A few weeks into Obi-Wan Kenobi and fans were grumbling that the much-hyped return of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader was turning out to be a damp squib. After four weeks, all we’d seen of him was a distant hallucination and some blurry shots from within a bacta tank. When in full Vader gear, James Earl Jones provided the voice (with a boost from ReSpeecher) and full body shots were all stunt performers.
Fortunately, it seems like they were saving him for the final two episodes. Last week we flashbacked to an Attack of the Clones-era Anakin sparring with Obi-Wan in Coruscant, and the climactic battle this episode smashed Vader’s helmet to reveal the damaged Anakin inside. In a killer scene that’s become an instant fan favorite, Vader tells Obi-Wan, “You didn’t kill Anakin Skywalker. I did.”
After Obi-Wan Kenobi, everyone is reevaluating their opinion of Christensen, whose career after Star Wars never quite took off in the wake of mass criticism of the prequels. A thread on r/StarWars says they don’t want to see him disappear again, that he should be the go-to guy for future portrayals of Vader, and that it’s time for him to get some recognition.
The replies agree, deeming Christensen a “phenomonal actor”, saying he did “an incredible job”, and that he was “absolutely brilliant”.
Lucasfilm seems to have recognized this, as Christensen is confirmed to appear in the upcoming Ahsoka Disney Plus show. As this is set in the years after Return of the Jedi, Anakin will either appear as a Force Ghost or in flashback, though any form of reconciliation between the fallen Jedi master and his former Padawan stands a chance of being one of the most emotional moments in Star Wars history.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is available to stream in full on Disney Plus, and Ahsoka is expected to premiere in early 2023.