Big news out of the Star Wars universe today, as THR reports that Hayden Christensen is extending his return trip to the role of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader for Disney+. Specifically, it’s being reported that Christensen will be bringing back his take on Young Vader for the upcoming Ahsoka series on the streaming service, which will pair him up with star Rosario Dawson, who first played the character in the most recent season of The Mandalorian.
This comes almost a year after news broke that Christensen would be returning to Star Wars for the also Disney+-pointed Obi-Wan, facing off with his old friend/foe Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by also-returning Ewan McGregor. That news marked 15 years since Christensen—whose performance as Anakin was never exactly helped by trying to make human sense of lines like his infamous “I don’t like sand” speech—had last appeared in any Star Wars project. (Outside of his voice appearing near the end of The Rise Of Skywalker in a big mish-mash alongside most of the franchise’s other Jedi characters, of course.)
Fans of the intervening years of Star Wars content—and especially the Dave Filoni-penned stuff that’s been such a huge part of the franchise’s move to Disney+—will know that it makes a lot of sense to have Anakin/Vader be a major part of Ahsoka’s story. The relationship between the two characters was built from Ahsoka’s very first appearance in the original The Clone Wars movie, where she was assigned as a 14-year-old Padawan to her reluctant new master. Their contentious, loving, and ultimately bitter relationship runs all the way up through Star Wars: Rebels, in which her final confrontation with Vader forces Ahsoka to accept that the masked, murderous monster in front of her really is her former master.
Heavy stuff, and rife for drama, which presumably explains why the Ahsoka series will tap into that conflict. One thing: The show reportedly takes place, like The Mandalorian, five years after Return Of The Jedi, so it’s not clear if Annie’s showing up as a Force Ghost or a flashback, given how the whole “Second Death Star” thing played out. Still, it’s exciting to see the show take advantage of Christensen’s apparent availability, and for him to get another shot at a character that’s come to define, for good or ill, the vast majority of his career.