Since Disney bought Star Wars, they have not held back in bringing beloved characters back onto screens. This has been done multiple times through the use of both CGI recreation and de-aging older actors. This has made it possible for actors to return to their past roles even if they look much older now than they did back then. It has also given us character interactions that we never thought we would see. One of the most recent actors they have brought back is Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in ‘Ahsoka.’ Fans finally saw a live-action interaction between Anakin and Ahsoka, but how did they manage this? Here is whether or not they recreated Anakin with CGI or if they just de-aged Hayden Christensen.
When Anakin appeared in ‘Ahsoka,’ it was a de-aged Hayden Christensen. This was the second time he has returned for the role as he had already done so in ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi.’ When Christensen last played the character, he was 24 years old. With him now being 42 years old, they managed to take almost 20 years off of his age for his return.
Now that we have confirmed the de-again of Hayden Christensen, let’s analyze it in more detail. If you are interested in whether or not Anakin appeared in person, the purpose of his return, and other characters who have been brought back using these methods, stay with us and keep reading!
Did Anakin return in person?
When we saw Anakin come back in ‘Ahsoka’ Episode 4, there was tons of speculation about whether or not that was actually the Anakin we knew. It never officially gets said if it was physically Anakin, but there is one key moment to suggest that it was. When Jacen Syndulla was at the waves, he could hear Lightsabers clashing, which was a reference to the battle between Anakin and Ahsoka.
This confirms that it wasn’t a dream sequence and that Ahsoka was definitely fighting something. The way he spoke to Ahsoka seemed very much like Anakin, and their flashbacks to the Clone Wars were only to battles that he could remember and appeared in. However, they do go to the Siege of Mandalore, where Anakin wasn’t present, and he proceeds to question Ahsoka about it.
We know that it was officially Hayden Christensen in the role and not a body double with his face CGI’d on, which made his return feel much more special. This wasn’t the first time he returned to the role, and it will undoubtedly not be his last.
Christensen himself confirmed how excited he was to play Anakin once again
Putting on the Anakin costume, getting to wear those Jedi robes, it kind of blows your mind every time,” Christensen says. “I just feel very grateful.Anakin & Ahsoka’s Reunion
Why did Anakin return?
The main reason for Anakin’s return was to teach Ahsoka a lesson and give her purpose once again. We see them return to the Clone Wars, where we see Ahsoka talking to Anakin through her younger self and reliving moments from the past.
One of their conversations is that Ahsoka is part of a legacy that both Anakin and Obi-Wan are also a part of. This is where we see that Ahsoka has doubts about herself due to her master’s downfall and turns to the Dark Side. Until this point, Ahsoka has been through a lot of trauma, such as fighting as a soldier from a young age, the guilt of Anakin’s turn, and that her former master almost killed her during ‘Star Wars Rebels.’ Ahsoka doesn’t want to fight, making Anakin see her as choosing to die. At the end of their duel, Ahsoka states that she wants to live, causing Anakin to step back and end their duel as she is once again filled with hope and no longer has doubts in herself.
What other actors have been brought back with de-aging and CGI?
Disney has brought back multiple actors with de-aging and CGI, so here are a few listed below!
Grand Moff Tarkin
In the lead-up to the release of ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ it was announced that Grand Moff Tarkin would return. Actor Guy Henry provided the voice and body for the role, with the late Peter Cushing’s face added in post-production.
After the tragic passing of Carrie Fisher, Disney included a tribute to her at the end of ‘Rogue One.’ They had actress Ingvild Delia provide the body and voice of Leia and then used CGI in post-production to put Carrie Fisher’s face on the actress.
For the ‘Mandalorian’ and ‘Book of Boba Fett,’ Luke Skywalker was brought back using a combination of both CGI and de-aging technology. Mark Hamil shot the scenes where he captured his face and voice. They then re-shot the scenes with a body double and added Hamil’s de-aged face to the double in post-production. A young Luke was also brought back with this technology in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ during the training scene with a young Princess Leia.
Disney will keep using this technology as they have used it for other films outside Star Wars, like in ‘Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny.’ It has given us interactions between characters that fans didn’t think were possible and will continue to only improve over time.
How did you think Anakin looked when he came back? Let us know in the comments!