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Cole’s Notes: Hayden Christensen deserves better from Canadians

Christensen hails from Vancouver, a fact too few Canadians celebrate
Canadian actor Hayden Christensen, centre, and his mother, Alie, arrive for the charity premiere screening of Star Wars: Episode Two Attack of the Clones, in Toronto Sunday May 12, 2002. Christensen plays the role of Anakin Skywalker in the film. (CP PHOTO/Aaron Harris)

This may come as a surprise, but Darth Vader is Canadian.

Actor Hayden Christensen, who portrays Anakin Skywalker and Vader in the Star Wars prequels, has reclaimed his role as Darth Vader in the newly released Obi-Wan Kenobi six-part series on Disney Plus. Though his iconic character hails from the dry desert planet of Tatooine, Christensen hails from Vancouver.

We don’t celebrate Christensen’s B.C. heritage enough.

I was just a kid when the prequels came out. I remember dressing up in Jedi robes and watching Anakin Skywalker’s escapades on the big screen. I was already a complete Star Wars fanatic, but knowing that the Chosen One who was meant to bring balance to the force was from Canada would have blown my mind.

Instead of embracing Christensen and celebrating B.C. roots, the actor was widely panned for his performance in the prequels. He was nominated for and won two Razzie awards for ‘Worst Supporting Actor’ for his role in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith — which baffles me because Revenge of the Sith is the best Star Wars film ever made.

READ MORE: ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’: A guide to the new ‘Star Wars’ series

It’s been 17 years since the theatrical release of Revenge of the Sith and though Christensen has continued to work in film and television, he hasn’t had many roles in major films since then. This could be, perhaps, due to the deluge of criticism and vitriol sent his way from Star Wars viewers.

Despite the poor critical reception, his performance was a hit with younger fans like myself. His legacy as Anakin Skywalker lives on in countless memes and amid the release of the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series, many Star Wars fans are revisiting the prequels to discover Christensen was spectacular in his role, even if he was forced to work with George Lucas’ notoriously awful dialogue.

We celebrate many of our B.C. celebrities like Ryan Reynolds, Michael Buble, Kim Catrall and Michael J. Fox. But Christensen has never gotten his flowers from his home province — he isn’t even listed in the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame’s StarWalk despite being one of the most widely recognizable British Columbians in the world.

Christensen isn’t active on any social media and I’m not sure where we could send him fan mail (though some very dated fanmail websites are set up for him). Regardless of whether Christensen ever reads or hears it from his farm property in rural Ontario where he now resides, I think it’s long overdue for British Columbians to celebrate the man who brought to life one of the most iconic characters in film history.

READ MORE: Cole’s Notes: B.C. could be the main star in films – but we can play any role


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