Hayden Christensen became a permanent fixture in Star Wars story by playing its central character Darth Vader. And although just a character, Christensen noticed putting on the costume commanded a kind of respect he rarely experienced.
Hayden Christensen felt it was risky for him to play Anakin Skywalker
Christensen was already an actor with a few feature films to his credit for the time he was cast in Star Wars. But the fantasy sci-fi film took his name and stardom to new heights. Lucas chose Christensen after combing through a large pool of actors.
“I looked at tapes for a year, and looked at hundreds of kids,” Lucas once said according to orlando sentinel. “In the end, we got down to two or three guys who could play the part.”
But the revered director would end up taking a gamble on Christensen.
“Ultimately, you sort of throw a dart and say, ‘I hope I picked the right guy,’” he said.
Christensen was grateful that Lucas took a chance on him playing such an iconic character. Despite feeling playing the role was risky, it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“Of course there’s a larger risk in playing a character on such a major platform,” Christensen said. “But if you’re not willing to take those risks, then you can’t call yourself an actor.”
Hayden Christensen found wearing his Darth Vader suit empowering
As much as Christensen appreciated playing the more noble Anakin Skywalker, he was excited about finally stepping into the Darth Vader role. Even before officially putting on the suit, Christensen had been eagerly anticipating his character’s turn to the dark side. Especially since there were a few issues regarding Anakin that he no longer had to put up with when he was fully Vader.
“That was what I had been waiting for. Anakin more or less makes a deal with the Devil and for the last act of the film Anakin is Darth Vader and he roams like the Grim Reaper. That was the side of Anakin that I was always very excited about,” Christensen once told sci fi. “It was really nice because it also justified a lot of the sensibilities relating to Anakin that I had a difficult time with. Like his whining quality of him that is well justified because it stems from a frustration that he is so consumed by.”
But getting to wear Darth Vader’s iconic suit offered a different feeling for Christensen. Seeing how others reacted and deferred to him while he was inside the Vader costume was a memorable sight he couldn’t help enjoy.
“People I befriended and spent a lot of time with whom I knew I was in the costume would see him and though there was an excitement and certain awe, there was a fear and a respect that needed to be paid,” Christensen once said in an interview with Phase 9. “I would sort of walk by, their eyes would light up and they would lower their heads and take a couple of steps back and let me pass. It was a very empowering feeling.”
Hayden Christensen was emotional about being Darth Vader again for ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’
Christensen had the opportunity to reprise his role as the Sith Lord in the recent Disney+ series Obi Wan Kenobi. After almost two decades away from the character, Christensen experienced many familiar and new feelings revisiting the franchise.
“This is a character that has meant so much to me,” Christensen told yahoo. “And it’s one that has stayed with me over the years. Getting to put the suit back on… it was very cathartic in a lot of ways. There’s a real sort of emotional release.”
Christensen also felt being in kenobi allowed further exploration of a character he knew so well.
“I don’t want to give away anything, but that was certainly a part of the appeal, was the idea that I’ll get to explore the character of Darth Vader at this point in his life. Because there’s a lot of stuff there to delve into,” Christensen added.
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