Rumors emerged ahead of the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that fans could potentially expect to see Darth Vader in the prequel, igniting speculation about whether this could mean actor Hayden Christensen would be reprising the role. The nature of his involvement in the narrative meant that fans only saw a masked Vader, who was confirmed to have been performed by Spencer Wilding and Daniel Naprous, with Christensen recently confirming he wasn't involved in any discussions to reprise the role, while also noting that the figure is larger than life so he understood the decision. Luckily, fans will see Christensen return to the galaxy far, far away with the upcoming series Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, which premieres on Disney+ on May 25th.
"I wasn't a part of any of those conversations about Rogue One," Christensen confirmed to Entertainment Weekly. "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."
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy went on to note that the reason Christensen was never contacted was because "that was just such a specific action sequence."
Following the mixed reactions to the prequel trilogy, it had seemed unlikely that the actor would ever return to the franchise, though as he started making public appearances in support of the role in recent years, it had appeared as though he had put his negative experiences in regards to criticisms of the films behind him. It was ultimately director Deborah Chow who had convinced him to return for the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
"Deborah came up and we spent the day chatting," the actor recalled. "She told me a little bit about the project and her vision for it, and I just thought that it sounded wonderful. I was very excited to come back."
While Christensen seemingly wasn't integral to Vader's presence in Rogue One, Obi-Wan Kenobi writer Joby Harold confirmed just how important the actor was when it came to bringing this series to life.
"It was so important to have Hayden be a part of this project because he is such a massive part of that character," the writer detailed. "It was a priority to all of us that we did it with as much care as possible, so as to honor one of the greatest villains and antagonists in the history of entertainment."
Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres on Disney+ on May 25th.