Hey Star Wars fans, I am travelling this week, but I’m still hoping to be able to cover the breaking Star Wars news whilst away. I thought it might be a good idea to republish some of the editorial that originally ran over on MGFN.co.uk. There are some theories in there, a number of Star Wars Insights and an experiment with the original version of Star Wars A New Hope. This is one of those republished posts. Enjoy
Thank you for reading,
Last week there was talk that Hayden Christensen was set to reprise the role of Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode VIII. Word is he is being trained by specialists to get him back into shape, Vader shape that is, I’m sure Hayden hasn’t let himself go that much, and that there had been a sighting of that famous helmet and chest plate in the creature shop. Not the Episode VIII creature shop though, the Rogue One creature shop. The Plot thickens, lets take a look.
I feel really sorry for Hayden Christensen. He took a critical pounding at the hands of professionals and fans alike following his two stints as Anakin Skywalker, but it really wasn’t his fault. The films were flawed in so many ways that to lay the blame at his feet seems unfair. After all, the sublime Natalie Portman struggled at points in those films. No it wasn’t really his fault that the character didn’t land with everyone. For a start its difficult to write a story about the bad guy and have him be the protagonist, have the audience pull for him even though he is doing evil deeds. Look at television’s Walter White, Tony Soprano and Ray Donovan for how to do it right. I’m afraid Uncle George just wasn’t up to the task, and the audience wasn’t sophisticated enough at the time to have gotten much from that.
So lets give Hayden a break and say we will welcoming him back as Vader in the new movies. That being said, how can it be done?
Well firstly lets get things straight. We are really talking about two roles here. If its Episode VIII I thinks its pretty clear we are talking about Anakin Skywalker. We have already seen Hayden play Anakin’s ghost at the end of Jedi, so there could be a small role for him here. He be communing with Luke through the Force, maybe as a blue ghost, perhaps we will get to see Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon alongside Yoda in these scenes? Kind of a spooky Jedi council. It would be vital for Luke to learn about the Sith and the Knights Of Ren from his masters and a neat way of dropping that expositional stuff for us. Hayden would be great in that role, delivering dialogue and bouncing off of Mark Hamill, and it would be good for us to see our old favourite again.
Episode VIII get the mgfn seal of approval!
Now Rogue One seems very interesting to me. If Hayden is being prepped for this movie, and lets be honest, if we are going to see Vader again its going to be here right, then he is being prepped for the Darth Vader side of his character. We know a few things about this time frame:
We know Darth Vader is in a somewhat servile role in this period. Remember Tarkin was “holding Vader’s leash” in a New Hope, suggesting he may not be such a powerful force at his point. The Emperor has used Anakin to get where he is and now he relies more on diplomats and politics to remain on power. Well I’m happy if we avoid more politics, but what if we get to see Hayden’s Vader sabotage some of Palpatine’s plans from the inside? Would a band of Rebels really get to those plans on their own? Did Vader help, or at least give them a fighting chance to see what it would do for him in terms of his standing? Remember, the destruction of the Death Star helps consolidate Vader’s power. By the time we see him in Empire he is in control of everything, commanding a huge fleet and on a personal mission to get o his son and dethrone the Emperor. Id be interested to see a Vader pulling strings from the shadows, and with Hayden under that helmet we get a performer not a body builder centre stage.
In Shadows Of The Empire we had hints that Anakin was trying to heal himself using the Force. This is the best argument I can find for bringing Hayden back for the role. We want to see his face if he is hired right? So lets see more of him in that chamber with his helmet off. I’d love to see that struggle , that conflict as he marshals the darkness thats haunts him and uses its to heal himself. As the wounds start to repair, however, he feels joy and the dark side leaves him opening those wounds once again. Its a Dante’s Inferno style catch 22 punishment that fits Anakin’s crimes. Thats why you’d hire Hayden Christensen right there, and exploration of some of the themes we missed in the prequels because we joined the character too young.
Lets look at that suit
Whilst shooting Revenge Of The Sith a choice was made to allow Hayden Christensen to don the famous black suit, and great effort was made to recreate Vader’s suit as accurately as possible. The only thing is, it was way to bi for the actor.
David Prowse may not have been much of an actor, but he was certainly an imposing frame. So trying to fill that suit with anyone but David Prowse was always going to be a challenge. If you look closely at Hayden in the suit you will notice that he really doesn’t fill it. His frame is a lot narrower than David Prowse and so you get thus strange effect of the cloak hanging awkwardly off of Hayden’s shoulder pads, and when he folds his arms its quite clear; this ain’t the same guy.
What is the solution to the problem?
I guess you could hire another body builder to fill the suit. Or, you could do the smart thing, the thing I would have expected the film makers to do for Sith, which is scale the suit down to fit Hayden and then scale him up in post. Yes, my top tip for the producers of Rogue One; if you are using Hayden, scale the suit to fit his frame and then Lord Of The Rings him until his is the imposing frame of Darth Vader.
Personally, I hope we do get Vader in Rogue One and I hope to see Anakin again in Episode VIII and beyond, and if he is played by Hayden Christensen all the better. Darth Vader is an icon and he will loom large over Star Wars forever, even if he is long since dead. Using Hayden Christensen will tie the prequels to the sequels and maybe give the oft criticised movies some credibility.
What do you think: os there room for more Hayden Christensen in Star Wars? Would you like to see Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker again? Or should the franchise move on? Have your say in the comments below…
Thank you for reading,