Hayden Christensen tells Diego Luna how George Lucas ‘subverted expectations’

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - MAY 26: Hayden Christensen attends a surprise premiere of the first two episodes of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California on May 26th. The series streams exclusively on Disney+. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - MAY 26: Hayden Christensen attends a surprise premiere of the first two episodes of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California on May 26th. The series streams exclusively on Disney+. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Hayden Christensen and Diego Luna are sharing their experiences working on Star Wars not just with audiences, but with each other.

The actors interviewed each other for Variety‘s Actors on Actors. In a thoughtful, detailed and lengthy discussion, many aspects of their mutual involvement in Star Wars came up. Both discussed how Star Wars came to them, and what it was like becoming a part of a franchise they grew up being fans of as children. They also discussed returning to Star Wars again after years away from it. Both expressed their admiration for each other’s work, and respective characters.

The character of Darth Vader has impacted both their lives in some manner, either as fans or as actors. Luna told Christensen that he had a Darth Vader case instead of a bookbag that the used for years, until he was a teenager. Christensen explained how exciting it was to be invited back to Star Wars and do more with the character, to which Luna replied “I mean, it’s not just a character, man. It’s the character.”

The two discussed what makes Anakin and Darth Vader so appealing as characters, with Luna saying that it’s the “simplicity” of the character’s backstory which captivates audiences, not just his look and presence. To this, Hayden explained that Anakin’s simple backstory caught audiences by surprise, and that Goerge Lucas subverted fans’ expectations about the character.

"“George Lucas subverted our expectations and understanding of this character, when he went back to “Episode I” and introduced him as this very sweet young kid who just had a lot of promise and potential. He mapped out a very compelling character arc that was hopefully somewhat sympathetic. I think we understood what Anakin was going through, and why he was making some choices that perhaps weren’t the best, and the circumstances surrounding his life.”"

Indeed, a lot of the backlash that resulted from the prequels was fan disappointment with Lucas’s choice to explore Anakin’s childhood. Fans were so used to seeing Darth Vader as a manacling villain, that the idea of him ever being human, and even an innocent child, wasn’t something a lot of fans were ready to face.

Hayden thinks this take on Vader that explores where he started and how it contributed to what he became, “humanized him”.

"So it was a very understandable fall to the dark side, but it humanized him and made him a real person and almost somewhat of a pathetic person in a lot of ways. And you feel for Darth Vader now in a different way, too. Because it’s this man trapped in this life that perhaps he didn’t really want.”"

You can watch the entire episode featuring the two Star Wars greats, and hear more about what they have to say regarding the souvenirs they took home from the sets, keeping Star Wars secrets, what Hayden thinks of Andor and Rogue One, what it was like to return to Star Wars, and why they feel like they’re a part of one big family and will continue to meet up whenever possible.