Hayden Christensen reacts to putting the Darth Vader suit back on for Obi-Wan Kenobi
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While fans have been losing their collective geek mind over the return of Ewan McGregor in the upcoming Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi, to quote Yoda himself… there is another.
He's baaaaaaaaack. And not just back, but back in black. Hayden Christensen is also returning to the Star Wars franchise, and arguably the most iconic character in the history of pop culture — donning the armor once again to play Darth Vader.
It's been 17 years since Christensen last went under the mask, and the deal was finally sealed when Kenobi director Deborah Chow visited Christensen's farm up in Canada to tell the actor what they had planned for Vader's big return as they discussed bringing the character back to life.
"It was really nice because we sort of met up in Canada," Chow says. "And obviously with people like Ewan and Hayden, they've been these characters for so long and they obviously did them in the prequels and they've lived with this character in their lives for so long that they just know the character so well, which makes it so helpful in terms of the creative."
So what was it like to put the infamous outfit back on? "Well, without getting into too much detail, it was amazing," Christensen tells EW. "It's a great honor to get to put that suit on."
While it had been close to two decades since he'd played the fallen Jedi, Christensen says his previous familiarity with the character from Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith made his return both thrilling and comfortable. "It was mostly a lot of excitement because I had spent enough time with this character and felt like I knew him, and coming back to it felt very natural in a lot of ways," Christensen muses. "And I was just really excited to get to come in and play Darth Vader at this point in the timeline because it did feel like a natural continuation of your journey with the character. And that was very meaningful for me."
Of course, the actor also recognizes that 17-year breaks are not exactly the norm when it comes to playing the same character: "The whole experience was very surreal. Just the nature of coming back after all this time. It's such a unique opportunity — one that both Ewan and I were very grateful for."
Something else Christensen cherished about coming back to play Darth Vader was returning to a franchise with such passion surrounding it — passion among the cast, the crew, and the fan base. "One of the things I loved so much about working on Star Wars projects is just that shared excitement," he says. "That everyone's real excited to be there. You feel that energy, and that's a really special thing."
And if there's one thing Christensen knows all too well from his previous stint in a galaxy far, far away, it is to never, ever spill secrets. "I don't know what I can share in terms of behind-the-scenes type stuff because I don't think they want me saying too much," he says, smiling. "But I can tell you the first time that I saw Ewan as Obi-Wan again, that was a very special moment for me and one that I'll remember for a very, very long time."
As will fans who watch it on screen when Obi-Wan Kenobi debuts May 25. For more from Christiansen on playing the Dark Lord of the Sith, check out our Kenobi cover story, and also read what the actor had to say about what kind of Vader we should expect to see.
Order a copy of EW's final print edition here, or find it on newsstands now.
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