Our once and future Vader is ready to re-enter The Saga….
One of my favorite non-Star Wars movies is Shattered Glass.
The film tells the story of a fabulist; a truth-wracking journalist played by Hayden Christensen. And while in that flick our erstwhile Darth Vader takes a dramatic turn as a would-be Pulitzer chaser, on the surface the role couldn’t be any farther from Anakin Skywalker.
Christensen is far from the cocky, flamboyant Jedi flyboy in the journalism-based docudrama, but Hayden shows off his acting chops, nonetheless.
In The New Yorker, Anthony Lane wrote of Christensen’s performance in 2003:
Christensen has tasted fame as Anakin Skywalker in the recent installments of “Star Wars,” but any fears that he would import an aura of proto-Jedi wisdom to this new role are, thankfully, unfounded, and somebody in the makeup department remembered to lop off that annoying intergalactic rattail at the back of his head. Instead, Christensen sports a slightly oversized pair of spectacles, retreating behind them as if they were mirrors, or translucent walls; they are a perfect play on his name, far subtler than the elephantine pun of the movie’s title.Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
Sometimes high praise comes with a slight backhand and certainly, the actor heard many such reviews early during his acting career.
Brady Langmann wrote as much in his latest for Esquire:
After Christensen wrapped 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, he quietly stepped away from the public eye—continuing to act, but not in any franchise on the level of Star Wars… [the actor] has been a total pro about what was surely a difficult experience for him, giving his all to the two prequel Star Wars outings he appeared in, only to have the original trilogy faithful tell him that he wasn’t enough.
However, and thankfully, Langmann reported Christensen now looks and sounds like a man at peace.
“It’s just been really heartwarming,” said Christensen of his reemergence in “a galaxy far, far away…. “
“I can’t tell you what it means to me but… it’s a really neat thing,” added Christensen. “I guess the moral of the story is patience.”
And if his alter ego had shown even a modicum of that patience, perhaps we wouldn’t be seeing Christensen back in the armor. However, for fans of all ages, including Hayden, Vader’s return is epic.
“Putting the Vader costume back on was incredible,” Christensen told Esquire. “It comes with such a presence, you know? You put it on, and it just informs so much the way you feel. And for me, it was very sort of cathartic in a way, too, just because this is a character that has meant a lot to me, and has sort of stayed with me over the years, and getting to come back and continue with it was an emotional experience.”
No doubt about it, it will be emotional, and not just for Christensen.
Read the whole article in Esquire. And watch two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+ on May 27.