Why Hayden Christensen’s Star Wars Return Meant He Had To Hold His Breath For Two & A Half Minutes


  • Hayden Christensen returned as Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader in
    Obi-Wan Kenobi,
    facing challenges like underwater filming.
  • Christensen had to hold his breath for Vader’s bacta tank scenes, practicing breath-holding techniques to endure long submerged moments.
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
    takes place 10 years post-
    Revenge of the Sith,
    depicting Obi-Wan’s struggle to protect the future.

Hayden Christensen’s long-awaited Star Wars return presented the actor with a unique challenge during the filming of a now-iconic moment from Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. The actor first made his Star Wars debut in 2003 in Episode II –Attack of the Clones as impulsive Jedi Padawan Anakin Skywalker, while Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith depicted his final steps towards the Dark Side in 2005. Christensen returned in 2022 with Obi-Wan Kenobi, reprising the role of both Anakin Skywalker and the Sith Lord Darth Vader.

Now, Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s Blu-ray home release reveals more about Christensen’s Star Wars return (via Variety). To film Vader’s bacta tank sequences when he first awakens after sensing the presence of his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), Christensen had to hold his breath while submerged in full make-up. Check out Christensen’s recollection below:

I had to be completely submerged in water holding my breath. [So] I got to work with a great dive coach, and he would teach me different breathing techniques. I think my longest breath holds were around two and a half minutes. It was surprisingly peaceful in there.


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Darth Vader’s Bacta Tank Scene Is A Truly Iconic Moment

The Obi-Wan Kenobi Scene Has A Deeper Meaning

Vader’s bacta tank wasn’t a new element by the time of Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s release, having made its first appearance in 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story when Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) makes a risky journey to the Sith Lord’s fortress on Mustafar. Vader emerges from his tank to meet Krennic, and audiences get their first glimpse at the Sith Lord’s home. While the device might have healed Luke (Mark Hamill) in The Empire Strike’s Back, Vader’s usage in Obi-Wan Kenobi is far more horrific.

Disturbed by Obi-Wan’s reemergence, Vader emerges from his tank, with his cybernetic prosthetics and armor being fitted to mark the beginning of his hunt for his old master. The sequence in Obi-Wan Kenobi is a reminder of just how badly Obi-Wan wounded Darth Vader on Mustafar, leaving scars and burns that refuse to heal even ten years later after frequent submersions in bacta. With that fresh in viewers’ minds, the Sith Lord’s act of burning Obi-Wan on Mapuzo is a much more visceral moment of pure vengeance.

Despite the horrific context and usage within Obi-Wan Kenobi, Vader’s bacta tank awakening is a stand-out moment thanks to striking imagery and the performances of both Christensen and McGregor. Between Obi-Wan’s terrified reaction as he realizes Anakin barely survived, to Vader preparing to depart on his mission, the moment was a clear indicator that the stakes had been taken to a new level. Christensen’s dedication to the moment only makes it more impressive.

Obi-Wan Kenobi
and other
Star Wars
projects are available to stream on Disney+.

Source: Variety

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, which showed Anakin’s fall to the dark side and the rise of Darth Vader. Obi-Wan is hiding on Tatooine and watching over Luke Skywalker before Bail Organa recruits him to save a kidnapped Leia. With a confrontation with Darth Vader inevitable, Obi-Wan Kenobi tells the story of a man of a destroyed alliance fighting to protect the future. Ewan McGregor returns as his fan-favorite Star Wars character, as does Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader.

Bonnie Piesse , Hayden Christensen , Moses Ingram , O’Shea Jackson Jr. , Simone Kessell , Ewan McGregor , Grant Feely , Joel Edgerton , Maya Erskine , Benny Safdie , Indira Varma , Marisé Álvarez , Sung Kang , Rupert Friend , Kumail Nanjiani

Release Date
May 27, 2022


Joby Harold , Hossein Amini , Stuart Beattie , Hannah Friedman , Andrew Stanton

Deborah Chow

Joby Harold