Despite the major trilogy coming to a close in 2019, the Star Wars franchise has made it clear that it’s here to stay, with incredibly exciting shows lined up for the next few years. By now, both old and new fans are well-aware of the smash hit that is the Disney+ TV series “The Mandalorian,” and fans of the animated side of the franchise will recall the release of “The Bad Batch” and “Star Wars: Visions” earlier this year. Even with all these shows, the Star Wars franchise is only just getting started, as they also plan to release more exciting series, like “The Book of Boba” (following the famed bounty hunter Boba Fett), “Obi-Wan Kenobi” (following the iconic Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in his exile after the events of “Revenge of the Sith”) and, perhaps most interestingly to many fans, the live action series “Ahsoka,” which will follow the story of the beloved Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Anakin Skywalker’s former apprentice. Recently, Hollywood Reporter and Rosario Dawson (in a now-deleted Instagram post) have confirmed that Hayden Christensen will be returning to the small screen as Anakin Skywalker in the “Ahsoka” series, thus sending fans into a tizzy. So, let’s get into why we’re this excited.
Unlike the majority of the characters that are now getting their own spin-off series, Ahsoka Tano was introduced to the larger Star Wars franchise not as a live-action character in the original or prequel trilogies, but actually as a cartoon character in the 2008 animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Voiced by Ashley Eckstein, Ahsoka came into the story as a reckless 14-year-old girl now under the guidance of Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter, but played by Hayden Christensen in the live-action prequel trilogy). Ahsoka’s character was special for multiple reasons: firstly, that she was a child, which made her easily identifiable with a new generation of Star Wars fans, and that she was a girl, which helped other young girls at the time (like myself!) feel just as likely to be a brave Jedi. Over the course of the seven seasons, fans witnessed Ahsoka go from the brash kid to the mature, clear-headed 17-year-old leader that survived the tragic Order 66, the mass execution of the Jedi Order.
Outside of Ahsoka being a lovely character as a whole, she’s also memorable for her sweet, sibling-like relationship with the iconic Anakin Skywalker, who’s only 20 years old when he first becomes her teacher. Like Ahsoka, Anakin’s still on the brash side, and just as much as Ahsoka has to learn how to become a proper Jedi, Anakin has much to learn about how to become a good mentor. Ultimately, their relationship is the heart of “The Clone Wars:” they go from being exasperated and annoyed with each other’s presence to seeing each other as family, so much so that Ahsoka even calls Anakin her older brother in one of the later episodes. As someone who’s a prequel trilogy apologist, I can confidently say that the relationship Anakin has with Ahsoka might be the healthiest relationship he might have ever had, which is what makes Hayden Christensen’s role in the “Ahsoka” live action series all the more exciting.
As Hayden Christensen played Anakin Skywalker in the prequel movies “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith,” it’ll be interesting to see how he’ll translate the iconic interactions of Matt Lanter’s Anakin Skywalker from “The Clone Wars” into the “Ahsoka” live action show. Very much like his colleague and the star of the “Ahsoka” series Rosario Dawson, there’ll need to be plenty of work in how to still capture the spirit of the characters the way they were presented in “The Clone Wars,” but also present the novelty of seeing these characters interact with each other in live-action form. That said, however, a longtime Star Wars fan like myself is excited for Christensen’s return to the universe. For many young fans, he’s the first Anakin Skywalker, so it makes sense for him to reclaim this character in this series. Fans of a galaxy far, far away simply cannot wait enough for Christensen to make his iconic return.