‘Star Wars’ producer explains why Hayden Christensen didn’t return as Vader for ‘Rogue One’

Disney / Lucasfilm

Hayden Christensen is about to make his triumphant return as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in the incoming Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series, which will see the fallen Chosen One once again face off against his mentor-turned-foe, as played by Ewan McGregor. This isn’t the first time that Vader has appeared in the Disney era of Star Wars, however, as the Sith Lord previously cameod in the standout sequence of 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. So how come Christensen wasn’t asked back for that project?

We now have an answer. As part of Entertainment Weekly‘s cover story on Obi-Wan, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy clarified why the prequel trilogy star didn’t get invited to reprise his role for Rogue One. Kennedy explained that Christensen wasn’t considered for a comeback for that production because “that was just such a specific action sequence.” For that reason, it was stunt performers Spencer Wilding and Daniel Naprous under Vader’s helmet and cloak.

But while he wasn’t anything to do with Vader’s Rogue One cameo, Christensen confirmed to EW that he is a big fan of the sequence, admitting that he’s not precious over who plays the character as he knows it “predates” his involvement with the saga.

“I wasn’t a part of any of those conversations about Rogue One,” said Christensen. “But I loved what they did with it. The character predates me, and it’s always been a collective effort in a lot of ways. I thought it was brilliant.”

For Obi-Wan Kenobi, however, Vader’s presence will be much more substantial. The first-look image at his return features the Empire’s No. 2 emerging from his meditation chamber, hinting that he’ll be removing his helmet. That would explain why Christensen’s involvement was needed, then. What’s more, fans are also anticipating some flashbacks to the good old days when Anakin and Obi-Wan fought side by side.

It’s unclear if the show will be able to top Vader’s furious Force moves in Rogue One, but maybe it’ll allow Hayden Christensen to uncover some new shades to his portrayal instead. We’ll find out when Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres May 25 on Disney Plus.