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The Stunning Amount Of Weight Hayden Christensen Had To Gain For Obi-Wan Kenobi

Hayden Christensen is known for his efforts as the young adult version of Anakin Skywalker in the "Star Wars" prequel, an everlasting font of memes involving exchanges between him and Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), and his potent aversion to sand and sand-based activities (barring hunting Tusken Raiders). Unfortunately for Anakin, his fate is already sealed in the prequel movies, and he is destined to become the galactic terror known as Darth Vader, who is voiced by the imposing James Earl Jones.

Anakin is left broken and grievously wounded at the end of "Revenge of the Sith," and he spews venomous hate at his former teacher and mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). For all intents and purposes, the Jedi Order is all but extinct because of the corrupted Anakin, and Obi-Wan goes into hiding with his guilt at his supposed failure to both Anakin and the galaxy as a whole. This is where the show "Obi-Wan Kenobi" picks up, and the series managed to bring back both Christensen and Jones to reprise their shared role. Even though "Obi-Wan" could have simply used a stuntman in the Darth Vader suit, Christensen wanted to come back to the character, and was even willing to pack on some extra weight in order to do so.

Christensen put on 25 to 30 pounds to play the imposing Darth Vader

In an interview with Fatherly, it is noted that Hayden Christensen shares the Darth Vader suit with two stuntmen, but it was important to Christensen to be in the suit in order to maintain a sense of story. Christensen said of the experience, "I think that process was very important for me. I needed to become that character again, physically. I just consumed as many calories as possible. I put on 25 or 30 pounds to fill out that [Darth Vader] suit."

Luckily for fans of "Obi-Wan Kenobi" that he did, because Christensen's presence underneath helped form one of the greatest moments in the show in which the Vader helmet is cracked and both his and James Earl Jones' voices are heard in simpatico. This scene helped to bridge the gap between the set of movie trilogies because fans got a chance to hear both Vader actors at the same time.

Clarifying that his process to put on some weight took around nine months, Christensen added that he did not stay that size for very long by saying, "I try to avoid the dad bod thing. And I was trying to maintain that Vader body after we finished. But, honestly, I pretty much just went back to my old diet. I kind of deflated after that."

Christensen also underwent several hours of make-up

Putting on weight wasn't the only thing that Hayden Christensen undertook in order to reprise his former role. Considering the sorry state Anakin was left in at the end of "Revenge of the Sith," his appearance would have to reflect that change despite being mostly encased in the foreboding black cybernetic suit. There are some moments in "Obi-Wan Kenobi" that show what Anakin looks like beneath the Vader visage, and his broken and scarred body belay the strength and rage contained within.

Speaking with Collider, Christensen was asked what it was like to undergo such a transformation, because it seems as if there was an extensive usage of make-up and effects. Christensen replied, "Yeah. I mean, it's a good four to five hours getting all of the prosthetics put on, and I got to work with a great team of makeup artists, led by a fellow called Shaun Smith, and they did some incredible work." He continued, "It was a lot of time sitting, staying very still while they glue layers of prosthetics all over your body. But I really enjoy just the visual creation that took place every time. It so much sort of affects the way that you feel and you behave when you see yourself like that. So I enjoyed it." 

Although Christensen's face is only visible in a few scenes, his dedication to the role of Anakin Skywalker/ Darth Vader is incredibly apparent by both his willingness to put on weight and undergo several hours of make-up for a few moments of screen time. Still, those moments carried significant weight, and are an absolute treat for hardcore "Star Wars" fanatics.