2024 marks the 25th anniversary of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, the movie which kicked off George Lucas' divisive prequel trilogy. In recent years, the movies have been embraced by fans, leading to the negativity surrounding them being replaced by a sense of nostalgia and, dare we say it, love.
Empire Online recently caught up with Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader actor Hayden Christensen to get his thoughts on the time he spent in this Galaxy Far, Far Away as a lead star in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
"It's been a remarkable experience. And just a very heartwarming one," he says. "The journey that I’ve been on with Star Wars over the last 20 plus years... it’s been a wild ride, and where we’re at now is really meaningful to me."
"I think that those movies have held up well over time," Christensen added, addressing the initial backlash from longtime fans. "It feels like vindication for the work that we did. Everyone that worked on those movies thought that we were part of something special. We all wanted to do our very best work, and we cared a lot about it. And so to see the response from the fans now, it’s very cool."
Since finally becoming Vader in 2005's Revenge of the Sith, the actor has returned to the Star Wars franchise for standout appearances in Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka. Looking back at the experience, he opened up on what advice he'd now share with his younger self having been through that journey.
"Even though I was a bit overwhelmed, I was also a confident young man, and I wanted to make my mark. But I guess if I were to have some advice for me during that general time in my life, it would be: 'Patience,'" he muses. "Because my journey with the character and with Star Wars has at times been a bumpy one...but I’m in a good place with it now. And so that’s why I say patience."
Finally, Christensen admitted how surreal it's been to meet younger fans who adore the man who, uh, slaughtered a temple full of Jedi younglings almost two decades ago.
"There was a lot of talk about us doing that scene, and I love that George did it. It was a bold move. And it’s shocking," he admits. "Kids seem to forget about that scene when they meet me! There’s not any fear or intimidation. They’re just excited to meet Anakin."
Christensen also recreated (well, sort of) The Phantom Menace's iconic poster. Check that photo out in the X post below shared by Empire.