“Everything about it was very compelling…” Hayden Christensen on returning to Star Wars for Obi-Wan Kenobi

We speak to Hayden Christensen about returning to the Star Wars universe with Obi-Wan Kenobi and wearing that iconic costume…

Obi-Wan Kenobi

17 years on from Revenge Of The Sith, Hayden Christensen is back as Darth Vader, the iconic villain formerly known as Anakin Skywalker. Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place 10 years on, and Vader’s team of Force-sensitive Inquisitors are ruthlessly eradicating any Jedi who survived Order 66 – including (and especially) Obi-Wan.

We talked about the show with Christensen ahead of its release on Disney+.

What was it about this project that convinced you to return to the Star Wars universe?

Everything about it. Just the idea of getting to step back into this character again was hugely exciting for me, and getting to work with Ewan again, really everything about it was very compelling.

Darth Vader is an icon, but how do you make sure he’s also a rounded character?

With great restraint. He’s a character that you don’t want to over-inform, there’s a certain mystery there that needs to be retained. I think how Deborah [Chow] trod that line was done with a lot of craft and a lot of skill. I’m very excited for people to see this show, I think there’s a lot there that they’ll enjoy.

Christensen says there’s a mystery about Darth Vader that needs to be retained

Do you still think of him as Anakin or is he fully Darth Vader?

Well, Vader is Anakin. Of course there’s this struggle of identity with the character, it’s part of what makes him so compelling. He’s trying to kill that part of himself, and he’s trying to bury Anakin as deep down inside as possible and we get to explore that in this series.

How do you find the physicality of the character under that very famous costume and helmet?

The costume’s amazing, to get to put that on is really a great honour. The physicality of it, because it’s an established character there’s a continuity there that we need to adhere to, so that was obviously very important to everyone.

You’ve reunited with Ewan McGregor for Obi-Wan Kenobi – were you guys able to fall back into your previous working relationship?

Yeah, very much so. It was honestly like no time had passed. Seeing him again as Obi-Wan was an incredible sight, and getting to work together as these characters was so much fun. Obviously we spent a lot of time together on the prequels and there’s a lot of history there, and all of that really helps and lends itself to the work that we did in this one.

“Seeing him again as Obi-Wan was an incredible sight.” Christensen and Ewan McGregor have a long history.

What impact does the StageCraft Video Wall technology have on filming?

It’s an incredible bit of technology, these StageCraft volumes where they display the entire environment for you. It really helps the acting process. When we were doing the prequels it demanded a lot of the imagination, and of course it was great fun to go and see the films afterwards because you were like ‘oh, that’s what the environment looked like’. But now you step onto set and you’re in it. You’re in Star Wars. It’s great!

Obi-Wan Kenobi debuts exclusively on Disney+ from 27th May. Read our review of episodes one and two here.