"We’re going to see a very powerful Vader," promises a returning Hayden Christensen.
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We already showed you the exclusive first look images of Ewan McGregor's return as the cloaked Jedi Master in Obi-Wan Kenobi (premiering May 25 on Disney+). Those images also included the return of Joel Edgerton as Uncle Owen, as well as a formidable new foe in the form of a force-sensitive Inquisitor named Reva (played by The Queens Gambit's Moses Ingram).

But McGregor and Edgerton are not the only actors returning to the Star Wars franchise for the new series — and Reva and the Grand Inquisitor (seen in the recently released trailer) are not the only imperial villains on the hunt. Cue some labored mechanical breathing noises because the Dark Lord of the Sith himself is back, and we've got your exclusive first look at the return of Darth Vader.

Also back is the man under the helmet, Hayden Christensen, who transformed from Jedi Padawan Anakin Skywalker to the dark side villain in the Star Wars prequel films Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Much like McGregor, it was a 17-year journey to get Christensen back in black to play one of the most iconic figures in the history of pop culture — a journey that is chronicled in EW's cover story on the new Disney+ series.

Obi-Wan Kenobi
Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader in 'Obi-Wan Kenobi'
| Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

In our exclusive image above, we see Vader appearing to emerge from his meditation chamber, which begs the question: Since the meditation chamber allows the Sith Lord to remove his helmet (as seen in The Empire Strikes Back when poor Admiral Piett briefly admires the back of Vader's scarred head before the helmet is lowered over it), might this mean we will catch a glimpse of Vader sans mask in Obi-Wan Kenobi?

"I wish I could tell you," Christensen tells EW with a coy smile on his face. "I'm sworn to secrecy."

As for the kind of Dark Lord we'll see in the series that helps fill in the gap of time between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Christensen is more straightforward: "We're going to see a very powerful Vader," promises the actor.

While it sounds like there is a chance we may see Vader unmasked, how much Vader in general will we actually see on the show?

"His shadow is cast across so much of what we do," series writer Joby Harold teases. "And the degree of his proximity to that shadow is something that we'll discover. But he is very much a part of the show emotionally for Obi-Wan, and possibly beyond that as well."

April 2022 cover Obi-Wan Kenobi
Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi on the cover of Entertainment Weekly's April 2022 issue.
| Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres May 25 on Disney+.

Order a copy of EW's final print edition, or find it on newsstands beginning March 18.

Related content:

Obi-Wan Kenobi (TV series)

Ewan McGregor returns to Tatooine to fill in the gaps of what happened to the Jedi Master between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.

 

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