Hayden Christensen thought he’d taken his final breaths as Darth Vader.
The actor, who depicted Anakin Skywalker’s transformation to the villainous Vader in the “Star Wars” prequel movies, never expected to return to a galaxy far, far away — before reprising the role more than 15 years later in the new “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series.
“I really thought that was kind of the end of my journey,” Christensen told the Daily News. “I had an amazing experience working on the prequels and was so fortunate to get to be a part of those films, but when we finished, I thought that was it, so coming back was quite a surprise.”
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” is set 10 years after the final film in the prequel trilogy, 2005′s “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” which ended with Obi-Wan badly injuring Vader, his former apprentice, in a lightsaber duel.
Vader’s presence loomed large throughout the first four episodes of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” as he pursued the reclusive Jedi Master for revenge in a quest to eradicate the remaining Jedi.
Christensen, 41, physically portrays Vader on the show, while James Earl Jones voices the character as he did in the original “Star Wars” films.
“It’s an exciting time period to explore that hasn’t really been explored before,” Christensen said. “Vader’s very consumed by all of these negative feelings and emotions and all of his anger that is fueling his dark side abilities.”
Christensen says it felt “incredible” to put the Vader suit back on for “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” and found he was able to quickly tap back into the brooding character’s emotions.
“The preparation on this was pretty extensive. I did my character work, and just getting back into that mindset, but the physicality of the character has obviously changed so much,” the Canadian-born Christensen said.
“That sort of required a lot of effort to, one, put on some size so I could fill out the suit a bit more and, two, just get the movement down,” he continued. “I got to put the suit on a little bit at the end of ‘Episode III,’ but I wasn’t moving around that much. It’s a different ballgame when you’ve got to walk.”
Christensen debuted as the angst-filled Anakin in the 2002 movie “Attack of the Clones” before diving deeper into the character’s dark journey in “Revenge of the Sith.”
The new series served as a reunion for Christensen and actor Ewan McGregor, who portrayed Obi-Wan in the prequel movies and now stars in and executive produces the show.
“The first time I saw Ewan on set, on my first day, and getting to reunite as these characters was a profoundly special moment,” Christensen said. “These characters and this franchise mean a lot to Ewan and I, and getting to step back into this world is just a big deal for both of us.”
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” is the third live-action “Star Wars” series on Disney+, following “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett.”
The fifth episode of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” premiered Wednesday, with the finale set to arrive June 22. Christensen is excited for audiences to experience the full force of the series’ conclusion.
“I can’t say much,” Christensen said, “but I think we’re going to have a strong ending for sure.”