger fans.
“The only reason we’ve been able to come back and continue with these characters again is because of your generation,” he said.
Hayden Christensen’s Daughter, Briar Rose, Was Born In 2014
Hayden, who was born in the 1980s, celebrated his 41st birthday earlier this year. He was only 21 when he was first cast in the role of Anakin Skywalker.
After “Revenge of the Sith” came out in 2005, Hayden decided to semi-retire from acting.
Hayden focused on his private life and welcomed a daughter named Briar Rose in 2014 with actress Rachel Bilson. The two have long since called it quits but continue to co-parent their daughter together.
When asked if he scaled back his acting career to focus on fatherhood, Hayden said, “Definitely, definitely. When I became a dad that changed everything in my life. It really reprioritized things for me. It’s still the focus of my world.”
Hayden called Rachel a “wonderful mom,” and, two years ago, Rachel echoed his praise, saying that they “trust each other,” and are “grateful” that their daughter could visit “another house” during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
Hayden currently lives on a remote farm in Canada, where director Deborah Chow visited when she asked him to reprise his role as Darth Vader for the six-episode limited series.
Hayden Opens Up On Reprising His Role As Darth Vader
Hayden had nothing but positive things to say about the new series.
“I think this story does a really good job of connecting the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy,” he explained. “So those callbacks are gonna land better on an audience that is more familiar with those stories.”
Even if fans hadn’t watched the prequel trilogy, he thinks Star Wars fans will still be able to appreciate the story.
“If you haven’t seen the prequels, or didn’t like the prequels, this show is still a standalone thing,” Hayden said, adding, “plus, it’s got that nice recap at the beginning. That’s all you need to know.”
Believe it or not, Hayden isn’t the only one who wears the Darth Vader costume. Stuntmen Dmitrious Bistrevsky and Tom O’Connell also wear the suits for some of Darth Vader’s more physical scenes.
Although he doesn’t wear the suit full-time, Hayden revealed that he “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 suit.”
It ultimately took Hayden nine months of training to get into Darth Vader shape, but he didn’t stick to his strict regimen after filming had wrapped.
“I try to avoid the dad bod thing,” he joked. “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.”
The final episode of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” will become available to stream on Wednesday, June 22, on Disney+.