Welcome back to the Dark Side! Hayden Christensen is officially returning to the role of Darth Vader in the new Disney Plus series Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Fans have known for a while that Ewan McGregor would be reprising his role as Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi for the series, but news has been scarce with the production delays and setbacks.
At the recently held Disney Investors Day, fans finally got confirmation that the project is back on track, with a glimpse of a new logo and the casting news of Christensen joining McGregor in the series.
Hayden Christensen returns as Darth Vader, joining Ewan McGregor in OBI-WAN KENOBI. The Original Series begins 10 years after the dramatic events of Revenge of the Sith, and is coming to #DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/9WR2npRUkk— Star Wars (@starwars) December 10, 2020
Christensen famously played the teenage version of Anakin Skywalker (later turned evil Sith Lord Darth Vader) in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002), and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), the last two films in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and first act of the "Skywalker Saga."
The iconic role of Darth Vader was originally portrayed by bodybuilder Dave Prowse and voiced by James Earl Jones in the classic Star Wars trilogy by George Lucas released from 1977 to 1983.
In an interview with Star Wars.com, Christensen expressed his excitement to return to the Star Wars universe.
“It was such an incredible journey playing Anakin Skywalker,” said Christensen. “Of course, Anakin and Obi-Wan weren’t on the greatest of terms when we last saw them… It will be interesting to see what an amazing director like Deborah Chow has in store for us all. I’m excited to work with Ewan again. It feels good to be back.”
Director and executive producer Deborah Chow, who will be helming the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, was responsible for directing two fan favorite episodes of The Mandalorian last year, namely “Chapter 3: The Sin” and “Chapter 7: The Reckoning.”
The new Obi-Wan Kenobi series is said to be set 10 years after the dramatic events of The Revenge of the Sith. At the end of the trilogy, Obi-Wan left Vader for dead following a lightsaber duel that severs his legs and left arm. Darth Vader is later retrieved by Palpatine and taken to Coruscant, while Obi-Wan delivers Luke to his step-uncle and aunt on Tatooine before retreating into exile.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said of Christensen's return: "This will be the rematch of the century."
At the time of its release, Anakin’s character (and Christensen’s portrayal) was widely criticized by Star Wars fans, partly because of the awkward and melodramatic dialogue in romantic scenes with Padme which made it hard to take the character seriously.
Fortunately, Christensen is getting a shot at redemption when he reprises his role as one of the most famous villains in movie history 15 years later as a more seasoned actor. We may just have underestimated his power.
McGregor confirmed with Entertainment Tonight that production on the series is starting early 2021, which makes the release date for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series sometime late 2021 or early 2022.
(Images via LucasFilm)