When it was announced that Hayden Christensen would return to a galaxy far, far away in the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series, there were definitely plenty of reactions. And given the mixed responses he received for his role in the prequel trilogy, you can imagine how divided everyone is on his return.
I know the prequel trilogy is… not very good. I was there. I saw those three movies when they came out. We were treated to poor writing and a bland plot, underdeveloped characters, action scenes that exist just to show off George Lucas’ ILM technology, and Jar Jar Binks. Understandably, the movies were not well received by critics or fans.
Star Wars Fans Have Been Hating on Hayden Christensen for Too Long
I also remember how much Star Wars fans ripped on Christensen for his role as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. The prequels were so monumentally hated that Christensen struggled to find any work after.
Don’t you remember that “I don’t like sand” scene? At the time, plenty of fans just saw bad acting. He was criticized for “unpolished” acting skills. Fans saw him as bland and monotone, lacking any emotion on the big screen.
On top of that, he certainly had some big boots to fill. I don’t know if you noticed, but Darth Vader is kind of a big deal in the original trilogy. And until the prequel trilogy came around in the ‘90s, we were all left to our imaginations when it came to young Anakin Skywalker. Star Wars fans had plenty of time to dream up what they felt he would look and sound like. Apparently, Christensen wasn’t exactly it for many of those fans.
Hayden Christensen Was the Perfect Anakin Skywalker, and You Can’t Change My Mind
All that said, here’s my unpopular opinion: Hayden Christensen was the perfect choice for a young Anakin Skywalker. There. I said it.
By now, most Star Wars fans have come to realize that it wasn’t bad acting from a then-18-year-old Christensen. It was a poorly written script and terrible direction. So if you need to point the finger at someone, make it George Lucas.
Behind the scenes featurettes are proof. Lucas felt that Christensen would put “too much emotion” into his lines. Lucas wanted Anakin to be “stoic.” He reasoned that a troubled kid like Anakin would be dealing with personal issues internally, creating a more stoic, cool exterior.
Anyone who saw the prequels could tell Lucas that was a mistake!
In any case, we did finally get to see some emotion from Hayden Christensen, after he had already become Darth Vader toward the end of Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. He goes toe to toe with Obi-Wan, his former master, in an incredible duel. He fueled the fight with aggression and pure anger.
Queue the line from Obi-Wan Kenobi: “You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you!” as he leaves ol’ Anakin/Vader to burn on Mustafar.
Christensen Returns as Darth Vader in New Series
It has now been more than 15 years since that scene brought the sequel trilogy to an end. And while I can still argue till I’m blue in the face about how bad the prequels were, nostalgia is certainly helping Star Wars fans accept them. Hopefully, it’s helping everyone accept Christensen as Anakin, too — especially since he’s returning to the role for the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
What can we expect to see? Well, no one’s quite sure yet. Lucasfilm usually does a pretty stellar job at keeping secrets. However, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy dropped quite a hint at what we might see.
“This will be the rematch of the century,” Kennedy said, according to StarWars.com.
A rematch, you say? Count me in! The six-part series is slated to premiere in 2022.