Actor Hayden Christensen is well aware that the “Star Wars” prequels have grown in stature over the years, and he appreciates the love from fans.
“It’s like those films had a gestation period, where they needed a little time to ferment in the public psyche,” Christensen told StarWars.com in a new interview. “The reception that the films have now, it’s very heartwarming.”
Christensen’s first “Star Wars” film, “Attack of the Clones,” received a less-than-enthusiastic reception when it was first released in 2002, with critics particularly taking aim at Christensen and Natalie Portman’s relationship as Anakin Skywalker and Padme. The middle chapter of George Lucas’ prequel trilogy was meant to introduce the romance between the two characters that would eventually fracture, but flirtatious scenes between the two actors became the subject of ridicule.
The third film, “Revenge of the Sith,” fared better with critics as Christensen embraced the dark side and finally transformed into franchise villain Darth Vader, but still the prequels were roundly lumped together as a disappointment for “Star Wars” fans the world over.
In the years since, however, the prequels have become beloved by “Star Wars” fans, especially those of a younger generation. It helps that the story threads that Lucas introduced in those films were extended and expounded upon in various animated series over the last decade and a half, not to mention the live-action Disney+ shows “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett.”
Christensen reprises his role as Anakin alongside Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan in the next live-action “Star Wars” series, “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” which premieres May 27, and in anticipation of returning he gave the prequels another shot himself.
“Watching them again as a whole, I was really struck with the quality and depth of the storytelling and George’s vision for all of it. It’s so nuanced, complex, and layered,” he said to StarWars.com. “Really remarkable.”
Of reuniting with McGregor, Christensen said in the same interview:
“We were very close and remain close. We just hadn’t seen each other in a little while. But we got together before we started filming, just to catch up, and it was so nice to reconnect with him. I love the man so much.”