There's a lot to be said for leaving well enough alone, but don't ever tell that to Disney and Lucasfilm. The hype around the resurrection of the Star Wars franchise was real, and [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) did a pretty fine job of living up to expectations. Most of them, anyway.
And as filming for Rian Johnson's [Star Wars: Episode VIII](tag:711868) gets underway, the rumor mill has kicked into overdrive, with supposed sources "leaking" information, from the plausible (Luke Skywalker fighting Kylo Ren) to the absurd (which we'll get further into now).
So, of course there's been a ton of whispering regarding the hot rumor that prequel-trilogy Anakin Skywalker actor Hayden Christensen has been spotted on the set of Star Wars 8, filming flashback sequences perhaps?
I know what you're (probably) thinking something along the lines of "dear God no" or "that's definitely not true."
If you're thinking along the latter lines, you're probably correct. The rumors come from an unverified source, and there's been nothing solid since Star Wars Episode VIII began filming to suggest Christensen's involvement.
Indeed it seems that even the actor himself isn't aware of said rumors. In a recent interview with etalkCTV, the prequel-trilogy actor was asked if he'd want to return to the Star Wars franchise as part of an Anakin/Darth Vader flashback scene. Perhaps surprisingly, he seems very enthusiastic about the prospect of doing so:
"Oh absolutely yeah, no, in a heartbeat for sure. Being a part of that world was a huge deal for me and you know, was a good four five years of my life and I have fond memories and good friendships from that whole time, but I don't know, if they ever gave me the call I'd sign up in a heartbeat yeah."
Sadly for Christensen, the likelihood of his making a return to Star Wars seems slim.
The prequel trilogy in which he starred was panned after the fact by both fans and critics (especially fans). The remastered DVD and Blu-ray edition of Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi marked a famous controversy when it replaced Sebastian Shaw with the superimposed head of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader's redeemed Force Ghost — an action that Den of Geek called "the worst crime against the original Star Wars trilogy."
Christensen's performance in particular is often pointed to as one of the major failings of Anakin Skywalker's story; but to be fair to him, some of the writing and dialogue he had to work with wasn't exactly Oscar-worthy stuff (although, to be fair, not everyone hates it).
Given that Christensen was a young actor carrying the impossible weight of humanizing one of cinematic history's most iconic villains, it's hard not to feel a little sorry for him. But at least there's one thing we can take from this, it's made those rumors look even more unlikely, as Christensen claims to be out of the loop regarding the next installments in the Star Wars-verse.
And hey, at least Christensen had a better time of it than poor old Ani did.