Hayden Christensen’s performance as Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels may not have been universally well-received, but the completion of his journey from naive Padawan to dark lord remains one of the most memorable moments from the movies. In Revenge of the Sith, Christensen wore the iconic Darth Vader suit for the only time and now, this new fan art seeks to flesh out what he would’ve looked like under Vader’s mask.
We briefly see Christensen as Anakin in his post-Mustafa state at the end of the film, before he’s operated on to become the indelible cyborg of the originals. It’s cool to see how he might’ve looked as Vader though once the burns congealed into the scars that we see during his ultimate unmasking in Return of the Jedi.
This also serves to remind us that deep down there was some viable dramatic material in the Prequel Trilogy. The corrupted prodigy who turns against his master, left trapped in perpetual physical pain, kept alive only by his rage, haunted by lost love. Then there’s the Machiavellian political operative who uses a crisis he engineered to create a state of emergency, endowing him with absolute power he’ll never yield.
They’re all archetypes, but they’re archetypes because they’re compelling. Unfortunately, however, George Lucas’ diabolical writing, obsession with green screen, inability to pace and total lack of self-awareness Phantom Menace’d the whole caboodle.
Disney haven’t done much better, mind you. It’s a marvel how two productions can be completely different and yet just as turgid. I, for one, am deeply relieved that the entire Star Wars film saga has been parked for the time being. Stick to TV guys, you’re doing a much better job of it.