Sith Happens

'Obi-Wan Kenobi' Episode 2 reveals a surprising new take on Darth Vader

“...Anakin”

Yes, Hayden Christensen is returning to reprise his iconic prequels role of Anakin Skywalker in Obi-Wan Kenobi, but don’t expect the bashful Annie of Attack of the Clones or even the aggressive emo kid of Revenge of the Sith. His appearance in Obi-Wan Kenobi is unlike anything we’ve ever seen Christensen do — but it’s familiar to Vader fans.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new look for Anakin — and what it means for his character’s future.

Though we do get glimpses of classic Anakin courtesy of some nightmare prequel recap in Episode 1, Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 2 is what truly drives home the tragedy of his relationship with his old master. In the last few seconds, a close shave encounter with Reva makes Obi-Wan face the truth: Anakin isn’t dead, he’s alive — and going after his old master.

There must be some Force connection still left between the two, because as soon as Obi-Wan utters the name “Anakin,” we see the man himself, floating in a bacta tank. His eyes jolt open, and we hear his iconic breathing.

Anakin in his bacta tank in Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 2.Lucasfilm

Will we ever see Hayden’s face without prosthetics again? Well, unless there’s a flashback, this is the Vader we’re going to learn to love to hate. While he is in bacta fluid, it’s unlikely we’re going to see him get completely healed. After all, he looks awfully similar to the disfigured face we saw at the end of Return of the Jedi. Apparently, bacta can cure being digested by a Sarlacc, but not being consumed by lava.

With this reveal, we can basically count on a more Vader-focused episode for Episode 3. This series is about that unbreakable bond between the two, and now that we’ve learned so much about what Obi-Wan has been up to, it’s Anakin’s turn.

Vader unmasked in Return of the Jedi.Lucasfilm

Still, any character will be beloved no matter what version they play, just ask Temeura Morrison, who keeps finding ways to make clones lovable even when they’re not Boba Fett or someone from The Clone Wars. Hayden Christensen in scarred, pale flesh prosthetics is still Hayden Christensen, and he’ll find a way for his prequel charm to shine through.

This entire series is building up to a confrontation between the two, and now we have all the characters we need for a truly epic showdown.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is now streaming on Disney+.