You Don’t Know the Power of…Hayden Christensen

You Don’t Know the Power of…Hayden Christensen

With the start of filming of Episode IX on August 1st and the recent casting announcement, I am once again getting excited about a Star Wars movie. Since 2015, I have gotten used to seeing a new Star Wars movie at least every 12 months so it will be nice to have at 16 months to let the anticipation build to the conclusion of the Skywalker saga. I am looking forward to the long build up to Episode IX and it got me motivated to begin re-watching Episodes I-VIII. While watching Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith recently I began thinking about how much I enjoyed Hayden Christensen’s performance as Anakin Skywalker.

Image result for hayden christensen

I’ve always loved Hayden’s portrayal of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. His personification of angst, frustration, and infatuation in AOTC was how I expected a teenage Darth Vader to behave. His confidence (even overconfidence) and lust for power in ROTS are what I would imagine for a soon-to-be Sith Lord. I can’t imagine any other actor as Anakin (no, not even Leo). With the high expectations from fans leading up to Attack of the Clones, Anakin Skywalker was a tough character to take on for anyone and I think Hayden Christensen nailed it. He humanized Darth Vader, which made his fall to the Dark Side even more tragic.

It is hard for me to pick my favorite Hayden Christensen moments, but much like Anakin, I’m going to try to do the impossible:

  • Marching into the Jedi Temple on Coruscant after becoming Darth Vader – This scene with the clone troopers following him sets up the final act of ROTS perfectly.
  • Holding and talking with his mother Shmi as she was dying in his arms – I love the intensity of Anakin’s emotions going from pain and anguish to anger.
  • Talking to Padmé on Tatooine after Shmi died – Anakin has the sadness of a child even though he desperately wants to be a grown up.
  • The scene on Mustafar with a tear running down his cheek – Heartbreaking
  • The lightsaber battle against Obi-Wan on Mustafar The history between Anakin and Obi-Wan, the weight of the outcome, and the amazing choreography make this my favorite lightsaber battle. Image result for anakin and obiwan revenge of the sith lightsaber battle

Hayden Christensen’s on-screen performance isn’t what I like best about him though. His humility and grace are what really make me appreciate him. I was proud to be a fan at Star Wars Celebration Orlando last year when Hayden was welcomed so warmly to the Celebration Stage. He seemed almost a little embarrassed by the outpouring of love from the fans, but he deserved every bit of it. By all accounts of fans who were able to meet him for pictures or autographs, he was very polite and friendly and we need more people like him in the Star Wars community. Image result for anakin revenge of the sith

I hope that Hayden Christensen will continue to be fully embraced by the Star Wars fandom. At the end of Return of the Jedi Anakin never got to impart any wisdom to Luke, but I’d love to see Hayden Christensen pass on what he has learned to the new generation of Star Wars stars. Also, since 2015 we’ve been able to see a wizened Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker on-screen. Why not Anakin Skywalker also?

Thanks for reading my blog! Feel free to contact me on Twitter @ryderwaldrondds, email me at, listen to me on Idiot’s Array, or leave a comment below. And remember:

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  1. Boobot
    August 11, 2018 at 09:45 Reply

    He was horrible! They really needed a much more seasoned actor who could personify the differences between the struggling emotions of Anakin. Hayden was bland, didn’t connect well with Natalie Portmon and was simply unbelievable in that role

  2. Lou
    August 11, 2018 at 10:35 Reply

    This is such a nice article, I’m always glad to see people talking positively about Hayden’s performance and more generally about the prelogy. And I agree with you, seeing him on episode IX would be very nice !

  3. Linda Pellerito
    August 11, 2018 at 23:24 Reply

    Thanks so much for positive things to say about Hayden.. I agree with you – loved him in AotC and RotS. The way he and Jake were treated….hopefully that’s behind all of us except boobot. I’ve seen Hayden at the Toronto Film Festival and without fail he is interacts with fans and is gracious. I had hoped his new film would premiere at TiFF – it is receiving its debut in TIFF town but a few weeks before the festival begins. Hoping he appears at Celebration in Chicago but guess it depends on what and who Disney decides to …celebrate.

  4. CWK On Hayden |
    August 12, 2018 at 17:01 Reply

    […] With Kenobi posted a great little piece called “You Don’t Know The Power Of…Hayden Christensen.” I agree with […]

  5. Matt Eldredge
    August 13, 2018 at 00:16 Reply

    People who hate need to find a far better outlet for their hate. Hayden was Anakin period. George chose Hayden. He was excellent in two excellent Star Wars films. There is no better light saber duel then Obi Wan/AnakinVader. Get over it. I saw the original trilogy in the theater as I have seen every Star Wars movie opening weekend and I love the prequels.

  6. Melinda
    August 22, 2018 at 17:02 Reply

    Well, Ryder, Anakin, though now a Jedi Force spirit, is “dead”. Yet … we have seen the Force spirits of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, so anything is possible. (Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Anakin’s and Luke’s Force spirits met in Episode IX? That is a scene I would love to see. 🙂 It is one that can be incredibly poignant — and powerful.)

    It’s a shame that some “fans” have slung such sludge at some of the actors and actresses who have had roles in a/various Star Wars film(s). It’s totally uncalled for. Like you, I enjoyed Hayden’s role in those two films. And let’s face it — even though George Lucas said he was interested in casting HC as Anakin after seeing the actor in “Life As A House” (in which HC did a wonderful job!) — stepping into a Star Wars film for young actors/actresses must be incredibly daunting. Fun (I would hope), but still daunting. So much pressure. So many expectations. I think Hayden Christensen did a fine job as a young adult Anakin Skywalker. (I could go into my opinion as to what some of the problems were with the prequels but I will refrain from that here. They have nothing to do with actors’/actresses’ performances. And for the record — I enjoyed all three of the prequels IMMENSELY! 🙂 )

    Great article, Ryder! It’s wonderful to see some HC “love” out there. 🙂 We are not alone. 😀

    MTFBWY 🙂

  7. Sanna
    September 25, 2018 at 15:28 Reply

    Hayden’s portrayal of Anakin was amazing. I truly think that Hayden got the character just right and I hope that someday he will get the appreciation he deserves. Before seeing the prequels I never really liked Star wars, Hayden’s portrayal made me love the saga and the beautiful story that Lucas has written.

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