Hayden Christensen’s return to the Star Wars fold in Obi-Wan Kenobi is practically unprecedented. The actor is ostensibly returning to a role he played in the second and third prequel films, but he’s actually returning to a role only played for a brief minute or two onscreen: the post-Mustafar duel version of Darth Vader. So it’s unsurprising that the studio brought in a specialist to ensure he would still have “Moves Like Vader.”
Christensen recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly to discuss the process of returning to the biggest sci-fi fantasy saga of all time and finally inhabiting the armor of its greatest villain. The actor recalled the time 17 years ago when he first armored up for Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and experienced just how unwieldy it was to move in the black armored shell. “I was really having a tough time moving around in it, and it was all extremely rigid,” Christensen told EW, “and I said that to George [Lucas], and he said, ‘It’s okay. This is your first time in this suit. So it should feel very mechanical and maybe not very natural.’ Now, this is 10 years after that. So he’s had a lot of time to acclimate. But again, it’s a full-on challenge, just trying to get to set in that suit.”
While Vader may have had a full decade (and actual mechanical aid) to get used to the imposing and unwieldy armor he needs to survive, Christensen had a lot less lead time. Thankfully, he had a dedicated professional to help him acclimate.
“That was something that we spent a lot of time working on. And this suit really just informs the way you move. We had this woman who was like a Vader movement specialist. And she made sure that we were always in the right ballpark. Certainly, we wanted to make sure that we were staying true to how Vader moves and how we perceive him, and wanting to keep all that relatively consistent.”
And how is he feeling now, with the laborious filming behind him and the premiere only days away? “It’s really exciting, man. I think the general anticipation is there,” he confessed to EW. “It’s all been really positive and I’ve enjoyed the experience.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres this Friday on Disney Plus.