When we catch up with Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi, it will have been a decade since Anakin Skywalker underwent his traumatic transformation into a Sith Lord who is now more machine than man. The expectation is that the show will shed some light on what he has to go through each day in order to function, but make no mistake about it: Vader is no weakling at this point in time.
Talking to Total Film (via CBR), director Deborah Chow made it clear that this Vader isn't the one from Revenge of the Sith or A New Hope. Hayden Christensen added to those comments by saying that, when we meet him here, Anakin is "100% a fully realized Vader. This is, in a lot of ways, Vader in his prime." In other words, if you thought he was formidable in Rogue One, you've seen nothing yet!
"He's a very complex character, and there's an inherent struggle of identity that is always present - there's inner conflict," the actor continued. "He's always going to be struggling with the loss of Padmé. He's got Anakin buried deep down inside. There always has to be that element of Anakin there, because he does eventually find redemption in the end – through the love of his son, no less. So there has to be that bit of him in there for Luke to be able to access. There's a lot going on."
"We're giving a glimpse into the experience of being Darth Vader," Christensen said. "There's so much mystique and mystery around the character. We're informed of much of that in the prequels. But to be able to humanize Vader a little bit more adds more depth. Which you need to do to continue with him, otherwise you run the risk of him becoming a two-dimensional character."
Christensen, who didn't always get the strongest material in the prequels, clearly has lots to sink his teeth into in Obi-Wan Kenobi, and something tells us we'll be spending a fair bit of time with the man beneath the mask. It still hasn't been confirmed whether James Earl Jones will be returning to lend his voice to the Sith Lord, but common sense says it will be him or a very good impersonator.
However, it's going to be the Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith actor inside the costume, meaning this will be the most time Christensen has ever spent playing the iconic villain on screen.
Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres on Disney+ with its first two episodes on May 27.