Obi-Wan Kenobi Will Feature Three Actors Playing Darth Vader

One of the great existential concerns surrounding any new "Star Wars" movie or show these days inevitably comes back to this: is the universe bigger than just the Skywalker family? Every fan has their own passionate opinion about this, but the one that matters most belongs to that of the creative team in charge over at Lucasfilm. So far in the franchise's post-Disney acquisition era, from the sequel trilogy to spin-off shows like "The Book of Boba Fett," it certainly appears that we still haven't escaped the shadow cast by Luke Skywalker. While the recently-concluded Disney+ series proved somewhat divisive over certain creative decisions, the upcoming "Obi-Wan Kenobi" show appears entrenched as one of the most hotly-anticipated "Star Wars" productions still to come. And yes — at least one famous Skywalker has been confirmed to show up.

One aspect of the upcoming series we haven't been too sure about, however, concerns the exact nature of Hayden Christensen's return as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. We know from the prequel trilogy, the animated "Star Wars" shows, and plenty of tie-in novels and comics that he and Obi-Wan remain inextricably connected to one another along their very different destinies. But would this new "Obi-Wan Kenobi" series, set in the years between "Revenge of the Sith" and "A New Hope," actually retcon the original movie and the heavy implication (if not outright confirmation) that their duel on the Death Star was the first time they'd actually seen one another since their tragic lightsaber fight on the fiery volcanic world of Mustafar? Would Anakin merely show up in a series of flashbacks while Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) remains in exile on Tatooine?

We just might have some answers to those questions, if a new report is to be believed. Christensen, it appears, will not be the only actor used to bring the fallen Jedi to life, which points to some intriguing creative paths that the show may take.

Three's Company

The process of putting Darth Vader on camera in convincing fashion has always required a team effort, going back to the original trilogy. James Earl Jones gets much of the credit for providing the villain's voice, of course, but both David Prowse and Bob Anderson deserve attention for their invaluable efforts in bringing Darth Vader to life, as well. The late Prowse, who passed away in November of 2020, did much of the filming in-costume, while Anderson was brought on as a stunt double for the lightsaber duels.

According to Making Star Wars, a very similar arrangement might be in store for "Obi-Wan Kenobi." In the report, Jason Ward (who has a strong track record for breaking "Star Wars" news) names three actors who he's heard are involved in embodying various elements of Darth Vader in the series. First up is Dmitrious Bistrevsky, an actor and accomplished stuntman whose previous work includes "The Mandalorian," "Captain Marvel," "Alita: Battle Angel," and "Legion." Bistrevsky appears to serve a similar role that Prowse did, putting on the costume and primarily responsible for the body language of the classic Sith Lord. Specifically, Ward mentions that we can tell it's Bistrevsky underneath the outfit "...when he's primarily standing around being a Sith Lord, hands on his belt, looking menacing. When he has lines in the suit, that's Dmitrious Bistrevsky. When you see Vader on his Star Destroyer that is Dmitrious."

Meanwhile, actor and stuntman Tom O'Connell ("Olympus Has Fallen," "The Equalizer") will take on the Bob Anderson role, filling in for Bistrevsky once lightsaber choreography becomes involved. Naturally, this would indicate that we're likely to see more "Rogue One"-styled fight scenes of the Dark Lord fully unleashed at the height of his power. As Ward puts it in his report, "When we see Darth Vader with his lightsaber ignited, you can bet it is Tom O'Connell swinging the laser sword around."

Finally and most obviously, Hayden Christensen is set to reprise his famous role ... but to what extent? Well, apparently "...we will see Hayden play Darth Vader in the bacta tank or when the mask of Darth Vader is removed. We will also see Hayden Christensen play Darth Vader before the suit in flashbacks..."

Making Star Wars also notes that James Earl Jones is expected to provide the voice once more, though with the caveat to "take it for what it is worth." "Obi-Wan Kenobi" premieres on Disney+ on May 25, 2022.