Hayden Christensen redeems himself in Obi-Wan finale, even if Darth Vader does not


The Obi-Wan Kenobi finale featured a spectacular battle between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan. The pair pummel each other with lightsabers, but the most dramatic moment happens post-fight, when Anakin, rather than Vader, addresses Kenobi, and actor Hayden Christensen gets to redeem himself after those many maligned moments in the prequels. BEWARE OF OBI-WAN SPOILERS AHEAD.

Hayden Christensen received much criticism for his performances in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. As teenage Anakin Skywalker, he failed to convince in both the romantic scenes, and when his character had to be menacing.

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All the blame can’t be laid at Christensen’s door. There were times when the dialogue didn’t help, most famously when Anakin explains his dislike for sand. But even when the lines were good, the acting wasn’t great.

So the response was mixed when fans found out he’d be reprising the role of Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi. But Christensen redeems himself in Episode VI of the series, delivering a moving performance during the show’s climax.

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What happens to Darth Vader during the Obi-Wan Kenobi finale?

Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in happier times.

Darth Vader and Obi-Wan square up to each other at the start of the episode. “Have you come to destroy me?” asks Vader. “I will do what I must,” comes the response.

Vader then tells him he will die, and the former friends go at each other with lightsabers, the former apprentice telling the former master: “Your strength has returned. But the weakness still remains. And that is why you will always lose.”

The battle continues, and Vader uses the Force to batter Obi-Wan into submission, raining rocks on him and literally moving mountains to bury Kenobi alive. He then departs, but not before he’s had one last dig: “Did you really think that you could defeat me? You have failed Master.”

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What does Anakin Skywalker say to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi.

All is not lost however, as with Anakin’s voice from the prequel period ringing in his ears, Obi-Wan starts to focus. Then visions of Leia give him strength to break through the rocks.

What follows is more lightsaber action as well as more Force moves, but this time Obi-Wan gets the upper hand, sending rocks Vader’s way, then cutting through his helmet and seeing Skywalker’s burned face for the first time.

“Anakin?” he asks, and with his breathing now labored, Vader responds with: “Anakin is gone, I am what remains.” Kenobi starts to cry, and tells him “I’m sorry. I’m sorry Anakin. For all of it.”

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Darth Vader becomes Anakin Skywalker

The two former friends share a moving moment at the end of the episode.

It’s a moving moment, and with help from the LucasFilm sound department, Christensen nails it, his voice osculating between Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader.

“I am not your failure, Obi-Wan,” he states. “You didn’t kill Anakin Skywalker. I did. The same way I will destroy you.”

Ewan McGregor is also spellbinding in this scene, which ends with Kenobi saying: “Then my friend is truly dead. Goodbye Darth.”

He leaves Vader wheezing: “Obi-Wan.” Then shouting the name. It’s a heartbreaking farewell, and one that gives Hayden Christensen his best Star Wars moment since he first joined the franchise 20 years ago.

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Obi-Wan Kenobi is now streaming on Disney +.