A new piece of Star Wars fan art shows Hayden Christensen as a haunting, old Anakin Skywalker. For George Lucas’ original three Star Wars films, David Prowse was in the Darth Vader suit while James Earl Jones provided the voice for the iconic villain. In Return of the Jedi after Vader is redeemed, Luke Skywalker takes his father’s helmet off to reveal Sebastian Shaw as an old Anakin Skywalker. Jake Lloyd would be the next actor to play Anakin, followed by Hayden Christensen for the last two prequel films.
Christensen made his Star Wars debut in Star Wars: Episode II- Attack of the Clones as a grown-up Anakin. The prequels delved into how and why Anakin became Darth Vader. While Attack of the Clones laid the ground-work for Anakin turning to the dark side, his transformation was actually shown in Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith. After a stunning showdown with Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin was defeated and badly burned on Mustafar. The end of the film showed his brutal wounds and how the cybernetic armor was fitted to his body, which effectively lead to A New Hope.
Now, a new piece of fan art by Phase_Runner shows what an aged Anakin could look like without his helmet on. Anakin’s wounds have significantly healed since Revenge of the Sith, meaning this fan art takes place years after the third prequel. Anakin is seen in his meditation chamber thinking of Padme, which is illustrated to create a reminder of the character’s tragic past. The artist’s full work can be seen below:
Saying that the Star Wars prequels were poorly received is a bit of an understatement. The prequels were heavily criticized for poor writing, acting, and their reliance on CGI. Christensen’s acting likely suffered because of the writing, but after the release of the sequel trilogy, fans have slowly started to forgive Lucas for the Star Wars prequels. Many fans were actually excited to hear that Christensen may appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which ended up only including his voice in Rey’s fight against Palpatine.
While Christensen may never make a return as Anakin Skywalker on the big screen, this fan art illustrates what the character could look like in a Disney+ Star Wars series. Christensen is currently rumored to be returning in the Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off, with reports he might even have a substantial role. While that hasn’t been confirmed just yet, fan art like this will surely get Star Wars fans excited for his return. Even if that doesn’t end up happening, seeing Christensen as an aged and deformed Anakin Skywalker will still be a treat for fans of the franchise.