Hayden Christensen Talks Darth Vader Return As Dave Filoni Teases Anakin’s Future In “An Obi-Wan Role”

Love or hate it, there’s no denying that Ahsoka was a series packed full of memorable moments for Star Wars fans. However, chief among them was the return of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader. 

The fallen Jedi appeared before his former apprentice, Ahsoka Tano, in a location which looked an awful lot like the World Between Worlds. We say it “looked” like it because it was left to viewers to interpret whether the Jedi had been reunited with her Master in this Galaxy’s version of the afterlife or simply imagined him during a near-death experience following her clash with Baylan Skoll.

Talking to Vanity Fair (via SFFGazette.com), Ahsoka showrunner Dave Filoni explained why he chose to further explore the relationship between the two characters in the Star Wars Rebels follow-up. 

“While I had introduced in Rebels the idea that she came to understand that Anakin had become Darth Vader, I never really dealt with the fallout from that,” he says. “How does that affect somebody when a person that they really admire and looked up to turned out not to be the person they thought they were? Are we all just capable of a fall from grace? And what is forgiveness? What shape does that look like? Did I take the good parts of this person with me as well as the bad, or am I just the good? I thought there were a lot of interesting challenges for her.”

As for whether their reunion took place, Filoni is leaving it up to fans to decide. “My feeling about Anakin is that George resolved everything about Anakin. I don’t think I have anything to do there. I’m not trying to add anything to that. Everything Anakin’s involved with is about her. It’s about her point of view on Anakin. It’s about what Anakin taught her. He’s there in more of an Obi-Wan role that we saw in the old movies.”

Hayden Christensen also played coy while sharing his take on the first live-action meeting between Anakin and Ahsoka, admitting he had fun with the ambiguity surrounding what went down in the World Between Worlds.

“That’s the beauty of how the episode is constructed, in my opinion,” the actor says. “Inevitably, the audience has to question what it is they’re watching. Is this really the World Between Worlds? What is the World Between Worlds? Is this actually the spirit of Anakin Skywalker, or is this all in Ahsoka’s subconscious and we’re just going down the yellow brick road as she’s drowning and fighting for her life? I think that the episode provides a few really good clues, but it doesn’t spell it out for you.”

“There’s a lot there to unpack, potentially,” he adds. “I was getting to play a version of this character that I hadn’t before, and that was the all-knowing, all-powerful Jedi master who could wield both sides of the force – light and dark – at will, and maybe has the power to save Ahsoka’s life, which also is very interesting because that’s the power that he was trying to achieve when he pledged himself to the dark side.”

We’re guessing the meeting did happen, particularly as Anakin returns as a Force Ghost in the episode’s closing moments. While Filoni was reluctant to confirm or debunk any fan theories during this interview, he did at least make it clear that the conflicted hero is indeed there with Ahsoka and Sabine Wren on Peridea. 

“Anakin…of course he’s there with her,” the Star Wars franchise’s new CCO says. “He’s always been there with her, but she just couldn’t see it. She couldn’t feel it. She didn’t know. She had isolated herself and made herself alone because she was afraid.”

“He has done a great deal to alleviate that fear in her. And so there’s a moment. I think he’s proud of her in the end. He sees that she’s going to be a better mentor. I debate Force ghosts with people all the time. To me, what they are mainly is inspiration. You have people in your life that I’m sure have inspired you. And you feel that all the time. You feel that when you need it.”

We can’t imagine Ahsoka was the last we’ll see of Anakin, and it seems likely he’ll play a big role in whatever happens next on Peridea (particularly if the Mortis Gods come into play). There’s only so much he can do as a Force Ghost, though, so we’re not banking on him taking the fight to Grand Admiral Thrawn! 

All episodes of Ahsoka are now streaming on Disney+.