Since Hayden Christensen portrayed Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith over fifteen years ago, a lot has happened to his character. Anakin was one of the main characters of The Clone Wars, and so Christensen decided to watch that animated series, along with Rebels, to prepare for returning to the role.
“I went back and rewatched all the films,” Christensen told Entertainment Weekly. “And I also got into the animated shows, The Clone Wars and Rebels.”
In The Clone Wars, we get some truly fantastic characterization for Anakin and others, and then in Rebels we see some remnants of his legacy (with his padawan Ahsoka Tano showing up) – but also in Rebels Darth Vader shows up in some significant moments, lending further weight to the character. In all of this, then, it really does feel like both shows are integral to understanding the character in a deeper way, alongside the films.
Christensen is, of course, returning for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, in which he will be portraying Darth Vader and rematching against his former master. But while the official information about the show has only ever said that he’s playing Vader, it seems likely that he’ll also be returning as Anakin as well, presumably through flashbacks.
However it comes about, I think it’s super cool that he went and watched these two shows to help him prepare, as a way to study up on the character before his return. I appreciate the commitment, but I also really appreciate how he took the extra effort to watching these stories and not just the films. The Clone Wars and Rebels are both among the best Star Wars storytelling we’ve ever seen, so every indication that Lucasfilm is leaning more into them is a good sign.