Hayden Christensen Thought Leonardo DiCaprio Would Be Anakin Skywalker

March 1, 2024 - Music


Actor Hayden Christensen Takes Over the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: Galaxys Edge at Disneyland, Hayden Christensen
Richard Harbaugh/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images

Hayden Christensen may be known for playing Anakin Skywalker now, but he was convinced the iconic role was going to someone else — Leonardo DiCaprio.

I had heard that they’d met with Leonardo and a bunch of other actors,” Christensen, 42, revealed during a Wednesday, February 28, interview with Empire. “That just confirmed my thought that the role would go to another actor.

Christensen added that while he did want to portray Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequel, he was so convinced that he wouldn’t be cast that he never even let himself daydream about the possibility.

“Through the entire auditioning process, I had told myself, from day one, that I wasn’t going to get the part,” he explained. “It just wasn’t a possibility. And I think that probably helped me a lot, because it just freed me up in a lot of ways.”

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Before Christensen stepped into Anakin’s shoes, a series of other actors auditioned. While DiCpario, 49, ultimately felt it wasn’t the right project for him — “I didn’t feel ready to take that dive at that point,” he told Shortlist in 2015 — other young ‘90s stars such as Devon Sawa, Ryan Phillippe, James Van Der Beek and Paul Walker all went out for the role.

Christensen was ultimately picked to portray the young Jedi turned villainous Darth Vader in the George Lucas franchise, starring in 2002’s Episode II: Attack of the Clones alongside Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman. He reprised the role for Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which premiered in 2005.

After the first film hit theaters, it received mixed reactions. Christensen confessed he didn’t see the backlash coming, which included initial harsh reviews of his acting and his dialogue.

“The character was criticized, my performance was criticized, and that part sucked,” he recalled. “I [had] watched the film, and I loved it. It was everything I wanted and more. And I didn’t understand the disconnect between the movie that I saw, and the negativity in some of the reviews.

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He continued, “George Lucas creates such a unique world where everything is so specific, from the way these characters look and the way that they talk, and I feel like sometimes people lose sight of that and they expect them to speak the same way that we speak – and that’s not what we were going for.”

Despite the criticism, Christensen ultimately chose to return for Disney+’s, Obi-Wan Kenobi series opposite McGregor, 52, in 2022. He later appeared on the streaming service’s Ahsoka, starring Rosario Dawson.

“When we finished doing the prequels, it felt like that was it, and my journey with the character was over,” Christensen said. “So to get to come back now and do more with Anakin and Darth Vader was an amazing opportunity. I’m very grateful for the work that I got to do.”

He added, “[It] was a bucket-list item I didn’t even know I hadThe journey that I’ve been on with Star Wars over the last 20 plus years… it’s been a wild ride, and where we’re at now is really meaningful to me.

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