Some of the biggest news on the Star Wars TV front broke in 2019 with the reveal that Ewan McGregor is returning for a new Obi-Wan Kenobi project on Disney+. Details were few and far between for the show... until now, with confirmation that none other than the prequel trilogy's Hayden Christensen reprising his role as Darth Vader.
The news comes from Kathleen Kennedy at Disney Investor Day 2020, when she said:
Last August at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, we announced the return of Ewan McGregor in the iconic role of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi for a special event series on Disney+. Obi-Wan Kenobi begins 10 years after the dramatic events of Revenge of the Sith, where he faced his greatest defeat, the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker turned evil Sith Lord Darth Vader. Our fans will be thrilled that Hayden Christensen will be returning in the role of Darth Vader. This will be the rematch of the century.
The Obi-Wan Kenobi series will deliver a rematch that fans previously had every reason to believe didn't happen until A New Hope, with friends-turned-enemies Obi-Wan and Vader facing off for the second and final time. Now, the return of Hayden Christensen for the "rematch of the century" reveals at least one battle between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope!
The Obi-Wan series will be directed by Deborah Chow, who made her Star Wars saga debut when she directed an episode of The Mandalorian in the first season. Production on the show that will deliver the Obi-Wan vs. Anakin rematch will begin in March of 2021, supporting some of Ewan McGregor's previous comments.
Since production is still a few months off from beginning, fans might not want to get their hopes up for much in the way of footage any time soon, but the Star Wars Twitter account released a first look of sorts:
Rumors began circulating that Hayden Christensen would reprise his prequel trilogy role for the Obi-Wan Kenobi show back in May 2020, but there was no confirmation, and it was hard to imagine what could bring him back in the flesh barring a flashback. After all, Anakin was famously disfigured shortly after his turn to the dark side of the Force in Revenge of the Sith, explaining his black armor throughout the entire original trilogy, which would have meant that anybody could theoretically have worn the mask.
It's hard to imagine the show bringing back the prequel trilogy's Anakin-turned-Vader actor just to stick him behind a mask and use James Earl Jones' voice, so we may not want to rule out flashbacks featuring an unmasked Anakin just yet, or perhaps dream sequences. That said, Kathleen Kennedy specifically said that Hayden Christensen is returning as Vader, so he's probably not just going to appear in flashbacks set before the climax of Revenge of the Sith.
Whatever the way that the new show incorporates Hayden Christensen as Vader, fans have a lot to look forward to on the Star Wars TV front. In fact, even more Star Wars TV details have been revealed, including the arrival of Lando Calrissian in a Disney+ original, Ahsoka Tano getting her spinoff shortly after making her live-action debut in The Mandalorian along with one more Mandalorian spinoff, The Rogue One prequel on the way (with a look behind the scenes), and even some more animation with The Bad Batch (with a new trailer).
For now, you can find new episodes of The Mandalorian releasing Fridays at 12:01 a.m. PST on Disney+, along with plenty of other existing Star Wars content.