Watch Hayden Christensen Cleverly Mock His Worst Star Wars Line – Vanity Fair
When actor Hayden Christensen was only 19, he was cast as the prequel version of young Anakin Skywalker—one of the most important characters in an intensely beloved franchise. And though many performances (from great actors!) in those Star Wars prequels were on the wooden side of the spectrum, the bulk of the blame landed on young Christensen. It didn’t matter that he was excellent in 2003’s Shattered Glass, those long-time Star Wars fans who were sour on the franchise, were also sour on Christensen. Not even actor Ahmed Best, who had the advantage of hiding his real face behind the hated animated character of Jar Jar Binks, was as thoroughly shunned by the adult Star Wars fandom when the prequels came out.
But a funny thing happened on the way to Star Wars Celebration this year. It turns out, in the 15 years since the franchise ended (incidentally the last time Christensen showed his face at Celebration), the very young Star Wars watchers who actually liked the made-for-kids prequels, grew up into adult Christensen fans. The fact that the animated character of young Anakin Skywalker—modeled on Christensen’s look—got a much more popular run on the beloved TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars also helped heal old wounds.
So when Christensen took the stage this past week for the 40th Anniversary Star Wars Celebration panel, he was greeted—much to the puzzlement of some old-school Star Wars fans—with thunderous applause and cheers from the thousands in attendance. His charming anecdote about how he couldn’t help but make fake lightsaber sounds when he was doing combat scenes in the films went over like a house on fire. It seemed that, after 15 long years, it was finally okay to be Hayden Christensen in public again.
Riding high on that warm reception, Christensen approached an interview with Andi Gutierrez of The Star Wars Show in high spirits. And when Gutierrez asked Christensen a fan-generated question that made reference to the most widely-mocked line of dialogue from Attack of the Clones (and, indeed, the entire franchise), Christensen was ready with the perfect, good-natured response which comes around the 2:18 mark.
For those who don’t remember (or who have blocked it), the original line-reading went something like this:
Christensen was in good company when it came to mocking George Lucas’s rough (like sand!) dialogue at Star Wars Celebration. Both Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford publicly (and warmly) raked Lucas over the coals for some of the lines he made them read. Christensen’s self-deprecating answer about sand scored him even more points with the Star Wars fans. His signing sessions at Star Wars Celebration sold out so quickly the convention had to hastily add extra slots for the unexpectedly popular Christensen. This might be an even more inspiring redemption arc than Anakin himself enjoyed in Return of the Jedi.
The fan-directed absolution of Hayden Christensen couldn’t come at a better time for the franchise. Reportedly, there was some discussion of including a version of Christensen as Anakin in The Force Awakens but, instead, we got the twisted remains of Lord Vader’s helmet haunting Kylo Ren. Still rumors persist that Christensen will be showing up as a Force Ghost in The Last Jedi this time, perhaps, haunting Luke.
Though some fans (still not over the prequels) are resistant to the idea of Anakin’s return, it’s impossible to underestimate his importance to the franchise as a whole. Anakin (or Vader) has appeared in some form or another in every single Star Wars trailer—including Rogue One. And try as some might to erase the prequels from their memories, in essence, this is Anakin’s saga. So maybe it’s time for everyone in the Star Wars frandom to start embracing the dark side that is Hayden Christensen or, better yet, seek out the light you know to be inside him.