We’re Totally Getting A De-Aged Hayden Christensen In Obi-Wan, Right?

Darth Vader has already returned in a big way in Obi-Wan Kenobi, but the de-aging show Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker also seems likely.


Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 3.

With Darth Vader making his presence felt, there’s an increasing likelihood that Obi-Wan Kenobi will de-age Hayden Christensen via CGI for Anakin Skywalker flashbacks. One of the most heightened elements of Obi-Wan Kenobi is the return of the man who played Anakin in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Despite his performance in the prequels being widely criticized, the Star Wars fandom has largely forgiven Hayden Christensen and he’s now not only popular, but welcomed to Obi-Wan with open arms and real excitement to see just what he’ll bring to the table as Darth Vader.


Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 3 delivers on that front, at least partially. It’s here where, after being teased in the previous outing, Vader and Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) come face-to-face for the first time since Revenge of the Sith‘s ending, which is 10 years in-universe, when Anakin was left for dead by his old Jedi Master. Obi-Wan episode 3 shows just how much has changed in the decade since, with the balance of power shifting radically. Obi-Wan is much weaker than Darth Vader now, in part because he has not been as connected to the Force or in action for so long, and in part because Vader has become powerful.

Related: What Hayden Christensen Looks Like As Unmasked Darth Vader

For as much as Obi-Wan Kenobi has plenty of great Vader action, though, there’s not an awful lot in terms of seeing Christensen, who for the most part is hidden away, save for the brief glimpse of him unmasked as Vader in the bacta tank. That’s understandable for the story, but it also doesn’t fully explain bringing Christensen back if he’s going to be either masked or unrecognizable for most of his screentime. That’s a difficult hurdle to get around since the version seen in the tank is what Darth Vader looks like Now, but one strong possibility is that Obi-Wan de-ages Christensen for some new Anakin scenes set around the time of the Star Wars prequels. This would better explain his return, and allow the actor to be seen on screen – albeit with some CGI work – much more, and would fit with where Obi-Wan‘s story is going, since it’s developing their relationship and the prequels much more.

Obi-Wan’s Anakin Vision Makes Hayden Christensen De-aging More Likely

Even before Darth Vader fights Obi-Wan Kenobi in episode 3, he makes his presence felt upon the Jedi. Obi-Wan sees Anakin in the desert, a vision of his former Padawan that shows just how heavy the memory of what happened weighs upon him, especially having learned Anakin is still alive as Vader. The vision is an important moment, not least because it’s how Obi-Wan remembers Anakin and thinks of him as looking, having never seen the Vader suit at this point. Given the importance of memory, then it suggests there could be more to come in Obi-Wan Kenobi, adding new to their relationship and making their renewed context rivalry feel more emotional. And whereas this one is framed from a long distance and only appears briefly, anything that gets into more detail may require a de-aged Christensen to be fully convincing and go back to what he should look like. Star Wars has a history of de-aging actors, and has done it in both of its live-action shows so far with Luke Skywalker, so it would simply be continuing its trend if Christensen were de-aged for Anakin.

How Old Anakin Skywalker Is In Obi-Wan Compared To Hayden Christensen

Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place in 9 BBY, or 10 years after Revenge of the Sith. At this point, Darth Vader is around 32-years-oldbut the most crucial point for flashbacks would be around the time of Revenge of the Sith, when Anakin Skywalker was 22-years-old. Christensen himself was close to Anakin’s age when he played him in the prequels: when Revenge of the Sith released, he was 24. Now, however, Christensen is 41-years-old, meaning some CGI de-aging would be required in order to take 20 years off him.

De-aging Hayden Christensen Is Easier For Star Wars Than Young Luke Skywalker CGI

Mark Hamill as Luke in Book of Boba Fett BTS

When Star Wars has de-aged actors, it’s generally used body doubles on set and augmented CGI over their faces; for instance, in The Mandalorian season 2 and The Book of Boba Fett season 1, Luke Skywalker was played on set by Max Lloyd Jones and Graham Hamilton, respectively, although Mark Hamill was present, both acting in scenes for reference so the body doubles could better copy his mannerisms, and on the former being filmed in a special effects rig to better capture his face with different lighting and angles so that it could be better replicated via CGI. The Book of Boba Fett went further with deepfake technology (which wasn’t quite as advanced for The Mandalorian season 2), which requires being fed countless images so it can then create a digital match for the person’s face.

Related: Why Darth Vader Let Obi-Wan Kenobi Go

However, Obi-Wan Kenobi de-aging Hayden Christensen would be less intensive, because it only requires taking the actor back around 20 years rather than the 40 or so between young Luke’s age and Mark Hamill’s. Christensen himself would also likely still be able to play him, which means it would require de-aging him via CGI, rather than trying to impose his face on a body double. That would still need to be carefully done to avoid any uncanny valley effects, but should prove less challenging than de-aging Mark Hamill to play Luke Skywalker.

Next: Why Darth Vader Is More Powerful In Obi-Wan Kenobi Than A New Hope

Obi-Wan Kenobi releases new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.

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