Hayden Christensen Revealed The Hardest Part About Playing Darth Vader & It's Not The Suit

Every job has its dark side 😉

Senior Editor
Hayden Christensen. Right: Darth Vader in 'Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi.'

Hayden Christensen. Right: Darth Vader in 'Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi.'

Disney | Lucasfilm

Hayden Christensen didn't agree to play Darth Vader again just so he could wear the villain's fearsome mask in Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Instead, the folks behind the Disney+ series found some creative ways to get Christensen's face in front of the camera, although it meant a bit of pain along the way.

Christensen shared the Darth Vader armour with a stunt double on the set, but he also donned a lot of makeup to play the burned-up Vader that we glimpse beneath the mask.

And that, according to Christensen, was the toughest part of the job.

"The makeup process was pretty intensive," Christensen told Narcity in a recent interview. "It was like four-to-five hours in the morning, getting all the prosthetics put on."

He added that he really enjoyed the "visual creation" involved with his burned-up Vader scenes, which showed him floating in a giant vat of liquid.

"But taking the prosthetics off at the end of the day was borderline painful," he said.

Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader in 'Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi.'Disney | Lucasfilm

It wasn't all Vader masks and burn makeup, though.

Obi-Wan also gives Christensen a few chances to play Anakin Skywalker again, allowing him to revive the character as he was in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

Perhaps the most surprising moment came in Episode 5, which opens with Christensen's Anakin and Ewan MacGregor's Obi-Wan crossing lightsabers in a training session from their early days.

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker and Ewan MacGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi.Disney | Lucasfilm

"When I read that scene I was quite taken with it," he said. "What a neat thing that I got to play the character again at that time in his life.

"It really was like time travel, stepping back onto set and in those costumes, and getting that training session with (Ewan McGregor)."

Deborah Chow, who directed all six episodes of the show, says Christensen was a key piece of what they had planned all along, and a stunt double in a costume simply wouldn't have worked.

"To me it felt quite important (to bring him back)," Chow told Narcity. "Especially with Ewan playing Obi-Wan, and then their connection to the prequels. It just felt natural."

Chow also spoke about the difficulties of working with the Darth Vader suit, which makes it hard for an actor to express himself from behind the mask.

"So much of it is physically based, where you're trying to give the inner life and emotions by gesture and movement," she said.

"We had a movement coach," she added. "We were really focused on making sure that the physicality was conveying the inner life."

For Christensen's part, he says this whole experience is something he couldn't have ever imagined.

"I was never able to project myself to being here and thinking that I was going to come back," he said. "But when I got that call, I was so excited."

The entire six-episode run of Obi-Wan Kenobi is available now on Disney+.

Josh Elliott
Senior Editor
Josh Elliott is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media focused on celebrity interviews and is based in Toronto, Ontario.