TThe wonderful thing about Darth Vader, as far as Star Wars creatives go, is that while he was ultimately copied during the events of George Lucas’ original film trilogy, he was alive and well for a much longer period than we have. usually seen on big or small screens. There was that powerful ending to the second season of Star Wars Rebels, where the Sith Lord battled his former apprentice, Ahsoka Tanoand, of course, the brief scenes from 2016’s excellent Rogue One movie, which featured the return of James Earl Jones’s quintessential velvet tones.
So what about Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, the upcoming Disney+ TV show in which Hayden Christensen of the execrable prequels appears as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader? Even in the original film, 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, in which the Jedi Knight ultimately falls to the dark side, Lucas had Jones voice the not-so-iconic scene where Anakin finally dons the dreaded shiny black armor. Perhaps it was still Christensen who wore the suit; he certainly looked like a Vader with a lot more boobs than the one physically portrayed by British bodybuilder Dave Prowse in the movies of the ’70s and ’80s. But even if he was, the Canadian actor didn’t exactly have much to do.
With the second full trailer of the six parts of Obi-Wan Kenobi that was released yesterday For Star Wars Day, the question of how Vader will be portrayed in the limited series has come into even greater focus. Those secretly hoping that Deborah Chow and her team are about to fix all the mistakes of the prequels might be disappointed, and the biggest problem might be Christensen.
One of the biggest problems with George Lucas’s second Star Wars trilogy is that it was never really possible to connect the weepy teenager from Attack of the Clones and most of Revenge of the Sith to the monumentally badass figure seen in 1977’s Star Wars and its follow-ups. This, of course, isn’t entirely Christensen’s fault, as he had to deal with the twin horrors of too much green screen acting and terrible script writing. But it’s hard not to imagine that if Lucas had had an actor of Adam Driver’s caliber (Kylo Ren in the equally mediocre but generally well-acted sequel trilogy) he would have found something more to those stale, stale, whiny lines of angst. and misery
Now Christensen is back to fight Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan, who in the events of the series is holed up on Tatooine in a cave, disguised as Ben Kenobi (which, when you think about it, isn’t the most spectacular pseudonym) and keeping an eye out. for the safety of a preteen Luke Skywalker. It appears that Vader has sent several bad guys into space to try and track him down, namely Rupert Friend’s Grand Inquisitor (some sort of Imperial SS-type) and his red lightsaber-wielding henchwoman, Reva.
McGregor, we know, will be a tour de force on the new show, even if he is given the most limited material to work with. Friend and Moses Ingram, like Reva, already seem like two of the coolest Star Wars villains we’ve already seen. The return of Joel Edgerton as Anakin’s stepbrother Owen Lars in the new trailer is very welcome: the Aussie is a serious Hollywood player these days, even if his role in the prequels was pretty limited.
But Chow’s best bet here would be to keep Christensen’s involvement to a minimum, perhaps appearing only briefly during a scene where Vader’s suit is damaged and his original voice bleeds out; something similar happened during the aforementioned battle with Ahsoka Tano. This would allow Reva and the Grand Inquisitor to do most of the heavy lifting for the bad guy, leaving Vader as a background figure. And yet, Christensen’s involvement has been so close that one wonders if this is the way Lucasfilm plans to go.
There is also the issue of continuity. The best Star Wars entries of the last 20 years, like Rogue One, have somehow managed to close the plot holes in previous movies (how did the Rebels manage to blow up the Death Star?) instead of opening others. new. And yet, if Obi-Wan really does come face to face with Vader once again, what does that do to the line in 1977 Star Wars in which the Sith Lord says, “We meet again, at last?” . The circle is now complete. When I left you I was just the apprentice. Now, I am the master”? Now it would make about as much sense as Lucas’s decision to add a bunch of dodgy CGI to the original trilogy.
There’s a danger here that without Jones, 91, doing the iconic voice, Lucasfilm could end up bankrupting another major Star Wars player, after the studio’s run-ins with a certain bounty hunter in the recent The Book of Boba Fett. Avoiding that fate, if Christensen is really going to be front and center here, seems about as likely as successfully navigating an asteroid field (although it should be noted that this has has been done before).
Maybe I’m worrying about nothing. Maybe everything will work out, and they’ve secretly signed Jones. I love Star Wars, and I desperately want this to be as good as The Mandalorian. But if the plan really is to have Christensen as the main antagonist here… well, I’m starting to get a bad feeling about this.