Obi-Wan: Hayden Christensen Had Help Getting Darth Vader Groove Back

It was over 15 years since Hayden Christensen donned the Darth Vader suit from 2005's Revenge of the Sith entering the upcoming Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi series for Disney+. To anyone who thinks it would be some easy transition, keep in mind the original trilogy actor in the suit in 1977's A New Hope, David Prowse was a bodybuilder. Christensen spoke with Entertainment Weekly about how he acclimated to wearing the suit again.

Obi-Wan Kenobi: Hayden Christensen on Darth Vader Movement Training
Hayden Christensen in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005). Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

"That was something that we spent a lot of time working on," Christensen said. "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." The woman was none other than choreographer Joann Jensen. "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," Christensen recalled the arduous experience comparing his experiences with RotS and Obi-Wan. "It's challenging," he said, who recalled a story of how his original discomfort under the helmet matched his character's. "I remember when we were doing Episode III and I put on the suit for the first time, I was really having a tough time moving around in it, and it was all extremely rigid. 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."

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Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) in Lucasfilm's OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

As far as the Vader's physically imposing presence, "Yeah, we get a little bit of that," Christensen revealed. "I think what they did in 'Rogue One' was very strong and that resonated with everybody, but there are a few nods to Anakin's style. But his style changes and evolves as he tries to fight in his armor now." Spencer Wilding and Daniel Naprous played the role in the Gareth Edwards film. As far as Vader's voice goes, Christensen and the producer remain mum on whether he or original voice actor James Earl Jones will reprise the role. "Obviously, we stay true to the voice that we all know and love," he said. "But no, I do know how I feel Anakin would sound with all of those injuries, and how that would've possibly affected his vocal abilities. And it's my own sort of version of it." During the filming of the original trilogy, Prowse spoke his lines on set while Jones recorded his in ADR. During RotS, Jones provided Vader's final lines following the character's complete mechanized transformation. In the Disney era, he also reprised the role in Rogue One and the Dave Filoni animated series Star Wars: Rebels. Obi-Wan Kenobi, which also stars Ewan McGregor, Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Kumail Nanjiani, and Rupert Fiend premieres May 27 on Disney+.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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