Dave Filoni and Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker Smash Through ‘Star Wars’ Fatigue with ‘Ahsoka’ Episode 5

Hayden Christensen Anakin Skywalker
Credit: Disney/ Star Wars

If you are a¬†Star Wars¬†fan and aren’t watching¬†Ahsoka, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. Potential spoilers ahead as Hayden Christensen has officially returned to¬†Star Wars¬†as the fan-favorite Anakin Skywalker, and Clone Wars fans are losing their minds!

Star Wars fandom is heating up as Ahsoka Episode 5 left viewers breathless with its immaculate story-telling and beautiful recollections of the Clone Wars alongside Anakin Skywalker, Captain Rex, and a young Ahsoka Tano. It’s just what fans hoped to gain from the new Disney+ series directed by Dave Filoni.

Dave Filoni's "Ahsoka" Is a Hit With Over 14 Million Views in First Week on Disney+

Credit: Disney

Hayden Christensen Saves ‘Star Wars’

After Disney acquired the¬†Star Wars¬†franchise from George Lucas in 2012, many fans worried, rightfully, about the direction the popular series would go. Once the sequel trilogy began with¬†The Force Awakens, die-hard¬†Star Wars¬†fans were quickly disappointed with Disney’s outlook on the space opera.

Despite the massive financial success of the new Star Wars films starring Daisy Ridley, fans were not happy with the seemingly diverted path from what made the franchise great in the first place. Enter Dave Filoni, who had previously worked on animated Star Wars projects like Clone Wars and Rebels.

Dave Filoni and Hayden Christensen Smash Through 'Star Wars' Fatigue with 'Ahsoka' Episode 5

Credit: Disney/ Star Wars

Filoni, along with Jon Favreau, had a few surprises in store for fans that would ultimately save the franchise from the milking clutches of Disney. Although their creations of¬†The Mandalorian, which reintroduced Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), and The Book of Boba Fett, which saw the return of everyone’s favorite bounty hunter, would all be met with high praise. However, one return that fans expected set the internet ablaze with excitement.

2022 was a banner year for Star Wars fans. It brought with it The Book of Boba Fett, ultimately culminating in a team-up between Boba and Din Djarin (and Grogu). However, the biggest Star Wars draw of the year was the return of Ewan McGregor as the loyal and just Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Disney+ series of the same name.

kenobi anaking skywalker darth vader hayden christensen

Credit: LucasFilms/ Disney/ Canva

Although fans were certainly pleased with the return of¬† McGregor as Obi-Wan, they were ecstatic when a de-aged Hayden Christensen made his return as Anakin Skywalker in cut-scenes in the show that featured the young Jedi training alongside his master prior to turning to the dark side. If that wasn’t enough, the epic lightsaber duel between Christensen’s Darth Vader and Obi-Wan was emotionally fueled fan service that brought even the toughest of Star Wars¬†fans to tears.

Christensen Was a Strong Point in ‘Star Wars’ Prequels

While the franchise seemed to be missing the mark with Star Wars faithful, the return of the Sith Lord Vader reinvigorated the fandom. As Hayden Christensen grew to prominence for his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker in both Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith alongside Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor, introducing him back to Star Wars on Disney+ in Obi-Wan Kenobi refueled the fatigued tank of many who felt that Disney was developing too much Star Wars content.

anakin skywalker revenge of the sith ahsoka

Credit: Disney/ Star Wars

Last playing the role of Anakin/ Vader in 2005, Christensen in the prequels, who’s always been thankful for his prevalence in Star Wars¬†lore, worked a few films and most notably spent time engaged to Rachel Bilson. However, despite being almost married to the famous Rachel Bilson, the once star of a galaxy far far away never really became a featured actor in anything outside of the¬†Star Wars universe. Rachel and Bilson and Christensen would break off their engagement and Anaking would return!

Although fans were initially not pleased with Lucas’s sequel films, appreciation for the origin story of Darth Vader and Christensen’s portrayal of Anakin Skywalker grew. This ultimately led to loud cheers once he brought the role back to life in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series.

Anakin’s Importance to Ahsoka and Filoni’s Brilliance

Ahsoka Tano, played by Rosario Dawson in the Disney+ series, is an integral part of Anakin Skywalker’s story. Although not featured in live-action until¬†The Mandalorian, Ahsoka’s accusal of murder by the Jedi Council during the Clone Wars ultimately played a heavy role alongside the passing of Padme in Anakin’s trek to the dark side.

Recognizing the importance of the character, Dave Filoni has featured her multiple times, creating a strong bond between Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker and Dawson’s Ahsoka in the animated series Clone Wars,¬†which would play a big role in Episode 5 of the¬†Ahsoka¬†series.¬†

anakin skywalker ahsoka clone wars

Credit: Disney/ Star Wars

As Ahsoka acts primarily as a sequel to Filoni’s Rebels series, many of the same relationships are reflected in the Disney+ show. This includes interactions with fan favorites like Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Sabine Wren (Natasha Lui Bordizzo).

Dave Filoni used these relationships to create a memorable and exclusive experience for¬†Star Wars¬†fans who have seen Rebels, and it’s working. Not only that, but Filoni, for the first time, brought Christensen and Rosario together in live-action, creating one of the most intense and honest¬†Star Wars¬†scenes to date.

Hayden Christensen Saves ‘Star Wars’ Again

Ahsoka¬†viewers who haven’t seen¬†Rebels may be a little confused by all the new characters and storylines. One thing they do know, however, is Hayden Christensen. Bringing the star back as Anakin Skywalker was a stroke of brilliance and beauty by Filoni, but it has even deeper meaning for fans of Clone Wars.

ahsoka clone wars

Credit: Lucasfilm

Filoni’s animated series¬†Clone Wars highlights the Jedi Order aiding the soon-to-be Empire in their fight against Separatist forces across the galaxy. Employing a clone army to fight the various battles of the war, the Republic would eventually fall at the hands of Emporer Palpatine.

Anakin Skywalker often leads troops into battle, typically followed by his Padawan Ahsoka Tano. The show does nothing if build a concrete foundation for Anakin’s ability to love as he struggles to teach his young padawan, who is snippy and defiant just like he is. As is the trend, Anakin loses young Ahsoka once she walks away from the order.

Hayden christensen clone wars

Credit: Disney/ Star Wars

Understanding the relationship between Jedi and Padawan is essential for appreciating the callbacks to¬†Clone Wars scenes in Episode 5 of¬†Ahsoka. Filoni masterfully displayed the chaos of training a young, conflicted Tano while fighting with yourself in a real-world scenario, as we see from Christensen’s reprisal of Skywalker.

The scene brought a tear to the eye of many as it heavily foretold the eventual fall to the dark side by fan-favorite Anakin Skywalker, a burden that Ahsoka has carried with her since Rebels. Watching Tano face her demons and reconcile with her former master was exactly what Rosario’s version of the character needed. Still, it couldn’t happen if Christensen didn’t return to save¬†Star Wars¬†once again.¬†

jedi returns to ahsoka series episode 5

Credit: Disney/ Star Wars

What did you think of Episode 5? Do you hope to see Christensen continue to return as Anakin Skywalker in future projects?

About Michael Arnold

Michael is a father, husband, and an Army Veteran. Michael spends his weekends at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando checking out new merchandise and food. Michael is a graduate of the University of Alabama and has an education background in Public Health. You can find Michael riding Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again or binge watching new Marvel and Star Wars content. Han shot first. Thor is the strongest Avenger. Roll Tide and Wash Your Hands!