There are lots of reasons to watch Star Wars’ two best animated shows, The Clone Wars and Rebels. The former provides greater context for the prequels, with moving stories that explore that era in ways the films didn’t. And the latter provides an intense and fascinating look at life under the Empire’s control, with tales that star some of the galaxy far, far away’s best heroes and villains. But of all the many reasons we have to watch each series, needing to prepare for our return as Darth Vader is not one of them. Only Hayden Christensen can make that claim. And that’s exactly what he did to get ready for Obi-Wan Kenobi. The former Anakin Skywalker watched both shows.
Entertainment Weekly talked to both Ewan McGregor and his fallen Jedi prequel co-star about how they prepped for their Star Wars returns. McGregor watched all nine films in the Skywalker Saga. That might not sound like a big deal, but he hadn’t even revisited his own movies since they first came out. McGregor also read works from science fiction writer Iain M. Banks.
But Christensen did more than just rewatch the movies. He watched every episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels for the first time ever. “They did a lot with these characters in those shows,” Christensen told Entertainment Weekly. “And they did further explore the relationship. There was interesting stuff there to learn about. It was great fun getting to go back and re-immerse yourself in this world that just continues to grow and become more and more vast.”
That’s John Williams music to our ears. The Clone Wars feature a fascinating, complex, and empathetic Anakin. Meanwhile Rebels rounds out Darth Vader’s story in powerful ways. And each version of the character makes the Vader seen in the films so much better.
Now the animated Anakin will help make for an even better character on Obi-Wan Kenobi, which premieres on Disney+ on May 27.